2021 Driver Guide: How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
When you hunt for the perfect side hustle, potential earnings are a big factor in your decision to apply or look for other options.
No matter how great driving for Amazon may sound, you need to make good use of your time if you want to meet your financial goals. So how much do Amazon Flex drivers make, and how will you actually need to spend to keep your career going?
Founded in 2015, Amazon Flex is a delivery program that connects drivers to opportunities to earn on their own schedule, using their own vehicles and smartphones.
Drivers in the program support Amazon by completing last-mile deliveries for the company’s services, including Amazon Fresh, Prime Now, and Amazon.com — and there’s no experience needed.
But before you take advantage of this easy gig, you need to make sure it’s worth taking advantage of. This guide will give you an in-depth look at how Amazon Flex driver payments work.
- Amazon Flex Payment Structure
- How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
- How Are Amazon Flex Drivers Paid?
- Amazon Flex Driver Expenses
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Amazon Flex?
We’ve covered Amazon Flex at length in our guide to Amazon delivery jobs. But if you’re not familiar with the service, here’s a brief overview of how it works for drivers.
As we alluded to in the introduction, Amazon Flex is what enables Amazon to offer free two-hour delivery service, restaurant delivery and Sunday delivery of packages (to name just a few). Amazon Flex drivers make this possible, completing the following types of deliveries:
- Prime – These are regular Amazon package deliveries. While Amazon makes many of these deliveries via USPS or UPS, using contractors allows the company to increase delivery times or offer delivery on Sundays.
- Prime Now – Available in select markets, Prime Now is a service that allows Amazon Prime customers to receive two-hour delivery on household essentials, everyday items and select Amazon products.
- Amazon Locker – Drivers deliver packages to Amazon Lockers, which are like P.O. boxes that Amazon operates in order to provide alternative pickup locations for customers.
- Merchant Pickups – Instead of picking up the package from an Amazon station, you pick it up directly from a merchant. This is how Amazon can offer services such as AmazonFresh, as well as deliveries from local small businesses and other brick and mortar Amazon partner stores.
- Restaurant – These are food orders from restaurants as part of the Amazon Restaurants service.
Amazon Flex drivers deliver for all of these services, setting their own schedules based on pre-selected delivery blocks using the Amazon Flex app.
Amazon Flex Payment Structure
Amazon Flex drivers are paid a flat sum for every shift — known as a delivery block — they accept and complete. Most available blocks typically last between two and six hours from the time of your arrival to the pick-up location to the time of your final package drop-off.
Before you accept any delivery block, you’ll always see your guaranteed earnings as well as an estimate of how long it will take to complete the relevant deliveries. This way, you’ll be able to calculate how much you’ll earn per hour before you commit.
For example, if a two-hour block offers a $36 guarantee, you’ll know that you’ll earn $18 per hour once you complete your shift.
As long as all your packages are successfully delivered (or returned to a delivery station as needed), you’ll soon receive the exact earnings that were offered for your delivery block. This makes Amazon Flex’s payment structure far more transparent than those of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, which take at least 20% commission from rides that are offered with unclear trip totals.
If you complete Prime Now deliveries, you’ll also get the chance to get customer tips on top of your guaranteed earnings. Delivery partners receive 100% of the tips customers provide.
Mileage reimbursement is not included in the payment structure for any Amazon Flex delivery blocks, so keep this in mind as you calculate your real earnings for each trip.
How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
So now, to the part you’ve been waiting for: the money. How much do Amazon Flex drivers make?
The base pay rate for Amazon Flex drivers is $18 per hour (higher in select markets). From there, hourly pay can climb as high as $25 per hour due to factors that increase the difficulty of the delivery. Possible factors include high demand, inclement weather or the holiday rush.
If you’re delivering for Prime Now, you’ll also have the chance to earn tips. Customers aren’t required to give tips, but you can increase your chances of receiving them by providing prompt, professional customer service.
You’ll be able to see the hourly rate for a given schedule block before you select it, so there will be no ambiguity about how much you’ll be making on a shift. That being said, the precise amount you make per week or month will depend on how many shifts you’re willing to work, as well as how many Amazon will give you.
To ensure that your work remains part-time, Amazon caps the maximum number of hours you can work as follows:
- Max per day — 7 hours
- Max per week — 29 hours
- Max per 30 days — 116 hours
This is because, as an Amazon Flex driver, you are a self-employed, independent contractor. Your are not an Amazon employee. If Amazon were to regularly give drivers 40-hour weeks, this could open them up to lawsuits demanding Amazon delivery drivers be treated as employees (and given the benefits that come with employee status). Amazon doesn’t want this, so they put the above caps in place (and phrase driver job titles carefully).
Note, however, that these caps can be lifted during busy periods such as the winter holidays. Even so, rest assured that Amazon is still keeping track of the total number of hours you work and will cut you off from delivery blocks if they think you’re getting too close to an amount of hours that could give you grounds to claim you’re an Amazon employee.
Still, the name of the game for maximizing your Amazon Flex income is increasing the number of delivery blocks you can get. Luckily for you, we wrote an entire guide to how to get more Amazon Flex blocks.
How Are Amazon Flex Drivers Paid?
Every Amazon Flex driver is paid twice per week via direct deposit. These payments are processed on Tuesdays and Fridays, so you can expect to receive your funds within one business day (besides bank holidays). You will also receive customer tips within a couple of days of a completed delivery block.
If your bank account information ever changes, you can easily update it in the “Account” tab of your Amazon Flex app. If you run into any issues along the way, you can always contact Amazon Flex support by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon Flex Driver Expenses
Amazon Flex is a great way to make money on the side, but it’s not without its expenses. And as an independent contractor, you do not receive reimbursement for any expenses you incur in the course of the job.
Therefore, you need to consider the following expenses carefully when figuring out if Amazon Flex is a worthwhile gig to pursue. Because that $18 per hour sounds great on paper, but the reality can be a bit less when you factor in the following expenses:
- Car payment — Do you outright own the vehicle you’re using to make Amazon Flex deliveries, or are you still making car payments to a lender? If so, then you have to count these against whatever you’re making when figuring your final profit. That being said, Amazon Flex can be a good strategy to supplement an existing car payment if you just work for the service a few hours a week on the side.
- Vehicle maintenance — Making deliveries using your own vehicle will increase the mileage and overall wear and tear on the vehicle itself. This means more frequent maintenance and a lower overall life span for your vehicle, which can cut into your earnings significantly.
- Gas — Wherever you are, you’ve got to pay for gas (unless you’re making deliveries in an electric car or vehicle with another alternative fuel source). All that extra driving means you’ll be going through extra gas as well, especially if you’re driving a less fuel-efficient vehicle such as a truck or van. Make sure to understand how to save money on gas and you’ll be fine.
- Insurance — Legally, you have to have insurance for your vehicle whether or not you use it for making Amazon Flex deliveries. But still, since you’re using your vehicle for business purposes, that means your auto insurance is now a business expense.
- Vehicle registration — In the same vein as insurance, you have to have proper vehicle registration regardless, but it’s still something you can consider as a business expense.
- Taxes — This is where your profits really start to shrink. Because you’re an independent contractor, Amazon doesn’t withhold any taxes on the money they pay. That’s your responsibility now, so check out our guide to self-employment taxes to ensure you’re not in for a nasty surprise at tax time.
It’s impossible to give exact numbers for the above expenses, as they will vary based on where you live, what you drive and your age.
Luckily, most job-related expenses are tax-deductible, so as long as you keep track of your mileage and spending, you can save quite a bit of money once tax season rolls around. Your accountant can give you further guidance on which exact expenses qualify.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know how much Amazon Flex drivers make and spend, you can decide if you want to pursue Amazon package delivery or give the gig a pass. To help you out, we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions about what you can expect from the delivery program:
1. How does Amazon Flex driver pay compare with food delivery driver pay?
Amazon Flex pays its contractors quite well, compared to food delivery services and similar companies in the gig economy.
Delivery drivers for brands like Postmates and DoorDash often make less than minimum wage, at least before tips, due to the fact that they aren’t guaranteed to get any requests when they’re driving around.
2. Can I work as a full-time Amazon Flex driver?
It’s definitely possible to go full-time as an Amazon Flex driver. However, it’s important to recognize the program does not guarantee you’ll always get enough shifts to meet 40 hours.
This is especially when demand is low since there are other drivers vying for the same delivery blocks. This is why many Amazon Flex drivers prefer to consider the gig a part-time earning opportunity.
3. Do I need to pay for any part of the Amazon Flex driver application process?
It’s completely free to apply for Amazon Flex. There are no processing fees involved to get your documents reviewed, and even your background check will be covered by the company.
Once you’re approved, you can make money without any extra investments, since your smartphone is really the only tool you need and uniforms are not required.
4. When is demand the highest for Amazon Flex drivers?
If you want to maximize your earnings by driving when demand is highest and the most delivery blocks are available, make sure to keep an eye out for shifts during the holiday season.
At this time of the year, Amazon is at its busiest, which means you’re likely to get higher guaranteed pay.
Amazon Flex drivers may also find success on weekends when they may be able to avoid the high driver supply of the weekdays.
Earn Money With Local Deliveries
Becoming your own boss is easy when you sign up for Amazon Flex — and the pay isn’t anything to complain about either. The e-commerce company pays its delivery drivers more than the average gig economy company, ensuring you’ll always make more than minimum wage. Though there are expenses that come with driving for Amazon Flex, this is only to be expected with an independent contractor career.
If you love the idea of driving your own vehicle around the city to earn but don’t need the flexibility of an independent contractor gig, a part-time or full-time job may be worth your time. Learn how you can make money through package deliveries as a UPS Personal Vehicle Driver as an alternative to the Amazon Flex gig.