TIPS AND TRICKS TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL DELIVERY PARTNER
First of all Congratulation on becoming part of Amazon Flex. It was quite a wait for some of you guys and some were lucky to have all the formalities done in few days. Now it's crucial to know some of the things before you start to be a successful delivery partner.
Things you might need to make your life easier while delivering:
1) Cell Phone Charger / Power Bank
2) Folding Cart/Dolly
3) Flash Light
4) Windshield / Air Vent Mount for phone
5) Water Bottle / Coffee Mug
6) Google Maps / Waze or both on your phone
7) Full tank of Gas will save lot of your time on road.
Scheduling a Block/s
Now when its all set with formalities and you have selected the Warehouse you are going to work its time to schedule Block. There are multiple ways to do that. Its either scheduling for a week in advance, 10pm local time or throughout the day.
1) Weekly Scheduling
It can be done through filling out your availability in "Update My Availability" Every Friday the scheduled "dots" on your apps calendar will become Orange that means that you have been scheduled for that day.
2) 10 PM Blocks Scheduling
You can schedule a block at 10 local time. It is the most common way to schedule blocks
3) During Day Scheduling
The Blocks popup during the day and you can accept a block if you are available and within derivable time distance to warehouse. Be careful while accepting a block as it can be very short noticed and only people who are within warehouse surroundings/parking lot can make on time.
4) Forfeiting a Block
If you have a block scheduled that you do not want, you must forfeit it at least 45 minutes before the route start time.
TIP: If you are a few minutes late to pick up (must pick up within 5 minutes after your start time), when navigating to the warehouse you can hit the "?", then "I have arrived but my GPS is not working", then "I have arrived." Buys you a few extra minutes. I recommend always trying to be there at least 15 minutes early anyway. I would suspect that if you abuse this they will notice and not be happy.
5) Type of Blocks
- 4 hour morning blocks:
normal deliveries 40-60 packages, very tightly grouped (within 1-5 square miles, route length 10-20 miles)
- 3 hour 4:30pm-ish blocks
: same day deliveries 20-30 packages, can be pretty spread out (route length 30+ miles) or not
- 2-3 hour 7:30pm-ish blocks:
re-attempts that other drivers brought back, 5-15 packages, can be VERY spread out (30-50+ mile route)
TIP: I have had good experiences with routing on the 4 hour blocks. 2-3 hour blocks you will want to check your map if the next delivery seems too far away, or even look after every few packages to make sure you aren't getting routed 10 miles away and then back where you just were.
Getting Ready for Delivery
Now you have an idea how the scheduling works, here is the quick look at how to prepare yourself for the delivery
1) Warehouse / Fulfillment Center
Amazon has quite a few WH and FC spread all over US, there are two major type of delivery systems a) Amazon Flex Prime b) Amazon.com.
In this section, we will stress more on Amazon.com. The .com warehouse always starts with letter "D". Now you have an idea how this delivery system works so it's a very good idea to be at your house 30 mins early on first day and few minutes early afterwards.
2) Loading your Car for accurate Deliveries
Probably one of the most important items. If you arrive at a delivery and can get the package out of your car quickly each time instead of searching through a ton of packages, the time saved adds up quickly.
When loading, look at the upper right hand corner in a box where will be a code "LL.NNNN" (LL=two letters, NNNN=four numbers), load the higher "NNNN" values first. When delivering, the lower "NNNN" numbers get delivered first. (Example: 4570 gets delivered before 4580). A few times in hundreds of deliveries, this has been backwards:-\
TIP: Note in the middle of the label, it will show the first 5-8 letters of the address in a large font, so you don't have to scan the full address in tiny print. Get a tote or mailbox to put all the loose envelopes and book-size boxes in. Sort these by address (insert vertically) when you load the bin. Put in your front seat. When loading boxes, look at the general address range. When putting the packages in your car, put the lower numbered addresses on the left and higher numbered addresses on the right. (If room allows in your vehicle.)
Now, when delivering all you have to do is scan the bin of envelopes (easy, they are in address order), then scan packages in the back from left to right by address (again, easy, they are somewhat in address order and should be stacked in layers for route.) I can usually find a package in under 10-15 seconds at each stop. Yep, I still have to dig through the pile from time to time, especially near the beginning of the route.
TIP: Have you guys encounter a problem scanning 1 package & it would messed up the entire route? I have had this happen in Phoenix when the phone would get too hot and the app would crash mid-scan. The workaround for this is to "swipe to finish scanning" mid-way through scanning packages. If the app crashes or restarts, you only need to continue scanning (just choose 'pick up' again) after where you "finished" earlier.... ie: swiping to finish actually saves what you have already scanned.
3) Driving for Deliveries
Not really to save time, but to save wear and tear on my car.
Drive slowly and methodically, no fast starts and stops. I rarely get over 15-20 mph in a neighborhood. Obviously, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood on a major street I go faster. 95% of the time, my ****** is either in Park or Drive. I avoid reversing whenever possible (safety and possible less wear on transmission.) I will drive an extra block to make a U-turn rather than a 3-point turn and risk backing into something or getting hit by an idiot speeding down the street. 95% of the time, car stays running. When out of the car, I lock it (if necessary) using my extra keyfob on my belt. The only time I turn the car off is if I am in a sketchy neighborhood and I have to go find an apartment and will be out of view of my car for an extended period of time.
For houses, park at the curb, not in driveways. Always be moving forward. For apartment leasing offices, they usually have "future resident parking" spaces up front. For smaller complexes or if I have to deliver in larger places where I have to go to an individual apartment, I don't use parking spaces- I stop as close as I can get to a curb (or even in front of parked cars) and flip the hazard lights on.
4) Deliveries and Time management Skills
If there is only a few packages and the complex is easy to navigate, I will try going to each apartment. Long day, lots of packages, etc-- All packages go to the leasing office. I am not traipsing through your 2-acre complex to look for an apartment, only to find there is no secure location to leave the package. (Again, note package density- most apartment complexes will have multiple packages for multiple residents in one drop off.) If you have more than one package and there is no clear map outside, it sometimes saves time to go into the office and ask if they accept deliveries for residents first. If they do not accept deliveries for residents, get a map from the leasing office and mark all the unit numbers on the map that need delivery so you can do it most efficiently.
Small apartments without leasing offices (or large apartments that won't accept deliveries for residents)
get delivered to the apartment, not much you can do there. Lots of these have patios/small back yards/etc which can be useful for leaving packages.
TIP: When you have to deliver to an apartment and there is no answer, you can leave the package in an enclosed patio, toss it onto the balcony (2nd floor), etc. Be sure to leave a "we missed you" w/note indicate where the package is left.
Drop, ring the doorbell, and leave. If it is obvious that old or handicapped people live there I will wait 30-40 seconds to be nice. Find a place to stash the package out of view (behind column by door, under doormat, etc.) If I have to stash the package in a non-obvious place (behind bush not immediately viewable by resident when coming home, over the side gate, etc) I will always leave a "We Missed You!" tag with the location noted on it.
TIP: For houses or apartments that are in obviously sketchy neighborhoods, I am recently more prone to bring the package back to the warehouse if I cannot actually hand it to someone as they told us recently that they were "cracking down on packages that customers report not getting." When in these neighborhoods I will actually wait for someone to answer the door and if they do not, I do not leave the package in an un-secure area.
Gated communities and apartments with no gate code given:
Call customer via app, call customer via callbox, look ahead on itinerary to see if there are other addresses in the same community that might have a gate code, wait around a few minutes and follow someone else in, call support if you want to cover your ass, bring back to warehouse.
If at the end of your route, you have one or two packages you could not deliver and the re-attempting the deliveries would be much less mileage than returning them to the warehouse (ie: the warehouse is NOT on your way home anyway, it is 15 miles in the wrong direction) if you want you can re-attempt delivery.
Credit goes to Gaj