Amazon Launches Uber-esque Service: Amazon Flex

Amazon is looking to “build the future of delivery” with the launch of its new service, Amazon Flex. The idea behind Amazon’s newest endeavor is hiring regular, everyday folks as independent contractors to deliver packages for its Prime Now customers, similar to Uber’s transportation service. Anyone who is at least 21 years with a car, a valid driver’s license, an Android phone, and is able to pass a background check can deliver packages for the online retail giant. ­

The service pays its contractors $18 and $25 per hour and is named for the flexibility in scheduling it provides for drivers. Workers can choose any available 2, 4, or 8 hour shifts 7 days a week, giving them a consistent flow of work. The website for the service touts that you can “Be your own boss: deliver when you want, as much as you want”. In the future, Amazon may expand the service to other delivery opportunities such as delivery via bike or on foot.

With all the criticism and recent lawsuits surrounding similar services (Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub, etc.), which classify drivers as independent contractors and therefore do not offer healthcare or other benefits, it will be interesting to see how it affects Amazon Flex.

Currently, the service is only available in Seattle, but it will soon be expanding to New York, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland. This move is another attempt by Amazon to meet the last mile delivery needs of the modern consumer and create a balanced supply network that is both profitable and convenient. Is this is the direction for the future of delivery?