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It’s the age of on-demand drivers. Uber, Lyft, and Postmates are just a few examples of brands that strive to make a customer’s life seamless and quick. In turn, they’ve provided independent contractors, like you, with amazing opportunities to earn supplemental income on your own time.
The only problem is that these oversaturated platforms are brimming with competition. So, new and old drivers find it a lot harder to see any significant returns.
But there’s good news. Amazon Flex provides fresh opportunity as a relatively new platform that’s still expanding to cities throughout the U.S., opening new doors of revenue for on-demand drivers.
Even if you already drive for Uber, Lyft, or other such platforms, signing up for Amazon Flex will help keep your side income growing on days where revenues from those other platforms are slow. Their website states that drivers can make up to $18–$25 per hour by delivering Amazon packages — that’s pretty competitive, and higher than the average that similar companies offer.
This article will cover the different delivery types you can sign up for as an Amazon Flex driver. Drivers looking to maximize delivery income must select the correct type of warehouse that best fits their preferences and needs, so we’ll break down each of the four options.
- Amazon Flex Delivery Types
- Amazon Flex Driver Requirements
- Where Is Amazon Flex Available?
Amazon Flex Delivery Types
There are four different outlets that you may deliver through as a Flex driver.
1. Amazon Logistics (AMZL)
The most common assignment for Flex is Logistics. These are Amazon Prime and traditional Amazon packages that come in boxes. When you deliver for AMZL, you will be making deliveries for the regular, 2-day, and same-day shipping options.
In this version of Flex deliveries:
- Available block lengths vary widely, but they are usually 3- to 6-hour blocks
- You’ll deliver between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- You may either get a small number of packages far away from the distribution center or a large amount nearby
- Route lengths and volumes are determined by a computer
- A high number of late deliveries could be cause for deactivation
As an Amazon Logistics delivery partner, you can expect to deliver anywhere between 30–70 packages, over 20–50 stops throughout your shift. The size of the boxes may vary — sometimes a car will suffice to carry the load, but if there are many bigger packages, a vehicle with more room will be needed.
Most of these blocks take place during the daytime, and many times, customers aren’t home during delivery. If you believe the package is susceptible to theft, you must take extra care to deliver the package safely.
You do have the option of delivering to the back door, but only when it is easily accessible. If it doesn’t appear that the package will be safe, you must return the package to the distribution center (DC) at the end of your route. When your route is over, you can either pick another block or simply close the app and continue with your day.
Amazon Logistics drivers do not receive tips on a regular basis. Sometimes a customer may wish to tip you in person, but other than that rare occurrence, tipping is not available to Logistics delivery drivers.
If you sign up for Amazon Logistics, you will be staged at a local warehouse. This is where you receive the route and the packages you need to deliver. Every warehouse has its own shift schedule but most of them have a few blocks available in the mornings and another one in the afternoon.
Although you may make more money on a single block with a Flex program with tipping options, blocks are much easier to pick up with Logistics. If you wish to do Flex on a near full-time basis, Logistics is your best option because other Flex blocks aren’t always available.
But if you live in a very busy city with congested roads where it’s nearly impossible to make 20–50 stops to deliver more than 50 packages, then driving for Amazon Logistics may not be the best option for you.
2. Prime Now
Prime Now is the ultrafast delivery service offered by Amazon.
- Amazon Prime members can request delivery within one hour for a fee, or a two-hour block later in the day
- Delivery blocks become available based on demand
- There is a high amount of competition for these types of blocks
- Deliveries are time-sensitive, and deactivations occur for too many late deliveries
When Flex drivers for Prime Now arrive at the DC, they will receive a route based on either a 2-hour or 1-hour delivery time frame. Deliveries are usually much farther apart compared to Logistics, and it’s not out of the ordinary for a driver to drive more than 100 miles to complete a 2-hour block of deliveries and return to the DC.
Also included with Prime Now are perishable and alcohol deliveries, requiring a person to be present to receive the package. These types of items are delivered in disposable insulated bags, often with an ice pack to maintain a cooler temperature.
If a delivery contains alcohol, the driver must check identification. Alcohol delivery is only available in select markets, but could easily expand due to popularity.
One difference with Prime Now deliveries is if you have more than 30 minutes left in your block time, you may be directed to return to the DC and possibly receive another route.
In addition to the base hourly rate, Prime Now drivers receive tips on a regular basis, and they get to keep 100 percent of what they receive. Tips are auto-filled by Amazon at the time of purchase, but customers have the availability to change the tip amount up to 24 hours after the delivery. Payments for blocks can be delayed while tips are finalized.
Since customers choose the delivery time, most deliveries take place when the customer is present. It is less likely that packages are stolen when delivering for Prime Now. If you believe the packages are at risk for theft, return the packages to the DC.
3. Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service and is relatively new in most markets. It was in testing for many years in Seattle before expanding.
- Customers have the option to choose same day or next day deliveries
- Deliveries can be “attended” or “unattended” depending on customer preference
- The service was created to directly compete with PeaPod, Instacart, and Shipt
- Only available in select markets currently, but expected to expand quickly because of Whole Foods Market acquisition
Although this service is currently still in its early stages, Amazon has created some brick and mortar sites for grocery pick up. At these locations, employees will load the groceries into the trunk for the customer. This service is being tested but is not showing great promise.
Amazon Fresh deliveries can also be a more customer service-oriented type of Flex delivery. There are two delivery options available with AmazonFresh:
1. Attended Delivery — This is where you deliver the package to the customer in person within an hour. These deliveries come in paper bags and can be left with a doorman if needed. Usually, the customer will have delivery instructions under the order page, so just follow that.
In most cases, interaction with customers is limited, but with attended Fresh deliveries you may be asked to deliver groceries into the kitchen.
Drivers can choose not to enter homes if they believe it would be unsafe. It’s up to you what services you provide to the customer but remember that a customer has the ability to modify a tip after you’ve made the delivery.
2. Doorstep Delivery — These packages come in temperature-controlled totes and should be left at the doorstep within 2–3 hours. This type of delivery is available in all locations that offer Amazon Fresh.
This option isn’t available in dorms, or in gated places that are code-restricted. Also, if a delivery is requested to be unattended, leave the packages in a safe location as best as you can. If you think leaving the delivery unguarded is not safe, do your best to contact the customer and work out a solution. If no solution is reached, return the delivery to the DC.
Note: Many times, Fresh deliveries can be very large, so investing in a foldable cart will be incredibly helpful.
The best part of driving for Amazon Fresh versus Shipt or InstaCart is you never have to do the shopping for the customer. The order is packed and ready to load when you arrive at the DC, allowing you to get to the customer quickly.
4. Amazon Restaurants
To compete with DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats, Amazon created their food delivery service. This service is available to anyone with an Amazon account and provides delivery to customers from popular restaurants. Food options range from Thai to American to Mexican, with Amazon adding new restaurants on a regular basis.
- This service works similarly to Uber Eats or DoorDash
- Customers can use the Amazon mobile app to track deliveries in real time
- Drivers have the option to pick up restaurant blocks
- Restaurant blocks are usually offered in 2-hour increments
- Guaranteed to make at least $18 an hour, even if you receive no delivery assignments
When a customer orders food using this service, and you happen to be near the pickup location, the delivery will be assigned to you. You may also receive additional delivery assignments while on your current assignment.
This type of Flex delivery is more customer service-oriented than Logistics or Prime Now. All restaurant deliveries are attended deliveries, so if a customer is not available to accept the delivery, you must do your best to contact the customer. If you are unable to get in touch with the customer, you will need to call support.
Often, the customer will provide instructions. In most cases, the requests are simple and easily completed.
It doesn’t hurt to grab some of the available condiments to include with the delivery in case the customer forgot to request them specifically. It’s important to remember that tips are available for Flex drivers making restaurant deliveries, so providing excellent customer service can only benefit you.
Amazon Flex Driver Requirements
Regardless of which Amazon Flex service you sign up for, all of them will require you to have these three things:
An Android or iPhone will do. You need a smartphone to access the Amazon Flex app. With Android phones, they need to be 5.5 or newer with RAM of 2GB or more, GPS location services, and camera with flash; for iPhone users, an iPhone 5 or higher with iOS 10 or higher is acceptable.
You can generally use any car that’s safe to carry the packages. If you drive for Amazon Logistics, you should have a 4-door sedan, or a larger vehicle like a truck with a covered bed (to protect packages during inclement weather), a van, or an SUV. The size of packages are much bigger than what you may carry with Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, or Amazon Restaurants.
Smaller cars should be fine for other Amazon Flex delivery types. They even allow bicyclists to deliver orders in some areas. If you plan to deliver using a bicycle, make sure that it’s in good condition, has a basket and helmet, and adheres to your city and state’s safety requirements.
Motorized bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles aren’t allowed.
If you don’t own a personal vehicle, you can use a borrowed or rented car to make these deliveries, provided you have all the necessary authorization like permits, insurance, and license. At this time, the model or age of the car you use doesn’t matter.
3. Background Checks
After you sign up for Amazon Flex, you will be asked basic questions about yourself to gather enough information for a criminal and motor vehicle background check. They scan your records seven years back for felonies, theft, violence, and other major convictions.
This process can take up to five business days. If you find yours taking longer than five days, use this phone number to call Amazon Flex Help Center: 1-877-212-6150, or email them at email@example.com.
To start the application process, you can either download the Flex app, or go to flex.amazon.com.
Where Is Amazon Flex Available?
Amazon is constantly expanding its Flex delivery options throughout the United States, but currently they are available in major areas like San Francisco Bay, Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Columbus, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Orlando, Stockton, New York, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Chicago, Dallas–Ft. Worth, Baltimore, Miami, Kansas, Tampa, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and more.
To see the full list, and to check if Flex is available in your area, go to: flex.amazon.com/about
Overall, Amazon is doing a great job of offering new earning opportunities for drivers. Whether you’re delivering packages or food, Amazon Flex deliveries are a great way to earn extra cash. The only downside to Flex is that the shifts aren’t guaranteed, but using it along with other on-demand gigs is a great way to add to that extra cash you are already making from other similar services.
Which type of Amazon delivery service is your favorite? How do you maximize earnings for each one? Let us know in the comments below!
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.