What is Amazon Flex?
Amazon Flex is a delivery opportunity that provides drivers with more flexibility to earn money from driving while still having time to do other things with their lives.
You get to build your schedule by either scheduling your availability in advance or picking up whatever shifts are available when you are available.
Amazon Flex drivers sign up to make deliveries from one of two different types of warehouses.
Following is a side by side high-level comparison of the two warehouses.
What is a Block?
At Amazon Flex, the shift you work is referred to as a block. The blocks come in either 1, 2, 3 or 4-hours.
Once you select the warehouse you wish to deliver from, the next thing you must do is to indicate your availability in the calendar provided on the app.
Unfortunately, even though you indicate your availability ahead of time, blocks are rarely per-assigned. You must go out in search of them.
The best time to find your blocks is the day before the work date. This allows you to plan your schedule accordingly. Sometimes this might not always be the case due to unforeseen personal circumstances or challenges. Same-day blocks are available for pick up. They are more challenging to find but are not impossible.
Below you will find some tips that may make it easier to find next day and same-day blocks.
First, let's start off by making sure you're looking in the right place.
How to Check for Blocks on the Amazon Flex App
There are two ways to check for available blocks on the Amazon Flex drivers app.
The first option:
- Go to the home screen
- Click on the "Check for Open Blocks"
- Access the "Offers" Page
The second option:
- Go to the top left menu
- Click on Offers.
Selecting a Block
Once you are in the 'offers' menu, any available blocks will be displayed. If you see a block you want, tap on it, review the details and click accept. You must click on the accept button if you want the block.
Checking for next day blocks - Some markets have a set time when they release next day blocks. It starts anywhere from around 10 pm. You can confirm this time when you spend time talking with other drivers or simply reviewing your specific market the first couple of days.
Drivers checking for next-day blocks are less concerned about accuracy and more concerned about speed. This is the best time to pick up blocks, so competition is fierce. Most drivers will, therefore, tend to select and accept blocks as fast as they are made available. Depending on how many blocks you want to pick and availability, this may take you up to an hour. Once they are done, they review to make sure they got the blocks they wanted. Any undesirable blocks are forfeited.
Checking for same-day blocks - With same-day blocks, availability is limited. Also what might be available may not be desirable. Drivers, in this case, tend to spend a second or two longer reviewing pertinent details of the block that comes available. Especially because if they are in the 45-minute window, they will not be able to cancel a block after accepting it
Refreshing your Offers Screen
If no blocks are available, the display will read "No offers available. Check back soon." Please understand the soon means immediately in this case.
Refreshing your screen is the number one way to find blocks. It is what most drivers (including season ones) will spend their time doing when they are not delivering items if they are searching for same-day blocks or the night prior if preparing their schedule for the next day.
There a few ways to refresh your screen.
- The simplest way is to swipe down on the screen to refresh.
- On the iPhone, you may hit the refresh button.
Note about iPhone and Android Cell Phones
Most Amazon Flex drivers use either an iPhone or an Android Phone.
It has been reported that the iPhone Amazon Flex app does not appear to work well at all warehouses. Therefore most drivers opt to use an Android phone. You should confirm which works best for your specific warehouse and surrounding areas.
The refresh button on the Amazon Flex app for iOS devices is not an original feature. It was added with a recent update. The consensus about using the refresh button is that it takes longer to produce results as you have to wait for it to appear before you can use it to refresh your screen.
There are iOS diehards, and there are Android diehards. Amazon will not ask you to pick one phone over the other. Your choice of phone is your personal preference.
What most drivers do is that they opt to have two phones. One phone is used just for the Amazon Flex app. This is because, without the interference from other apps, the refresh happens quicker. To put it plainly, when it comes to finding and selecting blocks, speed is the name of the game.
Therefore quick refresh ability equals blocks which equal money. Anything that interferes with the speed of the refresh should, therefore, be minimized and even eliminated to increase your chances of getting blocks.
When it comes to selecting blocks, there are no real tricks that you can learn. Yes, you may see a video here and there that shows you how to hold your phone a certain way to pick up more blocks, but real tricks are non-existent. At least the legal ones.
What has been found to be of significant use is prior knowledge about how the system works. We have identified some key areas that prior knowledge will assist you in getting blocks either the day prior or the same-day in the following areas helps you know when to look for blocks and what to be on the lookout for.
Type of blocks available at your warehouse
As shown in the chart above, Amazon Packages and Amazon Prime Now both have the possibility of scheduling blocks in 1, 2, 3 and 4-hour groupings. However, in your specific warehouse, you may find that only one out of the four blocks is available.
This is important to know ahead of time so that you know when to start looking for blocks, especially if you are searching for same-day blocks.
For example, if your warehouse has only two-hour blocks ex., 8 am - 10 am, 10a -12 pm, etc. you would start your block search two hours before the block start time. For the 8 am block, you would start looking at 6 am and for the 10 am block at 8 am.
Understandably you may not have access to this information before your first shift. Initially, you would have to rely on checking the app to find your blocks. When you do get to the warehouse though, be sure to confirm with other drivers what is the norm for your warehouse and plan accordingly.
It appears that the most common shift in most warehouses is the two-hour block.
If you are assigned to a Prime Now warehouse, keep in mind that the blocks made available may be from a warehouse or a restaurant. Restaurant deliveries are rare on next day blocks. They are more common in same-day block releases.
Warehouse deliveries offer a greater opportunity to earn more tips as there are more deliveries to make. This, therefore, makes them more popular and the blocks more difficult to get.
Restaurant deliveries may not be an ideal choice as orders are less. Therefore, tips are limited. However, you are still making the same base pay as opposed to nothing at all. That can tide you over in a pinch.
Possibility of overlapping blocks
If your warehouse works with two-hour blocks, for example, an overlapping block would show up as follows.
- Standard two hour block: 10a -12pm, 12pm to 2pm
- Overlapping block: 10:30a - 12:30pm, 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Overlapping blocks are not popular with drivers. If you pick an overlap, it automatically excludes you from the next block. However, they are a great option if you're looking to pick up an extra hour at the end of your shift.
Possibility of multiple zone blocks
When blocks are made available for pick up, some cities include multiple zones in their list. This is a great option for drivers who reside on the border of two zones. However, this may cause some incorrect selections. In your haste to pick up a block before it disappears you may pick up one in an undesired zone.
You do need to be careful with multiple zone offerings.You have a 45-minute window to cancel a block without penalty. However, if you select a delivery that is starting within forty-five minutes, you cannot cancel it.
Notifications of available blocks
Sometimes you may receive notification from Amazon Flex that there are available blocks for pick up. When you get this notification and can respond, do not hesitate. These notifications are not common. Drivers respond to them so quickly that when you check your 'offers' page they may already be gone.
Try not to rely on these notifications though. Get into the habit of checking the app for yourself.
Forfeiting a Block
You can forfeit a block 45 minutes before the block is scheduled to start. For people looking to pick up same-day block, this means that a 10 am - 12 pm block can become available up until 9:15 am.
Some drivers use forfeiting as a method to swap blocks with other drivers. There is no guarantee that a forfeited block will be made available. Amazon could pull the block.
Also if you opt to get blocks through swapping it means that you have to have blocks to swap with other people. There is no guarantee that someone will want a block you have so you may end up forfeiting your block and have no blocks to pick up.
Consistently forfeiting a block is risky. If you get into the habit of forfeiting your blocks, it will reflect on your record and Amazon may opt to cancel your contract.
Hacking Your Way to a Block
You may be tempted to hack your way to find a block by creating and or using auto refresh wiper bots and things of that nature. This approach comes with great risk. Amazon has indicated that they are monitoring their app for any signs of this.
They have also indicated the following in their Flex Independent Contractor terms of service. "You may not incorporate any portion of the Licensed Materials into your own works or compile any portion of it in combination with your own works, transfer it, in whole or in part, for use with another service, or sell, rent, distribute, copy, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble, or make derivative works based on the Licensed Materials or any part of the Licensed Materials or otherwise sublicense or assign any rights to the Licensed Materials in whole or in part." (Source: Azflexinfo.com)
Penalties are not indicated, but it should suffice to say that your job as a driver would be in jeopardy if you are found guilty.
Amazon, to put it bluntly, is out to take over the world. This type of attitude is attracting people to work for them in various capacities. Amazon Flex is no exception to this occurrence. As the company grows, and demand increases for its services, more and more drivers are being hired to work. This presents stiff competition for hours to work.
The tips in this article are by no means a guarantee that you will get shifts but they will help you get started and avoid getting frustrated. In time you will pick up on the patterns for your warehouse and be able to pick up blocks with ease.