Aug 21, 2023
Are you a felon who has driving skills, and a commercial driving license to match, and you’re thinking about working with Amazon as a truck driver?
Amazon hires truck drivers who have a felony conviction to work on the delivery and logistics sides of its business.
Your Options as a Truck Driver With Amazon
You can divide your options as a truck driver for Amazon into three categories:
Amazon Flex driver
Amazon Relay driver or company.
Each offers something different, with Amazon Relay only being available to companies that wish to become part of Amazon’s nationwide delivery network.
Amazon Delivery Driver
Those looking for full-time roles, without the hassle of organizing their own schedules, will gravitate to Amazon’s delivery driver program.
Interestingly, the program doesn’t mean you become a truck driver working directly for Amazon. Instead, you become a driver for one of the company’s Deliver Service Partners (DSPs), the network of delivery and trucking companies Amazon maintains in the United States.
The Benefits of Being an Amazon Delivery Driver
The chief benefit of being an Amazon delivery driver is that a lot of the hard work is done for you. Vehicles aren’t an issue (the DSP you work for provides them for you) and you don’t have to schedule your own hours.
The latter may be a benefit or a drawback depending on how much flexibility you need in your work.
As a delivery driver, you commit to 40-hour working weeks, with scheduling handled by your DSP. You have the option of working 10 hours per day for four days per week (4/10 weeks) and overtime is available to those who need to earn a little more.
Salaries are satisfactory, with Indeed pointing out that the average Amazon delivery driver earns $18.80 per hour. That’s slightly above the national average, and you receive full benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off.
Additionally, Amazon doesn’t require its delivery drivers to have commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). But don’t be fooled by this.
The DSP that hires you may require a CDL, especially if you’re driving a truck for them, so make sure your documentation is in order.
The Downsides of Being an Amazon Delivery Driver
A lack of flexibility is the chief downside of working as an Amazon delivery driver. You’re an employee, not a freelance trucker, so you can’t pick and choose when and how you work. You receive a schedule and you’re expected to keep it.
Experienced truck drivers may find Amazon’s salary a little tight-fisted. Indeed states the average trucker earns $83,400 per year, which works out to close to $40 per hour, nearly double what Amazon pays to delivery drivers.
However, you may receive higher than the average delivery driver’s salary when driving a truck due to the extra expertise required compared to non-commercial vehicles.
For the trucker who doesn’t want to be tied down to a DSP, Amazon offers its Flex program. As the name implies, the program offers the flexibility to choose when you work, though it’s far from perfect.
You’re treated as an independent contractor. Therefore, you have the same responsibilities as any other contractor in terms of arranging your own health insurance and other protection that you receive automatically as a full-time Amazon delivery driver.
The Benefits of Amazon Flex
The most obvious benefit of Amazon Flex is independence. You’re in control of your schedule; you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. This makes Flex a great choice for parents or those using Amazon as a side job to bring in a little extra cash.
Amazon also makes it easy to schedule yourself for work. You get access to an app, which you use to reserve time blocks for when you want to work. The app delivers the details, you just show up, pick up, and drop off until the time block ends.
Earnings are reasonable, too. Amazon claims that the majority of Flex drivers pick up between $18 and $25 per hour, which matches (and then exceeds) the average hourly wage for an Amazon delivery driver.
You also have options within the Flex program – you can choose to work on larger deliveries for Amazon Logistics or take a more customer-centric approach through Amazon Fresh, Amazon Restaurants, or Prime Now.
The Downsides of Amazon Flex
The autonomy that’s such a big selling point for Amazon Flex can also be its downfall for many truck drivers.
You must supply your own vehicle.
That’s not usually a problem for people working out of their personal vehicles, but for truckers, it means owning a truck and handling the maintenance costs that come with it. There’s no help from Amazon, so you have to pay for upkeep out of your earnings.
Alternatively, with a felony, you can consider working for Uber.
Amazon also has restrictions in place for those who can work in the Flex program. You must be at least 21 years old, meaning younger truckers don’t have Flex as an option.
Thankfully, other restrictions (having a valid U.S. driving license and owning a vehicle that’s at least mid-size) won’t hamper truckers.
Add to this the downsides that come with working as an independent contractor: your freedom comes at a price, namely the lack of benefits and stability that come with the work.
You’ll also have the added burden of submitting Form 1099 – NEC & Independent Contractors form to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year.
Amazon jobs don’t get more trucking focused than the Amazon Relay program.
While the Flex and delivery driver positions allow drivers of all types to get involved, Relay is for truckers only. Or, more specifically, it’s for the trucking companies that want to become part of the company’s DSP network so they can transport freight for Amazon.
The Benefits of Amazon Relay
Speedy and quick-paying contracts are the most evident benefits of joining the Amazon Relay program. Qualifying carriers get access to short-term contracts, offered several weeks in advance, that they can use to fill truck drivers’ schedules.
There’s also an Amazon Relay mobile app, made available to drivers, that’s designed to make transporting freight for the company simple.
The app has the obvious scheduling notifications and check-in processes, but it stands out because it’s designed for truckers. Its commercial navigation system highlights routes that let you avoid issues such as low bridges or weight limits.
In addition, Amazon has strict requirements for Amazon Relay, which are good in the sense that they ensure the service maintains a strong reputation. Your company needs valid MC and DOT numbers, the latter of which must be active for at least 180 days.
Other requirements include the liability insurance the applying company needs to have.
The Downsides of Amazon Relay
As a commercially focused enterprise, Amazon Relay isn’t open to people who simply want to jump in a vehicle and get to work. You have to pass rigorous entry requirements, though these requirements aren’t so steep that they stop self-employed truckers from finding work with Amazon.
Furthermore, there seems to be a preference for night runners. In other words, most loads offered by the Relay program require a driver to transport items overnight to get them to their destination. That’s bad news if you prefer driving during the day.
Pay can also be an issue. Expect to earn an average of $30 per hour working under Amazon Relay, which is $10 lower than the average trucker’s salary in the United States.
The silver lining here is that you don’t have to pay anything (besides fuel costs and maintenance) for a load from Amazon.
Truckers With Felonies Have Options With Amazon
Amazon’s truck driver jobs generally focus on creating a network of third-party partners rather than running its logistical operations in-house. That’s ideal for contractors, trucking companies that need to fill their schedules, and felons who want to earn a little money on the side.
Stability comes in the form of its delivery service offering, though that comes with the downside of a generally lower wage than you might receive from other companies.
Nevertheless, if you’re a trucker who needs to find more work, the three options highlighted here are ideal.