Under the program, individuals will not be employees or even independent contractors of Amazon, but rather, be owners of their businesses, contracted with Amazon to deliver packages. Amazon said its vehicles could be used to deliver packages only from the company, not its competitors.
The program will start in more than two dozen states, many of them along the coasts. But company executives encouraged interested individuals to sign up even if their city or region wasn’t currently listed, because Amazon expects the program to grow.
Amazon hoped in the next 12 to 18 months to have hundreds of people sign up, calling them delivery service partners. If the service is successful, it would most likely be extended to other countries, Mr. Clark said.
And in a bid to attract the nation’s military veterans to the program, Amazon is offering $10,000 reimbursements for qualified candidates to start their own businesses.
All of those who are accepted into the start-up program will get access to a variety of discounts Amazon has negotiated on their behalf, including the Amazon-branded vehicles, as well as fuel, insurance coverage and more, executives said.
One of Amazon’s test participants in its new offering, Olaoluwa Abimbola, said that after arriving from Nigeria, he spent years working at a desk job and, more recently, driving for Amazon Flex. Now, he said, he was excited to be running his own company, which has 40 full- and part-time employees.
“This means the world to me,” Mr. Abimbola said in front of a gray Amazon Prime truck behind the Admiral’s House. “This opportunity provides a future for my family, for my daughters. I’m living my dream and having the time of my life.”