A box truck owner-operator is a truck driver that moves cargo and ensures their delivery using a truck that they own or lease. A box truck is 4 to 7 meters long and tends to feature a cargo bay. Although these trucks are not semi-trailer trucks, they can be used to carry a wide range of cargo. Box truck owner-operators most often contract their services to companies like Amazon for short- or long-range shipments.
Amazon is renowned as one of the most innovative companies in existence. Their products and services extend to everything from e-commerce to web hosting, and they have even ventured into retail with their acquisition of Whole Foods and experiments with Amazon Go stores.
Known as one of the country’s largest employers, Amazon makes available delivery opportunities for independent contractors to deliver products through their Amazon Flex program. Amazon Relay offers carriers the opportunity to tap into Amazon’s network, technology, and safety-first culture to grow their transportation businesses.
Amazon tends to offer short-term contracts, a load board of Amazon’s freight network, a check-in and scheduling driver app, and options to post when their truck is empty and free for the next load. In the United States, the average annual pay for owner-operators with Amazon is $142,046 a year. This translates to approximately $68.29 an hour, $2,732/week, or $11,837/month.
Although there are salaries as high as $340,000 and some as low as $21,000, a good number of box truck owner-operators with Amazon earn around $51,500 to $207,500, with top earners making $287,000 annually across the United States. If you are looking to become a part-time Amazon delivery driver and have a more flexible schedule, then this may be the right position for you.
Steps to Become a Box Truck Owner Operator for Amazon in 2023
To work with Amazon and haul their loads, you are expected to meet their requirements. While there are numerous advantages to becoming a box truck owner-operator for Amazon, here is a simple guide to help you.
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1. Analyze Your Finances
Generally, becoming a box truck owner operator requires that you make certain personal investments, and this could entail taking on additional debt. Therefore, before you choose to acquire or lease a vehicle, take your time to analyze your financial situation.
If you have people who rely on your owner operator income, then it is recommended you put up emergency savings before starting. This will establish a safety net if you have slow months, or it takes a while to get regular loads.
Consider inputting all your financial information into a spreadsheet to understand what you need to generate each month to settle your expenses. Additionally, you need to estimate how much you can earn working for Amazon. This will give you a good idea of how much time you need to spend on the road to make your business work.
Form a Business
To become an owner-operator, you need to form a legitimate business, especially since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will ask questions about your business operations when you apply for your USDOT Number. You must visit your state’s secretary of state website and search the database to see if your business name is available.
You will be expected to choose a business structure. If you are on your own, you can establish a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC). But note that there are other business structures to look into. You can get more information on forming a business from the Small Business Association.
Get your USDOT and MC Numbers
Most States in the United States expect you to have a USDOT number to become a box truck owner-operator. This is particularly true especially if you intend to, move interstate freight or transport hazardous material (HAZMAT) in a substantial enough quantity to dictate the need for a safety permit.
To register a USDOT, visit the online portal Unified Registration System and submit a $300 payment. You will also need an MC Number if you want to freight regulated commodities. To know more about these requirements, you should visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) website.
Meet Amazon Vehicle Requirements
Box trucks used to deliver goods for Amazon are expected to meet the following standards:
- The truck floor should be able to withstand a pallet jack fully laden.
- The truck floor will have to be well-maintained, safe, and free from damages such as holes.
- The truck is expected to be watertight, clean, and free of strong odors, especially when moving food and healthcare products.
- Straps, unless used to properly secure a load, are expected to be firmly fixed to the vehicle, so they present no danger and ensure accessibility to the goods being unloaded.
- Owing to safety concerns, the use of trailers with uneven or corrugated floors (such as in refrigerated trailers) is not allowed.
- Note that any trailer, truck, shipment, or portion of a shipment is subject to refusal at the fulfillment center if the fulfillment center associates are unable to safely unload the product with no additional cost to Amazon.
Get Adequate Insurance
- 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: At least $100,000
- Workers’ Compensation insurance: In every jurisdiction where your company operates
- Employer Liability: Not less than $100,000 per occurrence
Apply for Amazon Relay
Amazon Relay makes it possible for trucking companies and owner-operators to transport loads for Amazon. The suite of tools lets a box truck owner operator access the Relay Load Board, accept loads, assign drivers to loads, track performance, and view payment information.
The Relay app is also leveraged by drivers to view and manage their loads, report delays, and use navigation tools. All Relay partners are expected to use Amazon Relay products when hauling loads for the company. After receiving your application, Amazon will give you feedback within 2-4 business days.
Delays may occur owing to insurance validation issues. However, once you are approved, you can start booking loads from the load board right away. This load board makes it easy to locate loads that align with your specifications.
Partnering with Amazon as a box truck owner-operator is one of the most lucrative ways to ensure that your fleet is always working. Note that their load board is always filled with jobs. As long as you continue to meet Amazon’s requirements, you can steadily grow your trucking business.