"Free shipping” isn’t free—at least, not where Amazon is concerned. The tech giant spent 21.7 billion in shipping costs in 2017 alone, according to their annual report. Among their shipping expenses are sorting, delivery and transportation. The good news is, you can earn a piece of the pie.
What Is Amazon Flex?
As the company’s in-house courier service, Amazon Flex outsources package delivery services to customers who subscribe to:
- Amazon.com: The company's primary shopping site.
- AmazonFresh: Grocery delivery services available in some U.S. cities.
- Prime Now: A same-day delivery service offered to Prime members in select ZIP codes. Prime Now also guarantees one and two-hour delivery windows to customers for an extra fee.
- Amazon Restaurants: Prime members can task Amazon to deliver food from their favorite local restaurants.
Amazon's reach is growing, and so is their need for delivery people. Here's how to get started as a consistent gig worker in their massive service machine.
How to Join Amazon Flex
Job openings with Amazon Flex depend on your location and whether delivery services are needed in your area. Begin by visiting the Amazon Flex website to view their job openings. If nothing is available at the moment, sign up for their waitlist.
If there's an opening in your location, you're qualified to deliver as long as you meet the following requirements:
- Are 21 years of age or older.
- Have a valid U.S. driver's license.
- Pass a background check: The app will ask you a series of questions before allowing you to begin taking orders, including details about your driving record and whether you have a criminal history. Approval can take up to five business days once you submit your answers.
- Are willing to use your own vehicle to make deliveries (some regions allow bicycle deliveries). Locations that require a car prefer drivers with cargo space, which means that you’ll need at least a large sedan or four-door vehicle. You’ll also need a valid car registration and insurance coverage.
- Own a smartphone in order to download the Amazon Flex app, which allows you to schedule and deliver orders. You’ll need a working camera to scan package barcodes.
Download the App and Complete Your Paperwork
Once you’ve met all the Amazon Flex requirements, you can register to start making deliveries. The first step is to download the app using the link provided after completing your Amazon Flex questionnaire. Make sure that your smartphone’s security settings will allow the app to install and launch. Once the app is open, fill out your banking and direct deposit information.
Set Your Schedule
Once your paperwork is complete, use the app to specify the times you’re available to deliver orders, usually in three-to-six hour shifts, or “blocks.” The app will offer you shifts that coincide with your hours, but keep in mind that the offer for work can expire if another driver grabs it. With that in mind, you can also claim shifts outside your availability hours. Suppose you have a free afternoon not listed on your schedule and need some extra cash. The app posts same-day opportunities in the Check Available Blocks section. High-traffic delivery times often mean more available work and greater earning potential. If you have the time, take advantage.
Time to start driving! One hour before your shift, you’ll receive a notification from the app with a reminder and the pickup locations for your deliveries, which can include items from any one of the four Amazon retail sources. Once you arrive at the location, you’ll check in and officially start your shift. You begin by scanning the barcode on the bags of the items included in the delivery as you pack them into your car. For drivers with larger cars, the load you carry could include up to 70 bags or packages.
Once you’re on the road, the app will suggest a delivery route that may be used at your discretion (i.e., if you know a shortcut, take it). Once you arrive at the delivery address, check to see if the customer listed any instructions like whether to use a gate code or avoid ringing the doorbell, etc. Before handing over the bags, make sure to re-scan each barcode to verify that you have completed the delivery. Finish your scheduled block by completing as many deliveries as possible, and keep an eye on your time management. If you’re delayed or some other problem occurs, Amazon Flex won’t pay you for packages delivered after your shift ends, and you may have to double back and return the undelivered items to the Amazon Flex pickup location.
While there’s some risk when it comes to running out of time, a perk of working for Amazon Flex is earning potential. If you have a larger car and are able to make more deliveries during your shift, you can earn as much as $25 per hour, or $150 a day for a six-hour shift, not including customer tips. You’ll receive payments twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays via direct deposit, and any tips you earn will take up to two days to show up in your bank account.
The Bottom Line
You won’t get rich delivering packages for Amazon Flex, but for students, parents with kids in school, or full-time professionals looking to supplement their income, Amazon provides an easy and customizable gig opportunity.