Home Technology Amazon Has a Business Proposition for You: Deliver Its Packages

Amazon Has a Business Proposition for You: Deliver Its Packages

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SEATTLE — Amazon has more than 100 warehouses. It has a fleet of trucks, and even its own airplanes. Now, in another effort to help get its millions of packages to shoppers faster, it wants to build an army of delivery people, too.

The company announced Thursday a new program aimed at helping people start their own businesses delivering packages for Amazon.

For a minimum investment of $10,000, people in the United States will be able to open and manage their own delivery service handling Amazon packages. Although the couriers will not be employees of the company, they’ll get access to Amazon-branded vehicles, uniforms and more.

By the company’s calculations, an owner could earn as much as $300,000 a year in profit by operating a fleet of up to 40 vehicles.

The program is a potential solution to a growing problem Amazon faces as it handles an ever-increasing number of packages for customers all across the country: How to quickly get packages from its various package-sorting centers to people’s doorsteps.

But the start-up service is certain to raise questions about whether it could challenge — or even replace — some of the work currently done by Amazon’s partners, including United Parcel Service and the United States Postal Service.

[Read about how Amazon has shifted away from being an impartial, may-the-best-product-win distribution partner to being a direct competitor to vendors.]

Amazon’s business ties with the Postal Service have come under considerable scrutiny in recent months. President Trump has argued on Twitter that Amazon’s agreement with the Postal Service, which sets the amount Amazon pays the agency, was costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet in April.

While the details behind the agreement are not public, available evidence suggests the opposite: that Amazon’s business has been a boon to the post office. Some current and former White House officials have said that Mr. Trump sometimes blends Amazon with The Washington Post, which has covered his administration aggressively. The Post is owned by Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

In mid-April, President Trump abruptly issued an executive order demanding an evaluation of the Postal Service’s finances. The order did not mention Amazon, but it was clear that he would like for the panel to substantiate his claims that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser.

Executives at Amazon dismissed any link between the new delivery program and Mr. Trump’s Twitter attacks about its agreement with the post office.

“This doesn’t play into that debate at all,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon at the Admiral’s House, a historic landmark property overlooking Elliott Bay in Seattle.

Mr. Clark said his job was to think five to 15 years down the road about Amazon’s needs and that the new delivery program was designed to meet future growth and capacity demands. He added that Amazon would continue to use all of its partners, including the Postal Service, to get packages to its customers.

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