*Amazon launched its “Flex” delivery back in 2015 — offering drivers $18 to $25 dollars an hour to deliver packages — and the service has been growing steadily since.
Forbes noted that in order to join Flex, individuals are required to have a car, a valid driver’s license, an Android phone, pass a background check and be 21-years or older. Drivers are able to schedule when they want to work in two, four and eight hour shifts.
“I decided, what the hell, let’s give it a try,” Dessa Jarmon tells MONEY. “After driving UberEATS that morning, where I was on for 2 ½ hours and made $25, I worked a four-hour block and made $76.”
For people seeking to make extra money on the side, Flex could be the perfect hustle… but be warned, it’s surprisingly very competitive.
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How BAD is Amazon Flex?https://t.co/6Yp3Epmumg
— StopJeff (@StopJeff1) December 17, 2018
Here’s how MONEY breaks it down:
The competition for this side-hustle cash is hitting workers from all different types of angles. There are only so many packages; there are only so many routes. Jobs vary wildly in availability and difficulty, especially when porch pirates, winding country roads and overzealous guard dogs are involved. As word spreads about Flex, drivers are increasingly being forced to compete against each other — and the system — in order to make a steady income.
“We’re all doing the same thing,” says Christian Theurer, who runs flexdrivertips.com. “We’re all constantly searching and searching and refreshing our screens to get the next block.”
Deliveries are clustered by area and include packages from Amazon.com, Prime Now and Amazon Fresh along with orders from Whole Foods, other stores and some restaurants.
“When I take a block of time at Amazon, I know I’m going to be earning that much money,” driver Cory Moll, 36, says. “The unknown of Amazon Flex is how much work is going to be a part of that block. A block could have only a few deliveries; it could have a bunch.”
The MONEY report also notes that “Drivers are in a constant race against each other to not only get blocks but also beat the clock.”
To make any kind of come up at this gig, drivers have to get creative and develop savvy techniques that help give them more control over their profits.
“There’s got to be some accountability on folks who choose to do this, because I think they need to have a realistic understanding of the risks involved,” Davis-Sramek says, comparing driving for Flex to having a small business. “You’ve gotta deal with competition; you are constrained by market forces.”
It’s unclear how many Flex drivers Amazon has, but the service is reportedly available in more than 50 cities.