They're at it again, announcing this week, of all things, a new program that incentivizes employees to quit their job.
The company announced they will pay two to three months salary and $10,000 in startup costs if an employee will quit their post and start a package delivery service. The company wants to make good on its promise to Prime members to cut delivery time in half from two days to one.
The offer is open to most part-time and full-time Amazon employees, including warehouse workers who pack and ship orders. The employee still has to be accepted into this program, and the company did not share how many people they think will apply and be accepted.
Newly anointed entrepreneurs can lease blue vans with the Amazon smile logo on it. The company estimates someone who owns 20 to 40 delivery vans can potentially earn $300,000 a year.
Is this a good business proposition?
Of course, any business where you can be your own boss has enormous related benefits, but let's just focus on the finance side. Amazon has been enabling this delivery business program for about a year now (but never this aggressively). Experts cautioned at that time that it's a labor intensive undertaking.
As CBS MoneyWatch reported last year, if you want to make the low to mid six-figures Amazon is quoting, you've got to find 20 to 40 able-bodied, reliable drivers that pass background checks. Then you have the huge challenge of managing their schedules and the flow of thousands of packages each day to their end location (in a tight window of time). It might not look as good when your associated hourly rate is calculated.
Still, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the appeal of running your own business, with some risk mitigation done up front for you to boot, is undeniable. Here's the pitch to prospective employees straight from Amazon's site:
If you're a customer-obsessed people person who loves coaching teams in a high speed, ever-changing environment, becoming an Amazon Delivery Service Partner is an ideal opportunity for you. As an owner, you will operate with upto 20-40 vans and have 40-100 employees. You'll be fully responsible for hiring and developing a team of high-performing, hardworking drivers, while we take care of getting you set up and ready to operate out of an Amazon delivery station in your city. You'll be expected to provide consistent coaching and support for your team to ensure the successful delivery of packages in a 7 days/week, 365 days/year operation.
I've got to admit, that sounds kind of cool. Exhausting, but cool. And for some, it just might beat days of back to back meetings or polishing that presentation for your boss for the sixth time.
I also think it's a wise move on Amazon's part to try and take more control of their own distribution system (versus relying soley on UPS or the US postal service). And it's a pretty smart move to start at home, with Amazon employees, as a source of creating this new delivery system (as opposed to just hiring people off the street).
No matter what, you have to hand it to the company for this bold, creative move to deliver on their bigger, bolder promise of cutting Prime delivery time in half.