When 52-year-old retail manager Maria Xynias was recovering from an illness and going to and from the hospital, she was lucky enough to have the help of her family to take her to appointments and check-ups.
Maria says, “I'm Greek so I have a big family that were able to take me to and from the hospital when I needed to, but it was a struggle.”
It was then she realised that many people weren’t as fortunate as she was to have a ‘big Greek family’ by her side at all times.
“What do all the other people do that don't have a big network like I do? So that's how [Ladies Running Errands] virtually started - was helping people getting in and out of hospitals and picking them up from day surgeries," she says.
Today, not only does she take people to and from the hospital, but also to airports and nights out.
“We run errands, we do so much for everybody because everybody is busy. Their lives are busier, they need a little bit of help. That's what we do. We're the extra family member that people don't have.”
This means having a personalised service for her clients.
maria says, “I still answer all the phones, because that is very important for me. I like to make sure I connect with everybody.”
In turn, her clients trust her and her fleet with many tasks people are usually wary about, such has picking up kids from school, watering home gardens, delivering important items.
This isn’t the only differentiator between this and the Airtaskers, Ubers and taxis of the world; the six-lady strong fleet comes with baby boosters, making them popular for mums and young families.
Starting the business in 2009 with 3000 homemade flyers, a 1997 Ford Falcon and $500, Ladies Running Errands is expected to hit $250,000 this financial year.
It has been the perfect time for Maria to expand her business, but this isn’t without the typical growth pains of any business venture.
My problem started when I started looking into the franchise…I wish I knew how difficult it was going to be to get a business loan.”
“The big banks want collateral to put down so they would be able to finance my franchise…The business is not enough. The fact that you're earning lots of money, it doesn't matter. They want bricks and mortar."
Instead, she turned to TruePillars, a company that helps float an SME’s loan via mum and dad investors.
“They looked at my business, they saw my potential, they saw my earnings, they saw where we were going, they wanted to know my business plan, which I had right down to the final T because I know exactly where I'm going. All I needed was a little bit of help to get me there," says Maria.
"I attribute to my success, hard work, love of what I do and constantly looking forward. Always having a plan."