I previously wrote about my experience delivering with DoorDash and Instacart. I’ve tried a third one to tell you about: Amazon Flex. So, if you have an Amazon station near you, as I do, you can do Amazon Flex. It’s similar to DoorDash and Instacart except you’re doing it for Amazon.
Like those two, it’s all based in the app. There’s an orientation onboarding where I had to watch about 30 minutes worth of videos, undergo a background check (which happened quickly) and I was ready to go.
With Amazon Flex, you pick blocks ahead of time that you want to select. For example, the two block periods I’ve done are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the previous two Mondays, but there are other time blocks and time lengths.
About 15 minutes ahead of the block (and up to five minutes after the block; if you miss that range, as I did on Saturday, you forfeit your block), you arrive at the station. Amazon workers then direct you around to where there will be a cart waiting with the boxes and envelopes you’ll be delivering.
I’m still a newb about this, as I’ve messed it up twice out of two times now. It’s just not always clear to me where they want me to go and I end up going about it awkwardly. And then like today, I wasn’t sure if I’m allowed to go once I loaded up or if I have to wait. It turned out, I have to wait and they will direct me out.
Today, I even got my official Amazon vest, which makes me feel better about being a stranger delivering packages to homes and apartments. Anyhow, you then use the app to scan your route and then scan each package in.
I’m still not sure how to properly organize my packages. They make it seem like there’s a way to do it by checking your itinerary, but I just throw all the boxes in my trunk and the envelopes in my backseat and then find what I need from there.
My first delivery, I had 27 boxes and envelopes and with my second delivery, I had 20 boxes and envelopes. Out of 47 items, I’d say only two were even moderately heavy.
Amazon’s algorithm or whatever they use is pretty darn on point. Despite the item difference, both routes are still nearly to the minute pegged at that 3-hour block. But what I like is that once you’re in your designated delivery area, most of the packages are around that area. So, you hit one spot, go 1.5 miles to the next, .8 miles to the next and so on.
When arriving at a house, you see the name of the person you’re delivering to, match the name to the package, scan it in and deliver it to the house. In 99.9 percent of cases, I’ve left the package at the door and took a photo. Only once so far I’ve actually handed off the package to someone.
What I like about Amazon Flex is that once I get past my awkwardness with going to the Amazon station, I’m doing my own thing and hardly interacting with anyone. Also, that three hours goes by super fast because you’re in a zone going from spot to spot to spot to spot until you’re done.
And like with DoorDash and Instacart, the app makes everything pretty simple.
That said, three primary issues I have with Amazon Flex:
- My one kidney self sometimes finds it difficult to hold my pee for three hours and the way that spot to spot is set up, and if I’m in a place I’m not as familiar with, it’s hard to find the wiggle room to sidetrack for a pee! Too much information, but well, that’s what this is for!
- The Amazon map isn’t as good as Apple maps. For example, the app gives you direction to the station. I know where the station is even without the app, but for some reason, the map takes me through a weird route that quite literally makes no sense. And outside of that, I’ve had some issues following the map directions.
- House numbers are hard to find! Add in my poor eyesight, darkness and rain, and it can be even harder. It has been quite a revelation to me how many houses don’t have obvious numbers. Some houses have it on the mailbox, the curb, above the garage door and above the front door and some houses have … nothing, or it’s obscured or the numbers are chipped off so it’s hard to see. In fact, apartments are actually better because at least the numbers are obvious; then it just becomes a matter of finding the particular apartment number or letter.
Anyhow, I think out of the three, I find Instacart more “fun” as odd as that sounds, particularly given how much I was criticizing it in my blog post, but I do like Amazon Flex, too. It’s good money and relatively easy once you get rolling.
If you’re looking for some side money as I am, then I recommend it. A few hours here and then for that extra dough in your pocket.