Motoboys, Brazilian Motorcycle Couriers and How to Use One

Today, I’m going to talk about one of the craziest yet most useful things in Brazil: the Brazilian motorcycle couriers or “motoboy” as they are locally referred to.

If you’ve ever tried navigating the infamous traffic chaos of São Paulo or any other medium to large city, then you’ve seen the seemingly invincible motoboys zigzagging in and around traffic jams as if they were protected by some magical, untouchable force.

Though on the border of being clinically insane to drive a motorcycle in the city of São Paulo, these motoboys have their place and can be quite useful for getting things from point A to point B in a courier capacity.

And not too mention that they are cheap to use and can save you hours of headaches.

Let’s say that your car breaks down and that you need a new part for it, after your mechanic looks at it, you soon find out that the part you need is on the other side of the city.
You need the car right away and it will take the mechanic a few days to get the part through his traditional channels.

What do you do?

Motoboy to the rescue!

For a measly fee of around R$20 reais plus the price of the part, he will run over to the other side of the city and get it for you and have it in your hands within a matter of hours.

Introduction to Motoboy Couriers

So, I’ve already talked a bit about the use for a motoboy but what is one exactly?

It’s a brave person who runs errands on an efficient motorcycle (usually around 150cc) with a storage box on the back.

These errands are in the form of fast food delivery, propane tank and water delivery, document delivery, bill payments and general errand running.

These couriers who are also known as a “cachorro louco” (crazy dog) or “motoqueiro” (motorcyclist), have a huge advantage over traditional transportation.

They can squeeze through the tiniest of spots between cars and create their own special highways (or corredor in Portuguese) through traffic jams.  And if there aren’t any spots between cars, they will cut in front of and behind cars to find new ones.

No matter what, they always find a hole through a seemingly blocked passage way.  And if you block one with your car, you best prepare for a kicked out side mirror!

Needless to say, the cars leave room between them for the motoboys.

Check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like being a crazy motoboy.

(Watch on Youtube)

Wild isn’t it?

How to Use a Motoboy Courier Service

Like the example in the beginning of this post, if you are in a situation where you need something done ASAP but aren’t able to do it yourself or don’t want to, then a motoboy is super handy.

There are some practical and necessary steps to take to make sure that you don’t get taken for a ride (pun intended) by a motoboy courier.

1. Make Sure the Motoboy is Trustworthy

On my first try, I was the guy needing the car part in the beginning of the post.

The mechanic shop was trying to take advantage of me and charge R$400 for a cheap part – yep!

I told them to hold on, took the broken part and asked my good friend what I should do.

He then suggested that I send out a motoboy to find a new one.

Only use a trustworthy motoboy courier (I.E. don’t just choose one randomly out of the phone book, ask around).

I called the motoboy “Mateus” who my friend had used before and he came right away.  I then showed him the part and he immediately said “I know where to look for this”

Yep, no calling around was necessary.  Not only was he going to run the errand right away and quickly, he knew where to get the part – I didn’t have to even call around to find it.

Off the motoboy courier went into the wild blue yonder for a few hours on different customer errands

 2. Pay Him The Fee AFTER He Is Finished

A few hours had gone by and the motoboy showed up at my doorstep, with the part in hand!

I was one happy camper, not only did he find the part right away, he found it for only R$20! (that’s about R$380 cheaper then the rip off mechanic shop).

The fee for having him run around the city looking for the part was only R$30 and in return, I got my day back.

R$30 wouldn’t even have covered my gas, let alone the time I’d waste and phone calls I’d have to make.

So always make sure that you agree on a price before the motoboy leaving and pay him upon arrival.

If he insists on getting some money for paying for the part or item he is running around after, fine.

Then just give him the money for the part only and tell him that you will pay him his fee when returning.

3. Always Get a Receipt!

Another great word of advice is to always make sure to demand that the motoboy gets receipts for anything he purchases.

This assures you (as much as possible) that he doesn’t make a profit on the actual item he is running around after.

So if the item costs R$50 and he wants money to cover the cost before leaving, give him what he demands, and tell him to give you a receipt on delivery from the place where the item is purchased.

Yeah, not a receipt from him telling how much the item costs, but from the actual seller.

Then it’s all a matter of math and pretty straight forward when he returns.

Final Words

My hope is that you have an idea of what a motoboy courier is and that you have the necessary understanding in order to use one yourself.

They truly are handy and it’s little tricks like this that truly facilitate your life in Brazil.

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Valeu – cheers!


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