Amazon Flex drivers tore it up in the first quarter of 2022. Flex earnings are one of the highest among driving gigs, and they stayed strong long after the holiday peak season ended.
Before we applaud too loudly, though, let’s take a deeper look at the Q1 numbers and study some trends that could affect the future flushness of the Amazon Flex gig. We’ll also offer suggestions for Flex drivers who are intent on fighting back against the corrosive currents of oncoming economic forces.
Here’s the way we’ll slice it up:
- First-quarter showing: how much do Amazon Flex drivers make?
- Possible obstacles: economic and social factors that could drag down earnings
- Limit your expenses: how Amazon Flex drivers can cut back on what they lay out
- Amplify your earning power: tips for making more
First quarter showing: how much do Amazon Flex drivers make?
Thus far 2022 has been a bang-up year for Amazon Flex drivers. Even though pandemic-related shutdowns have eased, and people are free to shop in stores again, there’s no sign that shoppers have stopped ordering from Amazon. Amazon Flex driver pay has continued on an upward trend. Let’s look at the numbers by first asking, how much do Amazon Flex drivers make per hour?
Nationwide the average hourly gross earnings for Amazon Flex drivers from January–March 2021 amounted to $20.21. In the first quarter of 2022, Amazon flex pulled in hourly earnings of $22.47. That’s an 11% increase in 2022 over the same time period in 2021.
More encouraging news can be found in the fact that earnings rose steadily through Q1 of 2022. Beginning in January at $21.78, Amazon flex hourly pay went up to $22.30 in February, and ended the first quarter at $23.35. These numbers exceed those of all the rideshare and delivery companies for which Gridwise has data.
Now, how much do Amazon drivers make per order or per trip? Looking at this metric isn’t the best measure of monetary success because a “trip” or “order” for the Amazon Flex driver is the delivery of just one package. It’s not surprising to find that when it comes to this measure, Amazon Flex per trip pay is lower than that of all the other gig companies. Yet the upward trend in the earnings per trip number is consistent with the trend displayed in the hourly earnings.
Earnings per trip began at $5.05 in January, inched up to $5.51 in February, and then rose to $6.00 in March. This steady climb is another indication that Amazon Flex drivers are on a roll in 2022.
Average monthly earnings for the first quarter also sized up well. Amazon Flex drivers earned more than drivers for other delivery companies and were outdone by rideshare drivers at only Uber and Lyft. Monthly gross earnings began the year at $341.50 in January, then dipped down to $330.00 in February, which is a slightly shorter month. By March they rose to $419.50. The average monthly gross earnings for Amazon Flex drivers for the quarter was $363.67.
Amazon Flex seems to be the leader in package delivery driver pay in general. When we compare Amazon Flex vs. Shipt monthly earnings, Flex looks rather fabulous. Shipt shopper average earnings for the quarter added up to just $259.22. A look at Amazon Flex vs. Instacart shows the difference to be even more drastic. Instacart shopper pay fell short with an average monthly earnings figure of just $185.58.
The year has started out well for Flex drivers, indeed, but what about the future? How will events and conditions affect Amazon Flex driver pay for the rest of 2022 and beyond?
Possible obstacles: economic and social factors that could drag down earnings
The haunting specter of high gas prices is probably the biggest concern on the minds of Amazon Flex drivers in 2022. (We will go deeper into the details surrounding this issue in the next section.) It is a big concern. Gas prices have risen much faster than earnings have, so in effect, Amazon Flex drivers are starting out with a deficit. What’s more, Amazon is just about the only gig company that hasn’t offered direct relief for drivers paying the higher prices at the pump. While they placed a surcharge on sellers due to rising fuel costs, they have yet to address the hardship their Flex drivers have had to take on.
The price of gas isn’t the only factor that could impact Amazon driver pay in the future, though. Here are a few more:
Amazon’s gargantuan size suits its name perfectly, but it also brings about problems that indicate how its corporate culture might suffer from the company being too big. Warehouse workers as well as drivers have made attempts to join unions in the past. Amazon has been quite aggressive about avoiding unionization, but that hasn’t stopped their workers from continuing their efforts.
Because the COVID crisis changed the face of the labor market in general, Amazon workers believe they can use the current labor shortage as leverage to bring in unions and, they hope, improve their working conditions. There are positive aspects to unionizing, to be sure, but there are also potential concerns.
One of these might be that Amazon is less open to allowing workers to choose their own hours, or that they would impose stricter standards and quotas that are even more difficult to meet than current ones. Worse yet they may be forced to eliminate the option to work as an Amazon Flex driver.
Inroads that are favorable to the treatment of drivers have been made in California, where Proposition 22 has taken effect. The companies defeated the state’s efforts to classify drivers as full-blown employees, but they did wind up offering drivers minimum earnings and other benefits.
In Oregon a COVID-related sick pay policy is in effect, allowing drivers to be paid while they are ill and unable to work due to being infected. Still, companies are investing a lot of money in opposing measures like this one, as well as resisting worker efforts to unionize.
There is plenty of room for Amazon to upgrade its working conditions and improve the way the company treats its Flex drivers. Whether unionization is the way this gets accomplished remains to be seen. If Amazon Flex drivers do become unionized, there is a real potential that the life of the average Amazon Flex driver will change, in some ways that are favorable, and in others that are not so desirable.
Amazon Flex drivers deliver goods that are ordered online by consumers who are accustomed to having everything they want and being able to pay for it without much pain or trouble. With inflation becoming a concern in the 2022 economic picture, consumers might become more cautious about spending. If people cut back on the number of things they buy, the demand for Amazon Flex drivers would be reduced.
Amazon Flex pay structure
The first thing that’s important to realize is that earnings with Amazon Flex vary based on location, how long it takes for you to complete your deliveries, and a few other factors, such as
- Amazon’s minimum contribution (varies by location)
- increased contribution at high demand times
- tips you may receive
- Amazon Flex rewards
Amazon’s hourly earnings contribution ranges from $15.00–$19.00. As evidenced by the figures in the previous section, drivers across the country averaged slightly higher earnings. This could be due to tips and surge pricing.
Tips are not a large portion of the typical Amazon Flex driver’s pay. Only certain deliveries leave an option for the customer to tip, and the average amount is based on what drivers have typically received for similar deliveries. Drivers keep 100% of their tips.
Amazon Flex Rewards is a way for Amazon to recognize its Flex drivers for superior service. Under the Amazon Flex Rewards program, drivers earn points, and then they receive rewards ranging from cash back on purchases to preferred scheduling. Amazon Flex drivers are independent contractors, and reimbursement for mileage, gas, and maintenance is not part of the deal. The cash back offers could be the company’s way of rewarding drivers for their hard work, and indirectly helping them to defray expenses.
There is no doubt that the costs of being a driver are substantial. There are smart ways of keeping expenses down, however, and every driver needs to be aware of them.
Limit your expenses: how Amazon Flex drivers can cut back on what they lay out
It’s true. There are ways to cut down on the amount you spend on unavoidable expenses. All you need is some information and a willingness to see your driving gig as what it is to you: your way of making money and a business geared toward turning a profit.
Keeping your overhead costs down will mean looking at what you have to spend and finding ways to limit your layout. Here are some big ones:
The price of fuel might have slowed down its steady escalation for now, but it hasn’t retreated much from where it was in March, at its peak national average of $4.23 for a gallon of regular gas. A week ago the price went down as low as $4.07, but has recently gone back up to $4.12 per gallon, according to AAA.
This time last year, prices stood at an average of $2.88 per gallon. That means that now, drivers pay nearly 47% more for gasoline. While Amazon Flex driver pay is higher than last year, this year’s pay doesn’t come close to covering that differential. To make it worse, as we mentioned earlier, Amazon has done nothing that directly benefits drivers looking to get a break from high fuel prices.
To make the cost to drivers even more of a burden, the vehicle requirements for Amazon Flexcreate the need for drivers to use vehicles that are not focused on fuel efficiency. You can read more about how to become an Amazon Flex driver here. When you do, you’ll find that in order to drive for Amazon Flex, you must use a four-door sedan, SUV, or truck with a flatbed cover.
Unless you can afford to drive an Electric Vehicle (EV) in this size range, you’re going to get a lot less for the gallon than you would driving more fuel efficient cars. You can’t change the price of gas or the fact that you’ll have to buy more gas as an Amazon Flex driver, but you can limit the amount of financial damage you might sustain in today’s high gas price environment. Gridwise Gas will save you a lot of money!
Powered by Gas Buddy, your Gridwise Gas card is honored at 95% of service stations and will let you save up to $0.25 per gallon on fill-ups. Along with being more cautious about your driving habits, using Gridwise Gas will help you conserve on consumption and cut down costs. Sign up free for Gridwise Gas and start saving now. You’ll also want to follow Gridwise on Facebook, where you can get in on frequent gas card giveaways.
No one who uses a vehicle for business can afford to skimp on maintenance. Yet the price of maintaining a vehicle is also going up. This is largely due to a shortage of parts, and a shortage of qualified technicians. Those technicians who are still working are asking for higher wages, as they must develop their skills to meet the level of sophistication of modern vehicles. Inflation could also fuel demand for higher pay, and pump up the price you must pay to keep your car running.
As an Amazon Flex driver you will have to be even more vigilant than most rideshare and delivery drivers about maintaining your vehicle. When you’re carrying packages on a daily basis, the added weight creates greater wear and tear on your brakes, and could possibly place extra stress on your engine. Frequent oil changes will help, but they do add to your overhead.
On average, drivers told us that they pay about $163 per month on maintenance. This is a lot of money to spend when you’re not being reimbursed; but as we stated, you can’t afford to skimp on maintenance. What you can do is limit your maintenance costs.
Gridwise + CarAdvise helps you do exactly that. The app will allow you to scope out local car repair and maintenance shops, talk to experts, get free estimates, and find the best value for your money. Gridwise + CarAdvise is a surefire way to know you’re only trusting the care of your vehicle to professionals whose competence and integrity you can trust.
This cost, though you might not think about it much, could be the hardest one of all to accept. It’s a fact that your car loses about 8% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot, which is the moment it becomes “used.” Each year the value of your vehicle goes down more. At the end of one year, you’ve lost 19%, after year two, 31%. By the end of five years, your car’s value will have depreciated some 60%, making it worth only 40% of its original value.
To put that in dollar terms, this article from Carfax tells us that a vehicle worth $30,000 will be worth only $12,000 after five years. This means that, in effect, the owner is losing $3,600 each year.
Obviously, you’re going to want to look at the real value of your vehicle before you put more money into it for major repairs or enhancements. If and when you decide it’s time to get a new car, don’t panic. Use the Gridwise Auto Buying Program to make the transition to a new vehicle a lot easier.
You’ll get as much as $3,500 off the MSRP of a new car and find the best prices on used vehicles. This program is geared for drivers like you who need to make sure they’re losing as little money as possible while making wise decisions about retiring an old vehicle and buying a new one.
There are plenty of expenses involved in driving for Amazon Flex, but don’t let them get you down. Now that you know how to minimize the biggest drains on your earnings, let’s look at how you can strategize and up your game so you can make more money.
Amplify your earning power: tips for making more
With all the rising costs and extra expenses you face, you might wonder, is driving for Amazon Flex worth it? We believe it can be, but if you want to turn up the volume on your ability to earn more as an Amazon Flex driver, you’ll have to get proactive about it. Here are some things you can do:
Increase the number of deliveries you make
When you turn on the app to choose your work for the day, you don’t have to settle for any old block. If you want to make more money, you’ll have to work in areas where Amazon Flex drivers get paid more. How would you know that? Where to Drive, a valuable Gridwise feature, shows you the places in your area where Flex drivers are pulling in the most cash. Now you can schedule your blocks in areas that will really pay off.
Do all you can to get better tips and top customer ratings
There’s not a lot you can do to make sure your block is one that makes you eligible for tipping, but it pays to do the kinds of things that make you score high with customers in any case. These include
- protecting packages from wet weather and dirt
- using car mats or other cushioning to prevent damage
- taking a dolly along to make dropping and breakage next to impossible
Get savvy, and diligent, about tracking tax deductible expenses
Remember, Amazon won’t reimburse you for the mileage you accrue while working as a Flex driver. You need the best Amazon Flex mileage tracker—Gridwise! This trusty free app automatically tracks your mileage on every shift and separates the count from your regular driving.
Gridwise also tracks your earnings. Simply sync your Amazon Flex app with Gridwise, and your earnings will be seamlessly recorded. You can also manually enter other expenses, such as automotive equipment, food, beverages, and amenities you might purchase for your customers. Later you can see how well you’re doing with simple and informative graphs. Gridwise is a powerful tool that will help you keep earning more, even in the face of changing economic conditions. Don’t wait another minute.