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While some other rideshare drivers working for services like Uber or Lyft are struggling to get by, Amazon boasts that their delivery partners make between $18 and $25 per hour. With the Prime side of Flex, you have a possibility to make even more than that due to tips.
But how do these high rates play out in reality? What do you have to do to earn these impressive wages? In this guide, we’re going to take a look. Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Flex pay.
What Is Amazon Flex?
Amazon Flex is a program Amazon has created to fulfill deliveries that other shipping carriers either can’t perform or can’t complete at the speed that Amazon requires. Two-hour delivery services like Prime Now, for instance, wouldn’t be possible without Amazon hiring its own contractors. The same is true of Sunday delivery or delivery from local grocery stores and merchants.
To start making deliveries for the program, the only requirements are a reliable vehicle, an iPhone or Android device that can run the Amazon Flex app, and a clean criminal record and driving history. You also have to be 21 years of age. Beyond that, it’s a job open to almost anyone, and it’s a great alternative to other part-time jobs (especially because you can set your own hours).
Just deliver when you need to earn extra cash, setting your schedule to accommodate the other things going on in your life. The work is easy, too: Just follow the instructions in the app, which will direct you to the pickup location and show you where to drop off the package.
Amazon Flex pays its contractors twice per week via direct deposit into the bank account that you specify when you sign up for Amazon Flex. You should be able to set up direct deposit as soon as you’ve passed the required background check.
The payments are sent on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday through Thursday is paid on Friday, and on Tuesdays you can expect to be paid for blocks completed from Friday through Monday.
If ever you have trouble with receiving your deposit, it is important to report it as soon as you know there is a problem. Some banks do not process these deposits for 24 hours or more, so be patient.
If you have not seen a deposit within 48 hours from your notice of the deposit, report the problem using the Earnings feature within the Amazon Flex app or reach out to Amazon Flex support for help. Someone from the company will get back to you as quickly as possible to help you resolve the issue.
Amazon starts all their independent contractors on a base rate of $18 per hour. No matter what location you’re delivering in, this is the lowest pay rate you’ll receive. Some locations, depending on cost of living or demand, do offer a higher base rate, but for the majority of Flexers, it’s $18.
Each market has occasional increases in base rate that occur in cases such as bad weather, higher volume, late trucks, and holidays. It’s not uncommon to see $25 per hour in crunch time, especially around seasons of high demand such as Black Friday or Christmas. Some drivers are willing to take a gamble and hold out until they see increased rates.
Go to the Amazon Flex website to see where current openings are available. At the time of publication, Amazon Flex is hiring drivers in these markets:
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Boston, MA
- Buffalo, NY
- Charleston, SC
- Charlotte, NC
- Denver, CO
- Detroit, MI
- Gainesville, FL
- Hartford and New Haven, CT
- Knoxville, TN
- Lexington, KY
- Louisville, KY
- Madison, WI
- Mobile, AL
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Newark, NJ
- Memphis, TN
- Milwaukee, WI
- New Orleans, LA
- New York, NY
- Omaha, NE
- Providence, RI
- Rochester, NY
- San Francisco Bay Area, CA
- Savannah, GA
- Greater Seattle Area, WA
- Trenton and Freehold Township, NJ
- Tulsa, OK
- White Plains, NY
- Wilmington, NY
In other markets, however, there simply aren’t any openings for jobs with the service. In popular markets like Nashville or Atlanta, for instance, all the jobs are taken. If you think about it, this makes sense. Turnover for the Amazon delivery service is going to be lower than other side gigs due to the higher wages that the company pays.
In addition to the base rates, Prime Now contractors also receive tips. Amazon Flex does a pretty good job of promoting tipping among customers, and they often do tip pretty well. However, it is important to remember that tips are not guaranteed and you should not count on them as part of your income.
Also, since Amazon Flex pays the tips directly to you, they are reported as part of your income. Remember this when filing your taxes.
When tipping, the Prime Now system auto-fills a tip amount into the totals, automatically charging it to the customer’s credit card on file. Prime Now customers have the ability to adjust the tip amounts when the order is created or for 24 hours after delivery. When a customer tips, an additional charge to the customer takes place in the tip amount the next day. You may see a delay in tips being added to your pay amounts.
It’s greatly important to consider that you are an independent contractor and will receive a 1099 for tax purposes. All income made through Amazon Flex is taxable and needs to be reported. Amazon does not withhold taxes. Setting part of your income aside is paramount so you aren’t surprised come tax time.
For tax reasons, deductions are your saving grace. Mileage is likely to be your best deduction for your income. It will likely reduce your tax burden greatly as long as you maintain accurate mileage records.
There are plenty of apps you can use to track your mileage. The current federal deduction rate for mileage is $0.535 per mile.
Maintenance and repairs on your Flex vehicle are also deductible. In some cases, these issues can be a major expense, so prevention is key. Regular oil changes and a common sense approach to vehicle care will save you many headaches. You also want to budget to purchase tires on a more frequent basis since all the additional driving you’ll be doing will result in greater wear and tear.
You are also able to deduct anything related to conducting your business. A portion of your cell phone bill is deductible as it is necessary to participate in the Amazon Flex program. Also, if you purchase any clothing, shoes, or other items strictly for business use; be sure to deduct those items as well.
Amazon Flex Pay in Summary
Overall, I think Amazon Flex delivery is one of the best programs for on-demand drivers. The pay is good, there’s an incredibly robust and comprehensive system supporting drivers, and customers are encouraged to tip. Yes, delivery blocks can be hard to get sometimes, but overall, this truly is a great way to make extra money on the side.
Do you make more than the advertised rate for Amazon Flex drivers? In your area, how much do Amazon Flex drivers make? Drop a comment below and let us know!
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.