With a little bit of technology and the right connections, you can make a bit of money by sharing nearly anything – your house, your couch, your car, even your talents. Companies like Uber, AirBNB, Etsy, Fiverr, and others have allowed those that are willing to make some extra cash, or in some instances a relatively comfortable living by sharing.
Not wanting to be left out, Amazon has announced Amazon Flex, a “package sharing” delivery service where you can deliver for Amazon. The initial trial is starting in Seattle, with expanded service coming to Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland in the future.
For your trouble, Amazon is offering $18-$25 per hour to deliver packages, and you’ll need to provide your own vehicle and Android phone as well as be 21 or over and pass a background check. After you’ve been accepted into the program, you’ll be able to sign up for 2, 4 or 8 hour blocks of time that very same day, or anywhere up to 12 hour shifts if you schedule in advance. Amazon claims that you can deliver as much or as little as you want. You’ll be servicing customers who have purchased items via Amazon’s same-day (or even same-hour) service, Amazon Prime Now.
Amazon will assign pick up locations and deliveries to you based on your location as well as the length of time you are set to deliver. Shorter blocks will obviously require shorter delivery routes while those signing up for 12 hour shifts could potentially be sent all over the place.
No word yet on how Amazon will classify these volunteer drivers. Uber specifically has been in some legal trouble for their definition of those providing their service. Uber claimed that their drivers were third-party contractors rather than employees, and they’ve been sued all over the place for that distinction. It will be interesting to see how Amazon handles a very similar situation.
The Guardian reminded me that this isn’t Amazon’s first foray into the realm of crowd-work completion. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk offers menial amounts of money to complete tasks that would be difficult for a computer, but exceptionally easy (though potentially time-consuming) for a human. With rates for completion of these tasks coming in amounts ranging from pennies to not much more than pennies the average pay for those “turkers” is only between $1 and $5 per hour. Amazon Flex obviously pays quite a lot more, but you’ll still have to consider expenses such as gas, auto-repair, etc. before making your decision. It does not appear, at least initially from the FAQ provided, that Amazon will compensate drivers for mileage driven so any expenses will be paid from the $18-$25/hour earned.
If you’re in Seattle and are ready to deliver, or if you’re in any other city and are interested in getting more information, you can sign up at the source link below.