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Amazon Flex Takes A Page From Uber Playbook

Amazon is looking for a few good drivers with flexible schedules to deliver Prime Now purchases to Seattle customers.

The service, available now in 13 cities, provides two-hour deliveries for free, and one-hour deliveries for $7.99, to Prime-tier members. The assortment is limited to about 25,000 “daily essentials” like shampoo, books, batteries, restaurant orders and CE, and the retailer has relied in no small measure on bicycle messengers for fulfillment.

Now, taking a page from Uber, Amazon is recruiting Seattle-area delivery drivers with the promise of flexible schedules and wages of $18 to $25 an hour. Candidates for the new Amazon Flex program must be 21 or older; pass a background check; and have a car, Android phone and valid driver’s license.

Drivers can choose any available 2-, 4- or 8-hour block of delivery time on a daily basis or schedule up to 12 hours a day in advance, and can work as much or as little as they prefer.  

Amazon said it plans to extend Flex to nine other cities soon, and may add non-Prime Now packages to the mix in the future.

Besides drivers, the company is also hiring engineers, product managers and designers to support the Flex initiative.

Seeking Alpha news editor Eric Jhonsa sees the move as a setback to Uber, which launched its own food delivery program and is eager to expand into other logistics services.