This Game-Changing App is Creating Dignified Jobs for Delivery Drivers in Southern Mexico

After José María Hernández Santiago left a company with “poor leadership,” he started his own business and decided to run things differently.

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This Game-Changing App is Creating Dignified Jobs for Delivery Drivers in Southern Mexico

Marissa Revilla, GPJ Mexico

José María Hernández Santiago, founder of Servidito delivery service, poses for a portrait.

SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO — José María Hernández Santiago has never liked conventional work.

In 2020, following a disagreement with his boss over what he refers to as “poor leadership,” the 26-year-old lost his job as a truck driver for a construction company. So, he decided to start his own business: a delivery service for the people of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

With his motorcycle and a telephone, Hernández Santiago began to make food deliveries within the city of 216,000 inhabitants. During the pandemic, the delivery company, Servidito, saw a dramatic uptick in business, quickly gaining popularity among area residents and eating establishments.

In just seven months, the business exceeded 20 deliveries per day, prompting him to approach his brother, Jesús Guadalupe Hernández Santiago, 24, about joining the project.

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Marissa Revilla, GPJ Mexico

Jesús Guadalupe Hernández Santiago zips up a Servidito delivery bag. The delivery service app was founded in 2020, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas.

“We’re coordinated. We understand each other very well. I honestly think that’s one of the things that has helped,” José María Hernández Santiago says.

The brothers joined forces with programmer Fausto Valdiviezo, 25, who was already developing an app similar to the service they were offering. Together, they created the concept of Servidito, hoping to set their company apart from traditional delivery businesses.

Kim Fuensanta, owner of the restaurant Kim Cocina Panasiática, has been a Servidito client since 2021. She says she found out about the company after some bad experiences with other delivery services. “They are very responsible. They’re fast. It’s cheaper. They’re careful, and extremely rarely is there ever an accident,” she says.

These days, the Servidito team makes 700 food deliveries per week for 30 local restaurants. On the busiest days, the Hernández Santiago brothers hop on their motorcycles and support their colleagues out on the streets.

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Marissa Revilla, GPJ Mexico

Jesús Guadalupe Hernández Santiago, who is in charge of orders and shipments, helps with a delivery order for Servidito.

“When the service is overloaded and the demand is extremely high, we go out to make deliveries. We share the responsibilities,” Jesús Guadalupe Hernández Santiago says.

The delivery workers are the foundation of Servidito and receive the majority of the app’s earnings, José María Hernández Santiago says.

There are two ways to work with the delivery business. In one, Servidito provides delivery bags, helmets and motorcycles to delivery workers. They are given a set eight-hour schedule and earn approximately the minimum wage in Mexico: about 6,200 Mexican pesos (365 United States dollars) per month. The second option is geared toward independent delivery people who have their own motorcycles. They choose their own schedule and earn a percentage of each delivery. At the end of the month, they end up with approximately 10,000 pesos (around 590 dollars) plus tips.

These earnings are above Chiapas’ average, which is 4,610 pesos (approximately 272 dollars) per month, according to the Ministry of Economy.

Antonio Domínguez García, 28, has worked at Servidito for three years with his own motorcycle. “I’ve seen the company grow, people come and go. It’s very pleasant to work here. Something of this caliber was missing,” he says.

José María Hernández Santiago says the company’s growth has shaped his perspective on what it means to be a leader, inspiring him to develop strategies to ensure he doesn’t turn into a bad boss.

“Something that has helped me [avoid poor leadership] is the harmony and the relationship we have [with the team],” he says. “We’ve never imposed ourselves on others as bosses. Instead, we treat each other like colleagues, and that has helped a lot.”

Today, the company makes deliveries for over 30 restaurants. Now employing 12 people and having established itself as a local business, it’s aiming to expand its range of services.
In this first quarter of 2024, customers will be able to request safe taxi services, moving services, grocery shopping and water delivery. It will also be possible to request the services of plumbers, carpenters and other local workers.

“Our intention is to get all those local services that have been forgotten onto the platform,” José María Hernández Santiago says, “so they can reach more people.

Marissa Revilla is a Global Press Journal reporter based in Mexico.

Translation Note

Shannon Kirby, GPJ, translated this story from Spanish.