How Amazon is Expanding its Uber-Like Delivery Service Amazon Flex

Prime Now (© Amazon)

We mentioned shortly here already that select Amazon Flex drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area just started handling standard Amazon.com deliveries.

Fortune has a few more bits on this very low key expansion:

Three Flex drivers in northern Texas told Reuters they received an email in recent weeks from Amazon inviting them to take part in a new “opportunity to deliver Amazon.com orders,” separate from existing Prime Now deliveries. (…)

In order to qualify, Amazon said drivers must have a four-door car that is a “mid-sized sedan or larger” and that drivers would be paid an introductory rate of $18 per hour. They can schedule shifts between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m seven days a week.

Flex drivers can make between $18 to $25 per hour, according to Amazon. They have less control over their schedule but can receive tips, which is not the case for delivering regular Amazon packages. As contractors, drivers must pay for their own insurance and gas. (…)

A Texas-based driver who attended an orientation session for the program, and requested anonymity because he was worried about affecting his status as a driver, was told by an Amazon representative he would need to drive to a larger fulfillment center to pick up boxes for delivery.

Amazon’s email said drivers who sign up for the new program would not initially be able to continue delivering for Prime Now, but would be allowed to deliver both types of packages “later this year.”

Flex is obviously going to be a major part in Amazon’s logistics expansion.

There is a benefit for a company like Amazon doing this at this moment in time: Uber, Lyft and others have cultivated drivers across the US and in other countries. Once people are in a modus operandi where they get work as freelancers on-demand via a smartphone app they are obviously ready to do that as well for Amazon if the conditions are right for them.

As these drivers are not employed by Uber et al, it is relatively easy for Amazon to tap into this pool. (Given that all drivers don’t earn more with Uber and are not at full capacity.)

So I would guess that once Amazon has worked out how p2p on-demand delivery has to work for Amazon and how it fits into its current logistics infrastructure the international roll-out will be comparatively fast.

Zalando is partnering with P2P delivery service Liefery for free return shipments getting picked up at people’s front door. In time, Flex will certainly be used for this as well; maybe for Prime subscribers only.

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