Amazon Flex Review: Make Money on the Side

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4 months ago

Amazon Flex Review: Make Money on the Side

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4 months ago
Amazon-Flex-Review--Make-Money-on-the-Side

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Delivery driving is all the rage in the gig economy. Flexible hours, a relaxed atmosphere, and decent pay are all reasons why more people are picking up delivery as a side gig.

As an Amazon Flex driver, you can have the freedom and flexibility to make money when you want. Amazon Flex allows you to earn some extra cash by delivering packages. The service is like Uber or Doordash, just instead of ridesharing with people or delivering food, you’ll be delivering Amazon packages.

If working for Amazon Flex sounds interesting to you, then keep reading. Our Amazon Flex review will cover the main benefits, pay, pros, and cons of the position. We will then give our verdict on whether Amazon Flex is a gig worth trying out.

Amazon Flex: Overview

Amazon Flex is Amazon’s self-managed courier service. The company contracts employees that own a car to deliver their packages. You pick up packages from a delivery pickup spot and drop it off at the customer. You get paid a share of each delivery when you are done. It’s a simple and easy service that allows for flexible scheduling.

Amazon offers free delivery with its Prime service. However, they were not able to keep up with the growing demand. The company has also faced problems delivering packages through traditional carriers such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx. So, the company started the Amazon Flex service. Independent contractors can sign up and start delivering packages for some cash.

Amazon Flex promises its drivers that they will be on the “last-mile” delivery of goods, which they consider to be the most crucial part of the process. Drivers can sign up for time “blocks” for delivery times and drivers get paid for each block. For example, if they offer a 2-hour block for $30-$60. The minimum amount you can get for that block is $30 and the max is $60.

The catch is each block has a set number of deliveries that you must complete. You won’t get paid extra if your deliveries take longer but you can get more from tips. Drivers keep 100% of tips.

Given the number of locations Amazon Flex serves, routes on blocks can vary significantly. Some blocks might be further away from the distribution or take you through toll roads. Unfortunately, you won’t get reimbursed for gas or mileage costs, If you cannot make all the deliveries, then you have to take the packages back to the warehouse. Also, since it’s a flexible gig, you are never guaranteed hours to work.

How Does Amazon Flex Deliver Work?

If you have ever worked for any delivery app, Amazon Flex’s process should seem familiar to you. After you make an account and turn the app on, you will get notifications to accept blocks for delivery. Blocks typically are 2-4 hours long but you won’t know your actual route. When you accept a block, you will get the address of the warehouse and the time to arrive.

Once you get to the warehouse, you will have to check-in and receive your packages and route. Once you scan then, you have the allotted time to deliver them. The app will give you GPS directions to each delivery drop-off point. When you drop off a package you will have to take a picture as proof. Once you drop off all the deliveries, you are free to go! Any packages you cannot deliver have to be returned to the warehouse before you can go.

A few more specific notes about the process: The number of packages you can get varies heavily. Training videos and ads imply that you will get about 5-10 per route, but this may not be true. Some drivers say that they have been assigned nearly 40 packages per route.

Additionally, Amazon will not pay you for the time spent driving to and from the warehouse. In some cases, assigned warehouses can be up to an hour from your location so this is a good chunk of driving time you are not being paid for.

How Do I Make an Account with Amazon Flex?

If you are interested in driving delivery, then you can sign up for a driver account on the website or on the app. Amazon Flex is designed to work through an app so that is probably your best option.

After you give your email address and make a password, you will be prompted to answer a few eligibility questions. You have to be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and social security number. You also must have a vehicle with insurance and pass a background check for issues such as arrests, theft, and driving record. You must also live in and around one of the 50 cities in which Amazon Flex is active.

Once you answer the questions, you will sign some final forms and give you bank info. From there, you can start accepting delivery blocks.

One good thing is that there is no minimum amount of deliveries that you have to make to keep your account active. You can make deliveries as little or as much as you want. Very flexible scheduling is a great perk. 

You can get your account disabled for other reasons though. Specifically, you are not allied to make simultaneous deliveries with another service and you can lose your account if you do not have insurance or a valid license. Your account can also get disabled if you cancel too many delivery blocks or consistently lose or damage packages.

How Does Amazon Flex Pay Its Drivers?

Amazon has a payment structure similar to other delivery apps. First off, drivers get paid a guaranteed minimum for each block they drive. These minimums are determined by location duration and demand for services. As such, payment can vary but Amazon states that it will pay its drivers at least $15-$19 per hour. That means you will get a minimum of at least $30 for a two-hour block.

Drivers also get to keep 100% of their tips. When you take a job, you will also see an estimated tip amount in addition to the guaranteed amount. These estimated tip amounts are determined by average tips for the top 25% of drivers on a similar route. If you don’t get any tips, then you only get the minimum amount but 100% of all tips are added to your base pay.

So how much can you expect to make from driving with Amazon Flex? It depends. Most drivers report making at least $16 an hour plus between $600-$3,000 in extra pay per year, presumably from tips and other promotions (more on those later).

The main drawback is that these payment reports do not include the time spent traveling to and from the warehouse. In some cases, that can be up to an extra two hours of driving. So a 4-hour block at $15/hour might actually end up more like a 6-hour block at $10/hour.

The good news is that you get paid on a fairly regular schedule. Amazon pays its Flex drivers twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Payments are only via direct deposit and usually are available the next day. Additional payments (such as those from tips) will be added after 1-2 additional days.  

Keep in mind, since you are classified as an independent contractor

Any Hidden Costs?

There are some hidden costs you should know about. The most obvious is fuel and operating costs on your car. Since you are an independent contractor, you are responsible for all your expenses and Amazon will not reimburse yours for any fuel, maintenance, or car insurance costs.

This is a common issue with these kinds of contract delivery services. Wear and tear on your car can significantly add up over time by decreasing the value of your car. In the worst cases, you can make significantly less than the minimum wage once these car costs are factored in.

You also need to factor in driving times that you are not paid for. Like we said, Amazon does not pay drivers for time spent going to and from the warehouse. Warehouse drives can take up to 2 hours total in the worst cases.

What Do Drivers Say About Amazon Flex?

We checked out sites like Glassdoor and Indeed for reviews about working with Amazon Flex and here is what we found.

Most of the reviews are fairly positive. The majority of drivers cite the flexible work schedule and relaxing nature of the job as perks. Most people say that it is straightforward to pick up the packages from the warehouse and drop them off at their intended locations.

There were a couple of common complaints though. Chief among those was a lack of availability of consistent deliveries. Some days there might be a lot and other days, not so much. There is always an inherent unpredictability of apps like this so it’s not a flaw unique to Amazon Flex.

Also, a lot of people criticize how some routes might only have a handful of packages and others might have up to 50-60 lbs of merchandise. You won’t actually know where you are going until you already accept the block and pick up the packages at the warehouse. Some addresses might be difficult to find if they are out of the way.

Lastly, there is a common complaint about the unpredictability of tips. Again, this is a common issue with delivery apps so it’s not a unique flaw.

How Can I Maximize My Earnings With Amazon Flex?

Fill You Tank Fully Before Leaving

Deliveries can cover a 4-hour period and you don’t want to have to take a break to fill up. Try to have your gas tank and phone battery fully charged before you make your way out to the warehouse.

Put Packages in Order

When you get the shipping manifest, make sure you put the packages in some kind of order so you don’t have to spend time looking for them when you arrive at a delivery point. For example, Amazon labels packages in the same neighborhood with a cluster code so put packages with the same code together.

Try to Deliver Every Package

Make sure you deliver every package on your route. If you fail to deliver any, you have to take them back to the warehouse, which is a whole chunk of driving that you are not getting paid for. If a customer is not at their address, try to hide the package somewhere instead of holding on to it. The worst thing that can happen is stolen packages but Amazon has a very generous stolen item policy.

Don’t Use a New Car

If possible, try not to use a new car to make deliveries. New cars depreciate in value much faster than old cars and you will essentially have to eat the cost of all the wear and tear. The good part is most delivery stops are only a couple of minutes from each other so the route itself is not too arduous.

Look professional

You don’t have to go all out and wear a suit and tie, but try to be presentable with your attire. People might get suspicious if they see someone wearing sweatpants with holes and flip flops taking pictures of packages on porches. Also, you’ll probably get better tips if you are dressed nicely.

Amazon Flex Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Flexible scheduling. With Amazon Flex, you can deliver as little or as much as you want. There are no minimum deliveries you have to make to keep your account active so there is no pressure to work.
  • Easy work. Delivering packages is pretty simple and the only really difficult parts might be finding an obscure address. The rest of the time, you can drive around listening to music and relaxing.
  • Decent pay. You will get a minimum of $30 for any block you deliver. Payment can be higher depending on location, demand, and any tips.
  • Frequent payment. Amazon Flex pays drivers twice a week so you should always have some cash tricking into your bank account. Unfortunately, there do not seem to be any payment methods except for direct deposits.

Cons

  • Irregular work. Some days you will have a lot of opportunities, others you won’t have many. It can be fairly hit or miss, depending on where you live.
  • Uncompensated work. You do not get paid for the time you spent driving to and from the warehouse and sometimes it can be far away.
  • Hidden costs. You don’t get reimbursed for costs like fuel, maintenance, and car insurance so make sure you factor those things in when planning routes.

Conclusions

So, if working for Amazon Flex worth it? If you have some extra time on your hands and don’t mind driving, then yes, Amazon Flex can be a simple and laid-back way to make some extra money. Even if you only work 5-10 hours a week, that’s still an extra $75-$150 per week. You need to be careful about some of the costs of being an independent contractor, but there is absolutely no pressure on the amount that you work.

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