Amazon Flex: Getting Started As A Driver
Amazon Flex is one of the newer additions to the gig economy, allowing private couriers to deliver Amazon packages, groceries, and any other of the millions of products you can now have brought to your doorstep within hours of ordering. Many individuals that earn money driving for Lyft and Uber have added food and package delivery to their hustle so that they can earn more money during their time on the road. Intrigued? Check out this quick guide to getting started with Amazon Flex so you can start dominating the delivery space.
Signing Up With Amazon Flex
Signing up with Amazon Flex is quick and easy—as long as there is a position open in your area. This will be the first question you are asked about in the process. Amazon lists all open areas on their site, so all you have to do is scroll through and find an area close to you to work in.
If your area is not on the list, you can sign up to be on a waitlist, and Amazon will email you when a spot opens up. If your area is open, select it and you’ll be asked to provide:
- Basic demographic info
- Vehicle make, model, and year
- Vehicle insurance info
- Social security number/tax ID
- Bank account info for direct deposit
- Driver’s license info
You will also be asked to consent to a background check. The background check process takes a few days, so don’t expect to be making money with Amazon Flex immediately.
While you’re waiting for your clearance, take a look at the short training videos Amazon provides to ensure you’re ready to go when you’re approved. Pay attention closely, as there are quizzes at the end of each video.
Choosing Your Schedule
Driving for Amazon Flex is a bit different than driving for Uber or Lyft. You can’t just turn on your app and start driving any time you want. With Amazon Flex, you must pre-book your time by claiming shifts—or blocks, as Amazon calls them.
Each block is three to four hours and worth a set amount of money. Blocks are released for claiming 24 hours before they are set to begin. At that time, you can check for available blocks within the app. To claim a block, simply click on it and you’ll receive a confirmation message within the app. Amazon boasts that its drivers can make $18-25 per hour delivering packages to its customers.
What to Expect as an Amazon Flex Driver
Flex drivers can generally expect to pick up packages from an Amazon facility and drop them off to customers in their areas. When you get started, you choose a warehouse that you will pick up from.
Amid your deliveries, you also have the option to pick up “Instant Offers” that pop up in your area, allowing you to earn some extra cash. These could be from Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh, or Amazon Restaurants.
The cool thing about Amazon Prime, Fresh, and Restaurants is that customers can tip you. Amazon takes none of your tips, so do a good job and you can dramatically increase your income with these Instant Offers.
Picking Up Orders with Amazon Flex
As mentioned before, you may have a variety of order types, which means you may have a variety of pickup locations. Let’s break them down now.
- Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Restaurants—The location of your pickup will show on your app an hour before your block start time. The pickup spot may not be the actual establishment—you may be instructed to go to a waiting area before being given the pickup location.
- Prime Now—There are Prime Now delivery stations throughout your working area. When you’ve arrived, you must swipe “I’ve Arrived” in your Flex app. You’ll be given your assigned route, and the app will let you know when your order is ready. You’ll then need to scan each of your assigned packages in the station before you head out.
- Amazon Fresh—These orders begin at a Prime Now delivery station. Follow the same process as with the other orders. You’ll be instructed as to whether the customer needs to be present for delivery and if you need to verify age due to alcohol deliveries.
- Amazon Restaurants—When picking up from a restaurant, you’ll want to have an insulated bag to keep food warm. You can either purchase your own bag or hope that there’s a loaner bag available at the delivery station. Like the other pickup types, when you arrive at the location, tap “I’ve Arrived” in the app and it will tell you where to go.
- Store Orders—Some Prime Now orders require you go to an actual store to pick up the item(s). When you’ve arrived at your start location, tap the “I’ve Arrived” button on the app and it will tell you where to go to pick up the order.
- Amazon.com Orders—These will begin at a delivery station, which will appear on your app an hour before you start your block. In most cases, you’ll be met by an Amazon employee who will verify your ID and ask you to scan an arrival code.
As with all of these orders, the app will provide you with suggested routes for delivery. Note, these may not be the best routes, so use your judgment and local knowledge to find the best routes in order to maximize your time and your income.
7 Tips to Really Make Money with Amazon Flex
While Amazon says its drivers make between $18-25, the reality is, the range is much wider. Keep in mind that this number is before taxes and expenses. So, when you take into account fuel, oil changes, and other maintenance costs, these numbers can be a lot lower. If you want to truly make money as an Amazon Flex driver, follow these best practices:
- Log every mile you drive—Whether you keep a paper notebook in your car, or use an app, keeping track of your miles will enable you to take every deduction you deserve as an independent contractor.
- Keep track of car maintenance—Save your receipts each time you fuel up or change your oil, brakes, transmission fluid, lights, windshield wipers, etc. These expenses may be deductible at tax time.
- Organize your vehicle—When you receive your packages, they will have a manifest attached, which allows you to cluster your deliveries. Keep your packages organized in this way, with the closest deliveries in the front seat, then move the next round from the backseat to the front and so forth. Being able to hop out of your car with the right packages keeps you efficient.
- Use a bigger vehicle—If you have access to a larger vehicle like an SUV, you have the ability to take on more packages for your delivery area. As your deliveries are generally concentrated in a given area, mileage is not as crucial as it is with passenger delivery services, so the reduced mileage efficiency isn’t as much of an issue.
- Avoid returning packages undelivered—When you can’t deliver a package, you have to drive it back to the station, which takes time. Do everything you can to prevent package theft by leaving deliveries in a more secure location. Don’t forget to take a picture of the delivery location.
- Dress for money—When it comes to making extra tips, it’s all in the presentation. Wear clean, well-fitting clothes. Brush your hair. Think about who you would want walking up to your door and handing you your burrito, electric razor, or organic produce.
- Know your area—Even if you don’t live in the area to which you’re delivering packages, the best thing you can do to increase your efficiency is to know the area inside and out. This includes times of increased congestion, construction areas, and insider shortcuts. While the Flex app does its best to provide you with the most efficient route to your deliveries, it may fail to take into account local issues.
Get Ready to Ride
Amazon Flex has the capability to greatly increase your income, particularly as a part-time side-gig. The key is efficiency, so use the tips in this guide to get you started with Amazon Flex.