Amazon Flex: The Comprehensive Guide + Review [2017]

This guide is the “hub” in a new series that will dive into everything drivers need to know about the newest service to hit the on-demand scene; Amazon Flex. This guide will touch on the basics of a topic, then link out to an in-depth analysis of each. We’ll be updating this guide weekly, so stay tuned for more information as time goes on.


In the era of the gig economy, there are a million ways to be your own boss, but only a fraction of them work. Amazon Flex is one of those ways.

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.

Founded in 2015, Amazon Flex is an on-demand package delivery service that hires drivers to deliver packages to Amazon customers around the country instantly. Drivers deliver items from Prime Now and a slew of other types of packages, aiming to get them from the local Amazon facility to the customer in as little time as possible.

Amazon Flex grants drivers both schedule flexibility and good pay. In fact, drivers have much higher earning potential with Flex than with standard TNC (Transportation Network Company) services; Amazon is currently advertising that drivers can make $18-$25 per hour.

If interested, go to flex.amazon.com and check your region is hiring drivers. If you don’t see your location on the list, click on “Join our waitlist” and fill out the little questionnaire. They will notify you new opportunities opens up in your area.


How Does Amazon Flex Work?

With Amazon Flex, Amazon adopted a version of the Uber’s popular on-demand rideshare model and instead of hiring full-time employees, it let independent contractors fulfill their skyrocketing delivery needs. Customer satisfaction has always been the Amazon’s primary goal, and with Flex,  it aims to keep the customers happy by expediting the process of bringing them their Amazon orders.

So how does it work? Instead of shuttling around strangers like in 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 aim to pick up items from their local Amazon warehouse and deliver them to people within the area within 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

When drivers select a local warehouse, they will be assigned deliveries from it. 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

With Amazon Flex, drivers can choose between four types of deliveries. They can opt to fill up their schedule with a variety of these delivery types because each is a little different from the other, and some pay more too.

The four types of delivery options are:

  1. Amazon Logistics – Deliveries of regular Amazon packages along with Amazon Prime packages, 2-day, and same-day items. It’s the most common delivery type. The typical block delivery lengths are 3 hours to 6 hours. Expect to deliver 30-70 packages per shift; unless your batch has a lot of large packages, in that case, you would be given much less to handle.

  2. Prime Now – Deliveries of items to customers within one or two hours. Shift lengths vary a lot between 1, 2 and 4-hour block, with 2 hours being the most common. Along with the base rate, customers can tip you too, and Amazon doesn’t take any portion of the tips. Expect to deliver approximately 20 parcels or less.

  3. Amazon Fresh – Grocery delivery service. Same day or next day timeframe. Tips are allowed.

  4. Amazon Restaurants – Fast-food delivery service similar to Postmates, DoorDash, etc., where flex drivers pick meals from restaurants and make their delivery within 1-hour. Customers have the option to tip you.

For more information about each delivery type, check out our full guide below.

Recommended Reading:


How the Amazon Flex Delivery Process Works

It is pretty simple, straightforward, and very intuitive. Eric Kouvolo over at therideshareguy.com did a great job of explaining the process in a recent write up about his experience with Flex:

Finally, it’s your turn to deliver and one of the employees calls your name. You can get one package, depending on location and time requirements, or a whole cart if there are multiple orders on a route. With the app on my phone, I scanned each package assigned, swiped “finished scanning” and loaded my vehicle. Similar to TNC apps, Amazon shows an address and name you navigate towards. I switched to Waze as Seattle traffic can be horrible and sometimes the side streets are faster than freeways.

Once you arrive, you rescan the package and see if there are special instructions (attended, unattended, call the customer, check ID). Sometimes there are detailed instructions for delivery from the customer. If an attended delivery is required, you are prompted to select who was the recipient (customer, household member, front doorperson, receptionist). If there are any issues while delivering, it is easy to call Amazon support for further guidance and they were very helpful when I needed them.

Once all your deliveries are completed for this round, you navigate back to the warehouse and get back in line for the next round. If you finish early, the app also has a notification if you are requested to do a food delivery from the zone where you are located. I did not get any of these, but Amazon did provide me a temporary hot bag.

The location of where you begin your shift can vary. Drivers don’t always report to a warehouse. Some may be required to go to supermarkets (these are selected stores who are Amazon partners) to pick up and deliver groceries. You don’t have to shop; usually, there are people already designated to do that task.

You will receive a notification from the app an hour before your block starts. It will show you the pickup location and the destination address, along with what your workload for your whole shift looks like.

Once you have that information, you just go to the assigned pick-up locations. Your block time starts once you check in. You will then scan the code of each item and load them up into your car and deliver it to the right location. The app shows you the directions to the destination too, but you can always use another navigation app or device to find a better and faster route.

When you arrive at the destination, check the app to see if there are any special instructions from the customer about the delivery. Then scan the barcode on the package again to tell the app you have made the delivery.

If you are unable to finish getting through all your packages before your shift ends, you can contact Amazon flex support to explain what caused the delay. They might let you finish delivering the remaining packages but won’t pay you for overtime, or you’ll be asked to leave them back at the pickup location.

Recommended Reading:


Amazon Flex App

The Amazon Flex app is one of the most powerful tools in a driver’s arsenal. This app is how deliveries are scheduled, logged, and processed, and is the essential foundation that underlines how a driver gets their job done.

Without this app drivers can’t pick blocks, get packages, make deliveries or get paid; so it’s vital to keep the app up and running. Mobile charger, anyone?

Amazon Flex app screenshot for available blocks

The app is packed with features including:

  • Home
  • Offers
  • Calendar (blocks and deliveries)
  • Earnings details
  • Account information
  • Training videos
  • Help and support resources
  • Delivery and program feedback

Because this is Amazon, the Amazon Flex app is backed by very skilled developers, a robust marketing team, and a helpful Amazon flex support staff to ensure that their drivers have the best delivery experience possible.

Recommended Reading:


Amazon Flex Driver Pay

Drivers looking to join Flex will be pleasantly surprised at how much they will make after joining.

Amazon pays Flex drivers a base rate of $18 per hour. It doesn’t matter if they are sitting in traffic or delivery packages like a well-oiled machine, the pay rate is set in stone. On top of the base rate, there’s a potential to earn much more with tips, which is why Amazon advertises the higher “$25/hr” pay potential. Take one look at the reviews and you’ll see many drivers raving about the service, and rejoicing over a ton of tips given from customers.

You can make a higher amount by using a larger car because then you can transport more packages at once. Also, drivers who deliver for Amazon Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants have a higher potential of making more because of tips.

Payments are made twice a week and get deposited into the driver’s bank account via Direct Deposit. A full breakdown of that week’s income is sent via email. Because Amazon Flex drivers are independent contractors, they are responsible for handling their taxes.

Recommended Reading:


Insurance for Flex Drivers

Many drivers sign up to for the Amazon Flex program, and without giving a second thought to protecting themselves while working. What do we mean?

Driving is naturally an unpredictable task; you can follow the traffic rules to the tee and still have something happen.  Flex drivers need to think ahead, mitigate the risk of something going wrong and protect themselves from unforeseen accidents by understanding and obtaining the right amount of insurance.

If you were to get into an accident during your delivery shift, who would pay for it? How much coverage would insurance cover, vs an out-of-pocket deductible?

As with driving for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft, your personal insurance does not cover what is classified as “commercial” use of your vehicle. That’s where Amazon Flex car insurance comes into play.

Luckily, Amazon Flex drivers don’t need to purchase special insurance, as Amazon provides specific auto insurance to its Flex drivers. When you are not delivering packages, your personal car insurance policy will be active. Amazon Flex Insurance policy will cover you when working your Flex shift.

There is one known exception to this, according to ihearridesharing.com.

In New York City Amazon Flex drivers are required to have commercial insurance of their own. The Amazon Flex car insurance will not be available to them.

Even so, Flex drivers should be covered by either policy.

For more detailed information on the insurance policy, Amazon provides, read our insurance guide below.

Recommended Reading:


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 3 ways:

  1. Phone support
  2. Email support
  3. Help button

Phone Support

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 late deliveries, order issues, etc. 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.

Email Support

Amazon Flex drivers seeking non-critical issues should use online support. The staff is pretty prompt with responses, and are great about giving comprehensive answers.

The email address is [email protected]

Help Button

The help button included into 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.

Recommended Reading:


Drive for Amazon Flex

As outlined above, for drivers looking for a good side income, flexible hours, and a job that’s a break from the ordinary, Amazon Flex is worth checking out. The service is currently available in over 30 U.S areas.

Benefits include:

  1. Setting your own schedule – tell Amazon when you want to make deliveries; gives you the freedom to be your own boss.
  2. Pick up packages – scan and load your packages when you arrive to pick them up
  3. Reach your destination – The app shows the drivers where to deliver and offers directions for the quickest and most efficient route
  4. Check earnings – The app will display real-time earnings, so you always know how much you’ve earned
  5. Quick and easy money– especially works well when it’s complemented with other on-demand jobs like with a rideshare company.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then sign up today. Meet a few simple requirements, and you’ll be delivering packages before you know it.


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. As more and more people publish reviews, I’ll add my favorites below.

The first Amazon Flex review comes from Luke Ducklow, a popular presence on YouTube. Here are his thoughts on the service:

Overview: 

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 the 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, the process of delivery driving for Flex, sprinkle 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 people 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.

Overview:

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 randomly 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.


My Take on Amazon Flex

After doing extensive research into how the service works, the opportunity for driver growth after signup, and using existing Amazon Flex driver reviews as a benchmark, I think driving for Amazon Flex is a good side gig.

Like Paul outlined in his review, I think Amazon Flex is still in the early stages of growth, and drivers should tread lightly on this. In the past, tons of Uber and Lyft drivers quit their full time jobs and rushed to become full-time rideshare drivers.

When Uber and Lyft slashed prices last year, these drivers were devastated. It would be unfortunate to see this happen again, but the best thing to do is treat these types of jobs as supplementary cash flow.


Are you an Amazon Flex delivery driver? What do you love about the service? Any tips and tricks you can’t wait to share? Drop us a line and let us know what you think!

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