Amazon offers to help employees start delivery business

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Amazon said on Monday that it would pay the equivalent of three months of their most recent gross salaries - as much as $10,000 - if employees want to leave the company and form a new USA delivery start-up.

The retail giant will offer United Kingdom fulfillment centre employees a grant equivalent to three months salary, around £5,000 for a full-time worker earning Amazon's £9.50 per hour wage outside of London, to turn self-employed and run their own delivery business.

Qualified employees would become part of the company's "Delivery Service Partner" program. This latest announcement is an expansion of that program, which resulted in the creation of more than 200 delivery businesses opened to deliver for Amazon.

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The new business owners will also have access to Amazon technologies and a large customer base that consistently orders products that would be delivered by the new companies. The retailer said it will fund the startup costs, up to $10,000, for employees who are accepted into the program and leave their jobs. This year, the company plans to add hundreds more delivery contractors, including the former employees who take up the company on its offer. However, Whole Foods employees are not eligible to participate in the program.

One of them is run by Milton Collier, a freight broker who started his business in Atlanta about eight months ago. His company now has 120 employees, a fleet of 50 delivery vans, and makes up to 200 deliveries a day.

Collier says his business is already preparing for the one-day shipping goal by looking for more workers. Amazon's sense of urgency is amplified by its desire to reduce its reliance on large third-party carriers like UPS Inc. "You've got to find 20 to 40 fit and responsible individuals with good driving records to operate your vans, do background checks and process employment paperwork and then manage the mind-boggling job of scheduling not only their time, but the delivery of thousands of packages per month within tight allotted time frames". And they're doing more than just delivering boxes to doorsteps, she says; they're also transporting packages between warehouses and businesses.

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