Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series of stories on the impacts of Amazon’s rapid growth in Florida, covering effects on real estate, small businesses, the job market, politics and more.
SARASOTA – Nearly five years ago, John Sprague was newly retired, living in Apollo Beach and looking for something to do.
Sprague, who had just moved to Florida from Ohio with his wife, needed a non-golfing way to stay active. Working could be good, he thought, but he also didn’t want to get a job where he’d be tethered to a set schedule week after week.
Amazon Flex, the global e-commerce giant’s app platform, turned out to be the perfect fit. And it’s only getting busier, he says.
Over the course of those four and a half years, Sprague has delivered up to Spring Hill and down to Englewood, and everywhere in between. He picks up three- to five-hour delivery blocks at a time at $18 per hour, although the rate spikes up during busy times.
The money Sprague gets from Amazon is all he gets – there’s no fuel reimbursement and no tips, unless he’s doing a grocery delivery through the app on Amazon Fresh. But for him, it’s worth it – he can use the money to pay for things like travel and home renovation projects so he doesn’t have to dip into his retirement fund.
“I definitely enjoy it. I get to meet a lot of people – customers, drivers and people that work in the warehouses,” he said.
What is Amazon Flex?
Just like drivers on Amazon’s payroll, Flex…