Amazon is an online retail success story like no other. It has given most traditional shopping spaces, both small and big, a serious run for their money. Creating a platform around the advent of the high-speed internet coupled with strong strategic manoeuvres, Amazon has become the apex retailer in the online space.
The growth and success of Amazon has created many businesses around it that have benefitted tremendously from the demand generation on the e-commerce giant’s platform. For the trucking industry, it’s Amazon Relay.
Let’s dig a bit into the Amazon Relay program.
Without much fanfare, Amazon rather quietly launched their Relay app in October of 2017. It’s available for both Apple and Android devices. It’s essentially a platform where drivers and carriers can find and haul loads for Amazon. It is Amazon’s attempt at automating the logistics side of their business which is their key USP, their Amazon delivery promise. Designed to reduce the time required to get in and out of Amazon warehouses, the app allows drivers to find loads in their vicinity and maximize their hauling ability. Amazon has showed a clear ambition to become a logistics and transportation leader in the $800 billion trucking market and it soon intends to widen the scope of Amazon logistics programs in to shipping and delivery services as well.
The Relay app has come a long way since its inception in 2017 and has become strikingly popular among truckers and logistics company. Owing to the soaring demand created on Amazon’s platform, it allows steady and consistent flow of work for truckers and carriers around the year.
How does Amazon Relay work?
The Relay app has two modes, for drivers and for carriers.
As a driver, you can sign up for the app and get access to the Amazon load boards. The app allows automatic scheduling and real time notifications making it particularly efficient compared to brokerages that rely heavily on paperwork and traditional means of communication.
As a carrier, you can book and haul loads in a few ways:
- Contracts: You can fill up your vehicle’s availability for weeks to months in advance and lock in guaranteed hauls and revenue through short term contracts with Amazon.
- Post availability: You can post availability of your trucks in a region and Amazon will match loads available loads. It is particularly efficient to maximise revenue on way back and LTL trips.
- Relay Load Boards: You can pick loads from Amazon’s exclusive loads board based on your region. This operates like traditional load-boards; however, the app offers transparent pricing and no minimum load requirements with real time confirmations and notifications making it particularly efficient.
What are the specifications to haul for Amazon?
- A Carrier entity that has authorization for Property and Hire. You can find more about these specifications on the FMCSA website.
- An active DOT number with interstate authority and valid MC number.
- Safety rating of “None”, “Not rated” or “Satisfactory” by the FMCSA
- On the Behaviour Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, the requirement are as follows:
- Unsafe Driving – Below 60%
- HOS Compliance – Below 60%
- Vehicle Maintenance – Below 75%
- Insurance as per Amazon policies that can be found on the Amazon Relay website and app:
- Commercial general liability not less than $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate
- Cargo coverage of at least $100,000
- Workers’ compensation in compliance with the jurisdiction in your area of operation
Amazon reviews all criteria before you can begin hauling. The approval process usually takes 2 – 4 business days.
Is hauling for Amazon the right decision for you?
The opinion whether it’s worth the extra insurance premiums and jumping through a few other hoops to haul for the biggest online retailer remains at “it depends”. Geographical location and the your work commitment apart from Amazon can be primary factors to consider while making that decision for your business. One of the biggest pros, particularly in a post Covid recovering economy and market is the consistency of work/loads with Amazon. There’s always hauls available through the year. If we are to go by the reviews of those using Amazon Relay, some smaller operators find the rates are often not worth the extra financial burden needed to work with Amazon while others seem to have been able to turn it into steady and profitable work.
According to ZipRecruiter, the salaries can range as high as $101,000 and as low as $24,000. With majority of salaries ranging between $47,000 to $78,000 with top earners making $84,000 across the US. Owner operators weekly pay in the US is approximately $4,145 which meets the national average.
As it stands, currently, Amazon Relay is a great way to maximize your revenues if not entirely make it your primary go-to for hauls.