The gig economy is going strong, with 57 million workers eschewing conventional employment in favor of contract work, either as a side gig to earn extra money or as their primary occupation.
It’s not uncommon for workers to take on a job that involves driving, whether that means offering transportation services through Uber or Lyft, delivering food for DoorDash or GrubHub or, most recently, delivering packages for Amazon.
In an attempt to keep up with their new one-day delivery promise for Prime members, Amazon is offering employees the option to quit their full- or part-time Amazon job and launch their own business delivering packages for Amazon.
The e-tailer will provide $10,000 in start-up costs for the aspiring entrepreneurs, and also pay them three months’ salary to help cover living costs as their deliver business ramps up. Drivers will be permitted to lease blue vans featuring the Amazon smile logo.
Last year, Amazon encouraged military veterans to start their own Amazon delivery business by offering $10,000 in reimbursements for business start-up costs. The newest offer to Amazon employees is an extension of that program.
Amazon’s vice president of global delivery services, John Felton, says more than 200 Amazon delivery businesses have launched since the program was introduced in June 2018.
For workers willing to take the risk, the sky’s the limit. For instance, one freight broker in Atlanta launched his business last summer and already has 120 employees and a fleet of 50 vans, according to an AP article.
But workers can also run as a single-van operation making local deliveries.
In the AP article, logistics and supply chain transportation experts suggest that the move is part of Amazon’s plan to take greater control of deliveries and reduce their dependence on the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx.
But Amazon still needs these major carriers to transport goods between warehouses, cross-country, and overseas by plane to maintain their reputation for speedy service.