Amazon’s latest play to get packages delivered to your door faster: offering employees incentives to quit their jobs and start delivery businesses.
On Monday, the e-commerce giant said it would provide up to $10,000 in startup costs, plus three months’ salary, for employees who are accepted into a program to become an Amazon Delivery Service Partner. According to the company’s logistics site, it is looking for people who are able to manage teams of between 40 and 100 people, who will operate 20 to 40 vans.
The move illustrates Amazon’s push for greater control over the “last mile” of package delivery as the company works to build a network of independent contractors to drop off orders rather than relying on carriers like UPS, Fedex and the post office. It also announced last month that it would offer free one-day delivery to Prime members, up from the existing two-day standard, at a cost of $800 million.
For employees that are accepted into the program, the $10,000 will cover costs like accounting and legal expenses, business licensing, recruiting fees and office supplies. It doesn’t cover the cost of Amazon-branded vans, which program participants can lease through a third-party fleet management company. Military veterans are also eligible to be reimbursed $10,000 through the program, which launched last June and which the company said has signed on more than 200 businesses so far.
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Another initiative, Amazon Flex, taps into a network of independent contractors who use their own vehicles to deliver packages. Drivers have to cover expenses like gas, car maintenance and tickets (which can occur if they have to park illegally to make a delivery), and aren’t included in Amazon’s recent pledge to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Under the newer program, drivers will be contracted by DSPs rather than Amazon directly.