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 3 years 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. Use the technology:
After your car, your phone is the next most important thing when doing Amazon Flex.
Some drivers like to use a cheap phone to do flex with. This is a false economy. A better idea is to use your normal phone, or a good phone and insure it. If you drop it, or it comes to any harm you can send it off and someone will fix it for you. Or if it goes missing, you can get a new one.
Using a new phone (2019) Google Pixel compared to my older, a once state of the phone (2017) Moto G5 plus, I found the following:
- Scans are averaging maybe 4-15 seconds with the old phone. 2 seconds maximum on the new phone.
- Map rendering is quicker. The stronger the processor, the quicker you go onto map view. A slow phone means slow loading time and more time messing around rather than getting the job done. GPS rendering is quicker and the whole thing is a lot smoother.
- Mobile signal quality is better. Nothing worse than your signal dropping out and you having to take photos and ring back deliveries at the end of your shift.
Due to more operating frequencies, more expensive phones operate across a wider band of frequencies. Cheap phones operate across maybe 3 4G frequencies. The new i Phone 12 operates across 31 seperate 4G frequencies.
It makes a big difference…..
When your signal drops, your navigation drops also, which can turn a normal 3.5 hour shift into a real hair pulling nightmare.
Nowadays, I use and insure my main phone which has quickened things up significantly.
I can claim some of these costs back as a sole trader.
I think it cost me £50 last time for 12 months insurance. Link below.
3. Always check 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 that is sometimes wrong.
Amazon app does not always suggest a ‘linear journey’.
To start my round, I check the View Route before I begin scanning the parcels. You need to check for: The points that are outlying by a long way. When you’ve got to deliver to ONE point 20 miles away from the others. Maybe the whole route is like this…. Maybe the route is all in one cluster and one or two outlying points. You need to look at these.
If they’re going to make it the route inefficient, you need to raise it with the supervisor and get those parcels removed before you start scanning.
Once you’ve viewed the route and not rejected it, check the points are navigable logically from 1-finish. If they’re not, identify where you’re going to have to make changes.
4. 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.