Think Well Before You Start Freelancing

Many people seem fed up with being employees and hope to be their own boss because they want to earn more income and are tired of their boss's complaints. Did you know that becoming a successful freelancer is never easy? The word “free” may be a pitfall trap because freelancers naturally work terribly hard and become “money” hunger so they are not actually free as expecting.

The story happened on an evening after work. I normally take a bus but I was tired on that day so I called a new taxi. After the taxi driver confirmed the destination, I got on it and closed the door. As the car was moving, the conversation started right away (Well! I prefer sitting quietly to chatting).

The taxi driver started introducing himself that he used to be a security guard at a government unit. He foresaw that his income wouldn’t make his living until retirement so he decided to take early retirement, and then spent retirement allowance for buying a new taxi to begin a new career as an independent job. “I bought this car instead of renting as it’s good value for money. The car installment is 25,000 baht per month with an average of 800 baht a day, comparing with paying car rental 1,000 baht a day equivalent to 30,000 baht per month with 5-year installment, and we’ll own the car after that”, said the driver.

When calculating 25,000 x 12 x 5, the total is 1,500,000 baht, I think his car should not cost more than a million baht. He continued his talk “There are lot more expenses like departure fee, registration fee and Grab starting fee. I have no idea what Grab is all about. I need to buy installation tools and learn how to use it”. I was curious so I asked the driver more and knew that additional to car installment paid to the car center, he still has big expenses comprising registration fee 3,000 baht, gas installation 30,000 baht, taxi fare, meter and mobile radio which are 30,000 baht in total, insurance 10,000 baht, member fee for taxi finder application 1,000-2,000 baht, including accessories like smartphone and its stand, and some managing fees charged by taxi center. The expense altogether is 100,000 baht which has to be paid on the departure date. In summary, the taxi driver needs to invest about 1.6 million baht in order to be a new business owner.

I wondered how he lives his life these days “I can earn about 1,000 baht a day and eat in the car, and I rent a house to share with others to save money”. His quality of life is not better as he drives every day to collect his money for the car installation fee. I wanted to ask him more but it was time to get off the car. From his story, we can separate it to each issue as follows.



1.    Is the car departure expense too high? The cost of the car by installation plan with the care center is as high as 1.6 million baht while paying cash for this car plus departure expense should be less than 1 million baht. The care center can gain profit from a rental fee of about 5-6 hundred thousand baht per car.

2.  When completing a 5-year installment plan, the driver owns the car. Anyway, after 5 years, the high maintenance fee comes with car condition. Besides, the driver may have less capability to make money as passengers will need a new taxi with a better condition.

3.  Comparing to car rental by paying 1,000 baht daily, some centers may offer a promotion of renting 4 get 1 or renting 3 get 1. By this way, the driver doesn’t have to pay full rent per day and can take a day off without paying the rent.

4.  For the cost of living, if the driver earns 1,000 x 30 days = 30,000 baht, and then he pays a car installment fee of 25,000, he still has 5,000 baht left to pay for food, house rent, and car gas. Would that be enough? How hard he has to work until he can gain savings? The quality of his life doesn’t seem to improve.

In summary, be considerate before you jump into any investment, especially to risk yourself by leaving your current job to start working freelance assuming that you are your own boss. Think carefully about your income and expenses at present and in the future, including cost and intangible benefits such as leisure time and happiness at work. Comparing related factors thoroughly as it may be impossible to revert back to the old ways after you go the wrong way.