An explosion of food delivery in Thailand?
Could you be a food delivery driver in Thailand?
There has been an explosion of companies delivering goods in Thailand, especially foodstuffs. Like most places, Thailand suffered and is still suffering from the effects of COVID.
How did this change the lives of food delivery drivers? The answer is not a simple one.
The salaries mentioned here can change from firm to firm. The figures are noted to show the normal, average earnings. The drivers working forty hours can earn 20,000 Baht, most earn less, depending on their shifts and where. Drivers boast about 40, 50,000 Baht months. Yes, but look at the overtime hours.
Many restaurants were forced to close, others offered a takeaway service only. Or the meal was delivered. A huge number of diners hadn’t considered ordering and eating at home. Great for the delivery driver.
Also, people were worried about venturing out to buy their meals. So, their food had to be delivered.
Clearly, in these two examples, drivers were often offered some overtime. Another bonus. Every coin has two sides. What were the tails? There were few or no tourists. True, but do tourists have their meals delivered?
Long-term or regular visitors use the services of delivery firms. The short-term tourist eats in their hotel or snacks at the market. (If open!) So, how did fewer tourists change the income of the drivers? Not greatly.
With no tourists, the hotels suffered. Cooks, chefs, hotel staff, and others were laid off. They had to eat at home.
Deliveries became important to a new sector of people.
- Restaurants close
- Food delivered
- No tourists
- Laid-off people must eat
- New customers
How does all this change drivers’ income in Thailand?
Thai friends may disagree, but foreigners tip better. Without the accurate figures, my guess is the drivers’ tips took a hammering? None or fewer tourists meant tips dipped. And local buyers or long-term foreigners were suffering from a lack of earning power themselves. Thus, they were less generous with their tips. The cost of fuel has risen almost daily, another worry for drivers. Gratitude less, gasoline more.
How Can You Increase The Earnings as a Delivery Driver in Thailand?
How do drivers give their income a boost? They work long long hours of overtime. Or get themselves on a route where the homeowners are generous tippers!
Know your driver – Read on
Who is your driver?
Driving is a popular choice of occupation for many. By choice or need? Again, without firm figures, our local knowledge tells us most drivers are men. But, hold up, more and more females are flashing their licenses.
Drivers’ ages vary. From a young inexperienced driver to a person of more advantaged years, (up to 60). A young driver is a person without a degree. Possibly a first job, that gives them the freedom to work when it suits. Or an educated sole who needs help to pay his way through college. The older driver has held some menial jobs in the past, and the family need extra income. Even if it means grandpa has to return to work. Or possibly, life has changed and boredom has taken over, this driver needs to get out and meet people.
Most Popular Food delivery companies in Thailand
Foodpanda and Grab appear to be the most popular food delivery firms. But there are many more. And those with the idea of a great start-up company, driving is an easy and cost-effective start. For people looking to begin on their own with a dream to compete with Grab.
Companies offering driving jobs in Thailand
- This newish service boasts free delivery on no-minimum orders. This means its drivers are chasing around, with plenty of work.
- It makes your ordering and eating easy, so they say. The driver needs to be on his toes as chasing around collecting different dishes from different outlets.
- Clients go for more upmarket food. Asian and Western choices with English language menus. The driver needs to be on his toes as they expect quick delivery. Payments with Paypal, credit/debit card or cash.
- Originally called Get. Bangkok only. Drivers don’t have to worry about English here. Like Grab and Lineman, the driver is assigned to the job, start to finish.
- Ten thousand and more restaurants to pick from, classy 5-star to the side of the road kiosk. They calculate waiting time and delivery charges. Pay with GrabPay Wallet or cash. The driver will need some small change in his pocket. In case, the loose money is not left as a tip!
- Caters to those ordering from supermarkets. Drivers must ensure the food is fresh and not damaged. Bangkok only.
- A vast selection of outlets, often no English is spoken, an advantage for most drivers. Only cash is taken in many restaurants, so the driver must have some change.
- Boasts the best steaks and seafood direct to your door. Again the driver needs to be quick between gears, everything must be fresh like morning dew.
- A popular start-up, owned by a foreigner. Started in Malaysia now with a foothold in Thailand.
- An online food ordering company. Plenty of driving work in and around Bangkok.
Other driving chances?
In this article, we will not cover logistic firms like FedEx and Kerry. But keen young drivers should know the chances given to young ex-food delivery drivers.
What do you need to deliver food in Thailand?
- You need a reliable vehicle. Motorbikes are by far the most popular choice. Bicycles are used by fitness freaks who don’t mind the heat, a great way to get or remain fit. Mind the fumes. Sometimes even ‘samlors’ are used to deliver food from the market. Samlors are three-wheeled trishaws, old-fashioned but, well, romantic. Less romantic, but quicker are the motorized three-wheelers also known as Tuk-Tuks. These are usually used as advertising gimmicks.
- You need an up-to-date licence.
- You need a Thai id showing that you are at least 18.
- A bank account. The bank account is not for the driver’s wages, it is for QR telephone payments. The most popular bank, offering the quickest deals is The Kasikorn Bank. Before it was called The Thai Farmers Bank.
- Maps. Yes, the drivers need to know their way around. Certainly, the cities have many sois, (lanes) tucked in places you wouldn’t expect them. A map comes in handy. The food may be refused if that hot lunch is chilly because the driver took too long to find the customer.
- A crash helmet, none of the firms mentioned will allow a driver to venture out on their name to drive without a helmet. Yes, the driver has to supply his own.
Can a Foreigner Deliver Food in Thailand?
Yes, but only to his girlfriend or mates! Don’t try to work for Grab or Panda, they will laugh.
Dangers of driving
For those who know Thailand, it comes as no surprise that the number of accidents is horrendous. The food delivery companies do not cover the driver’s personnel insurance, the machine’s cover or any third party cover while working. A scary risk for the thoughtful folk. Unlike in the UK or US, there is no MOT test, each driver here handles the machine he is driving. i.e., Check the brakes!
Now the pluses
Pre-COVID, firms offered sign-up bonuses. And some other extras, depending on how new bikes are etc were given. These extras have been dropped as the number of drivers applying has jumped. The companies have a wide choice of drivers. Bangkok drivers would expect a higher living rate. They can expect around 145 Baht per hour.
Some food delivery drivers use the experience to switch to delivering goods. It is also a thriving business. Drivers enjoy the flexibility of when they work and where, or how far they are expected to travel. And can end up with a company vehicle. The drivers make new friends as they often sit and chat while waiting together.
And the minuses
Drivers often wait for hours for a job. When waiting, they have to provide for their food and drink. The risks of accidents. The drivers will face the sack if they are found working for more than one delivery firm.
Good luck in your hunt for your job as a food delivery driver in Thailand.