Flex Driver Support and How to Deal With It

Since the first one and two hour delivery hub opened in Seattle last year, Amazon has been expanding the service like mad.  Many new cities have come online offering speedy delivery for customers, as well as new job opportunities for independent contractors.  On the surface it seems like a win for everyone involved, the company, the customers and the drivers.  And for the most part it is.  But lately there have been a lot of complaints about the level of customer service that the company is providing to the drivers.  Support response times pertaining to problems and issues have been slow, if at all.  And this low quality support is directly related to a driver’s ability to not only perform the job well, but also keep the job.

Being an independent contractor,  I’m not an employee of Amazon.  I’m not in a position to advise the company on what they can or should do to remedy this situation.  (I have a few ideas, though!)  I’m not sure it is something they are even trying to remedy.  In the scheme of things, if they let a  driver go, they have 50 more to fill their spot.  What does it really matter to them if they get it wrong and deactivate a good driver?  Not much.  The only thing that truly matters is getting the customer’s order delivered within the timeframe they said they would.  And due to the customer continuing to like this type of service, deliveries will continue to be made, and drivers will continue to make money.  And that’s good for us!

As frustrating as support can be at times, drivers have no option other than to put up with it.  Growing pains for new services such as this are going to occur.  This is one of them.  You either accept it, or you move on.

The simplest thing a driver can do to avoid frustration is to do their best to not have to contact support.  I know that this is impossible in some instances, so when you do have to contact them, give them time to respond.  Don’t expect a resolution in 24 hours.  Even 72 hours for that matter.  Write your emails to them politely.  Demands are rarely met.  Take the time to make sure you are getting your needs explained.  Your thought process should be that you want to remain delivering, so word you emails as such.

Another tip is to simply to do the job well!  Although there are some good drivers that were deactivated due to reasons beyond their control, a clean record may just be your saving grace.  Show up when you are scheduled.  Be early.  Deliver on time.

What you have to remember is that this is just the beginning.  Amazon isn’t doing this as a test.  They want to grow the delivery side of their business.  And in doing so I  believe that the driver support issues will get sorted soon.  But for now, drivers will just have to deal with it. It’s unfortunate, but a fact.  The company is moving forward so fast, who knows what the delivery positions will evolve into?  Time will tell if the current frustrations will be worth it.


54 thoughts on “Flex Driver Support and How to Deal With It

  1. This is definitely great advice and has been clear every day in NYC. The way it was presented to me in its clearest language is : “there is a clear line between independent contractors and the company. Do not expect a resolution unless there is a clear problem with things that the company has to fix or laws get involved”. In other words they dont care if you cry about something, just if you didnt get paid for doing work. So far its been fun for most of us in NYC, with the occasional typical issues between people in competition. the fact is you could try to have 100 people all working to help each other but there will always be at least one person who smiles in your face and would steal from your back pocket when you turn around. Such is life.

      1. Flex Driver here out in Springfield location. BTW love your blog site here FlexDriverTips!

        Looks like Amazon Flex doing a special this week. Got an email below. Does this mean they need more drivers? No complaints but curious why the $2 bump.

        Check the Amazon Flex app for opportunities to earn an increased rate of $40 – $54 for each delivery block (estimated to take 2 hours) you complete between 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. through Saturday, October 15.

        To learn how to check for available blocks, check out the FAQ in the “Help” tab of the Main Menu in the Amazon Flex app.

        Thank you for delivering smiles with us!

        The Amazon Flex Team

      2. Thanks for the heads up! It could be a bump for your location due to extra volumes during those times and limited drivers. The time slot is definitely in the thick of things as far as traffic goes. Glad you like the site. Keep any updates like this coming!

  2. Tell me about it! Support is useless I am in the miami area signed up got the acceptance email. It will not let me choose a delivery area! I contacted support and they keep emailing on a loop as their response is already premade. It is a pain in the ass to fix things on my account, yet my friend who signed up weeks later is already working!

    1. Sorry to hear about he issues, Jane. Hopefully you are out delivering soon. Did you go to one of the online sessions they hold during the week? Support should have at least directed you there.

      1. Well honestly I did not attend the online session tho they know this and they said thats not the issue. As the online session is only to give the app to users. That being said the friend I told you that signed up weeks after just like me through the app is already working, and futher response from support is that they are over whelmed with drivers if this is true it is amazing they put a cap on drivers so every driver gets a fair chance to get block but I dont get how my friend who signed up weeks after I got accepted is working but I am not if its truly because they are overwhelmed with drivers it should be first come first serve not 3 weeks after everyone first served.

  3. Do you get enough hours in a workday/week in order to come out in the green after factoring in for sunk costs(Commercial insurance, gas, oil, etc.) ? I looked at some policy quotes for commercial car insurance and they start at $1200 and it goes up from there. Someone is getting royally fucked here or is there some detail I’m missing?

    1. You don’t need commercial car insurance. You are an independent contractor. Normal insurance would do.

    2. I know some states require extra insurance like New York. I’ve heard rates in the $300 range. My state does not require it so yes, I am able to come out green after I factor in personal expenses. It is definitely something to consider. See this post on earning potentials I did a few months ago. Gas prices were lower at that time so numbers are a little different now.

  4. Yeah, in New York, Flex asks for commercial car insurance and proof. The range is like $1200 and up. If it wasn’t for that, Flex would seem doable. Where did you hear $300? I don’t anyone who gets rates like that, even on beater cars/trucks.

    1. Schoone718 is newly delivering in NYC. Maybe he can comment on his cost of insurance and the amount of hours he’s getting. For some reason I remember him saying the insurance was in the range of $300, but I could be wrong.

    1. According to a Craigslist add that has since been deleted, hourly rates are higher in New York. At least in Brooklyn. Maybe to make up for the cost of insurance?

      1. The rate they gave me was $18-$25, through the official amazon email they sent me. My webinar is on the 4th. Maybe Schoone718 can chime in on how one can even come out in the green in this city. The math doesn’t add up for me.

      2. Hi everyone, I just signed up to drive for flex in San Francisco ( waiting to clear the background check). Not sure if every city if different but the base pay rate here is $36 and the range is $36- $50. So In the videos ot said that you can see the rate a particular block of time will pay in advance before committing to working that slot. So I have a question for you, are there blocks of time that pay more than the base pay rate? If so, what sort of times? Early am or late night, for instance?


      3. The base rate in each city will normally stay constant. If the base rate is going to move up for a certain block or day the company will send out an email to let the drivers know. Days like cyber Monday may get a higher rate as well as days when weather is awful and Amazon wants to confirm there will be enough drivers. The base pay is normally upped by 2 dollars per hour. A screenshot of the page where you will see the pay for the block is here, in the bottom right portion of the screen. The email that the company sends out will let you know when you can start securing the blocks. Most likely it’s the night before. Have fun!

  5. I just received an acceptance email from Amazon to drive out of Fulfillment Center ONT6 in Riverside, CA. This Center is 46 miles from my home in Upland, CA. This is in Southern California’s Inland Empire, 65 miles east of Los Angeles, CA. Question: Is it common to have a 46-mile trip to pick up packages when there is a closer Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino, CA only 30 miles from where I live. I am not trying to be ungrateful or whinny, I just need to make the correct decision being a new, unknowing driver.

    1. It seems far to me, but it all comes down to what you are willing to do. I assume there is a need for drivers at that location and they are looking to onboard you due to your proximity. When you do the online session you should address this with the host. Maybe once you have the app you can choose a location that’s more convenient? Remember though, the delivery zone will be a circle around that warehouse. The additional miles just to pick up your packages need to be factored into your decision. Some scenarios for consideration are that your route ends five miles from your house, but you have to return items to the warehouse that were undeliverable. Or your route ends 60 miles on the other side of the warehouse, putting you 106 miles away from home. In both cases you are looking at extra miles that will affect your take home pay. Hope this helps.

  6. Question about restaurant deliveries. Right now I am at a waiting area and waiting to a pickup option to appear in my phone. The phone told me to just go to an intersection downtown. I’m wondering how far away I can be from that intersection. There is a lake on the intersection and I’m wondering if I could walk around it or if I just need to stay planted. There’s also a library on the other side of the intersection.

    1. With location on, the app will know where you are relative to the pickup spot. If you get notified that the order is ready, how long will it take you to get to your car and drive to the restaurant? It all comes down to your comfort level and timing.

  7. Is Amazon Flex asking drivers to buy insulated delivery bag? Got an email 6 mins ago below. I am here to make money and save not to spend. Hopefully they are not asking to buy but provide at delivery station…

    Starting September 18, some orders may need to be picked up from a restaurant. Here are a few things about restaurant order delivery process and the Amazon Flex app we wanted to share:

    · An insulated bag is required for health and safety reasons when picking up restaurant orders. You can pick up an insulated delivery bag at the Delivery Station now or you can purchase one here for convenience. Please note that failure to deliver with an insulated bag may affect your service quality and customer service ratings.

    · Your block start location will automatically update in the Amazon Flex app one hour before your block start time. Check the app to see if you’re starting at a delivery station, waiting area or another location.

    · Tap “I’ve Arrived” in the Amazon Flex app when you arrive at the delivery station or waiting area. This will let us know you’re ready to deliver! The app will not allow you to mark you’ve arrived more than 5 minutes after the block start time.

    · If picking up an order at a location other than a delivery station, the app will show you the pick-up status of the order. If the order is still being prepared, please wait outside until the order is ready. Once the order is ready for pick-up you will be notified via the app.

  8. The best way to deal with support and maintain a 5 star rating is not to drive. I’m serious. Amazon’s driver ranking system does not consider situations beyond your control. The more shifts you do, the more problems you’ll encounter and the lower you’ll be rated. You will be blamed for everything whether it was your fault or not. e.g. stuck in traffic, someone rear ends you, support tells you to bring remaining packages back to the station because the app, phone, or internet stopped working. Package errors, app errors, Amazon locker errors, limitations of the app, if the app crashes after updating, … if your car breaks down or doesn’t start. You can’t talk to the people who are responsible for rating you. Everything is done by email. Even if you email them and explain every situation or problem you encounter and how you tried to do your job conscientiously, you’ll take the blame and your rating goes down. There is a customer support number but they have no authority. They are working from home from a script. If they give you the wrong advice and you follow it, you’ll take the blame. They’re so big right now and so many people looking for work, they think they can treat their people like trash. One of these days it’ll come back to bite them in the axx. Do a Google search for these keywords: what it’s like working for amazon.

  9. I got kicked in another delivery area ddc2 rockville MD from uva1 springfield VA 2days ago.
    I want to continue at springfield uva1 for prime now.
    I’ve been emailing support and have not gotten any resolutions. I did what they told me about clearing memory and not having any blocks or calendar set up and still nothing.

    WTH are the doing? This is the simplest request they can do. What’s the holdup. I need to get back work at springfield asap.

    1. Hey Merelene,
      Do you know by any chance how to switch between prime and felx in Springfield VA ? last week I only got blocks for flex ( 3hours no tip )
      I emailed support, all I got is some unrelated answers ….

    2. Hello, I’ve been working at the DDC2 location since May. In the last two weeks I have seen a ton of VA tags. The problem with Rockville location is the HIGH turnover rate. So many drivers have quit its ridiculous. So they try to pull people from the Springfield location to work in Rockville. Secondly Rockville location tries to add more packages to a route because they are busy and have few drivers. You are never to take more than 70 packages per route. So drivers said forget it and quit because of the number of packages. Plus you can deliver for Amazon thru other companies. I am not trying to discourage you but that is to long of a driver around 495. I hope you are able someway to get back to Springfield. Good Luck!!!

      1. Do you guys in Rockville drive for prime/fresh and flex ? I’m kinda confused now. what kinda hour blocks do you get ?
        70 package !! that is crazy and I think most people will not be able to even finish them in time.

      2. Re: Salah.
        The Rockville location is Flex only. It covers all of Rockville, Potomac, Onley, Some parts of Bethesda , Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring and a few spots in PG. For some driver this might take more than 4 hours however most of those driver usually quit, because cant navigate well. For me and alot of drivers who are still there from the beginning it takes 2 hours total and this includes scanning and picking up from warehouse. The drivers who navigate well tend to pick up a second block . I know some drivers who do two blocks per day everyday. I do two blocks on Monday and Tuesday. You really cant beat it. I make $576 per week for 18 hours of work. If you are not a good driver and or bad at navigation Amazon might not be for you.

      3. I did try the Flex with average 55 package and I was able to finish before time, but the problem is the stress on the car. No matter what! in & out from the car 40 times at least ! stop, break, open close the trunk, door… is too much damage for the car. Also “Brace yourself winter is coming” what is going to happen with the rain? Take all that to the 70 packages I don’t see any profit in the long run.
        I really liked the 4 hours blocks of prime better, but I don’t know how to get back to pick those blocks again. Does anybody have an idea how to pick Fresh/prime now ?

  10. Can someone provide me the link or technical support or support to download the flex app? I gone through the online session and the link they provided is not connecting me to schedule blocks to deliver. Please respond. Thank you

  11. So I finally had my background check completed and the app is now forcing me to pick a delivery area without giving any other options. Isn’t it true that once you pick your area that’s it, the end? I don’t want to be given an area super far from my house. Any tips?

    1. Aubrey, You are correct, people are having an extremely hard time switching their pickup spots, if at all. As I’m sure you realize, the area offered to you will be where they need drivers the most. Unfortunately your only option right now is to go where they need you. Definitely take into consideration the distance and and any extra cost involved so that you can make sure it’s worth it.

      1. Thanks for responding so quickly! I wish I could know where the area is located before I click SUBMIT to agree to that area.

  12. I am considering signing up. I read the legal part and am flummoxed by the Indemnity Part. Seems everyone that works now for Amazon Flex understands what they signed. Indemnity means Amazon takes zero legal risk and you, the driver, must hire counsel to defend yourself on Amazon behalf. I have left the app open and don’t know if I should agree, knowing that if anything happens, regardless of fault, I have to defend myself and Amazon, period. Is that worth the part time money? If I do sign I would sign up for the Northern Virginia/Southern Maryland area thinking that is the Rockville office. Thoughts on Indemnifying Amazon?

    1. Like most terms of service and use agreements, the wording is complex, written by corporate lawyers, in the best interest of the company they represent. I agree with you, there are parts that seem to defy reason. Some of the legals I’ve read from Amazon deal directly with the use of the Delivery App, while others deal with the actual independent contractor delivery side. Your concerns are certainly valid. The biggest one being, what happens if I get in an accident and someone sues me while I’m delivering? I personally am comfortable with my auto insurance policy in addition to the coverage provided by Amazon while I’m delivering, but each driver will have their own opinion. It would be great if drivers were never in a situation where the insurance needed to be tested, but real life happens. As far as your delivery zone, it all depends on your zip code and facilites near you where drivers are needed. Hopefully it’s close! Best of luck to you.

  13. hi sir, sorry to trouble you but your my only resource. I’ve been using my tablet for this work, but i’m over not being able to pickup blocks fast enough. I was thinking of getting an iPhone and changing my phone # in my account to that phone. I assume I just load the driver app onto my new iPhone and go? or am I missing some steps? please advise, thanks.

    1. I would email support prior to making the switch and confirm that the new phone you are looking into is compatible with the app. Once confirmed, and you have the phone, let them know you have updated your phone and need the link to the app. You can also let them know your new number as well. You may be able to update that portion once logged in. Hopefully the change is worth it and you get some more hours!

  14. hi sir, thanks for speedy reply. That’s exactly how I was going to do it, just wanted to bounce it off you. I’ve been getting killed trying to pick up blocks, do you think an iPhone would make it quicker or easier for sure? Everyone other than me seems to be getting open blocks somehow!! Thanks.

    1. I use a Motorola that is by no means “state of the art.” The ability to use the iPhone is very recent so I haven’t had a chance to check around to see how people are doing with them. For picking up shifts it mostly is going to depend on the speed of refreshing the home screen and clicking through until you accept the deliveries. If your tablet was slow during that process then the iPhone should help. That being said, pay attention to your connection speed and the times you are searching. As I’m sure you’ve read, certain times can be better than others. Best of luck!

    1. Hello Yovanna. Sorry, I don’t have anything to do with Amazon other than being an independent contractor. I can’t help in any way with your application. Best of luck to you.

  15. Does Amazon even bother to read our feedback? I made a suggestion that the bright blue packaging tape they recently started using is a beacon for thieves. Just wondering does anyone think they take our suggestions seriously? I see the blue tape as a huge problem.

  16. Hi, I deliver out of Phoenix, AZ. I do amazon.com deliveries. I have a question. I have rec’d email saying customer stated they did not receive package. This makes me nervous bc they said they will deactivate me if keeps happening. Also seems the loads are becoming larger and larger. I have almost 70 packages inside a 3 hr block. I wasn’t able to complete the deliveries bc mostly apt and trying to find buildings. So I tried to do what I could, even went over block by 45 mins. Took remaining packages which was about 15 back to warehouse. They understood but I ended up getting email from Amazon saying I need to deliver all packages. What do u do in this situation.

      1. Jessica,

        I have a real job. Don’t come for me. If u don’t have an answer to what to do in this situation, bag back……

      2. The best and only thing to do is document the deliveries you make just in case someone reports they didn’t receive a package you actually did deliver. But in the essence of time this practice isn’t always prudent. As far as the ones not delivered due to taking them back to the warehouse, that’s a tough one because while I agree that some routes are way too ambitious, I always complete them. I guess it comes down to doing what you think is the best practice.

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