Amazon has expanded its Delivery Service Partner program in the U.S, trying to get former employees to start their own delivery businesses so they can reduce Prime shipping time. They’ve agreed to fund startup costs with up to $10,000 plus three months of the former employees’ gross salaries. These new business owners will have consistent deliveries from Amazon, access to Amazon’s delivery technology, training, and discounts on “assets and services, including Amazon-branded vans customized for delivery, branded uniforms and comprehensive insurance,” according to a recent press release from Amazon.
Amazon: Good for Small Businesses?
Tens of thousands of individuals, including Amazon employees, have express interest in the Delivery Service Partner program, but the financial aspect held them back, according to Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. Clark says,
“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 inception of the Delivery Service Partner Program in June, over 200 small businesses have been created with thousands of drivers employed. Amazon seeks to add hundreds of new small businesses, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom and Spain.
A significant advantage of Amazon’s popular and market dominance is its fast delivery, which Amazon has tried to improve upon consistently. In October of 2017, Amazon announced Amazon Key, a program for Prime members that allowed delivery workers to open up customers’ front doors, placing packages inside their homes. The program requires the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, a $250 bundle that includes an Amazon Cloud Cam along with a Kwikset or Yale smart lock. The program was initially rolled out to 37 cities in the U.S, with more cities “rolling out over time”.
Later, the program expanded to Amazon Key In-Car, allowing for in-car deliveries. Like the original Amazon Key program, the Key In-Car program was rolled out to 37 U.S cities at first. It isn’t clear how the Delivery Service Partner program will impact the Key program or the Key In-Car program, but customers would no doubt appreciate an increase in delivery speed.