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As the gig economy continues to grow, finding ways to earn on your own schedule is easier than ever. Major brands across the United States are harnessing the power of independent contractors and letting drivers decide their work schedules. In fact, through Amazon Flex, even Amazon is turning package delivery into a gig that just about anyone can benefit from.
On-demand companies like Lyft and DoorDash may be emblematic of the gig economy, but many more traditional brands like Amazon are taking note of their success to make their operations run more smoothly. Since 2015, Amazon Flex drivers have helped make fast shipping services possible while essentially acting as their own boss.
If you like driving for Uber, Lyft, Postmates, or Doordash, you need to check out Amazon Flex. It’s still relatively new and not yet overcrowded. This Amazon Flex guide will take you through everything you need to know about the program so you can decide if you want to apply.
- What is Amazon Flex?
- How Does Amazon Flex Work?
- Amazon Flex Delivery Types
- How Amazon Flex Works for Drivers
- How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
- Amazon Flex Requirements
- Amazon Flex Support
- Amazon Flex Reviews
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Amazon Flex?
Amazon Flex is a delivery program that recruits drivers to pick up packages in their cities and bring them straight to customers’ doors. Unlike the company’s full-time and part-time delivery drivers, who typically wear uniforms and drive branded cargo vans, Amazon Flex drivers are locals who use their own cars and smartphones to support last-mile deliveries (which take packages to their final destinations).
The program is available in over 50 U.S. cities where approved drivers can pick up as many available shifts — known as “delivery blocks” — as they want and can commit to. During every shift, drivers play an essential role in helping Amazon meet the growing demand for same-day deliveries nationwide.
How Does Amazon Flex Work?
With Amazon Flex, Amazon adopted a version of Uber’s popular on-demand rideshare model. Instead of hiring full-time employees, they let independent contractors fulfill their skyrocketing delivery needs. Customer satisfaction has always been Amazon’s primary goal, and Flex aims to keep customers happy by expediting the process of bringing them their Amazon orders.
So how does it work? Instead of shuttling around strangers like with Uber, you pick up Amazon packages and deliver them to the recipients.
Drivers tell Amazon which days and hours they would like to work, then Amazon assigns them a shift (or in Flex language, a “block”).
The driver will pick up items from their local Amazon warehouse and deliver them to people in the area during their delivery blocks. How much you make depends on how many available blocks there are to sign up for.
There are several delivery types a driver can choose to make. We will get to those in a bit, but your typical Amazon and Prime Now packages are two of them.
Amazon Prime Now is an exclusive feature for existing Amazon Prime members through which they get to enjoy ultra-fast delivery of their products. There are two types of Prime Now packages Flex drivers can choose to deliver:
- 1-Hour Deliveries – Prime Now customers pay a $7.99 delivery fee for this service
- 2-Hour Deliveries – Prime customers get upgraded to this delivery speed for free
Drivers are assigned deliveries once they select a local warehouse. The process of switching the selected warehouse can be tedious. Emailing Amazon support will be required, and reports indicate that in some cases this process has taken up to a month. So it’s best to select one and stick with it.
Amazon Flex Delivery Types
While all Amazon Flex drivers are responsible for deliveries, you don’t necessarily have to complete the same types of deliveries every single day. Through this delivery program, you can select delivery blocks that focus on fulfilling any of the following types of Amazon orders.
When your delivery block is dedicated to Amazon.com orders, you’re responsible for bringing standard Amazon packages from a local delivery station to customers’ doors. Before you start Amazon.com delivery blocks, you’re required to check in with an Amazon employee at your pick-up location. Then, you’ll be guided to your assigned packages.
In some special cases, which will be noted in your block details, you’re required to pick up or drop off select packages at Amazon Locker (self-service kiosk) locations near you.
Amazon.com deliveries tend to be the longest blocks, lasting three to six hours, and offer the latest shifts available.
Amazon Prime Now is a grocery delivery service that connects customers to fresh food from Whole Foods locations. Unlike Instacart drivers, Amazon Flex delivery partners are not responsible for the shopping itself.
Once you arrive at an assigned Prime Now delivery station or waiting area, you’ll simply pick up pre-packaged groceries and household items for delivery. The only additional step that Prime Now delivery blocks may require is checking customer IDs upon delivery if a package contains alcohol.
Prime Now shifts are typically two to four-hour blocks. Delivery stations for these types of blocks are open until as late as 10 p.m.
Amazon Fresh is a more expansive grocery delivery service than Prime Now, but for drivers, pick-ups and drop-offs work almost exactly the same way. You’ll pick up from a Prime Now or Amazon Fresh site, then bring groceries and household essentials straight to customers.
You can expect available blocks to be two to four hours long as well. The biggest difference between this and Prime Now is Amazon Fresh orders tend to be larger, so a hand truck or dolly is usually recommended.
The last type of delivery block you might claim focuses on store orders. For these deliveries, you’ll pick up packages from local stores in your area before delivering them to customers.
Store orders will always be packaged for you, so you won’t have to worry about spending any time shopping around a new store. These delivery blocks tend to last two to four hours.
How Amazon Flex Works for Drivers
The Amazon Flex app is the key to success for each of the company’s delivery drivers. In this mobile application, drivers accept delivery blocks, see their assigned pick-up areas and drop-off locations, and scan packages. All the information and tools you need to start and complete every unique shift and package delivery will be available on this app.
Amazon Flex shifts are typically available seven days per week, though the exact amount of open delivery blocks will vary based on current demand. Delivery drivers can scroll through available blocks at any time, accepting only those that work for their schedule. You’ll never be asked to take on any shifts you don’t personally sign up for.
As you can see, Amazon Flex is truly a side hustle or full-time gig you can customize for your own needs. You won’t even have to follow a specific dress code (though your attire should still be appropriate for the job).
In addition to the gig’s freedom, Amazon Flex drivers can also enjoy payouts twice per week instead of just once per week, as is the case with many independent contractor gigs.
How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
Amazon Flex pay typically ranges between $18 and $25 per hour. Delivery drivers are always compensated for every block they complete instead of for every hour worked, so your exact earnings will vary based on location, level of demand, and how much time your deliveries end up taking.
For Prime Now deliveries, Amazon Flex drivers can even be eligible for customer tips, allowing you to earn extra money on top of your base pay. In these cases, 100% of the tips you receive will go directly to you.
One of the best parts about driving for Amazon Flex is you’ll never have to guess your daily earnings. Before you accept a delivery block, you’ll be able to view an estimate of how much you’ll earn and how long the deliveries will take. You’ll even see the pick-up area, so you can account for your gas expenses for getting to your shift.
Keep in mind that all Amazon Flex drivers are independent contractors, so no job-related expenses are covered by the company.
Amazon Flex Driver Requirements
You don’t need to be a professional driver to start delivering for Amazon Flex, but you are required to meet certain driver requirements before you can be approved to drive. The Amazon Flex program requires its independent contractors to:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Be able to pass a background check — this may include a criminal history and driving record check.
- Have a valid bank account (to receive payouts)
- Own a smartphone that’s compatible with the Amazon Flex app
The Amazon Flex app for iPhones, available on the App Store, is compatible with devices that run on iOS 11 or newer. The Android app, which can be downloaded from this page, is compatible with Android 6.0 or newer operating systems. In order to successfully deliver packages, Android users must have smartphones that have a camera with flash, GPS, a SIM card, and 2 GB or higher RAM memory.
Because Amazon Flex delivery drivers are required to use their own vehicles, the company requires you to have a four-door car that can securely fit the volume of Amazon packages you’ll deliver. Midsize sedans are the smallest vehicles you can use for the gig, though larger vehicles like SUVs, vans, and pick-up trucks are preferred. To keep packages as safe as possible, all truck beds must be covered.
No matter what type of car you use for Amazon Flex deliveries, your vehicle must be registered and insured under your name, though they do not need to pass a vehicle inspection. Amazon Flex drivers in New York may be required to have commercial insurance to comply with state regulations.
Amazon Flex Support
Since Amazon backs Amazon Flex, drivers can expect a robust customer support infrastructure on which to rely when they need any help.
You can seek help in three ways:
- Phone support
- Email support
- Help button
There are two phone numbers for Amazon Flex drivers; one for drivers on the clock and another for drivers off the clock.
- On-the-Clock Support – To contact support while working a Flex block, drivers should use the dispatch number, which connects to an Amazon Flex dispatcher. Issues should include things like late deliveries or order issues. This number is 1-877-472-7562.
- Off-the-Clock Support – Drivers who are not working should use the Amazon customer service number for less pressing issues. Whether it’s a generic account question, an Amazon app glitch or bug, or anything else, support can help. This number is 1-877-212-6150.
Whether you have questions before you apply, during the application process, or after you’ve been approved, reach out via email to receive timely responses. If you encounter any issues during your delivery blocks that require support, we recommend providing as many details as possible — including the delivery time and location — in your email for the most relevant and efficient solutions.
Amazon Flex drivers seeking help with non-critical issues should use online support. The staff is pretty prompt with responses, and are great about giving comprehensive answers.
The best way to reach the Amazon Flex support team is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The help button included in the Amazon Flex app is one of the newest features in the app. Drivers can simply tap the “Help” button and get connected to a support representative immediately.
This method is the simplest and easiest way for drivers to get help, especially while out and about delivering packages. This one is my personal favorite.
Bonus: Amazon Flex Driver Reviews
Before you drive, you probably want to see the service in action, and you can in a few of our favorite Amazon Flex reviews. I picked a few of the most in-depth and helpful reviews from YouTube and then summarized them below the videos.
The first Amazon Flex review comes from Luke Ducklow, a popular presence on YouTube. Here are his thoughts on the service:
In his video, Luke takes viewers through his first day on the job as an Amazon Flex driver. As one of the first drivers in his region, he has the opportunity to work out the bugs in the program and work on the front lines of a developing program, a fact he is obviously very excited about.
The video gives some insight into what drivers can expect during a normal day as an Amazon Flex driver. Throughout the video, he talks about why he is driving and the process of delivery driving for Flex, sprinkled with a light dose of comedy.
In this case, it only took 2 hours to complete his 4-hour delivery block. He spent most of the day within a tight area, which eliminated dead mileage, and had minimal issues with the Amazon Flex driver app.
What he liked:
- The ability to set flexible hours
- The good pay
- The technology behind the platform
- The tips he got while driving
- The Amazon staff were helpful and “cool,” helping him troubleshoot issues and get on the road
What he didn’t like:
There wasn’t a whole lot that Luke didn’t like during his shift. He said there were a few problems with the app, but Amazon support staff were helpful in quickly getting his issues resolved. He also mentioned that he had to call a customer to get clarification on where to drop off a package, but quickly moved on after the call.
His take: The overall theme that I gathered was that Luke likes Amazon Flex, and is so far pretty happy being a delivery driver. He speaks highly of the service and recommends drivers sign up.
Luke loved Amazon Flex, but our second reviewer did not. Paul Yeo, another YouTube personality, has another opinion.
Paul starts out the video by saying he was going to do a positive review on the service, but couldn’t come up with a whole lot of positives, so he decided to do an outline of the negatives.
What he liked:
- The flexible hours – while he said getting blocks is difficult, they are worth it. It is a great way to increase side income.
What he didn’t like:
- Availability of blocks – scheduling blocks with a calendar leads to less delivery time behind the wheel. In saturated markets, drivers have a hard time getting delivery blocks and there is a lot of competition.
- The Amazon Flex driver app is faulty – Paul was not happy with the performance of the driver app. It froze during navigation, scanning items, etc.
- Getting deactivated randomly – many drivers are apparently getting deactivated for no reason, without doing anything wrong. Supervisors have the ability to reactivate your account.
His take: Even with his gripes about Amazon Flex, he still encouraged drivers to sign up. However, he strongly suggests only driving for Amazon Flex as a side job since there is too much competition among drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Driving for Amazon Flex is one of your best chances to be your own boss in the gig economy, especially if you love being on the road. Top off what you’ve learned from our Amazon Flex guide by reading our answers to these three common questions:
1. Can I do restaurant deliveries with Amazon Flex?
While Amazon Flex drivers were once able to deliver food from local restaurants to customers, this option is no longer available. This is because Amazon Restaurants — the e-commerce company’s version of Uber Eats and Postmates — shut down in the summer of 2019.
2. Does Amazon Flex provide insurance for drivers?
In the vast majority of states, Amazon Flex does provide drivers with a commercial auto insurance policy at no cost. Through this policy, you get liability coverage, uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.
However, this insurance coverage only applies while you actively deliver for Amazon during a scheduled delivery block. This means you still need your personal coverage for commuting as well as for your non-Amazon related driving needs.
New York is the only state where delivery drivers are required to pay for their own commercial insurance policy due to local laws.
3. Are Amazon Flex delivery gigs available year-round?
The Amazon Flex program allows drivers in its markets to apply year-round, but if your city doesn’t have an immediate for drivers, you may be put on a wait-list. Head to this “Get started” page to see where Amazon Flex is actively recruiting new drivers.
The holiday season tends to be the best time of the year to apply without getting wait-listed, as the company sees a surge in demand around this time.
Apply for Amazon Flex
Amazon Flex is a unique opportunity for drivers to connect to a wide variety of delivery requests, so your day-to-day work life never has to look exactly the same. Whether you deliver packages or groceries, your role as an Amazon Flex driver will always be an essential part of helping customers get the service they need.
If this Amazon Flex guide convinced you the company is a great match for your needs, all you need is a smartphone to take the next step. Read our guide on how to apply for Amazon Flex to get one step closer to earning with the delivery service.
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.