Amazon is encouraging its employees to quit, and start their own small businesses delivering packages for the e-commerce giant.
It is expanding its Delivery Service Partner program, launched last summer, which it says offers startup costs as low as $10,000, with discounts on Amazon-branded vans, insurance, and other business necessities; hands-on and in-the-field training; a technology toolkit; and $10,000 reimbursements for qualified veterans to build their own businesses.
Its new expansion of the program targets current Amazon employees. Amazon said it will take an active role in helping interested employees launch their own package delivery businesses. The new incentive will fund the startup costs, up to $10,000, as well as the equivalent of three months of the former employee’s last gross salary so employees-turned-business-owners can more easily get their package delivery companies off the ground.
“We received overwhelming interest from tens of thousands of individuals who applied to be part of the Delivery Service Partner program, including many employees,” said Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations, in the announcement. “We’ve heard from associates that they want to participate in the program but struggled with the transition. Now we have a path for those associates with an appetite for opportunities to own their own businesses.”
Since the launch of the Delivery Service Partner program in June 2018, Amazon said, it has enabled the creation of more than 200 new small businesses that have hired thousands of local drivers to deliver packages to Amazon customers. This year, the company said, it plans to add hundreds more new businesses.
One package-shipping analyst said the move indicates that Amazon is “finding they need to add people faster, and to do so they need to provide additional incentives to come on board,” Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix Inc., told the Wall Street Journal. As the program grows, he added, Amazon is likely to cut back on the amount of last-mile business it gives companies such as UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service.