By now you’ve probably heard of Amazon Flex, an app-based delivery service that’s been growing ever more popular since its debut in September 2015. Today, contributor Jonathan will explain a bit about how Amazon Flex shifts work and discuss their new restaurant delivery side which competes with similar services like DoorDash and Postmates.
Take a look at the video, then read the transcript below to see all of what Jonathan covers.
Amazon Flex basics – What you deliver, driver pay
If Amazon Flex is operating in your city, you can sign up to drive by visiting flex.amazon.com. When Amazon needs a new driver, they’ll email you an invite to an online meeting where they’ll show you the ropes. Then you’ll be ready to hit the road. Amazon Flex shifts are scheduled in two-hour blocks typically between 8am and midnight. You can set up your availability as you like. You can also sign up for and drop shifts ahead of time as needed.
During your block, you’ll be delivering Prime Now packages. Prime Now enables customers to select a two-hour shipping speed on certain products to be delivered by drivers like you and me. Since Amazon drivers enjoy a competitive $18 an hour pay rate plus tips, the service has been flooded with willing drivers so snagging a block can be a tricky business. If you’re in the same boat check out the book I have linked below for an incredible technique to grab shifts as they appear along with plenty of other great tips.
Most shifts begin at an Amazon warehouse. You’ll get a batch of five or so deliveries to complete during your two-hour block. If you’re scheduled for longer than two hours, you’ll need to return to the warehouse to pick up your next batch. Each package has a bar code that you’ll scan with the flex app on your phone. Once you’ve scanned everything, you’ll step into your car and the app will direct you to your first drop off. You’ll scan the packages again to confirm that each person gets the right package. Customers can also add a tip once you’ve dropped off their order.
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Amazon restaurant delivery – Hot Wheels
More recently Amazon has added restaurant delivery into the mix. You’ll often hear drivers referring to this service as Amazon Hot Wheels. In all of these cities Amazon Flex drivers are also automatically eligible for these restaurant delivery shifts. There’s no way to tell beforehand what you’ll be doing on a block until one hour prior when the app tells you the address where you’ll begin your shift.
If you’re doing a restaurant delivery shift, the address you’ll get won’t be an address of an Amazon warehouse. Instead it’ll be an intersection or some other arbitrary waiting point where you’ll need to hang out and wait for orders coming from restaurants in the general vicinity. Restaurant delivery shifts at Amazon are very similar to other food delivery services. The app will tell you to head to a restaurant and give you an address and then when you arrive, you’ll find an itemized list of what the customers ordered. You can confirm the items and the app will provide the address of the customer. You’ll drive the food to them, hand the items off and tape some buttons to confirm a successful delivery.
The net pay on Amazon’s restaurant delivery is even better than the warehouse shifts. Because restaurant food is more time sensitive, the delivery radius is much smaller compared to the typical Amazon order that’s coming from the warehouse. That same $18 an hour will stretch out to a much bigger per mile rate. Sometimes no one will order food for an hour and a half and you’ll just get paid to hang out in your car or a nearby library. Last but not least, people who order food online are more accustomed to tipping so you can always expect some extra cash from those restaurant delivery blocks.
Drawbacks to Amazon delivery
Although Amazon is a pretty good gig, it’s not without flaws. The main one is Amazon’s proprietary navigation app. There’s no navigate button to bring up Google Maps or Waze. You have to use Amazon’s version or manually copy the address over into something else. Amazon’s navigation can be frustrating, inefficient and sometimes it’s just plain wrong and typing in the addresses manually leaves a lot of room for errors so this is definitely an area that could use improvement.
Another gripe I have with the app is it’s lack of live chat support. Instead you have to call a national call center and wait on hold. In my experience the wait is usually only a couple of minutes but this can be frustrating if you just have a quick question. For a company as large and profitable as Amazon, I think they’ve got some work to do before their app is on par with some other competitors. But with their ever expanding line of deliverables, it’s understandable why the team behind Amazon Flex might be stretched a little thin.
Amazon’s expansion of delivery opportunities for flex drivers is great news for people hungry for more shifts and at a guaranteed $36 per two-hour block, I for one am more than happy to put up with a few hassles while they work out the kinks. Flex offers one of the highest guaranteed pay rates in the industry so for that reason alone, they’re definitely worth checking out.
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