Are you interested in knowing what it is really like to work for Amazon Flex as a delivery driver?
If you live in a major city, you have probably seen these workers unloading and delivery packages out of the back of an unmarked vehicle.
In case you are not familiar, Amazon Flex is a side-gig that allows people to make money delivering packages for Amazon using their own vehicle. It is a great side hustle for people whose vehicles don’t match Uber or Lyft’s requirements. Or for people who don’t want to transport people.
The majority of the packages people receive of items ordered from Amazon. But thanks to Amazon’s recent acquisitions, the items could be Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods grocery deliveries.
We wanted to get a better understanding of Amazon Flex. So we took a look at how to sign up. What it is actually like to delivery packages day-to-day. And how much you can earn. We also found some real-life reviews to see if it is worth delivering for Amazon Flex.
- Signing Up for Amazon Flex
- Getting Delivery Blocks
- Picking Up Packages
- Delivering Packages
- Ending a Shift
- Amazon Flex Driver Pay
- Real Amazon Flex Driver Reviews
Signing Up For Amazon Flex
Like all things related to Amazon, they make things easy. The sign-up process can be done completed online and is painless. Head to their Get Started page to start the process.
Amazon Flex is currently available in over 50 locations, including:
When you go to the signup page, you’ll immediately notice that driver opportunities are limited. Amazon is not always hiring in all areas, so looking at the Get Started page is the easiest way to see where they are now hiring. At the very top of the screen, it will ask you what area you are in. If Amazon is not hiring in that area, you can sign up to join the waiting list for your area.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Amazon Flex
If they are hiring in your area, they will ask to confirm that you are 21 and have a valid drivers license. Then there is a question about your vehicle and phone. Once you are done with this section, they direct you to download the mobile app.
Once the app is downloaded, you will need to sign in and consent to a background check.
After this is done, you will be asked to watch a lot of videos about the Amazon Flex process. These videos are your training orientation. They cover everything from how the app works and how pick-up works, to completing deliveries and getting paid.
Pay attention to these videos, because you will actually be quizzed once you are done!
The whole sign-up process usually takes about a week (thanks to the background check. But once you are finally approved, you are ready to sign up for your first delivery block.
Signing Up for Delivery Blocks
Before you begin any work, you need to sign up for deliveries by claiming a “delivery block.” When you sign up, Amazon Flex asks for your availability. Based on what you filled out, Amazon sends you information on available blocks. Drivers need to sign in to the app to claim the blocks they would like to work.
From our research, we have seen many workers complain that signing up for blocks can be very competitive. Check the app early and often, so you can be the first to claim available blocks. Also check out these tips for getting more delivery blocks.
If you are hurting for more hours, keep a look at same-day blocks. Drivers can do this by opening the app and clicking on “Check Available Blocks.” These blocks are usually released because a different driver canceled their assigned block. And since these are same-day shifts, they are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Starting Your Delivery Route
About an hour before your scheduled delivery shift is about to begin, you will see a push notification through the app. The app will announce where you are to pick up your packages. It will also show you the drop-off locations for packages.
Once you get to the pickup location, you will use the app and your smartphone to scan codes on the packages. The number of packages you are to deliver is based on the size of your vehicle and the size of the packages (both physical size and weight).
Once you are loaded up, it’s time to start the delivery process.
The Amazon Flex app will show you a proposed route based on the different drop off locations. Drivers report that the route is usually pretty accurate, but if you know you where around better, there are no penalties for taking your own route.
Once you get to a drop-off location, check the app to make sure you are in the right place. Once confirmed, drivers are responsible for leaving the packages in a safe location. To ensure the packages are delivered, you will need to scan the packages once again. Sometimes, the app will ask drivers to take photos of where they are leaving the packages to confirm receipt. This protects both you and Amazon.
Ending Your Delivery Shift
Once all of your packages are delivered, you are done with your shift! Sometimes you aren’t able to deliver all of the packages. Even though Amazon provides an estimated completion time, this isn’t always possible.
If you find that you have reached the end of your shift but still have packages left, you can: finish the deliveries (and not get paid for the extra time), or alert Amazon and return the packages. The latter is obviously not ideal, and we’ve seen reviews from drivers claiming to get reprimanded for not working fast enough.
We obviously do not think you should do work and not get paid, so use your best discretion to see what solution is best for you.
We’ve also read reports that drivers who finish their work ahead of schedule will be asked to return to the pickup location. The idea is that Amazon will provide more packages so you can finish your block. Unfortunately, we have heard that the pick-up location is not always ready. Meaning you show up for no reason and wait out your time block.
Amazon Flex Driver Pay
Obviously, “How much does Amazon Flex pay?” should be one of your biggest questions. According to Amazon Flex, drivers earn $18-$25 an hour. And from what we’ve read from real Amazon Flex drivers, this is pretty accurate. Some drivers who are able to complete their blocks quicker than expected report even higher hourly incomes.
The key thing to keep in mind here is that the $18/hour rate is before expenses. Like any independent contractor (including Uber and Lyft driver), you are responsible for covering expenses. Expenses include gas, car insurance, and vehicle wear and tear. This obviously reduces your hourly wage by a good amount.
A general rule of thumb here is that is costs a driver about 54.5 cents per mile driven. This is the amount the companies are required to reimburse full-time employees. But this does not apply to independent contractors. This number “is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile” as determined by the IRS.
To roughly calculate your actual hourly earnings, take the number of hours you worked multiplied by your hourly wage. From this, subtract the number of miles you drove multiplied by $.545.
For an example, let’s say you worked for 3 hours, drove 40 miles and earned $20 an hour. That means you earned $60 (3 hours X $20) before expenses. Your expenses are around $21.80 (40 miles X 0.545). After expenses, your total earnings are $38.20 ($60-$21.80), or $12.73 an hour. And remember, you are still expected to pay income taxes on every dollar earned!
Keep in mind the numbers provided above are estimates based on the IRS’s finding. One Amazon Flex driver told The Atlantic that his expenses came out to about 40 cents a mile. This driver determined that he was able to make more money working for Amazon Flex compared to driving for Uber.
This is one of the many reasons why it is extremely important to track your earnings and expenses. Keeping track of these numbers makes it easier determine what side-gig is the most profitable.
Real Amazon Flex Driver Reviews
Now that you know how to sign up, what the daily work looks like, and how much you get paid, let’s take a look at some actual driver reviews to see it’s worth it.
Our first reviewing echoed a very common theme: they love the flexibility.
“Amazon Flex is great if your main goal is to make extra money with your car in addition to a full or part-time job. There are no health benefits and hours are on a first come, first serve basis. Overall, I’d recommend it for a side job.” – source
This reviewing went above and beyond to explain the delivery process. They were concerned about scheduling blocks, a struggle we mentioned earlier. Overall, they seem satisfied with the gig:
“A typical day as an Amazon Flex driver includes waking up early to see what driving blocks are available, picking up an available block, arriving at the warehouse about 10-15 early, having a random cart delivered to your car, scanning all the packages on your rack, sorting and loading them into your car for your convenience. Finalizing your pickup route in the Amazon provided app, checking your route and map to make sure there are no missorts and if there is hoping you get a manager in a timely manner that will take the packages that don’t belong in your route off… The hardest part of the job can be to get a delivery block… The most enjoyable part of the job is being able to make your hours, choose the times you want to delivery and make as much as you want untaxed…” – source (Editor’s note: Your income from Amazon Flex is not untaxed. Taxes are not deducted from your paycheck, but you are required by the Federal Government to report the income on your taxes, meaning Uncle Sam will still get his cut)
Not all reviews loved the work, here’s a quote from one driver who thought the work was stressful:
“Not a good place to work stressful and managers are very rude the pay also is not good for the work that you do good for people that don’t have kids and just need a little money to get by” – source
Our last review comes from a very experienced Amazon Flex driver. They thoroughly understand the process and the work. They have some complaints, but nothing too worrisome:
“The job is not difficult, whether you’re delivering Fresh, Whole Foods, 2-hour packages, etc… The issue has to do with getting blocks, especially during a preferred timeframe if you have another job that you want to work around. In order to get blocks, you have to get lucky… I tend to work fast, will arrive 15 minutes early, and have my car packed and be on the road prior to the scheduled start time. A big issue with working efficiently is that you can finish your deliveries too quickly and the App will tell you to report back to the warehouse, no matter where you are. That would be fine if you could get additional deliveries but it’s not going to happen, very rarely anyway, and you’ll end up sitting in the parking lot for no reason whatsoever… Wear and tear on your vehicle is also a big concern and the costs associated with upkeep, fueling, insurance, etc.. do add up. Also, since you’re an independent contractor, you’ll want to know what’s required of you from the IRS (payments through the year). Overall, it’s easy to complain about certain things but I do enjoy the freedom, interacting with employees and customers…” – source
The Ridester Take on Amazon Flex
Overall, driving for Amazon Flex is an amazing side-gig opportunity. The earnings are competitive with other side-hustles. But if you can earn a decent amount through tips, Uber and Lyft are probably more lucrative. For drivers who don’t want to delivery passengers or food (like DoorDash or Postmates), Amazon Flex is an interesting opportunity.
Our major concern is how competitive it can be to find time blocks. It seems like a lot of drivers struggle with this road bump (pun intended). We also want to make sure that all gig-economy workers understand taxes and expenses. Just because Amazon Flex says you can make $18 an hour, doesn’t mean that is all money in your pocket.
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.