Amazon.com Inc is quietly inviting drivers for its new “on-demand” delivery service to handle its standard packages, as the online retailer known for low prices and razor-thin profit margins looks to speed up delivery times and tamp down its growing multi-billion dollar logistics bill.
The move, which has not been announced publicly, is the latest sign that the world’s biggest e-commerce company wants to control more of its own deliveries. Media reports have said the company plans to lease its own fleet of jets, and CEO Jeff Bezos eventually wants to use drones to get packages to customers.
Amazon outlined details of its latest plan over the last few weeks in an email to contract drivers who deliver parcels for Amazon Flex, a program launched last year to handle speedy deliveries of common household goods to customers using Prime Now, a mobile app that comes with Amazon’s popular $99-a-year Prime membership. They are not Amazon employees.
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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.
That could be a huge difference for drivers. Prime Now is a relatively niche service with tens of thousands of items, a fraction of the more than 200 million products on Amazon’s main e-commerce site.
“This new stream of packages will create new delivery opportunities,” Amazon wrote in the email to drivers, which was reviewed by Reuters. The expansion appears to be limited so far to select drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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.
Link to the rest at Reuters