We heard in April about how Amazon plans to speed up its Prime delivery service from two days to just one, with the company investing hundreds of millions of dollars to make it happen.
It now appears that some of that money will be wrapped up in a new scheme that encourages current Amazon workers to quit their jobs and start their own business delivering Amazon packages.
The new initiative is an expansion of the Amazon Delivery Service Partner program that launched in the U.S. in 2018. The scheme helps independent contractors to operate a fleet of as many as 40 delivery vehicles, with Amazon offering training in managing the business as well as discounts on necessary expenses such as vehicle leases, fuel, insurance, and branded uniforms. Amazon suggests those who get involved could generate profits of up to $300,000 a year.
Anyone who wants to join the program needs to stump up $10,000 to get started, but this week Amazon announced that if any of its employees want to run their own delivery company via the program, the online shopping giant will take care of the $10,000 set-up fee.
As an extra incentive, it’s also offering each participant a payout equal to three months of their most recent Amazon salary.
“We received overwhelming interest from tens of thousands of individuals who applied to be part of the Delivery Service Partner program, including many employees,” Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a release. “We’ve heard from associates that they want to participate in the program but struggled with the transition. Now we have a path for those associates with an appetite for opportunities to own their own businesses.”
Amazon said that since launching the program in June 2018, it has enabled the creation of more than 200 small businesses that have gone on to hire thousands of local drivers to deliver packages to Amazon customers.
The move to offer Amazon workers incentives to start their own package delivery business comes amid ongoing efforts by the company to both expand and streamline its shipping services. One of the most challenging parts of its business, Amazon uses a range of methods to get ordered items into customers’ hands that include delivery drivers, lockers, and even car trunks.
Looking ahead, it hopes one day to make deliveries using drones and robots. Amazon’s desire to introduce such autonomous technology to its delivery network may cause some people to think twice about setting up their own delivery business, but the company will likely use it to complement its current human-driven delivery system rather than replace it altogether.
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