Everything you need to know about Amazon Flex

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We’re always looking out for new opportunities to help rideshare drivers make more money. There are so many things drivers can do! For instance, you might want to look into a new field, such as software engineering.  

You can also branch out into services that involve driving, but challenge you to do something new, either as a full-time gig, or as a job you do while you’r training up for something else. One of the best services out there for letting rideshare drivers earn more is Amazon Flex.

Never heard of it? You’re not the only one. Amazon Flex is consistently one of the least talked about delivery programs, however, it’s also one of the most profitable for drivers.

Amazon Flex works much like DoorDash or Postmates where you are making delivers, however, instead of delivering food, you’re delivering Amazon packages from their fulfillment centers.

In this article, we’ll give you the information that will help you decide if working for Amazon Flex is right for you, and if so, how to sign up. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Will delivering those smiles be a good thing for you? Let’s look at the ABCs of Amazon Flex so you can decide that for yourself.

How does Amazon Flex work?

Amazon Flex provides delivery services by using a fleet of gig worker drivers who use their own vehicles. 

Amazon Flex driver deliveries include:

  • Packages: Picked up at a delivery station and delivered to customers. Your work must be completed within a time slot, which is usually in 3- to 6-hour blocks.
  • Prime Now and Amazon Fresh: Groceries and household items are picked up from an Amazon delivery station, usually in 2- to 4-hour blocks.
  • Store orders: Pickups from local stores, in blocks of 2 to 4 hours.
  • Instant offers: Only available in limited areas, these deliveries start near your current location and last from 15 to 45 minutes.

And here’s something that’s really important. Amazon Flex drivers can make about $18 to $25 per hour. Earnings will vary depending on your location, of course, but those numbers represent a good rate for delivery work, and can make driving for Amazon Flex well worth the effort.

How do Amazon Flex shifts/schedules work?

Amazon Flex drivers schedule their work in blocks, which they choose and self-assign through the app. Any blocks the company sends you will be allocated according to what you listed in the app as your normal available hours.

Beyond your regular shifts, there’s also the option to take on “instant offers,” which are deliveries that come up in addition to your block. This is a way to bring in some extra cash, if you have the time, with additional deliveries.

How do Amazon Flex drivers do their jobs

As with all gig-driving jobs, Amazon Flex works through a smartphone-based app. First you download the app, and when you sign on, you list the hours when you’ll be available. Then, when you’re ready to schedule your blocks, you open the app and select them. 

About an hour before your block is to begin, a push notification will come through to remind you it’s time to report to the Amazon warehouse, store, or other facility where you’ll pick up your packages or orders. 

At the pickup location, you’ll use the app to scan barcodes on the packages. This lets Amazon know that you have the items that were assigned to you, and you’re ready to make your deliveries.

Your delivery route will be plotted out by the app. If you’d rather find your own way, you won’t get penalized for choosing a route of your own—but be careful about keeping within the constraints of your time slot.

Once you get to the delivery location, you’ll be responsible for taking items to the customer’s door. After you do, you’ll scan the package again to prove it was delivered. You might also be asked to take a photo of the package where you’ve left it. The photo will be sent by the app to the customer, who will then know the package has been delivered.

A cool thing about working for Amazon Flex is you can see how much you’re going to make within a certain time block. Of course, you’ll also have to deliver a fair number of packages or other orders within the given time frame. 

Your payment will be deposited to the bank account of your choice, usually once a week.

There may be times when you aren’t able to deliver all the packages you pick up within the time allotted by the time block. If this happens, you can finish delivering, but you won’t get paid for the extra time. You can opt to return the packages to Amazon for another driver to deliver, but you don’t want to do that too often or your performance rating could take a hit. Getting deactivated is also a possibility.

Most drivers who’ve reviewed Amazon Flex seem to be happy with it. If you want to read some of their comments, check out the Glassdoor site

Now that you know what the job looks like, let’s see what it takes to qualify for it.

Requirements for Amazon Flex drivers

Before we get into the specific requirements, here’s a common-sense consideration. Are you physically able to carry packages and other orders to and from your vehicle? What about when there is ice, heavy rain, or snow? Being hearty and healthy is one requirement of this job that you may not have to worry about in other driving gigs. 

But if you’re okay with doing the moderate-to-heavy lifting, and don’t mind being out in crummy weather sometimes, here is what’s required to be an Amazon Flex driver.

  • Live in a city where Amazon Flex operates
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Pass a background check
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license 
  • Show proof of insurance for your vehicle
  • Have a smartphone capable of handling the app (iPhone 6S or newer, with iOS 13 or higher; or Android 6.0 or higher)
  • Have a vehicle large enough to carry your delivery loads (see below for more about this)

And here are answers to a few common questions.

What makes a vehicle “large enough” to carry delivery loads?
For Prime Now orders, you can use any four-door vehicle that will safely and easily transport customers’ orders.

For regular Amazon orders, you’ll need a larger vehicle: a midsize four-door sedan or larger, an SUV, a van, or a pickup truck with a covered bed.

What about insurance?
Amazon will provide insurance above and beyond your normal coverage.* Theirs is a commercial policy, and includes contingent comprehensive and collision coverage. It covers you while you are delivering for Amazon Flex, as long as you have your own personal auto insurance as well. Please note that Amazon’s commercial policy does not cover any passengers who accompany you.

If an accident should occur, and anyone but the Amazon Flex Delivery Partner is driving, the claim will be denied. For this reason, and the fact that another person won’t be covered under Amazon’s policy, it’s best to go solo when you make your runs. Amazon also discourages you from bringing pets with you, unless they are service animals. 

*Note also that in the State of New York, this coverage does not apply. Drivers must procure their own commercial insurance coverage.

We also recommend that you get additional coverage on your personal insurance that covers you as a delivery driver. This is not as expensive as commercial coverage, but it’s important to have if you expect your insurance company to cover you in the event of a mishap, and they discover that you use your vehicle for delivery.

Does Amazon Flex have vehicle requirements?

Amazon’s vehicle requirements differ based on what type of delivery that you are making.

For Amazon Prime Now orders, you can use any vehicle that you would like regardless of age or condition as long as you can safely complete trips.

Amazon.com orders require a 4-door, mid-sized or large vehicle. Trucks, SUV’s, and Vans work especially well, just be sure that the truck bed is covered. Some regions also allow for bicycle deliveries.

You can also use a rented or borrowed car from places like HyreCar or Maven as long as you have proper documentation (licenses, registration, permits, insurance).

How about driving experience requirements?

Uber, Lyft, Via, Juno, and other rideshare companies usually require at least one year of US-based driving experience with a valid drivers license. Amazon Flex does not have any of these restrictions, so you can be a Flex driver with even a week of driving experience with a valid license.

Amazon will conduct background checks that usually takes anywhere from 2-5 days to complete. Anything related to theft or violence will disqualify you, along with a long history of major driving violations.

Amazon Flex background checks

Although most of us don’t have anything on our records to worry about, the words “background check” can produce a touch of anxiety in every driver. Let’s address the issue by answering a few questions you might have.

Why does Amazon Flex run a background check?

It’s easy to understand why Amazon Flex needs to run a thorough background check, as their customers’ packages will be in the hands of their drivers. You’ll have to be able to prove that you can be trusted to handle the goods, which are often quite valuable, without any criminal intent.

What does the Amazon Flex background check cover?

The Amazon Flex background check goes back seven years to search for criminal offenses. If you have any offenses on your record involving theft or violence, you are not likely to pass. A driving background check will also be conducted, to ensure you haven’t had an inordinate number of moving violations.

How long does it take to process the Amazon Flex background check?

Amazon Flex passes the job of checking backgrounds to an outside company that specializes in this field. The check, under normal circumstances, takes only 2-5 days to complete, but it can take as long as 10 days to complete. If your check takes longer than 5 days, simply call Amazon Flex support to get a status on your background check.  Provided there’s nothing in your records that might be a problem, you’ll be up and driving for Amazon Flex before you know it.

Does Amazon Flex deactivate drivers? Why would they deactivate drivers?

Amazon Flex does deactivate drivers for a variety of reasons including:

  • Not having Hot/cold bags for restaurant pickup and delivery
  • Inactivity. You will be deactivated if you don’t schedule a shift for 180 days
  • Undeliverable packages/deliveries not returned to Amazon in a timely fashion
  • Late deliveries
  • Missing shifts
  • Being consistently late for shifts
  • Stealing
  • Bad customer service
  • Too many “undeliverable” packages
  • Performing other jobs during Amazon Flex (Uber Eats, Postmates, Doordash, etc)

If you get deactivated, you’ll get a nice letter that looks like this:

Luckily, you can usually apply for reinstatement unless you have done something like steal a package, or miss too many shifts. Those deactivations are usually permanent.

How do I get a job with Amazon Flex?

The process for getting a job with Amazon Flex is pretty simple. You can begin by going to https://flex.amazon.com. From there, Amazon will ask you to download the app where you can check to see if your city is accepting new drivers.

If Amazon is accepting drivers in your city, you can simply fill out the form and Amazon will start your background check. You’ll also need to enter your tax information and watch their training videos that walk you through expectations and requirements of the job.

After a few days, you’ll hopefully have a clean background check and Amazon will approve your profile and you can schedule your first shift.

If Amazon is not accepting drivers in your city, you will need to join the waitlist and be notified when a spot opens up.

Is Amazon Flex better than Uber or Lyft?

This is the million dollar question! Amazon Flex certainly has its benefits. The pay of up to $25 per hour with an $18 per hour minimum is great, however, it is VERY hard to consistently get shifts.

You can’t just turn on your app and get deliveries like with rideshare or delivery apps, which means you’re at the mercy of Amazon and you have to fight a pool of hundreds of drivers to pick up shifts.

That means you’re not going to be getting anywhere near full-time hours.

On the other hand, Amazon Flex is an easy gig that has little customer service, unlike Uber and Lyft which is a 100% customer service job. For these reasons, we believe that Amazon Flex is a great option for a rideshare or delivery driver that wants an easy way to pick up a few high paying hours per week, but not something that you should bank on for more than a few hours per week.

For an in-depth review of Amazon Flex, check out this drivers thoughts below:

And if you’d rather do something completely different, consider jumping into a software engineering career by attending a coding bootcamp like Kenzie.

Remember to track your progress

As a gig worker, you need to make the most of the time you spend driving for all the companies you work with. That’s why you need to download Gridwise, so you can see how much you’re earning, and which of your gigs is paying the most. This amazing app lets you record your earnings, track your mileage, and see all the facts and figures displayed in a super-useful format.

You’ll also get info on traffic, what’s happening at the airport, events, and weather, plus easy access to our blog. Our Perks tab features cool deals and discounts for drivers, and the Gridwise YouTube Channel will amaze you with insight and entertainment. If that’s not enough, there’s even more on our Facebook page, where you can get in on the great Gridwise gas card giveaways. So don’t wait—download the app now.

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