How Amazon Flex Works
While Amazon Flex is a similar service to Postmates and DoorDash, it does have some major differences, and those are:
- It is a complete delivery service
- It has Distribution Centers (DC's), and Warehouses
- Drivers do not "shop" for customers
- Drivers set their schedule times, called "availability."
- Amazon fills your "availability" with deliveries called "blocks."
- Blocks are set by the Amazon software, not the customer
Now let's look at what a driver will do during their scheduled times and how blocks work.
Amazon Flex Blocks
After you receive your welcoming e-mail message from Amazon Flex, you need to set your availability. Once your availability has been set into their system, they will start to create pre-defined blocks for you. This means that you will receive a set amount of work within your schedule that has been calculated and reserved for you. On top of this, you will see on-demand blocks which means that apart from your reserved blocks you can take on an immediate request. However, you will not receive on-demand requests when in a block. While working during a schedule, you should check to see if there are on-demand blocks at the DC, this will help you receive a seamless work load when you finish a block and receiving an on-demand block.
There is a more efficient way of checking out on-demand blocks while working, just refresh the app and see if a block has been added. These on-demand blocks are always Prime Now jobs, and they provide a better income factor than standard block hour.
There are a few factors that make Prime Now blocks available apart from a customer's request, and they are:
- Warehouse Delays
One request that Amazon makes to drivers that have accepted or been assigned a block and cannot work it, notify Amazon immediately so the block can be re-assigned otherwise they will penalize the drivers.
Amazon Flex Pick Up Procedures
The pick-up process can be easy and seamless if you come prepared. Here are the basics for an efficient pick-up:
- You will receive a one-hour pre-block time alarm notification.
- Turn on the app and press "start."
- Drive to the DC or Warehouse.
- Your app will start to navigate you
Before you start your drive out, make sure you have set the following issues:
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and that you have a charger and replacement cord in your car.
- Make sure your mobile device is mounted properly in an appropriate place so you can drive and use the app when driving.
When you arrive at the DC or warehouse; press the "I've arrived" button in the app. Always remember that you need to be at least 15 minutes from your destination before you can fully activate your app for receiving barcodes, and this is the time you activate your mileage tracking feature. This procedure is termed as "preparing your app for scanning."
Once you arrive at the gate of the DC or warehouse, you will have to check in at the gate, usually by signing a tablet that will then assign you to a specific dock and you will wait there until your name is called.
The DC will set you a block; this block is a route containing around 60 packages to be delivered in a 3-hour time frame. The route is set by Amazon's software system and does not factor into the equation waiting times and walking distances. However, they are usually set for a longer time to deliver than happens so in most cases you will finish the block before the allotted time.
If you are allotted a Prime Now route, then your block is uncertain, and you do not know how many packages and how long you have till you get the actual delivery block. The Prime Now deliveries come in paper bags, and the number of deliveries varies per block.
Once you have accepted the block, you cannot transfer them to anyone else and must either complete the block or cancel it.
Make sure you organize where you place your block packages to make delivery quicker. You don't want to spend time looking for a package. So, an organization might take five minutes, but it will save you ten minutes. One option is to sort by customer name, another by customer address, but whatever makes it easier for you to find is the best option.
Of all the online services that you can apply for, Amazon Flex is perhaps the easiest to understand and operate. You get a list of packages to deliver, you get a route, and you get a system for identifying the customer's location. You can bolster the route with a third-party map to factor in traffic issues, but the Amazon Flex app has this in it (like Uber and Lyft maps, but without the hotspots). In most cases, it is useful to have that Waze or Google Maps app running just to be sure.
Once you have arrived at your delivery location, you press "I've arrived" button and make the delivery.
It's imperative that deliveries are made in person and some cases with ID verification. If there is no customer and you cannot leave the package in a secure place (such as a neighbor, or post box), then you mark the package as undelivered and return them to the DC at the end of the block. When drivers get a lot of damaged or lost deliveries linked to their names they get deactivated.
Deliveries must be made at the front door of a house; sometimes the customer will come down to the street to collect them. In some instances, but not usually you will have to reach the side or back door. This occurs in areas where you cannot park your car safely.
Once you make the delivery, you should take a photo of the receipt as well as the delivery location. Sometimes drivers will be prompted to do this for extra verification. Take note that Amazon Flex is not a well-known service yet, so when you arrive, the customer might be suspicious of a stranger with no uniform driving an unmarked car making a delivery. Show some identification or get an Amazon Flex t-shirt.
When you are hit with a problem route or problem delivery; always contact support via the app. You can also call support and the customer directly. It is always advised first to call the customer to get extra location information, it also relaxes the customer and shows initiative in service. If you cannot reach the customer, you contact support.
When you complete a delivery, the app will direct you to the next delivery and so on until you finish your block. You then have three options; you will have to drive back to the DC or warehouse. If you have no returns, you can either close the app and finish the block, or you can check to see if there are any Prime Now blocks open.