Last Updated on 2023-11-08

The Amazon Delivery Station Associate Job Explained

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Davis Porter

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Justin “JJ” James

T1 Asssociate in a Delivery Station with 2+ years of experience working in the Stower, Picker, and Stager roles

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Shane Lynch

T1 Asssociate with experience working both a Delivery Station and Sortation Center working in the XL Associate, Receive Dock, Waterspider, Picker, Problem Solver, and Packer roles.

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Ozy Watson

T1 Asssociate with 1+ year of experience working in the Unloader, Scanner, Stager, Stower, Picker, Inducter, Pusher, Diverter, and Pick-to-Buffer roles

An Amazon Delivery Station Warehouse Associate is a frontline worker responsible for managing packages at the point of handing them over to the customer. They are the ones who sort, scan, and load packages onto delivery vehicles, thereby streamlining the "last mile" delivery process. 

Delivery Station (DS)” here refers to Amazon's facilities that handle the last leg of a package's journey. They are different from Fulfillment Centers (FCs), where products are stored and prepared for shipment, and Sortation Centers (SCs), which categorize packages by their destination region. The 'associate' label, on the other hand, denotes an entry-level, Tier 1 (T1) position within Amazon's organizational structure.

Don’t mistake them for other warehouse associates in the Amazon logistics pipeline. Whereas associates in FCs handle product picking and packing, and their SC counterparts sort orders by postal codes, DS associates prepare packages for final delivery. Their tasks are more localized, dealing with orders destined for nearby locations.

Even though they might not interact directly with customers, their position forms the all-important link between Amazon and its shoppers. The efficiency and accuracy of a delivery station associate has a direct impact on delivery times and, by extension, customer satisfaction. 

Why consider the DS associate role? 

For starters, the DS associate role is an entry point into Amazon's vast logistics network, through which you get to manage one of the world's most advanced supply chains. 

The position also offers potential for career advancement. Although it’s an entry-level post, many associates ultimately get to move up the ranks, transitioning to supervisory or managerial positions. 

For example, according to Ozy Watson, a Delivery Station Associate based in San Francisco, “After working as a Level 1 associate for enough time, one may be able to move up to Level 3 Process Assistant, Level 3 Safety, or Level 3 Driver Trainer positions.

He further clarifies that Amazon even offers a program called Career Choice to all permanent full-time employees after they reach their 90-day tenure. This entitles associates to a $5,250 a year tuition payment for vocational training.

Such benefits notwithstanding, the Delivery Station itself runs dynamic customer-oriented operations, which may be appealing to anyone who enjoys fulfilling customer orders.

The job’s shift timing could be another incentive for new associates,” suggests Justin James, who’s been an Amazon Delivery Station Associate for over two years. “The main shift in a DS runs from 3:20 am to 11:50 am. There is also a part-time sortation role from 10:50 pm to 2:50 am. So, people who may be going to school or another job should be comfortable working here. Plus, you get to earn a shift differential bonus during those odd hours.” 

What is an Amazon delivery station? 

A delivery station is the final touchpoint within Amazon's intricate logistics network before a package reaches the customer. It’s where orders are correctly sorted and dispatched for the "last mile" delivery.

The stations are always abuzz with activity. Trucks laden with packages arrive from Sortation Centers. The packages, already pre-sorted by postal code, are then further categorized based on their final destinations. Conveyor systems subsequently transport them to the sorting area, where they are scanned and grouped according to delivery routes. Once sorted, they are loaded onto delivery vehicles, ready to be dispatched to customers.

What do associates do at Amazon DS’s?

Warehouse Associates, categorized as Tier 1 (T1) workers, are the principal drivers of DS operations. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Unloading and Inducting Packages: Associates kickstart the package's journey at the DS by unloading it from incoming trucks. They then scan each one into Amazon's system, after which everything is placed onto a conveyor belt for further sorting.
  • Sorting and Stowing Packages: Packages are moved from the conveyor belt to buffer shelves. This is when the second scan is conducted, with the main objective being to assign a code to each package. Associates then proceed to sort them into designated bags based on their delivery locations. The third scan subsequently follows as a final verification that each package grouping corresponds to its appropriate delivery area.
  • Staging Packages and Bags: Once all that is done, packages and bags are prepared for delivery. Associates place them onto carts, strategically staging everything for easy access by delivery drivers.

In addition to these core tasks, associates help to maintain a smooth flow of operations within the delivery station. They rectify discrepancies, manage damaged goods, and assist in processing returns.

DS associate job description

As an Amazon Delivery Station (DS) Associate, you may take on one or more of these warehouse roles:

  • Unloaders: Their primary task is to unload packages from trucks and transfer them to conveyor belts for further processing.
  • Diverters: Responsible for guiding packages to the appropriate belts leading to stowing stations. In some warehouses, this task is automated with robotic arms.
  • Pickers: Also known as “pick-to-buffer”, their job is to remove packages from the conveyor belt and place them on buffer shelves, ready for Stowers to sort.
  • Stowers: They scan each package in their aisle and then direct it to the appropriate staging bag. Each package has a unique QR code which, when scanned, provides information about its final destination. 
  • Loading: Associates grab all the bags and packages that are going to a certain destination and place them onto a cart, which they then stage for the driver to load into their truck.
  • Route Selectors: They organize carts with packages sorted by Stowers, and then stage them in areas that are easily accessible to Delivery Service Providers (DSPs). 
  • Problem Solvers: When packages are returned to the delivery station, these are the warehouse associates who log them, check for damages, and determine whether they can be restocked or returned to the supplier.
  • Returns Processing: When packages are returned to the delivery station, warehouse associates log them, check for damages, and determine whether they can be restocked or returned to the supplier.

As for the qualification criteria, a high school diploma or its equivalent would certainly help. It’s worth noting, though, that Amazon places a higher emphasis on skills and experience when hiring warehouse associates for its delivery stations.

You basically need analytical skills along with:

  • Basic Software Proficiency: While not mandatory for entry-level (T1) roles, familiarity with basic software used in stowing and picking can be advantageous. According to Justin, “The only software we use is the one installed on our scanners.” You will, however, receive adequate training upon getting hired as an Amazon Warehouse Associate. 
  • Hardware Proficiency: Associates must also be comfortable with barcode scanners. This is what you’ll be using to identify packages, tag them, and update their status in real-time.
  • Physical Stamina: The job further involves standing for extended periods, moving around the expansive warehouses, and lifting heavy items – especially during peak hours when the volume of packages is high. Shane Lynch, another Amazon DS Associate, confirms that the job shifts are indeed longer when the volume increases.

How much are you paid?

Data published by Glassdoor shows that Amazon Delivery Station Warehouse Associates in the U.S. make about $15 to $18 per hour. That translates to an annual salary of about $32,000 to $37,000, with the average being $34,538.

The figures were pulled from a sample of 310 individuals, whose earnings are significantly influenced by regional factors. It was observed, for instance, that associates in metropolitan areas or regions with a higher cost of living often command higher wages compared to those in rural settings

Regardless of your location, though, Amazon offers multiple opportunities for making extra income over your base pay. 

For instance, during peak seasons like Prime Day or Black Friday, you’ll have the chance to make 1.5 times your regular hourly rate as overtime pay. At times, a referral bonus of about $250 may also be up for grabs if your referred associate makes it to 60 days of tenure. 

Other than that, performance bonuses might be available for associates who exceed their targets or showcase exceptional performance. The eligibility and amounts for such bonuses depend on the delivery station and its operational needs. 

“Many DS Associates get a shift differential of $0.50-$2.00 for working on night shift or weekends,” says Ozy. “And that’s in addition to a base pay of up to $20 an hour.” 

Yeah, if you work a shift at an odd time, you are given an extra $1.50/hr as a shift differential bonus,” corroborates Justin. He then adds, “Even if you don’t, at least you’ll benefit from Amazon’s tiered pay system, which progressively raises the hourly wages for T1 DS Associates by 40 cents or so every six months.”

Comparisons with other Amazon roles

DS Associate vs. Fulfillment Center Associate

DS associates are the last to touch a product before it reaches the customer. They handle the final sorting, scanning, and loading of packages onto delivery vehicles.

Fulfillment center associates, on the other hand, are involved in the initial stages of an order's life. They pick products from shelves, pack them, and prepare them for shipment to sortation centers or directly to delivery stations. FC Associates work in a much larger environment, as fulfillment centers are expansive warehouses with an extensive array of products.

DS Associate vs. Sortation Center Associate

DS associates specialize in the localized, detailed preparation of packages for delivery. They must have an intimate knowledge of the delivery area, be adept at route optimization, and handle packages with care to get them to the right customers on time.  

Sortation center associates work with a broader perspective. They are responsible for sorting packages coming from fulfillment centers and directing them to the correct delivery stations. Their role is less about individual package details and more about the efficient movement of goods on a large scale.

Is the DS associate job hard? 

Working at a delivery station is not necessarily hard, but it can be physically demanding. Associates are required to lift, stand for extended periods, and perform repetitive motions throughout their shifts. 

When compared to other Amazon facilities, the physical demands may vary. Fulfillment centers, for example, are larger and often require more walking and lifting of heavier items. Sortation centers might involve more sorting tasks but less direct handling of packages.

Justin reports that during peak seasons, some DS associates may even have their single-cycle shifts extended to Mandatory Extra Time (MET). 

Amazon does, however, provide support and resources to help its associates cope with the demands of the job. This includes comprehensive training programs, safety protocols to prevent workplace injuries, and employee assistance programs that promote well-being.

Some facilities, as explained by Shane, provide a wellness area with foam roller lacrosse balls, yoga mats, and a bunch of guides on how to stretch out during a break, as well as before and after your shift.

Get started

Here’s your opportunity to earn competitive wages while contributing to seamless customer experiences. Visit Amazon’s job openings page and apply to become a delivery station associate. 

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