Brookline Go-Getter will run errands for you
BROOKLINE — If the odometer on Dara Carleton's Grand Cherokee spins upward at a rapid rate over the next few months, she will not complain about gasoline expenses and wear and tear on the Jeep. If the vehicle is a common sight on area roads and in driveways and parking lots, she will know that business has been good.
"I've had to reinvent myself several times, which led to an incredibly eclectic background," Carleton said earlier this month, sitting inside the Brattleboro Food Co-op. She was between assignments, and grocery shopping is one of the services she provides to customers. "It just seemed that all of that together lends itself to doing this."
Carleton is the owner of the Brookline Go-Getter, an errand and task service she began on Nov. 4, about a year after she and her husband relocated from Brattleboro to Brookline. Carleton has worked as a school teacher, a daycare monitor, in a healthcare facility for children, in real estate, in local government, property management and in a library.
"The common thread, regardless of what I've been doing, is it required customer service," Carleton said. "It required caring about the people that you're working with or for, and to care if you're doing an effective job."
A few months after Carleton and her husband, Thomas, moved to Brookline, Carleton began noting how often she wished someone could run into Brattleboro for her to retrieve something or drop something off at a place of business or a governmental office. She said she would gladly pay for such services.
As more time went on, and with the encouragement of her spouse and friends, Carleton decided to enter the professional errands industry. She already had a side gig, with Dara Carleton Wildlife Photography, and believed this type of commerce would complement the photography business. She also believed a demand existed for a go-getter.
"There are many situations where children are living down here or up there and the parent is living in the opposite area," she said. "It would be nice sometimes to have family time and let someone else do the running around."
Carleton charges $20 per hour for her services, plus the costs any purchases made at the behest of the customer, and she bills in 30-minute increments. For residents of Brattleboro and other areas outside Brookline, the clock starts ticking when Carleton arrives in their communities, and not when she leaves her driveway.
"I don't mind traveling," she said. "For me, it's a benefit because I do the wildlife photography. Of course, if I'm in a time crunch, the wildlife will have to wait."
The Brookline Go-Getter operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., though Carleton will accept jobs outside these hours and on weekends. The rate is still $20 for 60 minutes of service.
"Because this business is so new, I don't know precisely what the needs are in this area until people start to call," Carleton said. "I'm really wide open at this point."
Due to liability insurance constraints, Carleton will not provide personal transportation services. She will transport dogs and cats, however, and considers all jobs that aren't immoral, illegal or unethical.
"I was a single working mother for many, many years and it's very difficult to juggle, so this is kind of an extra hand," she said. "You can't be two places in one time."
Carleton did some online research prior to opening her business, and found errand services have been established in many large, metropolitan areas of the U.S. There are more potential customers in big cities, but such places can also attract competitors.
"This type of business is quite popular in other areas, but it hadn't reached us yet," Carleton said. "The further up into the hills you live, the longer it takes for things to kind of generate up there."
As the business grows, Carleton hopes to add a calendaring function to her website, brooklinegogetter.com, so people can reserve blocks of time. For now, the site provides information about services and contact information but is not set up for booking reservations. This is presently done via email and telephone calls.
Carleton grew up on Long Island, near the border between Nassau and Suffolk counties. Her Long Island accent is noticeable but has been dulled by years of living in Massachusetts, upstate New York and Vermont.
"My hope is that this business will launch, get off the ground and hopefully be of help to quite a few people," she said.
The Brookline Go-Getter: P.O. Box 124, Newfane, VT 05345-0124; 802-275-7272; BrooklineGoGetter@gmail.com
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