Have you ever looked at your car and thought, “Gee, I wish I could make money out of this gas guzzler?”
You know, like driving people around and getting paid for it—except for the people part?
Well, here’s a great way to supplement your dayjob! Amazon is offering a gig that allows you to earn up to $25 an hour if you . . .
- are 21 years old or older
- own and know how to drive a car
- have a social security number and driver’s license
- have extra time on your hands
- don’t like having strangers in your car
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What Is Amazon Flex?
If you haven’t heard about it yet, Flex is Amazon’s crowdsourced delivery program that partners with independent contractors-slash-drivers to do Amazon Prime Now deliveries (last-mile deliveries, in other words) for them.
This on-demand delivery service is Amazon’s most recent venture into the gig economy, alongside the likes of Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. It was launched in 2015, and is currently available in around 50 cities and is expanding to more areas in the U.S.
As an Amazon Flex driver, you can earn anywhere from $18 to $25 doing a variety of delivery services at your own schedule.
Amazon Flex is basically a win-win solution for all parties involved: people looking for side gigs get paid delivering packages for Amazon, Amazon gets an endless supply of drivers willing and able to complete deliveries for them, and customers get their orders in their doorstep within an hour or so.
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What Do You Need to Do as an Amazon Flex Driver?
As an Amazon Flex driver, you will be fulfilling a variety of delivery services for Amazon in one- to four-hour blocks using the Amazon Flex app.
Basically you’re like the UPS guy—except you get to wear cooler clothes.
So what’s a day in the life of a Flex driver like?
First, logging into your Amazon Flex app, you select the delivery block or shift you’re going to be working in. These blocks usually range anywhere from three to six hours.
Next, you head to Amazon’s fulfillment center (or warehouse) and line up to pick up the packages you’re going to have to deliver within your block or shift.
Depending on the service a customer avails, you may also be instructed via the Flex app to pick up a customer’s order from a store or restaurant.
Next, you’re going to deliver your package to the customer’s address following the directions given on the Flex app. Before you drop it off, you need to scan the package first—that’s how Amazon knows that you’ve successfully delivered the item, and that’s how you’ll get paid too.
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How do you become an Amazon Flex Driver?
Here are a couple of things you need to know if you’re interested to sign up for an Amazon Flex driving gig.
You will need a car.
Okay, so that’s pretty much stating the obvious (after all, you are signing up to be a delivery driver, right?)
For now, Amazon Flex is hiring only drivers of four-wheeled vehicles (and bikes, in a few select cities). They are not accepting motorbike, motorized bikes, or scooters as of this writing.
Furthermore, Amazon Flex doesn’t just accept any type of vehicle. For instance, if you drive a coupe (or two-door cars) or a pickup truck with uncovered bed, there’s a pretty good chance Amazon is going to turn down your application.
For Amazon.com orders, only the following cars are accepted:
- Any regular four-door sedan
- Pickup trucks with a covered bed
- Vans or minivans
With Prime Now deliveries, Amazon accepts just about any vehicle regardless of size. You can check the restrictions when you sign up.
You will need an Amazon account.
This is the easy part, especially if you already have an Amazon account. Just head on to the Amazon Flex website and sign up. Once Amazon reviews your application, you’re going to get a link to training videos that basically tell you what Amazon Flex is, how it works, and what the job is like.
After that, Amazon is going to ask for your driver’s license number as well as other information about your vehicle. They’re also going to do a background check on you by asking you a couple of questions.
Once you’re cleared, you’re going to let Amazon know which area you’re going to be working in. Once that’s set up, you can now choose what shift you’re going to be working on (which usually comes in three- or four-hour blocks) for the day to pick up and deliver packages for them.
You will also need a smartphone.
Aside from your car, you’re going to be on your phone a lot while you’re doing your delivery rounds. First off, you will need the Amazon Flex app to get started and make your deliveries. The app is available in Android and iOS.
For Android smartphones, your phone needs to be SIM-ready, with an OS version of 6.0 (Marshmallow) and newer, as well as a flash-enabled camera, GPS location services, and a memory of 2 GB or higher.
If you’re an iPhone user, take note that the app runs only with models 5s and up.
It’s only available in select states and cities for now.
Amazon started its pilot program in their hometown Seattle early this year, and is rolling out the Flex program in other cities. Check out this list to see if the region where you live is included:
- Akron/Youngstown, Ohio
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Dayton, Ohio
- New York, New York
- Novato and Sta. Rosa, California
- Portland, Maine
- South Bend, Indiana
- Trenton and Freehold Township, New Jersey
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Yonkers/White Plains/Bronx, New York
Didn’t find your state or city on the list? No worries, you can still sign up to join the interest list. You will then be notified once Amazon Flex becomes available in your area.
How Much Can You Earn from Being an Amazon Flex Driver?
As advertised on their website, Amazon Flex drivers can earn anywhere from $18 to $25 per hour. The rates aren’t exactly fixed, and according to Flex drivers, it can differ by area, the scope of delivery (that is, the farther the location, the more you’re going to get paid), as well as the time of the year (expect to get paid more during the holiday season).
Also, if you’re delivering Prime Now and AmazonFresh orders, customers can give you tips, which Amazon guarantees you will receive in full. Not bad for a side hustle, eh?
How Soon Will You Get Paid?
Payments are sent to delivery drivers via deposit every Tuesday and Friday, which you can keep track of from the Flex app.
Prime Now and Amazon Restaurant deliveries are paid to you 1 to 2 days after delivery. Customers can also give you tips within that time, so make sure to be at your best when you come up their doorstep!
What Are the Pros of being an Amazon Flex Driver?
Still on the fence whether you should sign up to be an Amazon Driver? Here are some of the perks:
You set your own work schedule.
As an Amazon Flex delivery driver, you are your own boss. You decide on which days you want to get to work picking up and delivering orders, as well as for how long. With this, you can get paid as much as you’re willing to deliver.
Want to sleep in for the day? No problem. No boss is going to go calling for you if you decide not to show up at Amazon’s warehouse to pick up packages—although that means you won’t get paid too.
Also, if you decide to take a week- or month-long leave from doing deliveries, you’re not going to get booted out of the system, and you can always get back to doing deliveries when you want to.
According to a Guardian article, Uber and Lyft drivers earn $8 to $9 an hour, before taxes, on average. With Amazon Flex, you’re guaranteed no less than $18 per hour. Also, unlike ridesharing apps, you don’t have to deal with having random strangers in your car and the stress of getting a one-star rating.
The system is transparent.
Another good thing about working for Amazon Flex is that they’re upfront about how much they’re going to pay you. Aside from letting you know the available blocks on a given day, the Flex app will also let you know in advance how much you’re going to earn from a “delivery block”—so you can decide if it’s worth signing up on.
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What are the Cons?
Just like any side gig, being an Amazon Flex driver isn’t without its share of downsides and perils. Read on so you can make an informed decision on whether this gig will make a good fit for you:
There are lean days.
Signing up for (and subsequently getting your application approved on) Amazon Flex and having access to the Flex app isn’t automatically a guarantee that you’re going to get a steady stream of orders to deliver, if at all. After all, this is a demand-based gig: if there aren’t that many customers in your area, there won’t be as many delivery jobs to go around.
Also, with the higher rates that Amazon Flex offers, expect to face some competition with other drivers. Blocks are assigned on a first-come, first served basis. That means you will have to be constantly monitoring and refreshing the Flex app to sign on for an available block.
It’s going to cost you money.
As a Flex delivery driver, you are responsible for making sure your gas tank is filled up and your car is in good running condition. Also, in the course of your delivery, you might have to pay toll (or—gasp—a parking ticket) too. Considering the expenses you incur going around the town in your car, some Flex drivers say the wage isn’t all it’s cut out to be.
Still, you can find ways to make sure that you maximize your trip and minimize on expenses. Some of these include planning your route (which the Flex app helps you with, by the way, by letting you know which packages you should deliver first), using a fuel-efficient vehicle for your delivery trips, and maybe considering going around in a bicycle (if it’s allowed in your zone or area).
It comes with some safety risks too.
Aside from the hazards that come with being on the road a lot, being a Flex delivery driver may put you in potentially tricky situations too.
Some Amazon customers are not aware that the person delivering their package is in plain clothes and a regular car, so they might get creeped up by some stranger loitering around their driveway. Also, if you’re doing a home delivery, watch out for dogs!
That said, it definitely pays to be on the safe side when you’re doing this gig. Don’t go into unfamiliar locations (or areas you’re not comfortable making deliveries in), and always follow Amazon’s “no deliveries after 8PM” policy.
Oh, and you should probably carry around pepper spray in your car too. Just in case.
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Being an Amazon Flex driver can certainly be an excellent way to earn some extra money aside from your regular 9-to-5, with its flexible work hours and the low-pressure nature of the job.
However, it definitely is not easy. After all, this job requires you to be on the move and on the road constantly. Also, you have to make sure you deliver all your packages within your shift.
That said, being a Flex driver takes commitment, patience, and physical (as well as mental) effort. But if you’re determined to make more money off your free time, you can make this job work for you!