Top 10 Tips for Amazon Flex drivers

Top 10 Tips for Amazon Flex drivers

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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‘.

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:

i Phone 12 Pro

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.

£10 off Next Gen mobile insurance
If you use this link you can get £10 off your mobile phone insurance premium.

3. Always check the App’s routes:

Amazon Flex Route

**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.

This is the point where you need to REJECT a route if you don’t think you are going to make money on it. Amazon does do this, ie. make it so it costs YOU money to make the deliveries. Don’t accept routes if your losing money. You are self employed and it’s you who’s shouldering any losses.

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:

amazon flex tapper swiper

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.

5. Updating the Amazon Flex App:

Amazon Flex updating the App

Even if you’re not delivering, keeping the Flex App up-to-date is a good idea.
They update or release the new App on a Sunday/Monday.
Unless your updated to the newest version, the app will automatically sign you out.
Keeping the App updated will mean you get notifications about Amazon Flex through your phone. These may be about higher rated blocks or an increased number of routes or offers, or any other updates to the service that Amazon Flex cares to pass you.
Not updating the app will mean you’re signed out and won’t receive notifications, even on blocks you may have accepted from the period before ie. telling you you’ve got a pick-up scheduled etc.

6. Parking in TOWN when delivering for Amazon Flex:

Amazon Flex parking ticket
Amazon Flex parking ticket

This is when the job starts to get hard. You’re not provided with any official kit or vehicle, and to parking attendants, you appear to be just a civi.
Many Amazon Flex drivers find themselves getting parking tickets.
Here are some general rules of thumb when parking/delivering in TOWN.
1) Have a sign in your window to indicate you’re delivering. It may not make any difference, but if you come to contest, that and a load of parcels in the back will suggest you’re there on business.
2) Rules:
On the PUBLIC HIGHWAY:-
Double yellows: 20 minutes to deliver, although, this varies from local authority to local autority. If you’re not seen to return to your vehicle and move it within 20 minutes, you can get a ticket.
Parking bays: If you use the parking bays, you have to pay or park within the free parking restrictions (after 8pm, Sundays etc.).
Red Doubles/Bus Stops/Taxi Ranks/Disabled Parking/Zig Zags: Instant ticket if the police or a warden happen to pass your vehicle.
More road markings you need to avoid are here: – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/560aa6c7ed915d035900001a/the-highway-code-road-markings.pdf
On PRIVATE PROPERTY:-
As long as you’re not clamped, if you get a ticket, it’s just an order to pay, which you can ignore.

3) To contest tickets with local government; you’re going to need proof of contract, delivery note or invoice. This means the specific addresses and screenshots of the Amazon app for those deliveries. Again, bear in mind that Amazon support are NOT GOING TO HELP YOU. You need to do it all yourself. If you can satisfy them that you’re a bona-fide delivery driver operating within the rules, your appeal will be dealt with in the same way any unfair ticket would be.
[If you do get a ticket whilst doing Amazon Flex deliveries: You need to go to Itinerary > List > Take a screenshot of the completed addresses.
This is your evidence that you’ve been delivering to those addresses in the course of business. Go to the local council website. Enter your ticket details. You’ll be given the choice to pay or appeal. Go to appeal. Enter the reason you were given a ticket and enter the evidence you were there delivering].
Mikes’ Parking Tip: If you’ve got a precinct/’mall’, use that to park for all your in town deliveries. They have a drop off space for goods inward. The gaurds are ok, and unless they’re real jobsworth’s, they won’t give you any sh*t no matter how long you park there.
Some Parking reference materials:-
http://www.parkingforvans.com/parkinginfo/information
http://www.nighthawk-parking.com/loading-and-unloading-in-the-uk-parking-policy-their-rules-and-your-rights/

7. Don’t forget the essentials, come prepared:

Amazon Flex essentials

It’s easy to get caught out and find yourself running out of cards or forgetting to put them in the car.
Have them. They are free. If you do run out, writing on the back of a petrol receipt doesn’t look very professional and may go missing, like the parcel you’ve just delivered.
Don’t get caught out. It’s an easy thing to forget.
Likewise the charger: Your round, if it’s 4 hours is going to take 40%-60% out of your battery. If you use an iPhone, it’s going to be more.
If you plan to do additional routes back to back, charger is essential.
It’s best to start the day with a fully charged phone if you expect to be doing deliveries.

8. Using a BOX:

parcel box

In the back of your vehicle, keep a fold-up box. Like a filing box. Smaller parcels, turn them round, face them forward and put them in the box.
That way, when you come to a stop, instead of having to look round the floor of your vehicle for small boxes which have become airbourne as you travel between points, they’re all there, neat and tidy in the box waiting to be delivered!
Magic!

9. Record your mileages:

Amazon Flex mileages

You’re not employed by Amazon. You’re a free operator, and as such you need to deal with your own income and expenditure and submit a ‘profit/loss’ statement to the HMRC annually.
The main expenses part of this is going to be in the claims against your vehicle, ie. for usage and wear-and-tear.
You can calculate these using receipts from fuel, garage bills etc. or you can use the Governments Flat Rate.
Record your mileages, multiply it with the HMRC flat rate to calculate your vehicle expenses. Set that against your payment for each block. That will indicate your gross profit.

10. Dealing with Problems:

Amazon flex support

Called support > Email support
Email support are a lot more useless than phoned support. The majority of the time, they’re located in Bangladesh, have limited English skills and will do their UTMOST to give you an AUTOMATED response.
Doing a round and contacting support on the phone, the support agent will give you a PERSONAL response dependant on your problem. They listen, and will generally fix things off-the-bat.
Dealing with email support, you may find yourself getting the same AUTOMATED response for days, if not weeks. Especially if it’s a more difficult question.
I contacted support a number of times on email with a payment problem. I did a blog called – Amazon Stopped Paying me. Because the problem was above technical understanding of email support, they tried to fob me off with automated responses.  After weeks of getting no-where, I posted the blog link and a description of problem on Amazon Flex Reddit Drivers Group. https://www.reddit.com/r/AmazonFlexDrivers/
It got picked up by one of the technical guys stateside, and the problem was solved. If I had not kicked up a stink, I would not have got the money I was owed, I would still not be being paid through that account now.
Amazon Flex Email Support: amazonflex-support@amazon.co.uk
Amazon Flex Telephone Support: +448081013553
Jeff Bezos: Whilst it’s debatable how much ‘Jeff’ actually reads these, there’s a strong consensus if you have problem which requires an ‘elevated response’, you should copy jeff@amazon.com in on messages to support.

11. Bringing back/Not bringing back/Non delivery:

Amazon returned parcel

You don’t get any points for bringing parcels back. If they’ve been successfully scanned and are part of your itinerary, you’re expected to deliver them. All deliveries are expected to be attempted a minimum of twice.
If you attempt once, that’s a black mark.
If you do bring back parcels which are everyday, not ‘recipient only’, you will be ‘soft blocked’, ie. receive a lower frequency of offers or only offers rejected by other drivers.
Rather than take parcels back, if you think you’ve got too many parcels for your route, or you’re unable to deliver for whatever reason. Just chill out, don’t rush between points, deliver at normal speed. If, when you’ve finished, you’ve ‘run over’ your delivery slot. Contact support.
Tell them your block has run over and as long as your last parcel was delivered 1 hour plus later, they’ll issue you with an ‘Adjustment’.
Generally, you don’t want to take anything back.

12. Amazon Flex Depots

Amazon Flex operates from a number of specific Flex depots or logistics depots. As well as that, it contracts from Morrisons and Prime Now locations.

These are now incorporated into the app. You can see exactly where they are on this…

Map of Amazon Flex Depots.

Also, there is a list of Amazon Flex depots courtesy of Reddit.

So this is my Amazon tips top 10 for Amazon Flex delivery drivers.

If you’ve got any comments, or you’d like to add your own suggestions, feel free below.

Happy delivering!

17 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips for Amazon Flex drivers

  1. Hi, my name is Michal. I was thinking about delivering parcels us a flex driver with my own car. ( i was doing it for full time but I quit because it was not worth it. I have to rent a van and was tons of parcels and stops. But with my own car when I actually know the environment why not) The thing is how about insurance? I got the comprehensive cover on my car but in the terms of the policy is if you will use it for business purposes my car won’t be covered and I want to add an extra cover but they said that they cant provide it. So I call the amazon and I spoke with someone from flex and the lady said that they provide insurance of course but only on the parcels. So I am confused because you write down that they cover parcels and car us well when you delivering

  2. Some not bad advice there. Do you really get soft blocked for attempting to deliver a parcel that can’t be delivered? The app doesn’t say you must try to attempt delivery,
    It encourages you to return to the depot! I leave a card and write on the parcel the date and time as amazon say they attempt a delivery up to five times (two more than yodel and Royal Mail) so that other drivers know there’s been an attempt made.

    It does feel that a lot of flex parcels are ones the main route drivers don’t want to take though. I’ve had some that are absolute nightmares to find or get to. One was a farm on the top of a mountain (luckily full phone and internet reception were at the top) where the GPS coordinates were out, the customer had no phone number (this should be mandatory) and it took 10 mins to drive up to around some very hairy hair pin bends on single track lanes and 10 mins to come back down too (therefore 20 mins just for one delivery) as well as to properties where customers take ages to answer or blocks of flats that have security gates to get into which wastes time.

    Still, it’s good fun going out and seeing parts of the areas you live in that you wouldn’t normally see!

    Cheers for the tips. Just wish it wasn’t so dull have to refresh the offers all the time. No rhyme or reason when to do this either.

    1. Not going to the GPS location and attempting delivery counts against you. Putting a card through is attempting delivery. If you’re not attempting delivery, there are other drivers which have, and always do follow the instruction on the app. Your offers will not be as good as theirs in that you will get less and at a later time, which is know as ‘soft blocking’ ie. when you’re moved to a lower priority offers queue.
      It happens.
      If you don’t consistently don’t attempt delivery on parcels, they’ll just keep you around for when they need you, and demand is such that regular drivers can’t handle the work.

  3. Hi, I do amazon flex on and off. I actually prefer doing the amazon food deliveries (groceries), rather then other parcels.
    Is there any way of find out what I will be delivering before I accept a block on the app?

  4. I deliver from Carlisle UK office, usually 4hr block to the rural around penrith with 30 to 45 parcels, last week the attendant claimed there was a late lorry and gave me a block to deliver in Newton aycliffe, Darlington, 100 miles and 2hours away, he said he would sort it out with amazon, but didn’t as just got the regular 4hour payment

    1. Need to be sorting that out through the app. Depot staff can tell you what they want. If you’ve gone over you need to be putting in for an adjustment: Earnings > Report a problem.
      Make sure you send it from the same email you use for your flex account.

  5. Hi Michael. Great tips- thanks very much for taking the time. I’m just about to start with Flex and I wondered how to get the “We Missed You” cards- are they available at the depot or do you have to order them elsewhere? Thanks again.

  6. Hi,

    Iv signed up for amazon flex. Passed all checks etc. Then the screen i got on the app was to say there are not any delivery sites in my area looking for delivery partners and i cant get of from that screen. Is this likley to change in the near future

    I live in wellingborough which is 10 miles from northampton and on the website it says they are seeking people in the northampton area

  7. Hi – good sensible advice on here. Do you know how long they soft block you for? I’m not seeing any offers at all now and only get work when my husband substitutes one of his to me. Two app failures at the depot meant missed blocks were showing despite depot agreeing it wasn’t my fault – but couldn’t help. (Although last night the depot did manage to manually push through a payment for one of them so maybe only one on record now). But now, the latest offensive email from support was entitled “Policy Violation- Unauthorised Entry” and went on to say they’d received a report that I’d attempted to enter a customers property or garage to make a delivery. Obviously this is nonsense- even if I was stupid, why would I bother! Then there’s the little matter of the lockdown… It went on to say that, if I didn’t follow the program policies, I’d be no longer eligible to deliver.
    Do you think they are legally entitled to make false accusations – maybe based on either a mistake or a nutcase customer – and then block me from getting work ? I’ve worked on flex for 18 months but the passive aggressive emails are getting worse and really stressful. Any comments welcome and thanks Michael

    1. Due to GDPR, they’ll never give you details of any customer complaints against you. Any response to customer complaints is guesswork. You need to contest it anyhow. Just tell them you’ve had a few problems recently, make your excuses and tell them you’ll re-watch the training videos.
      That will look nice on their records.
      If your technology is shit, they’re not going to take risks with you. They can get 100+ drivers who don’t have technology problems and will turn up and do the job with no problems. That’s the reason you’re getting soft-blocked, doesn’t matter how nice the people at the depot are.
      If you don’t sort your technology out, you’re effectively costing them money and are a risk.
      It’s only a matter of time before you get the elbow.
      Buy a new phone.

      1. Hi Michael thanks for advice. I only upgraded my phone two months ago to a new iPhone 11. It’s fine with everything else. I’m more worried about fake (serious) accusations but suppose they’re always going to believe the customer – gig workers are two a penny. My complaint has received five canned responses now. I give up. Thanks anyway.

        1. If they’re sending you ‘Policy Violation’, you can’t complain. You can contest.
          If you want to complain about your treatment by flex support, or the program as a whole, you may as well ‘talk to the hand’ as Ali G puts it.
          Unless you can provide specific examples where procedure has been breached and you’re on the receiving end, no-one is going to listen to you. Even in those cases where that happens, you often have to shout pretty loud before anyone will take any notice.
          Forget it and try and put it behind you, or find another job.
          All the best.
          Mike.

  8. Hi,

    Could you give any recommendations of insurance companies that will cover your car for courier driving? I’m about to start Flex as a second income and want to make sure I’m fully covered for any eventuality!

    Thanks!

  9. Flex is self taught as everything is not in the vids.I found the tips helpful thou I switched to Android as it is deffo more user friendly and no glitches having sign in/out regularly with Ipone
    Support have been excellent when needed
    Dark nights now I have head torch a must
    with additional lights in rear
    Cheers Gru

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