Amazon has started recruiting small businesses across the US to deliver packages and build out its network. Axios reports Amazon is interested in connecting with a range of small businesses, including small grocery stores, coffee shops, florists, clothing stores, and more. This means your local barista could finish a pour-over and then jump in a car to take an Amazon package to your neighbor.
Last year, Vox reported that Amazon was secretly recruiting mom-and-pop shops in Alabama, Mississippi, and Nebraska to join a pilot delivery program. At the time, businesses like florists and restaurants were asked to handle Amazon’s delivery loads within a 10-mile radius for a per-package rate. Participating businesses will need to be available for deliveries seven days a week and need to have a physical location Amazon can drop packages off to daily.
Now Amazon’s program, called Hub Delivery, is no longer a secret. The company has a goal to connect with 2,500 drivers operating out of those small businesses by the end of the year. Amazon’s VP of last mile delivery and technology, Beryl Tomay, tells Axios the program can supplement business’ incomes and creates “opportunities for delivery partners interested in growing a business.”
Amazon says there are no long-term contracts, and businesses bring their own staff, vehicles, and devices
The program is starting in 23 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota. It’s not just about rural communities, though: Amazon is also looking to partner up with businesses in densely populated cities, including Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
Small businesses can apply to become an Amazon Hub Partner online. The page describes the service in three steps: Amazon delivers packages to businesses daily, the businesses’ staff will deliver the packages throughout the day, and then they’re paid per completed delivery. Axios ballparks this as about $2.50 per delivery, though Amazon doesn’t state the exact rate.
The company adds that there are no long-term contracts, and businesses bring their own staff, vehicles, and devices. Amazon even has a referral program that rewards people $1,000 if they can get a small business to sign up.
Amazon’s been expanding its delivery presence to ease its reliance on the US Postal Service, especially in rural areas. In 2020, there were rumblings that the company was planning a new service to handle those countryside last-mile deliveries — which included a job listing described as “a new delivery business ... that will support Amazon’s rural communities.”