You like to drive, have some spare time and need to make some extra cash — but you don’t want to shuttle people around.
Amazon is looking for people like you. If you have a car and an open schedule, you can make money delivering packages for the e-commerce giant.
Amazon Flex is the company’s courier service. You can deliver for Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Now and Amazon Restaurants, which means you could spend a shift delivering dinner, groceries or gifts. Here’s a rundown of how to get started and what to expect.
- It’s easy to sign up. All you need is a car and a smartphone.
- You’re paid between $18 and $25 per hour
- You can cash out often. Billing cycles occur twice a week.
- Get ready to work, as you can be responsible for up to 70 packages per block
Where you can work
Eligibility for Amazon Flex depends on your location. The service is available in over 40 areas, including midsize cities like Tampa, Florida, and Stockton, California, as well as urban centers like Los Angeles and New York City.
Find out which places are hiring on the Amazon Flex website. If your city isn’t available, you can add yourself to a mailing list to be alerted when opportunities arise.
What you need
No matter which Amazon service you drive for, each has the same basic set of requirements, with a few variations:
- Car: For Amazon.com deliveries, you’ll need at least a four-door midsize sedan. The bigger the car, the better; SUVs and minivans can take more packages, which could mean more cash for you. For Prime Now, AmazonFresh or Amazon Restaurants, any reliable car is fine. No matter the car or type of delivery, you need to be in possession of the car’s registration and insurance info and have your license on you at all times.
- Smartphone: An iPhone 5 or newer with iOS 9.3.5 or higher will do, as will an Android 6.0 or above with GPS and a camera for scanning bar codes. Most parts of the job require you to use the Amazon Flex app.
- Background checks: When you get started on the app, you’ll be asked a series of identity-related questions to assist with the process. Checks into your driving history and any criminal record take two to five business days to complete.
Amazon provides you with commercial insurance while you’re on the job but won’t reimburse you for mileage, tolls, parking or other expenses.
Get on board
You can get started from the comfort of your computer and phone.
- Answer eligibility questions on the Flex website. You share your location, whether you’re 21 or older and a licensed driver, if your car fits the requirements and what kind of phone you’re planning to use.
- Download the app. It isn’t available in the App Store or on Google Play. Amazon Flex will provide you a link after you complete the questionnaire. On iPhones, you’ll need to change your settings so the app has permission to launch.
- Complete forms in the app. Fill out your availability and your banking information for direct deposit.
Sign up for deliveries
Scheduling and completing deliveries for Amazon Flex mostly takes place on the app.
Delivery blocks, which are shifts that are typically three to six hours long, can be picked up in two ways:
- Claim shifts offered to you by the app. Once you fill in your availability, you’ll periodically be sent options that fit your hours. Go to Calendar in the app to access shifts. These opportunities expire, so pick them up as quickly as you can.
- Score hours on short notice. You can find same-day opportunities in a section of the app labeled Check Available Blocks. These appear on a rolling basis up to 24 hours before the shift begins and are first-come, first-served. Sometimes blocks at busier hours of the day are up for grabs, and these high-traffic hours can pay more.
Hit the road
The Flex app sends out a notification one hour before your block starts. At that point, you see the pickup location for your items, where you’ll deliver them and the general size of your workload.
When you arrive at the pickup location, you check in and your block time starts. Packing your car counts as part of your shift. You are responsible for scanning the QR code or bar code of all your items before you load them up.
For AmazonFresh, you may want to have a hand truck because some packages may weigh 50 pounds or more. For Amazon Restaurants, a pickup location may be a restaurant. For these, you’ll need to buy your own insulated bag to make sure the food stays at a safe temperature.
The number of packages you’re expected to handle varies. With a large enough car, you could deliver up to 70 packages.
The app will create a route for you. This is just a suggestion; if you know your way around town, it may be better for you to use your best judgment about navigation.
When you arrive at a location to deliver a package, check in on your app. Then verify that you’re at the right address and check if the customer has given any special instructions.
Scan the bar code on the package to record that you completed the delivery. You’ll need to repeat this process for each item.
Sometimes, you may not be able to deliver all of your packages in the amount of time allotted. This could be due to any number of reasons, including traffic, restaurant backup or inability to leave packages at an apartment building. Deliver all the packages you can, and contact Amazon Flex support about what caused the delay. You won’t get paid for the extra time it takes to deliver the rest of your shipment. Packages you can’t deliver should be returned to the pickup location.
Amazon Flex’s website states that you can make between $18 and $25 per hour during your blocks.
You can make closer to $25 per hour by using a larger car, which makes you eligible to deliver more packages. Another option is to claim blocks during busy times, which are marked in the app, or to deliver for Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants, which allow customers to give you tips.
Drivers get paid twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you delivered for Amazon Restaurants or Prime Now, you’ll get paid after your tips are processed, which generally takes one to two days after delivery. Payments are delivered via direct deposit.
Because working for Amazon Flex makes you an independent contractor, you’ll be responsible for withholding money for your taxes. You may also need to file quarterly taxes.
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The article Make Money Driving for Amazon Flex: What to Expect originally appeared on NerdWallet.