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Amazon expanding deliveries by its ‘on-demand’ drivers

19 February 2016

From Reuters:

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.

. . . .

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

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15 Comments to “Amazon expanding deliveries by its ‘on-demand’ drivers”

  1. What will become of trucker culture?

    • Adapt or perish. Like every other ‘culture’ and ‘way of life’. These are not comfortable days, but they are exciting. 🙂

    • This sounds more like pizza delivery than long-haul trucking.

    • For some weird reason over the past year I’ve been subscribed to a youtubing trucker who posts daily videos. It’s been interesting to learn about their jobs and requirements. One thing that I noticed right away is the amount of time they spend… and get paid for… waiting for loads, waiting for loading and unloading etc. They also are on a rigid time limit of how much time they can drive a day for safety reasons. Enough time and money spent there that I expect in a decade many of their jobs will be replaced by automated trucks. It’s only logical that an automatic truck will dominate as it can drive twice as long in a given day and does not need pay as it waits at a terminal. Amazon won’t be the one killing the truckers job.

      • This is why some of the long-haul drivers are teams of two. This isn’t quite enough to keep the truck moving all the time, but it gets very close.

  2. An Amazon-Uber type of service? Sounds good for someone like a retiree to make a few extra bucks but often personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when you do things like pizza deliveries. You can be in for a real surprise if you get in an accident. This ‘outsourcing’ moves a lot of costs outside a company.

    • I was thinking the $18 introductory rate is low when the driver has to cover commercial insurance premiums.

      • On the other hand, Pizza Hut and Dominos only pay about $8.00/hour.

        • Pizza drivers make money in tips. If it’s on par with restaurant servers in the US that should be about 10% of the store’s revenue they are handling. That can be good money if a driver does a good job of choosing the right employer serving higher-net-worth neighborhoods with lenient traffic cops.

          Amazon drivers are less likely to be tipped. Nobody tips a FedEx or UPS driver.

  3. I don’t like the idea of random people making deliveries to my home. Much more comfortable with UPS.

    • Amazon does no vetting?

      • They did no vetting when they staffed a local warehouse via a temp agency. I knew two people who had jobs there and there’s no way they could have been vetted and still been employed. I don’t like the idea of delivery people being essentially self-employed.

        • I can understand the warehouse. The local UPS warehouse, a very large UPS facility, does the same. They have such a high turnover, they have a continual hiring call.

          But UPS treats its drivers very differently.

    • PLOT TWIST: UPS drivers are also basically random people.

      • I’ve had the same three delivery people for at least ten years. They aren’t random to me. When Amazon used DHL or whatever it’s called, a very iffy guy made deliveries and I had to tell Amazon to mark on my account to never use that company again. No uniform, beat up car, and he threw a package (containing glass) from about three feet away from my porch, onto a concrete floor. Amazon complied with my request.

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