Amazon Pays Employees to Start Businesses

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Amazon, which is racing to deliver packages faster, is turning to its own employees with a proposition: Quit your job and we'll help you start a business delivering Amazon packages.

Although Amazon said tens of thousands of employees expressed interest in the program, the company acknowledged Monday many of its workers couldn't afford the start-up money they needed to get the businesses off the ground.

In launching the program, Amazon said the total revenue potential for Delivery Service Partner companies would be $1 million to $4.5 million a year once a company reaches critical mass. In addition to funding up to $10,000 in startup costs, Amazon says it "will also provide financial support with a payment equal to three months of the former employee's last gross salary while they build their new package delivery business". Amazon announced the program in June of a year ago and the company said this morning that more than 200 independent delivery companies have been created under the program so far.

The company, based in Seattle, Washington, did not say how many employees it expects to take them up on the offer.

Amazon also established the Delivery Service Partners initiative past year, allowing independent business owners to put the Amazon Prime logo on delivery vans even if they continue working with FedEx and UPS.

The offer is up open most part-time and full-time Amazon employees, including warehouse workers who already pack and ship order. However, Whole Foods employees are not eligible to participate in the program.

The new employee incentive is part of a program Amazon started a year ago that lets anyone apply to launch an independent Amazon delivery business.

The move is a way for Amazon is to control more of its deliveries, rather than relying on the US postal service or other carriers such as UPS. But Amazon said they will receive consistent delivery volume from the e-commerce giant as well as access to its "delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on a suite of assets and services", which includes Amazon vans, uniforms, and comprehensive insurance. It is trying to speed up product delivery times.

A driver for an independent Amazon Delivery Service Partner company makes a delivery in Orlando, Fla., in February.

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