Did you know that Amazon is now slowly taking over the US shipping industry? In 2020 Amazon surpassed FedEx as the third force in the US parcel shipping market, and it looks like it won’t stop there.
To cope with the growing parcel shipment demand, Amazon had to develop a more efficient way to increase its transport capacity. Their solution was outsourcing part of parcel deliveries to third-party truck companies and delivery services through the Amazon Relay program. And here’s where you come in.
If you own a truck company, Amazon Relay is your chance to get into business with the e-commerce giant by picking up and delivering Amazon loads. However, while it sounds like an excellent opportunity for your business, you must ensure you meet all the Amazon Relay requirements.
And that’s where we can help. The following guide will explain how Amazon Relay works, its requirements, how to join the program, and if it’s actually worth the trouble.
What Is Amazon Relay?
Amazon introduced Amazon Relay to boost its transport capacity by allowing truck owners, freight services, and trucking companies to pick up and deliver Amazon goods. Through this program, fleet owners can expand and optimize their businesses with Amazon, resulting in higher profits and new business opportunities.
How Does Amazon Relay Work?
Once you join Amazon Relay, you will automatically enroll in Amazon Load Board. It’s the platform that connects Amazon with truck drivers and companies, allowing them to post and find loads that fit their criteria. Essentially, instead of planning and assigning each shipment route, Amazon posts it on the Load Board. Truckers and fleet owners can then select and run the routes that fall under their schedule.
The great thing about the Load Board platform is that it automatically books loads. Therefore, the drivers don’t have to wait for assignments, saving them time and providing them with peace of mind. Additionally, the platform also guarantees discounts on fuel, vehicle maintenance services, and supplies, cutting down the expenses for trucking companies. The Amazon Relay app is also 100% free, and there are no minimum load requirements, meaning even smaller businesses can take advantage of the Amazon Relay program.
Besides Amazon Relay Load Board, trucking companies and fleet owners can also book loads through short-term contracts or posting a truck. Short-term contracts are best if you want guaranteed revenue by locking a single or multi-week contract with Amazon in advance. The second option allows you to share when and where your trucks are available. The platform will then automatically book loads that match your criteria.
Amazon Relay Requirements
However, while it offers an exciting opportunity for your trucking business, Amazon Relay has strict requirements you must first meet to even consider applying for the program. What are the Amazon Relay requirements? For instance, Amazon requires its Relay carriers to have the appropriate safety rating. There are also specific insurance coverage requirements and vehicle requirements.
Requirements for Fleet Owners
Whether you operate a small or large fleet, Amazon will require you to meet the following criteria:
- active DOT number with Interstate Authority,
- valid MC number,
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety rating (satisfactory, none, or not rated),
- and ‘Carrier’ entity type Authorized for Property and Hire.
Besides these, there are several other requirements you might have to meet, including HOS compliance and a driving score of at least 60%.
Amazon Relay Insurance Requirements
Complying with the above documents isn’t enough. To be eligible for Amazon Relay, you will also need to meet its insurance requirements, including:
- Commercial General Liability. Fleet owners need to submit commercial general liability coverage minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence. Such a policy covers potential body injuries or property damage caused during the delivery.
- Auto Liability. Auto liability insurance covers all the damages caused by vehicular accidents. Amazon requires fleet operators to have at least $2,000,000 in aggregate auto liability and a minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence.
- Commercial Auto Insurance. A commercial auto insurance policy is a must-have when using a vehicle for commercial purposes. Such insurance covers any vehicle-related damages and injuries.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Obtaining such insurance is required in every state your company operates from.
- Employer Liability. Employer liability insurance protects your company from worker-related issues, such as discrimination lawsuits or wrongful termination.
- Cargo coverage. Cargo insurance covers damages to transported goods. Amazon requires companies to have a minimum of $100,000 cargo coverage to be eligible for their Relay program.
Box Truck Requirements
Amazon allows fleet owners to use trailers, box trucks, dry van trailers, sleeper cab trailers, day cabs, etc. However, to use any of these vehicles when driving for Amazon Relay, you will first need to meet the specific size requirements, such as:
- trailers – reefer, 28′ trailer, 53′ dry van
- tractors – day cabs, sleeper cabs, box trucks
Additional Amazon Relay Requirements
Don’t worry. We’re almost done. Although it might sound menacing, the last few Amazon Relay requirements are actually very straightforward to meet; unless you don’t have a phone, which we doubt.
Yes, the last several criteria to meet are related to the Amazon Relay app. The app is essential for truck drivers to reach their destination, helping them with navigation, delivery time information, gate information, etc.
What do you need to run the Amazon Relay app? A working smartphone, either iPhone with iOS 11 or newer or a device with Android 7 or newer.
How to Get Started with Amazon Relay?
Once you ensure you meet all the requirements, you can start the Amazon Relay enrollment process. However, while it might look menacing considering the number of requirements to meet, getting started with Amazon Relay is actually a pretty straightforward process.
Essentially, you will need to go through five simple steps: verifying your DOT number is active, creating an Amazon Relay account, checking on your application, getting approved, and searching for available loads. Let’s go through them together:
- Verify you have an active DOT number
The first thing is to ensure your DOT number is active. If you apply for it, it should take a couple of days for the interstate authority to approve it.
- Create your Amazon Relay account
Once you verify your DOT number with interstate, it’s time to create your Amazon Relay account. To do that, visit the official Amazon Relay website and complete the form with your company’s USDOT number and MC number for Amazon to check your safety scores, operating authorities, and insurance details. You will also need to provide Amazon with your company’s details, such as your company’s legal name, phone number, address, and bank account. You will also have to confirm the types of tractors and trailers you operate, as well as confirm your insurance coverage details.
- Check your application status
Once you fill out all forms and submit your application, you can check its status by logging into your Amazon Relay account. Typically, the verification process might take several days, depending on how quickly Amazon is able to verify your insurance. If there are more extensive delays, you can contact Amazon Relay customer support.
- Get approved
If everything goes smoothly with the insurance verification process, your application status will change to pending. Amazon will then validate your company information and decide whether to accept or reject your application.
- Start searching for Amazon loads
Once Amazon accepts your application, you will gain automatic access to Amazon Relay Load Board. Using it, you can search for available Amazon loads that meet your requirements. Every haul is processed through the app for improved convenience.
Once you find your available delivery routes, you can start delivering with Amazon Relay. To haul Amazon loads, Amazon Relay drivers can use the dedicated Relay app, where they can receive notifications, check-in and check-out guidelines, and navigation details.
What’s important to note here is that a vast majority of Amazon Relay cargo is lightweight. The items are also typically drop-and-hook arrangements, further increasing efficiency and cutting down waiting and loading times. Another good news is that most of the load board orders are round-trip, ensuring drivers will be compensated to return to their homes.
Amazon Relay FAQs
What size truck do I need to be eligible for Amazon Relay?
To become an Amazon Relay partner, you can use the following truck sizes:
- Tractors: sleeper cab, day cab, 26′ box truck (interior cargo dimensions minimum of 26′ x 8′ x 8′)
- Trailers: 54′ dry van, reefer, 28′ trailer
How much insurance coverage do I need for Amazon Relay?
Amazon Relay partners need to meet strict insurance requirements to join the Relay program. The minimum coverage needed includes:
- Commercial general liability – at least $1 million per occurrence and $2 million in the aggregate
- Auto liability – a minimum of $1 million per occurrence, including at least $50,000 of trailer replacement coverage
- Cargo coverage – a minimum of $100,000 (covers potentially damaged Amazon items)
- Workers’ compensation insurance – needed in all jurisdictions the company operates
How long does it take to be approved?
The good news is that once you fill out the form, you shouldn’t wait too long for the decision. In most cases, the approval process takes around 2-4 business days. However, it can even be faster, with many trucking companies confirming that the whole process took no more than 24 hours.
When can I start moving loads?
As soon as you get approved and gain access to Amazon Relay app. You can find, book, and haul Amazon loads through either load board, short-term contracts, or posting a truck:
- Amazon load board is a platform where Amazon posts available routes. Using it, drivers can find shipments that meet their requirements and book them. The app is entirely free, and the booking process is fully automated.
- Short-term contracts can range from several days to a few weeks, providing Amazon Relay partners with a more predictable and certain way to haul Amazon loads. On the other hand, while they ensure a consistent payment cycle, the pay-per-load can be lower. Such contracts are also less flexible.
- Posting a truck allows truck owner-operators to post details about their trucks’ availability. Amazon can then book their truck drivers for loads that match the provided criteria. This system includes higher payments, but it sacrifices flexibility and can be unpredictable.
How much can you make with Amazon Relay?
It’s very difficult to calculate the exact amount of how much Amazon Relay partners can make, as the earnings will depend on such factors as the route, time, type of contract, and more.
Key Takeaways: Should You Apply for Amazon Relay?
Given the strict and very specific requirements to be eligible for Amazon Relay, you might be considering whether joining the program is really worth it. That depends on how you look at it.
On the one hand, it might require trucking companies to go the extra mile and jump through several extra hoops to meet the criteria. On the other hand, once you’re approved, you gain easy access to available Amazon loads that can boost your business’s efficiency and generate extra income.
Another great thing is that Amazon Relays offers high flexibility in how you want to perform the hauls. You aren’t forced to perform a minimum number of routes and you can easily book the hauls that meet your requirements.
That said, if you already meet most Amazon Relay requirements and are looking for an additional and certain source of income for your trucking business, joining the Relay program can be the best solution available.