Amazon is one of the most innovative companies in existence. Their operations touch everything from e-commerce to web hosting, and they’ve even recently made forays into retail with their purchase of Whole Foods and experiments with Amazon Go stores.
First and foremost, however, we still know Amazon as an online store that sells almost everything and delivers it in record time. How exactly is it that Amazon can offer services like 1-hour delivery and delivery on Sundays? How have they managed to get into food delivery?
Sure, technological innovation is a big part of it, but the other crucial piece is Amazon’s large network of delivery drivers. Collectively, this program is called Amazon Flex, and it can be an excellent way to earn an additional income (with wages starting at $18 per hour).
In this guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know to earn good money as an Amazon Flex driver, including how the service works and how to sign up.
Amazon Flex is part of the growing gig economy, a system in which people work as contractors for another company on a temporary basis. If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss, set your own schedule with flexible hours, and earn way better money than you would at a traditional part-time job, Amazon Flex is a good gig to investigate.
In its most basic form, Amazon Flex is a system for coordinating delivery drivers. Using the Amazon Flex app, you receive instructions to pick up and deliver just about anything that Amazon sells. This could mean going to a receiving facility to pick up packages and deliver them to customers’ homes, or it could mean going to a restaurant and delivering food to a customer’s house.
Amazon separates each delivery into shifts called “blocks.” Blocks can range in length from 1 to 6 hours, with each block having a set, upfront payment amount (more on this below). You make all the deliveries using your own car, with the only other necessary tool being the Amazon Flex app, a recent smartphone, and a willingness to work hard. As long as you make deliveries on time, you can earn a solid side income driving for Amazon Flex, especially during busy times such as the holiday season.
We hinted at this above, but Amazon Flex encompasses several subcategories of delivery. As an Amazon Flex driver, you can expect to make all types of these deliveries (assuming that they’re available in your market). The four types are as follows:
If you thought that Amazon only did package delivery, you can now see just how many other types of deliveries they offer. If this all sounds complicated, don’t worry. All you have to do is follow the instructions that the Amazon Flex app gives you. It will tell you exactly where to go and what to do when you get there. You don’t have to have an MBA in supply chain management to make the deliveries.
Amazon Flex pays $18–$25 per hour. The precise amount you’ll earn depends on the type of delivery you’re making, the cost of living in your local market, and the demand for deliveries. Generally, you should expect to make $18 per hour for a given shift. $25 per hour can happen, but it’s usually during the holidays when Amazon needs to meet a massive volume of orders.
As you can see, the hourly earning potential of Amazon Flex is higher than minimum wage in any U.S. city, and it could even be more per hour than you’d earn at some full-time jobs. Having said that, you need to consider that you won’t have any guarantee of working 40 hours per week. There can be fierce competition for Amazon Flex blocks, and it’s more realistic to assume you’ll be working part-time.
Furthermore, you need to consider that you’ll be working as an independent contractor using your own car to make deliveries. Amazon does not reimburse you for any of your expenses, so you’ll have to pay for gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and other driving-related costs out of your own pocket. This will eat into your earnings. You also have to save for and file your own taxes, as Amazon does not withhold taxes from wages paid to contractors.
Still, driving for Amazon Flex can turn out to be better for your bank account than getting an hourly job at a supermarket or even delivering for some other food delivery platforms (where hourly earnings can hover closer to minimum wage).
Driving for Amazon Flex is not difficult, but not just anyone can become an Amazon delivery driver. You need to meet a few basic requirements first:
In addition to the above minimum requirements, it’s helpful to be able to lift up to 50 pounds and be in good enough physical condition to climb steps, navigate apartment complexes, and run from angry guard dogs (okay, the last one might be a bit of an exaggeration).
Amazon Flex operates in all major U.S. cities, and the service continues to expand. Having said that, not all cities offer the same Amazon services. For instance, Prime Now is available in fewer markets than regular Amazon package deliveries. Therefore, the types of deliveries you make will vary based on the services that Amazon offers in your city.
Here are just a few of the many markets where Amazon Flex exists:
Though Amazon Flex needs drivers in lots of cities, they don’t need them all the time. The holiday season is the time of highest demand, and it’s when drivers can expect to make the most money and work the longest hours.
At other times, however, there will be no Amazon Flex jobs available in any city. This doesn’t mean that all the Amazon Flex jobs have disappeared — it just means that Amazon currently has enough drivers to make deliveries where they need them. If you find this is the case for your city, you can always join the waitlist on the Amazon Flex application page to be notified when jobs become available.
If you’ve read this far and are excited about Amazon Flex, then it’s time for you to sign up for the service. Here’s how to apply:
First, visit the Amazon Flex application page. From there, choose your city from the list. If you don’t see your city, select “Join the waitlist.” Then, click “Next.”
From there, Amazon will ask you a series of questions to determine your eligibility. These include the following:
Assuming all your answers to the above questions check out, Amazon Flex will then ask you to download the Amazon Flex app for your mobile device. Once you’ve done that, the device will walk you through the rest of the application process.
To conclude this guide, here are answers to some common questions about Amazon Flex:
No, they do not. Since all Amazon Flex drivers are independent contractors, they do not receive health insurance, retirement accounts, or any other employee benefits. Amazon does provide insurance for drivers while they’re working, however (see below).
No, you do not. A 4-door sedan, van, or pickup truck will work fine. Do note that if you use a pickup truck, Amazon Flex requires that it have an enclosed bed to protect packages from the elements.
Amazon Flex is a program through which independent contractors can sign up to make deliveries for Amazon using their own vehicles. Amazon Logistics is a program that allows you to start your own logistics business, or fleet, to make deliveries for Amazon.
Applying for Amazon Logistics is a much more involved process and has more in common with opening a franchise than with a gig economy job. You can learn more about Amazon Logistics here.
Yes, Amazon Flex provides liability coverage for drivers while they are making deliveries. This policy is called the “Amazon Commercial Auto Insurance Policy,” and it provides the following coverage:
The only exception to the above coverage is for drivers who live in the state of New York. If you live in New York, you may need additional commercial insurance coverage when driving for Amazon Flex. You’ll be able to get more information when you apply.
Contacting Amazon Flex support is easy. The best way to reach them is via phone. They have a few different contact methods depending on your reason for calling.
If you need help with your Amazon Flex application, call 888-281-6906 to speak to an Onboarding Specialist. This number is available between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET.
For support while making deliveries, call 877-212-6150. This number is available whenever Amazon Flex drivers are working.
Amazon Flex pays drivers every Tuesday and Friday via direct deposit to the bank account that you specify when you sign up.
Sure, you’re welcome to work for multiple services. Do keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to coordinate your schedule so that you’re getting the most valuable delivery blocks and driving during the times when fares for Uber and Lyft are highest. A realistic scenario might be making deliveries for Amazon Flex during weekdays and driving for Uber or Lyft at night during the weekends.
And, of course, don’t try to deliver for Amazon Flex and give Uber and Lyft rides at the same time. This is a recipe for disaster. Either you’ll miss the deliveries you’re supposed to make, or you’ll end up with passengers who aren’t happy to share the backseat of your car with a bunch of packages.
We hope this guide has helped you understand all the benefits that come with driving for Amazon Flex, as well as how to get started with the service. Sign up today to start delivering and earning.