Amazon.com Inc. late last month mapped out an aggressive plan to speed up its shipping program by rolling out one-day delivery for members of its Prime loyalty program to consumers in much of the country.
But meeting that objective won’t come cheaply or easily given the tight labor market. That’s why the retail giant on Monday rolled out an incentive to assist its current employees if they want to quit their jobs to launch a business delivering Amazon packages. The move is part of Amazon’s push to use outsourced service providers to help it quickly deliver consumers’ online orders.
Amazon will fund up to $10,000 of its employees’ startup costs, as well as the equivalent of three months of their last gross salary, to help them launch a delivery company that delivers Amazon packages. Amazon’s pitch is that it will take an “active role” helping its employees launch a delivery business by ensuring them they will have consistent delivery volume from Amazon, access to the retailer’s delivery technology, extensive training and discounts on assets and services, such as Amazon-branded vans customized for delivery, branded uniforms and comprehensive insurance.
The offer is open to most part-time and full-time Amazon employees, including warehouse workers who pack and ship orders.
Amazon says its Delivery Service Partner program, which launched last June, has led to the creation of more than 200 new small businesses that have hired “thousands of local drivers to deliver packages to Amazon customers.” Amazon this year hopes to drive hundreds more to join the program, which recently expanded to the United Kingdom and Spain.
“We received overwhelming interest from tens of thousands of individuals who applied to be part of the Delivery Service Partner program, including many employees,” says Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “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.”
The rollout of the incentive program comes only a few weeks after Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, noted that the retail giant planned to spend $800 million this quarter to transform Prime into a one-day delivery program.
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