Christmas is approaching and it is the season to be on Amazon looking to take advantage of lightening deals and let someone else take the strain of delivering your freshly ordered goods to you.
They say that in the logistics business, the last few miles of delivery are the most expensive.
Amazon pays drivers from it’s own logistics department to complete deliveries that final few miles.
This may be through their paid or contracted fleet, or it may be from the self employed gig delivery workers otherwise known as ‘Amazon Flex‘.
I’ve been doing Amazon Flex for nearly 12 months now.
This is my top 10 tips for Amazon Flex Drivers.
In my experience, these are the tips that are going to make you a better driver.
1. Check your insurance:
Amazon has it’s own fleet insurance on your vehicle from the moment you pick up your first parcel until you’ve completed your round.
If you crash within that period, (and you don’t have your vehicle covered for ‘commercial purposes‘), Amazon’s Fleet policy will cover you. You can read more about this in the Amazon Flex contract.
The first thing you need to be aware of is this:- EVEN THOUGH AMAZON COVERS YOU FOR THE PERIOD YOU DRIVE FOR THEM, YOUR INSURANCE MAY BE INVALID IF YOU HAVEN’T DECLARED AN ‘ADDITIONAL JOB’ TO YOUR INSURER.
When you take your policy out, it will ask you for your main and any additional jobs.
There are instances where drivers have had crashes whilst driving for flex, their insurer has found out, and they’ve had their cover cancelled.
When it comes to declaring it, it’s better to declare it as a ‘retail’ company, rather than a ‘delivery’ company. Apart from the fact it will save you around £600, it’s also the truth.
2. Never trust the App’s routes:
**Update** – The apps routes HAVE improved. No doubt after this, and the feedback through the app, they realised it totally took the piss and changed it. You do get the odd point way out, which can lead to a couple of extra miles or more than 20.
Before I start, let’s clarify two things 1) Route: The order taken between points 2) Navigation: The navigation in terms of exact streets and roads taken between each point.
Induction videos and Amazon ‘Flextra Mile’ and other literature and releases from Amazon will tell you ‘the best and most efficient way to deliver is by following the route suggested by the app’. Sure, the Navigation between the points is the best and most efficient, it’s just the Route it selects between those points is wrong.
Totally disregard the Route the app gives you. It’s wrong. It makes driver’s journey much longer in terms of time and distance.
Amazon app does not suggest a ‘linear journey’. It suggests a journey with travel between two or more locations or districts or neighbourhoods; whilst not delivering all the parcels in that neighbourhood, it will send you to the next, then back again to deliver some more. It can do this anything from 2-4 different neighbourhoods, never delivering fully in that area, sending you somewhere else, then getting you to come back.
To start my round, I check the waypoints and have in my mind the order in which I’d like to deliver them.
I select my Route and let the app do the Navigation.
3. Amazon Flex Tapping:
Some people used to do this to pick up the released blocks first. Some still do…. It’s basically sitting there and tapping on your phone’s ‘refresh offer’s until an offer comes up, then tapping to accept it.
Some people even made machines and contraptions to do this automatically https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1odALfOIrg.
This may sound like a great idea. The obvious drawbacks are
1) Amazon doesn’t like you using automated devices. If they spot ‘irregularities’ with your app activity, they’ll exclude you from the program immediately.
2) It doesn’t work out financially. As you can see from the video, the guy’s just accepted a 1 1/2 hour block in Springfield. To me, I wouldn’t even get in my car for a 1 1/2 hour block. Not unless it was Christmas.
3) Blocks may not be at LOCAL depot. It may be a REGIONAL depot 40 miles away. If your soft-blocked and only receiving short notice offers, you’ve now got 30 minutes to drive 40 miles for a 1 1/2 hour block.