What just happened? Amazon has long been trying to lessen its reliance on delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS. Now, the retail giant is expanding its own delivery service by helping entrepreneurs launch businesses that make sure Amazon.com items complete those last-mile journeys to customers.
Amazon’s new program, called Delivery Service Partners, offers startups an opportunity to grow a successful package delivery business. The company will lease dark-grey vans sporting the Prime logo on “attractive terms.” Firms will also receive other support from Amazon, including discounts on uniforms, fuel, insurance, and more.
Amazon said interested partners could start a business with “as little as $10,000”—not including the cost of hiring drivers—and no logistics experience is required. It expects to see operators with 20 to 40 vans employ around 100 drivers, with the larger businesses able to earn up to $300,000 per year in profits.
Businesses will pick up Amazon packages from one of its 75 US delivery stations before transporting them to buyers. The company said its vans could only be used for Amazon deliveries, though partners can deliver for other companies when using different vehicles. It never specified if it would be paying the firms on a per delivery, mile driven, or per month basis.
The program brings advantages to Amazon customers, too. More shoppers will be able to track their deliveries on a map, contact the drivers, and change where the packages are left.
Back in March, Donald Trump tweeted that Amazon was scamming the US Postal Office, and that it should pay the agency more for shipping its packages. Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, says the new program isn’t a response to the President’s remarks.