Looking into starting an Amazon DSP

Discussion in 'USPS, DHL, Amazon, Drones, etc.' started by DavidBB, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. DavidBB

    DavidBB New Member

    Read through tons of interesting posts so far.

    I've talked to Amazon to learn a bit more about their model. I'm going to visit a delivery station and then head out to Seattle to meet in person.

    My take-aways so far:

    1. Driver training is super important. Perhaps Whither can share his onboarding experience for the DSP he worked for before joining UPS
    2. The DSP/Dispatcher has to stay super organized and on top of things...otherwise the drivers will get frustrated
    3. There's a lot of turnover for DSP drivers and the DSP has to constantly recruit. Pay is on the low end of the scale (I'm assuming $15/hr) with modest benefits. I'm curious if turnover is caused by the pay scale or if it's learning/growing pains

    I know DSP may not be the most popular subject on this forum; however, I'm super interested in what everyone's opinion is. Happy to share my thoughts as well.
     
  2. It will be fine

    It will be fine Well-Known Member

    I’m a Ground contractor and have hired a few Amazon drivers over the last year. They tell me they are very chaotic and unprofessional. I imagine focusing on your management team will be more important than driver recruitment. The industry has high turnover, it comes with the territory. Having people that can adjust plans with a shifting workforce will be a big help. I know GroundCloud works with Amazon DSPs. It’s a great system and can get people up to speed within a week or two.
     
  3. DavidBB

    DavidBB New Member

    Yeah, I can see that. I toured a delivery center and spent a day with a driver on his route. My impression was that everyone involved is still learning and figuring things out. Some drivers were organized/professional, and cared about the packages they were delivering...and others, well...not so much. The DSP I met with seemed to have a fairly new, but good management team that was getting the job done...freeing up the owner's time considerably.

    Thanks for the tip on groundcloud, I'll definitely check that out. A truck mounted system was one of the things I thought would help driver workflow quite a bit.
     
  4. I can only tell you how my DSP works:

    1) The classroom training is like 2 or 3 days and it's run by Amazon, not the DSP. The on the road training is about 2 or 3 days and it's pretty basic. My DSP basically has 4 or 5 trainers and they are usually the more outgoing people. My trainer never let me drive, he just taught me the basics and I was off on my own. I had 7 years of driving/delivering exp. so I picked it up pretty quickly.

    2) The dispatchers are fine. All we need from them is our route and the keys/gas card. I rarely communicate with them. Our drivers mostly get frustrated at the Amazon workers who load their carts wrong or mislabel :censored2:.

    3) I've only heard of two people getting fired in my two months at my DSP. One guy got canned for getting into several shouting matches with a dispatcher and the other because he called off 6 days in a row. LOL

    There's lots of kids in their 20's working at DSP's so I'm assuming there's plenty of nonsense going on behind the scenes. Probably lots of no shows on weekends that gives the dispatcher an anxiety attack.

    If I was a DSP owner I would try to stick with people over 30 years old who had some delivery background besides the gig app type of jobs. Good luck, I'm sure you'll have lots of fun dealing with irresponsible people. LOL
     
  5. DavidBB

    DavidBB New Member

    I noticed a general lack of training or readiness materials. I can see a need for minor details like:

    1. Procedure manuals. If I were a DSP I think I'd want a step by step instruction binder in each truck for situations like dog bites, accidents, angry customer, etc. It may sound silly, but thinking these situations through in advance and giving prescriptive guidance can really help. Dispatchers should have same material so they can walk driver through what needs to be done when the unexpected happens if the driver is calling them all freaked out.

    2. Offline map book. GPS is great, but I think the drivers should have backup maps with an index of every possible street in the area. Good opportunity to add details maps of trailer parks and apartment buildings if that info isn't in the online navigation.

    3. First aid kit. Procedure manual for dog bit is kinda useless without this. With a little training, the driver can be a good samaritan and help others too if the situation calls for it.

    4. Proctor/Skill check off for new drivers. List everything they should know or do and have them get other drivers to test their skills in the first week or two. Not only does this reinforce the formal training...it's a good way for new drivers to get to know the crew.
     
  6. Whither

    Whither Scofflaw

    My two cents: don't walk away from the 'opportunity', run. Had a handful of customers inquire re: becoming a DSP during my Amazon deliveries and said the same.

    Here's the thing. You will be Amazon's bee-atch. But. If you don't mind boot-licking for a particularly ruthless company and pocketing healthy parts of the incentives your drivers earn for you, then it might be a good fit.

    As @amazondriverdude said, Amazon controls the training. (Honestly: imo the training at UPS isn't much, if any, better ha. But a job at UPS has more gravity.) They also control who gets hired and fired. As a contractor, you have little to no say. About every other stand-up meeting mgmt reminded us that Amazon could 'off-board' any driver for any reason, whenever it pleased them. Then again, I didn't blanch at cursing at the blue-vested station manager for being a royal :censored2: to me one day and didn't even get a slap on the wrist. Judgment, I guess, and he must've been a decent-enough guy. Or maybe a-holes respect other a-holes, ha.

    Dispatchers are basically unnecessary for competent drivers.

    As for turnover: what can be expected? In my cheap midwestern cow-town I'd consider Amazon driving a borderline job; on the coasts or in other pricey metros its poverty wages for far more grief. Hell, in those places, driving a UPS package car is a borderline job. No way you'd support a family on one income without pinching every last penny. And that's no way to live. If the world is going to hell in a hand basket at least we shouldn't have to pretend to care about jobs that pay nothing, treat us as disposable stock. At bottom scale I already make as much in 35 hours at UPS as I did in 50 at Amazon.

    My extra two cents: if you want to make good money in logistics and not lose dignity, just take the plunge and become a UPS driver in a cow-town, ha. Honestly, even with Amazon, I'd rather be a driver than a DSP-owner. They only want warm bodies. I was fairly decent at my job, and liked it (if not the economic arrangement) ... as a DSP-owner you'll be herding cats. Amazon won't care too much as long as you can keep finding strays that perform well enough to keep the copmany average afloat. But good luck. People aren't used to the strain of true blue collar jobs. Meanwhile Amazon is doing everything the cheap way, cutting all the corners, so there's not much reason to stick around when you can still find ways to do less work for about the same wage ... or else do more work for a better wage.
     
  7. Whither

    Whither Scofflaw

    As you may have read, I was bitten in an unavoidable situation due to a customer's gross negligence. I got bit: how do *you* prevent bites from *sneaky* dogs? I waited a full week for this to be a topic my contractor's stand-up meetings. Piped up after not a word was said. Amazon didn't even add a delivery note for the stop warning 'Dangerous Dog'. The assistant manager just placated me: as if, okay, fine, the contractor has my back, but what about Amazon? There's no knowing. UPS also covers nothing re: dogs in training. Negligence. That's a serious occupational hazard at some resis.

    GPS is not great. It's a way of making us stupider, more redundant. There's no substitute for maps and area knowledge. As everyone knows -- they've not exactly made it a secret -- companies would rather have robots do the job, because they don't cause trouble, e.g., want better wages and conditions.