IMG_1902This is going to be a two-parter because there is a pair of Amazon delivery services out there that I have tried out. Both fall under the title FLEX, though they serve very different purposes.

Part I: Grocery Delivery

When I first signed up for the Amazon FLEX app, this is what I hoped I would be doing. That’s because the bonus of grocery delivery is tips!

Amazon Flex was pretty easy to sign up for. I filled out an online application and received an email allowing me to download the app. I watched a series of videos explaining how Amazon Flex works and then I was cleared to “reserve” shifts.

The biggest problem I found with Flex is the actual act of reserving shifts. While I do most of these tests with at least one kid in tow, I wanted to be careful with delivery. After a few months of trying and checking the app, I finally reserved a shift. Amazon Flex offers you windows and a range of money that you can make. For grocery, there’s a range of earnings because it includes tips.IMG_1866

I chose a four-hour window with $80 guaranteed. I drove to a Sprouts store about 15 miles away from my house and waited for instructions from the app. That was probably the hardest part of the whole thing. The waiting. You sign up for the shift, but you don’t know if you’ll get started when you arrive, or 30 minutes later. I heard one guy say he spent a whole two-hour shift just sitting in his car waiting.

For the first half of the shift, I received a route quickly. I went to the back of the store, where there was a row of shelves and fridges. The app will tell you what bags to grab and which fridge/shelf the bag is supposed to be on. You put the fridge items in insulated bags and take the shelved items as is. Once you’ve grabbed all your bags, you hit the road.

My first shift was all the way across town and consisted of just two stops. I did both drops with ease and then headed back to the store. It took about two hours, just like it was supposed to.

I clicked the app, letting Amazon know that I had returned and then had to wait. While I waited, I shopped for dinner and then killed some time with iPad games. Finally, I was alerted to a new shift.

amazonfresh_tote.jpgThis one had four delivery stops. I grabbed all the bags and headed across town once again. I delivered all four with ease and the time was up on my shift. The problem was, I had a bunch of Amazon insulated bags I needed to return. I didn’t want to deal with rush hour traffic, so I had to do it the next day.

All in all, I drove about 100 miles during the four-hour shift. I stopped at six houses and made $117 including tips. At an average house, I delivered about six bags, so if you have to haul a kid around too, this really isn’t a side job for you. However, if your kid can walk on his own, or sit in the car alone for a few minutes, it’s definitely doable.

The pluses:
  • $117 for four hours is pretty good. It’s $29.25 per hour which is sensational for this kind of work.
  • It’s a very independent job. All you need is your phone and a vehicle.
The minuses:
  • It’s a lot of driving. 100 miles in the San Francisco Bay Area is not fun. The wear and tear on the car, plus traffic can be a downside.
  • It’s really tough to get shifts. The good pay makes this a high demand job.
Overall, if you have older kids or a babysitter, it’s a great way to make some extra cash. If you have to haul the kids in and out of a car seat at every stop, it’s too much work to be worth it.

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