By: Tebogo Mokwena
When Zwakele Thwala needed some errands done during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, she realised that there were not many errand runners in her area. Because she was unemployed and had to find a way to feed her three children, she decided to start running errands for people and get paid for it. Thwala told Vutivi News that she started McCarry Runners in Johannesburg in 2021 after she had to send someone to the Department of Labour on her behalf.
“I went on the internet and searched for errand runners and I saw how there was a need for errand runners in South Africa,” she said. The business was started from her own pocket and with help from friends. Also, her experience in the hospitality industry as well as her business management and accounting certificates proved useful in getting her company off the ground. “I had to loan money from friends and family to register the business, and I am funding the company from my own pocket,” Thwala said.
Mcarry Runners now has four employees, who are all drivers. Its services include picking up and delivering prescriptions, groceries, parcels, documents, dry cleaning and children across Gauteng. Thwala said that building trust with customers had been one of her biggest struggles. “A lot of people don’t easily trust another person to deliver the possessions safely without stealing them,” she said.
“I remember when my first customer had me deliver a laptop bag and she kept on calling me every 10 minutes to see if I did not run away with the laptop bag.” Thwala, who is 28 years old, said that her young age was disadvantageous. “Some of my customers are hesitant to take orders because of my age, and my service has to speak for itself because they do not think that I am old enough to handle the business that I do.”
Thwala told Vutivi News that her dream was to do deliveries and run errands across the country. “There is a lot of opportunities for errand runners in South Africa,” she said. “I want to open more branches in Gauteng before expanding to other parts of the country. I believe that the era of doing things online will empower us to expand our business and grow within the next five years.”