If you are interested in becoming a delivery courier for Amazon Flex, there are many things you need to consider. Why? Because anybody can do it, but not everyone will be successful.
Like any worthwhile venture, Flex does have a learning curve. After signup, there’s a lot to learn, and to capture delivery blocks and truly become efficient, you must take time to master the gig.
But once you’ve managed to work out all the quirks of the gig, you may find that Flex is the best one you’ve ever had. On the contrary, others may find Flex to be the worst thing they’ve ever experienced, and never quite understand why others are raving about it.
So without further ado, let’s dive right into the pros and cons of Amazon Flex.
The Pros of Amazon Flex
There are many advantages to being an independent contractor with Amazon Flex, but the best advantage over most other rideshare gigs is the guaranteed $18 per hour. Even after adding in the cost of gas, you still come out better than many other hustles.
Once you factor in that some blocks finish before the end time, your hourly wage, in reality, is higher than $18 per hour. In addition, there’s also plenty of other incentives for drivers. For example, holidays and other times of increased demand result in rate increases, with many drivers seeing pay balloon up to $25 per hour.
It’s well known to Flexers that somedays you get lucky and your 3-hour block is finished in 45 minutes and you still are paid for the three hours. In cases like this, mathematically you’re making at or above $54 per hour.
You certainly can’t say that about any rideshare gig or even most full time jobs.
Another attractive point to Flex is that you are your own boss. There is nobody telling you when you have to work or when you can’t work. You can do things the way you want to. It’s all up to you. You are the one to set your schedule. When out delivering, there’s no one to tell you when you can or can’t take a break.
For some, the lack of customer interaction is great motivator. You may sometimes see a customer but on a regular basis; it’s drop the package, take a picture, knock, and go.
The most human interaction you’ll have with Flex usually takes place at the distribution centers. In most cases, that’s limited to a greeting and quick dock assignment. If you’re one of those that prefer to have people around, take a friend on the route with you! For some, being alone is the best part of the job.
When you do come face to face with customers, they can be a little confused at first and maybe even a bit defensive. It’s understandable; Amazon Flex is relatively new in most places and people aren’t aware that a regular person in plain clothes and a Prius is delivering their package.
Once they see that you’re delivering their order, they’re usually all smiles. Some even want to know how to get in on the same gig you’re doing. You’ll also meet some great pets.
There is a spirit of adventure with Flex as well. You never know where you’ll be going until you receive your route. This element adds to the fun so many have with Flex.
It’s not uncommon to pull into the driveways of multimillion dollar mansions. In the Nashville area, drivers have reported delivering to famous people like Kid Rock, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Titans football players, and others.
In some cases, you may receive a rural route and find yourself driving through the quiet freedom of country backroads. You’ll explore locations within your delivery area that you never would have known about otherwise. If you have a spirit of adventure, then Flex may satisfy that craving to wander.
The Cons of Amazon Flex
If you asked anyone that has done Flex for any amount of time, you’ll know that the biggest issue is the Amazon Flex App. It’s unstable and can crash for any reason at any time. In most cases, this problem is easily rectified with a quick wipe of the cache.
The app is heavily dependent on GPS. The map pins for your deliveries have a radius within which a delivery needs to be made and sometimes, especially with apartments and new builds, the address falls outside that radius.
In cases like this, attempt to deliver physically to the customer or if that’s not possible leave the package at the address and select “front door” once inside the radius. You obviously will not be able to take a picture so use the help feature when the camera is active and indicate that you are unable to take the picture.
The navigation system the Flex app uses is Bing maps and there are some inconveniences that come along with that. The route planning with Bing can be questionable at best. The best and simplest work around for this is use an outside app like Google Maps or Waze for your navigation. Problem solved.
Another distinct con to Flex is Support, or lack thereof it should say. The only thing support is good for is anything related directly to package delivery.
If you can avoid calling or emailing support, it’s highly recommended that you do so or you can expect some degree of frustration. If there’s a pay issue, complaints, or anything else – it’s all a roll of the dice to actually connect with somebody helpful. It may take several attempts to accomplish anything.
Wear and Tear
Vehicles were made to be driven, right? Well, with Flex, you’ll be driving a lot. The extra miles and time in your vehicle increase the wear and tear exponentially. My 2016 Grand Caravan is already approaching 50,000 miles.
When you rely so heavily on your vehicle as a source of income, you need take extra care of that source. Regular vehicle maintenance may seem costly but in the long run, it is most advantageous. Also, expect to replace tires on a more frequent basis.
You’ll also find yourself repairing minor damage from time to time. If you carry collision or comprehensive insurance, then the Amazon Flex Insurance policy will cover but with a $1,000 deductible. Most of the time the damage will cost less than the deductible unless in a substantial accident.
You will, on occasion, have a route that just makes you want to scream. In truth, these routes occur less than 5% of the time. If you let one bad route spoil your view on Flex, you’re giving up a great gig on the basis of one bad experience. However, it’s important to know this is something you must consider. If you feel that any of these situations are a deal breaker for you, then Flex is not for you.
Now that the weather is turning cooler, there is less daylight to be had. Delivering in the dark has some challenges, especially out in the country. Many addresses have long driveways surrounded by trees and very little light. You may have difficulty seeing addresses on mailboxes or on houses.
A flashlight with a strong beam is a great tool but also may frighten a customer. When it is dark and a frightened customer investigates a strange flashlight beaming into their home – they may come out with a gun. It has happened. Once the customer realizes you are there to deliver a package, they often are quite apologetic but you’ll still have to take a moment to catch your breath.
Most every time you encounter an animal, it’s a friendly pet. Sometimes those pets are not so friendly. As with any delivery job, an encounter with an aggressive animal can result in being bitten.
Always err on the side of caution when dealing with animals. The easiest way to solve this issue is to give the customer a quick call and they will secure their animal so you can make the delivery.
Some drivers carry dog treats as a way to appease an angry dog. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you may be exposed to a wild animal, always mark the package undeliverable.
There also may be times where you have deliveries that make you uncomfortable. Some driveways in the country physically run through a creek bed and those can flash flood in a heavy rainstorm. Some deliveries may take you into shady neighborhoods that have higher than usual crime rates. In cases like these, don’t be afraid to mark undeliverable.
You will come across all sorts of delivery areas and situations but once you know what to expect and set your own boundaries by what you deem acceptable, Flex is probably the best rideshare gig out there.
Driving for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are great side gigs, but pair them with a courier service like Amazon Flex, and you’re sure to see earnings increase.
What do you think of Amazon Flex? What are the best and worst parts of the service? Let us know in the comments below!