Amazon Flex Helps Chula Vista Dad Support his Family
By Ana Gomez Salcido
What began as a side job to bring in extra cash during the Christmas season became a financial support for the Villaruel family of Chula Vista.
Ruel Villaruel, a father of a 7 year-old, started working with a program called Amazon Flex, in December 2016, after a friend recommended this job for him so Ruel could pay for Christmas presents for his family.
Amazon Flex is an innovative program launched in 2015 that gives individuals (delivery partners) the opportunity to be their own boss as an independent contractor while delivering for Amazon.
This program is currently available in more than 50 cities, and is typically suited for individuals who want to be their own boss and have more time to pursue individual goals and dreams.
“Amazon Flex gives you the hours that best accommodate to you. You can choose the time you are most available, and they offer you work during those times,” Villaruel said. “I’ve been working full-time for the San Diego County for almost five years, and that Christmas it was hard to get extra hours, so one of my friends that worked in the program, invited me in.”
Villaruel works 48 hours each week in his full-time job, and is only available after 5 p.m. each workday, so Amazon Flex was one of the few jobs he could find that accommodated to his schedule.
“Besides the schedule flexibility, the pay is fairly decent. I liked that Amazon Flex could fit my family lifestyle besides the great scheduling,” Villaruel said. “The extra money gave opportunities to my family, it gave us the opportunity to do more things that we couldn’t afford before.”
In December 2016, Villaruel was able to buy Christmas presents for his family, but he decided to stay in the program to continue earning extra cash.
Delivery partners use their own vehicles and set their own schedule via the Amazon Flex app, freeing up time to pursue their goals and dreams, such as finishing school, building a business or spending time with their family. The drivers deliver packages for Amazon.com, Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants. Customers are given the opportunity to tip the individual when ordering from Prime Now, AmazonFresh, and Amazon Restaurants.
Delivery partners earn $18-$25 per hour, which does not include gas or other expenses, that will vary based on the individual’s car and the distance they travel. Payment is determined by the number of blocks completed, not by the hour or length of time it takes to complete. Blocks are typically 2-4 hours but vary based on location.
“My family can now do extra activities like sports and other life skill classes like swimming classes, and I wouldn’t have the resources to do those things before Amazon Flex,” Villaruel said. “There is almost never any overtime at the San Diego County so I had to have other jobs like Uber and Lyft, the schedules were flexible but it was something I didn’t enjoy. I like that in Amazon Flex I can be active, because in my full-time job I’m seated all the time. I have great exercise, and is one of the extras I wanted.”
To be eligible to participate in Amazon Flex, individuals must be 21 years or older, pass a comprehensive, multi-state criminal background check and motor vehicle records review, have proof of insurance and, if using a motor vehicle, a driver’s license.