Most of us roll our eyes at "work from home" ads. The internet is overflowing with so-called freelance opportunities, and most of them are digital sweatshops or even outright scams.
Sure, it would be great to set up an office on your couch, wear a bathrobe to work, and take a break whenever you want. But if these jobs are really so great, why isn't everybody cashing in?
One company regularly offers a legitimate gig: Amazon.com. The online retail giant requires thousands of seasonal workers, especially over the holidays, to fulfill orders and provide customer service – from the comfort of their own living rooms.
Amazon describes the Work from Home Customer Service Associate as someone who "will think outside the box, solve problems, answer questions, and resolve concerns presented by our Amazon customers. Our customers contact us primarily by phone & chat [sic] and we hope you can help us deliver customer obsessed results!"
The world's largest electronic commerce company has long experimented with remote contractors: They have been hiring ad hoc delivery drivers for a couple years now, among countless other types of virtual labor. (Note: We'll get into the delivery driver position in-depth later.)
There are many benefits to doing this kind of work, including paid training. But it's also challenging, and working for a retail behemoth isn't for everyone. If you're looking for some extra cash, here's the lowdown on Amazon's move toward remote labor.
Customer service positions
One of the most popular work-from-home positions with Amazon is customer service. Working a customer service position does require discipline, a high school diploma, and at least one year of customer service experience.
Part of the reason only certain residents can apply is because paperwork has to be filled out in person at an Amazon office. Obviously, you must be legally permitted to work in the United States.
You also need a dependable computer and internet connection. Your entire job will depend on how well you can navigate browsers, email and instant messenger services. Don't worry about a headset or special equipment, though; Amazon will ship that to you. (They're good at that.)
Here are some minimum specs needed on your computer:
- 64-bit Operating System
- 10 mg download speed or faster (10 mbps download and 5 mbps upload) from a reliable provider
- Must be directly connected to router/modem via Ethernet cable (no satellite or wireless internet)
- If you are using a laptop, it must be connected to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse
- Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or OSX 10.9 or higher
- Windows Defender
Typically full-time positions
You may be able to refill your coffee whenever you like, but you'll still be working a full day. Workers can expect to make a flat rate of $10 per hour, plus an additional $1 per hour for working during November, December and January. That's peak season for Amazon when shoppers are frantically buying and returning millions of items.
If you work at the absolute maximum of 60 hours per week, you can earn as much as $2,640 per month, before taxes. Most workers will be earning more like $1,760.
No holidays or vacations
If you are hired for one of these positions, you can expect to be extremely busy over the holidays. In fact, there are no approved vacation requests during Amazon's peak season, which runs from Thanksgiving through mid-January.
Remote Amazon workers may work evenings and weekends, depending on the demand. The Virtual Contact Center is open from 3 a.m. to midnight PST, so seasonal workers may be required to work a variety of day and evening shifts.
Your schedule may evolve over time, and you can expect mandatory overtime. That includes federal holidays, so if you're expecting to take Christmas off, this is not the job for you.
Job openings are always popping up
If one of these work-from-home jobs sounds appealing, you should be frequently checking for job openings. Click here to read available job openings on Amazon's careers website, and you can apply there as well.
Even if you don't see an open position today, new openings are popping up constantly. And the closer we get to the holiday season, the more of these job opportunities you'll see. Good luck!
You must live in certain states
If you live in Hawaii, you're out of luck. Amazon only hires work-from-home employees who live in certain states, but folks living elsewhere need not apply.
Eligible states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
If being your own boss sounds like a good idea, give Amazon Flex a try.
With Amazon Flex, you'll be making deliveries for the company. You are able to set your own schedule and have more time to pursue other goals in life.
You can make $18-$25 per hour delivering packages with Amazon. Once you're hired for the position, you'll need to download the Amazon Flex app. The app lets you set your schedule, scan packages when you pick them up for delivery, gives you detailed directions with the built-in GPS, and check to see how much money you have earned.
This job is already available in more than 30 U.S. cities and Amazon is adding new ones all the time. Here's a list of available locations:
- Arlington, VA
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL
- Cincinnati, OH
- Cleveland, OH
- Columbus, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Denver, CO
- Detroit, MI
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Jacksonville, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Greater Los Angeles area, CA
- Manhattan, NY
- Miami, FL
- Milwaukee, WI
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- Nashville, TN
- New Jersey
- New York
- Orlando, FL
- Philadelphia, PA
- Phoenix, AZ
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Portland, OR
- Raleigh, NC
- Richmond, VA
- San Antonio, TX
- Greater San Francisco area, CA
- San Diego, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Tampa Bay, FL
- Tucson, AZ
- Virginia Beach, VA
If you don't see your area on the list above, click here to join Amazon's waiting list. You will be contacted when opportunities become available.
Click here to find out more about Amazon Flex.