Amazon Grows On-Demand Delivery Fleet

Amazon is prepping itself to tighten its grip around the delivery side of its business and squeeze more profits out of it by expanding its Amazon Flex service.

In its latest move, the Seattle-based company has discreetly rolled out a campaign to recruit more on-demand drivers to speed up its delivery service, gain independence from third-party delivery companies and minimize the expenses from its multi-billion dollar logistics bill, Reuters reported.

The Amazon Flex service, which is currently available in 14 cities, including Dallas, Las Vegas and Seattle, works similarly to Uber’s business style — drivers can log into the delivery app, pick packages and deliver them to doorsteps of customers.

While the company plans on expanding the service to other cities, it doesn’t want to entirely bypass local delivery companies. Without giving any further details, the company spokesperson added that it will “explore new ways to provide customers with faster service and delivery partners with more opportunities,” according to Reuters.

Amazon’s plan to expand its Flex service comes at a time when the company is increasingly spending more resources on becoming self-sufficient, with the development of its drone program and directly recruiting drivers to power other methods of delivery. If the company’s plan works out, it is expected to save shipping costs, which steadily rose by 18 percent in 2015 to reach $11.5 billion, according to analysts’ reports.

The plan also expands on the delivery options for many of the 200 million products that Amazon sells on its site — only a small percentage of which are Prime Now-eligible. As for the new Prime Flex drivers, the company is presenting it as an opportunity to earn $18–$25 per hour, seven days a week, with a chance to earn tips.