Do you have a good sized car? Some spare time? Need to earn some extra money? If yes, is Amazon Flex the answer?
Yes, it may well be, but equally, is it more trouble than it's worth?
Ok, so what is Amazon Flex? Flex is an official Amazon programme that has been designed to allow people to get paid between £12 and £15 per hour to deliver Amazon orders direct to the customers.
There are two ways to do this, you can either work for Amazon Prime (Normal Amazon website orders) or Amazon Prime Now (Food deliveries)
Amazon Prime is the next day delivery service from Amazon, and Prime Now is the same day delivery service, sometimes delivering your order within one hour.
You may find job offers on the app from an Amazon warehouse/depot, a Prime Now depot/warehouse, and a local Morrisons store, as Morrisons also offer Prime Now products. There are likely to be other stores using the Prime drivers as time goes on; lot's of rumours of Amazon tie in's with other retailers going around!
So basically, you sign up to the program and download an app. Every day, a list of available shifts, known as blocks, is made available for you to choose what suits you regarding your availability. Blocks usually are anything between 1 hour and four and a half hours)
You select the block you want to work, and you then are booked. You need to arrive before your block starts, and then you scan the parcels using the app on your phone you are delivering and load up your car. The app on your phone will then schedule you a route to deliver all the parcels most logically.
The number of parcels you will deliver depends on whether you deliver Prime or Prime Now orders. Amazon Prime will generally mean that you are delivering a more significant number of parcels; however, usually, this will be within a smaller delivery area. Prime Now will generally consist of fewer deliveries, but the delivery area can be more significant.
The number of parcels you are given to deliver will depend on your block's length. If you have a four-hour block, you will have more deliveries than if you have a 2-hour block!
The hourly rate sounds pretty good; however, this rate also includes your petrol expenses, so if you have a long route, you will be using more fuel, and so the amount you have earned during your block will be less as petrol is expensive. Your car will get more wear and tear doing this job, it does increase your miles, and you could well be delivering to a block of flats or a rural farm with a long bumpy, stone driveway, so your car may take a bit of a beating!
The job is relatively easy to perform. However, it can still be quite stressful as you need to get all your orders delivered within your block, and doing this can be difficult if there is lots of traffic or bad weather etc., you may get wet, you may get hot, and you may need the toilet whilst out. My top tip is to look out for a petrol station with an M&S food hall attached, as these always have a bathroom!
If you cannot deliver all the parcels, you are expected to return them to the depot. This is fine unless you find yourself miles away from the depot and have to go all the way then back! I often found myself with my block finished, all my parcels delivered, but then half an hour from home, which is annoying and wastes time and fuel money. It would help if you did everything you could to avoid returning parcels back to the depot, as returned packages count against you. If you start returning loads, you will find your performance metrics drop. If they go too low, you may well be terminated from the Flex programme, which happens a lot, but I have to say that often it's because the driver can't be bothered to deliver the parcels and so takes loads back, and they don't appreciate that!
I have mixed feelings about the program. I like the flexibility of being able to pick up shifts that work for me; however, there is no guarantee that you will be able to pick up a shift when you want one as obviously there are many other people who also want the same shift and the shifts can come and go very quickly. It's easy to miss out completely, but on the whole, it's a decent enough way to earn some extra cash.
Although there is no guarantee of shifts, you can generally pick up something, and the extra money is convenient. Many people use this system as a full-time job. Being that you're not guaranteed work, this is not necessarily an ideal way to pay your bills, as there is no way to ensure that you will get work from one day to the next. It is designed to make extra cash and is not advertised as a full-time job.
At the time of writing this, Amazon gives you free insurance to deliver the goods. Your standard car insurance will not usually allow you to use your vehicle to make deliveries or work. You typically need goods in transit insurance, and getting this separately can be VERY expensive.
Amazon says that the insurance they supply will cover you should you have an accident while working for them. You are only insured by Amazon while working for them, so this does not give you ongoing insurance for delivering goods for other companies. It would help if you spoke to your car insurance company to check they would be ok with you doing this role, as even though Amazon will insure you, you still have to have regular car insurance cover. Not all insurers will allow you to use the Amazon 'top-up insurance', so speak to them first; otherwise, if you do have an accident, haven't declared that you were working for Amazon, you may find your insurance cancelled. No other insurer is willing to insure you afterwards!
There is talk of Amazon making a small charge for the insurance later; however, this has been an ongoing subject for a good couple of years now, and still no cost!
So, all in all, this is a decent way to make some extra cash if you are not afraid of working to a time-sensitive schedule and you enjoy driving.
It would help if you were reasonably customer-focused as you will be delivering directly to the customer and communicating with them. You also need to be aware that you may find yourself sometimes delivering reasonably heavy goods. Sometimes you may need to walk up several flights of stairs to deliver to a property, so you need to be fit enough to do this! Make sure you have a torch, and I would recommend a fluorescent jacket as well.
One last thing to remember is that you are working for Amazon on a self-employed basis. You are responsible for declaring your income and paying your taxes. Amazon will not make any deductions for tax or national insurance etc. You are an independent contractor and responsible for your tax affairs...