Last Updated on February 16, 2023
In 2017 Amazon released a new logistics mobile app called Relay. The goal of the app was to increase the distribution and delivery of products people sell on Amazon. There are so many deliveries happening on a daily basis that Amazon needed to outsource drivers to help move them around the country.
Over 65% of the entire US population visited Amazon once per month to shop for products in 2020. That is a huge number! The Amazon Relay load board helps connect private drivers and companies with all those deliveries so they can make money shipping them around the country.
This solves a significant problem most other companies suffer from – organization. When a new driver works for a private firm, they often suffer from lower pay, delayed checks, and have to pass a bunch of qualifications in order to drive.
For the Amazon load board, it is all about streamlining that process for efficiency and higher wages. A driver sees what loads they want to take, clicks to accept those deliveries, and gets going to earn money.
It is that simple.
How to Become a Carrier for Amazon
The Amazon Relay program is designed to work with freight. That means those giant pallets of everything from hair dryers to Nintendo Switch consoles are all packaged, wrapped in plastic, and then loaded onto the back of massive trucks.
This is not a job for someone with a small van. That would be Amazon Flex, where you deliver straight to the buyer or Amazon Hub Counter. Amazon Relay is meant for people who can carry huge loads of merchandise from fulfillment centers to distribution centers and stores.
The goal for Amazon is to work with drivers that have a clean record, excellent safety, and high accuracy. They are going to prefer experienced drivers over newbies, but as long as you can prove you can get the job done, you will find plenty of opportunity moving Amazon freight around the country.
How Amazon Relay Helps Carriers?
There are two ways people make money using the Amazon Relay load board.
The first is by running their private company as a single Amazon owner operator of a truck. These are the lone wolves running everything through the application like a bounty hunter out for the next hit.
The other way is to operate a trucking company with multiple drivers. With Relay Amazon, you can:
- Manage rosters of your active drivers and those waiting in line for the next delivery or shipment.
- Assign loads to different drivers based on any criteria you want like who is closest, sonority, availability, or more.
- Analyze your driver’s performance, safety record, and accuracy of deliveries.
- Review payments from Amazon and to individual drivers to see how they are managing.
Essentially you are getting a tailor-made application that makes your life easier. Amazon wants your company to succeed because it means their deliveries are sent out on time and to the correct location, so they created software that empowers private companies to grow.
What are the Amazon Relay Requirements?
Amazon does all it can to work with companies and solo truckers to ensure safety, accuracy, and reliability. The more you can prove that you have been on the road a while and understand how to effectively make your delivery requirements, the happier Amazon is to work with you.
That does not mean you can get by with a basic driver’s license and a couple years behind your parent’s VW bus from the 70s. You will need a freight-capable vehicle like a truck that can pull a shipping container.
To be qualified to work as a carrier for Amazon, you must:
- Have an active DOT number with interstate authority and a valid MC number
- Be a “Carrier” entity type that is Authorized for Property and for Hire
- Be a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Safety Rating of “Satisfactory,” “None,” or “Not Rated”
- Have Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores:
- Unsafe Driving below 60%
- HOS Compliance below 60%
- Vehicle Maintenance below 75%
- Login to the FMCSA login portal to check BASIC status
- Have all required insurance policies, including:
- Commercial General Liability not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 in the aggregate
- Auto Liability not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, including a trailer replacement coverage of $50,000
- Cargo coverage of at least $100,000
- Workers’ compensation insurance in all jurisdictions where your company operates
- Employer liability not less than $100,000 per occurrence
The good news is that it does not take long to verify this information. In most cases, as long as your paperwork is all put together and easy to understand, you can expect Amazon to approve your application within 2 to 4 business days.
Amazon Relay Rates
The spot load rates for different shipments are going to depend on a number of factors like what you are carrying, how much it weighs, and the distance you are driving.
You can find many YouTubers going over current offerings on the Amazon Relay load boards ranging from $1.21 – $3.09 per mile. That can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand.
The national average for a solo owner operator using the Relay board is $142,000 or so a year. That will vary depending on where you live and what areas/routes you do the most. As long as you can manage the maintenance and requirements of operating your truck, you stand to make a decent living using Amazon trucking contracts.
Amazon Relay Pay Per Mile
Amazon Relay does a cool calculation where they display the basic job outline (where you are going, how much you are hauling, if you need a partner) and then run the numbers to give you the price you will be earning per mile.
This varies pretty wildly between $1.21 and $3.09. The best payments tend to be on the major trucking routes between major cities like L.A. to Phoenix or New York to Miami and so on.
What are the Short-Term Contracts?
This feature of Relay has helped out a lot of smaller companies because it gives them the ability to plan work schedules ahead of time. Many in the trucking industry never know what or when they will be working next because their managers are still bidding on jobs and do not inform the drivers until the last moment.
With short-term contracts, you get to plan out who is driving what. It allows you to balance the workload, so everyone on your team gets to maintain a decent income.
What is The “Post-A-Truck” System?
The Amazon Relay load board system is pretty advanced as far as software is concerned. They even have a section where companies and solo drivers post the capacity of any open trucks they currently have, and Relay will find them work.
The great thing about the Post-A-Truck system is that it almost guarantees work for your drivers. They accept a gig, ship the load, and then immediately post their truck as available again. The automated system finds a nearby load for them to take next.
Can Amazon Relay Help You to Earn More?
Major shipping companies certainly pay a bit more and have employee perks, but getting into those companies takes intense networking and spending years as a grunt until you get noticed.
Amazon Relay provides you and small shipping companies with everything needed to turn a profit. You may not earn as much as major companies on a regular basis, but because of the demand-to-supply nature of the app, you actually have the potential to make more as the amount of shipments increases.
That means the more people using Amazon, the more likely you will have work. As no one is expecting Amazon to go anytime soon, yes, the potential for earning a high income is good.
How Do You Get Paid?
Amazon Relay is a lot easier to get paid from than a broker or regular business driver company. Instead of having to wait months for funds to clear, Amazon pays out based on payment cycles running from Sunday to Saturday.
Everything completed before 11:59pm on Saturday will be paid out the following week on Friday. All the invoices are generated automatically and available for your review in the Amazon Relay portal.
What are the Reviews of Amazon Relay?
For the most part, truckers and companies are pretty happy about joining Amazon Relay. You can find a lot of resources on YouTube from drivers that have started with Amazon Relay and made a decent income.
Owner operators love it because it cuts out all the middlemen from other companies that often slow down your rate of success and payment.
You can also set your hours pretty well. Whenever you do not want to be on the road, you just choose to not accept any work. When you are ready to start again, open your app and get back to it.
Think of Amazon Relay as an incubator for small businesses. All of the software is designed to take a small company of 2-3 trucks and expand their work capabilities, so they can have a full freight within a short period of time.
The only thing that does tend to pop up is the amount of lower-paid gigs. You can make a lot of money on Amazon Relay, but you need to be putting in the effort. There are great gigs that pay out a lot, but most are middle of the road and require a commitment to taking jobs on a regular basis.
Amazon Relay Alternatives
The Freight Intel Group has conducted a survey in 2019 to gather information on the freight matching app usage among carriers operating between one and three trucks, results:
If you are a solo trucker or someone looking to start a small freight company, the Amazon Relay load board makes it easy for you to break into the market. You can make a lot of money the more you are willing to put in the time and effort driving merchandise around the country.
This is a great opportunity for many in the trucking industry who do not want to work with controlling managers who do not treat them fairly. Amazon helps put the power and independence back into truckers around the country.