We all know that the gig economy is booming.
Companies all over the world are getting into the delivery space, meaning there are an ever-growing suite of options available to customers and drivers.
One of the biggest is Amazon.
Amazon claims that you can make as much as $25 per hour delivering for their Flex service.
But, while that’s certainly possible, it’s not always the case.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how much Amazon Flex drivers make, then provide you with actionable strategies that you can use to earn even more with the delivery service.
How Much Do Amazon Flex Drivers Make?
Most full-time Flex drivers make the minimum $18 per hour.
The reality is, the average driver working 40+ hours a week earns less than $38k a year.
Imagine what part-time drivers make!
Although that’s not the worst salary in the world, it’s not exactly what everyone signs up for.
You went through the process of applying to be an Amazon Flex driver, passing your background check, submitting your driver’s license information, and setting up your direct deposit, so it’s likely that you’re eager to earn more money.
When most people get into a gig economy job like this, they hope to make much more money than that.
So, if you want to maximize your earnings and make at least $25 per hour, you’ll have to go above and beyond.
This means not only working harder but working smarter, as well.
How to Make More as an Amazon Flex Driver
We’ve outlined some tips that can help you earn more money during each Amazon Flex shift.
Take our advice, follow these tips, and those Amazon paychecks should be higher in no time.
Drive a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
Amazon Flex is slightly different from other on-demand service platforms, like Lyft, Uber, GrubHub, and Postmates in the sense that you usually have to drive much further to pick up the orders you’re assigned.
Whereas with DoorDash, you typically only have to drive down to the corner to pick up a food order.
But in this case, you may have to drive miles and miles to get to the nearest Amazon fulfillment center if it’s not in your city.
Over time, this can lead you to spend a lot of money on gas as you navigate the different delivery routes.
Unlike DoorDash, Uber Eats, or other delivery services, Amazon doesn’t compensate Flex drivers for their mileage.
This is one of the most common complaints that drivers have about the company.
So, if you want to make a decent income as an Amazon Flex driver, you have to be smart about gas.
One way you can do this is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.
A Toyota Prius, for example, usually gets about 50 miles to the gallon whereas a Jeep Cherokee gets about 19 miles to the gallon.
Therefore, expect to see a spike in your gas bill each month if you drive an SUV.
A lot of Amazon Flex drivers invest in an SUV because they think it will allow them to transport more packages.
But, according to some current drivers, the company doesn’t account for the size of your car when they assign orders.
So, even if you have an SUV or another larger vehicle, you may still receive orders that you could fit in a small sedan.
In the end, you may end up spending a lot of money on gas.
Write Your Gas (and Repairs) Off as a Business Expense
Amazon doesn’t compensate you for gas mileage directly.
However, because Flex is an independent contractor job, you have the opportunity to write off business expenses on your tax return.
Now, doing this won’t help you get the money back, per se.
But, you can write it off as a deduction on your taxes, which means that you won’t have to pay taxes on your gas money.
The IRS has a protocol for gas write-offs called the Standard Mileage Deduction.
Essentially, they allow you to write off a certain amount for gas each year.
Currently, the Standard Mileage Rate is 54.5 cents per mile.
So, you should keep a log of all the miles you drive for Amazon Flex during the year (be as exact as possible, just in case you ever happen to get audited).
There are multiple apps that will automatically keep track of your mileage for you.
Pro Tip: Keep your receipts so you have proof you spent the money on gas and can easily write each expense off.
Then, at the end of the year, multiply your mileage by 54.5 (or whatever the SMR happens to be that year), and include it as a deduction on your tax form.
Because you depend on your car for work, you can also write off all repairs, maintenance, and any other money you spend to keep your vehicle on the road.
Those new brake pads? Include those in your deduction.
Windshield wiper fluid?
Write it off.
It helps to have a professional accountant look over your taxes at the end of the year to make sure all of your deductions are in good standing.
You’ll also avoid getting audited by the IRS this way, too.
Claiming things like gas and repairs as business expenses can save you a ton of money on your yearly income taxes.
Take Advantage of Reserve Shifts
When we talk about doing independent contractor work, we often talk about how it gives you the freedom to work whenever you want and to be your own boss.
But, the fact of the matter is that sometimes you have to set a schedule for yourself if you want to make any money.
See, Amazon Flex offers two different types of shifts: On-demand delivery blocks and reserved delivery blocks.
On-demand delivery blocks are the ones you get by turning on the Amazon Flex app, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and letting the company know that you’d like a shift.
Once a shift is available, they’ll send you an offer, and you can accept it or deny it.
This is perfect for folks who want to pick up a shift here and there whenever they have some free time.
The problems with this, however, is that there’s not always a shift available.
So, if you expect to make a full-time living as an on-demand Flex driver, instead of doing this as a side hustle, you must go into it knowing that it might be difficult.
Reserved delivery blocks, on the other hand, are pre-booked shifts that you commit to ahead of time.
So, whenever you block out a section of time (e.g., Wednesday afternoons from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) Amazon does its best to make sure that you always have a shift during that time.
You’ll mostly get first dibs on any orders that pop up for that block.
Now, you have to remember that there are likely hundreds of other drivers signed up for the same shift.
To get offers for that block, then, you’ll have to refresh the Flex app frequently during that time until an order pops up.
It’s not the best case scenario (refreshing the Flex app every few minutes gets old fast), but it can help you earn more money as an Amazon Flex driver.
Get to the Fulfillment Center Early
One of the biggest mistakes that Flex drivers make is arriving at the fulfillment center at the start of their shift.
When you do this, however, you’re likely to find that there’s a line of other drivers waiting in front of you.
This is a common complaint from drivers, who say that they’ve waited as long as 45 minutes to pick up their orders.
Now, the problem with this is that your account can face deactivation if you are late to deliver too many packages, especially the Prime Now packages.
So, those 45 minutes you spend waiting at the fulfillment center can be detrimental to your rating.
We know that it’s not your fault, but this is unfortunately how the company operates at this point.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to get there at least a half hour before your block begins.
This will give you more time in case you have to wait for other drivers to pick up their orders.
While it won’t make you more money in the immediate future, it will help to boost your rating with the company, and you’re likely to get more offers for on-demand delivery blocks and reserve shifts.
Organize Your Packages Ahead of Time
Too many drivers show up at the fulfillment center, throw all of their packages into the car, and head off on their way.
But, you can save a lot of time by organizing your packages before you hit the road.
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t organize the packages for you.
So, they may hand you 20-25 packages in no particular order, even if some of those boxes are going to the same house.
This presents a problem especially if you have a large vehicle.
When you show up to the house, it’s a big time-waster to have to search through every box to make sure you didn’t forget any.
If you make sure to organize them by address as you load them into your vehicle, you’ll be able to pull up to each house, grab the packages, and pull out the full order all at once.
Yes, it does mean you’ll spend a few more minutes at the fulfillment center before you can head out on the job.
But, it’s much easier than digging through the back of your SUV trying to find a few boxes that are buried under other boxes.
We also recommend that you keep your first order in the front seat with you.
That way, you’ll have it ready to go as soon as you arrive.
Work During the Holiday Season
This one may seem obvious, but it’s incredibly crucial.
If you don’t work during the holiday season, you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential income.
The holidays, of course, are the peak season for Amazon.
According to CNBC, nearly half of all online shopping happens on Amazon.
Some have gone so far as to say that the company has “stolen Christmas.”
Ultimately, this means that there is a high demand for drivers during this period.
This also means you may have to forego a bit of your spare time to capitalize on this demand for Flex drivers.
After all, the company depends on Flex drivers to take care of their “last mile” deliveries, transporting packages from their fulfillment centers to their customers’ homes.
Whereas most drivers are paid the Flex base rate of $18/hour during regular shifts, the price usually increases when there is a high demand.
During the holiday season, you’re likely to get paid far more than you would during the rest of the year.
Some drivers have reported that there are shifts worth as much as $30/hour in December.
So, if you’re looking to make some real money with Amazon Flex, the holiday season is the time to do it.
Work During Inclement Weather
No one wants to drive when it’s raining or snowing.
That’s a given fact.
If mail carriers had the option to stay home on a snowy day, they probably would.
But, because Flex drivers work on their own schedule, they do have the option to work during bad weather (or not).
And, as you’ll find, many of them take it and run with it.
Because so few people want to work in inclement weather, you’ll find that a lot more delivery blocks open up when it’s raining or snowing.
Ultimately, this means that you’ll be able to make some extra cash.
Of course, you should only do this if your car is capable of driving in bad weather, especially if you live a good distance from the fulfillment center.
And, you should probably get some appropriate gear.
Boots, jackets, and waterproof clothing will make your life a whole lot easier.
Yes, Amazon Flex Drivers Really Can Make $25 per Hour
We have to admit: Amazon Flex isn’t the most popular app among independent contractor delivery drivers.
Former drivers are continually bashing the company on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Reddit.
One of their biggest gripes with the company is that they’re not making the $25/hour that Amazon said they could.
Between gas mileage, oversized orders, and traffic that makes it nearly impossible to get the job done on time, many drivers find they barely break the $18/hour mark.
While there’s hardly anything to be done about traffic or the size of your orders, you can do a few things to work more efficiently.
Hopefully, by following the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to earn at least a few bucks more than you are right now.