How to Become an Instacart Shopper and Driver
Instacart is expanding rapidly, meaning they are constantly looking for drivers and shoppers.
Signing up to work for Instacart is a great alternative for driving for Uber or Lyft. If you don’t want to deal with passengers, or your car doesn’t pass the requirements needed for Uber or Lyft, Instacart might be for you.
Instacart also hires shoppers who don’t deliver. So if you don’t own a vehicle, you still could get some work.
Akin to other delivery apps, such as Uber Eats and Postmates, Instacart connects customers with independent contractors. The major difference between the apps, however, is the type of order being delivered. Instacart focuses primarily on completing grocery deliveries from customers’ favorite local stores.
If you are unfamiliar with Instacart, it’s an on-demand grocery delivery service. Instacart pays people to shop for groceries at local stores (they have a partnership with Whole Foods, for instance). And in addition to the actual shopping, Instacart workers are in charge of delivering the groceries to the customer.
To date, Instacart is available in these areas. As the popularity of the grocery delivery app increases, the area where Instacart is available will expand. And as the grocery delivery service expands, so will the need for shoppers and delivery drivers.
That’s why we created this guide. Here you can learn more about Instacart and how to become a Shopper. We also look at Instacart pay so you can decide if it’s worth it.
- What Is an Instacart Shopper?
- Instacart Shopper Requirements
- How Much Does Instacart Pay?
- How Much Do Shoppers Make?
- How to Become an Instacart Driver
- Working for Instacart
What Is an Instacart Shopper?
Instacart employs two kinds of workers: Full-Service Shopper or In-Store Shopper. Deciding which type of shopper you want to be will depend heavily on the type of work you are looking for and how much money you want to earn.
For example, In-Store Shoppers have a cap on how many hours they are allowed to work each week. At max, In-Store Shoppers are allowed to work 29 hours. Although the limits on this part-time position may be discouraging, there is a plus side: In-Store Shoppers are not required to drive anywhere.
In contrast, Full-Service Shoppers complete the orders from start to finish. As in, a driver arrives at the grocery store, completes the order by shopping for the items on a given list, and then actually delivers the order to the customer. Current couriers and rideshare drivers may feel right at home as Full-Service Shoppers.
Regardless of which type of shopper you are interested in becoming, working for Instacart has a lot of benefits. For starters, shoppers do not have to deal with passengers and they can maintain a flexible schedule while earning extra cash.
Needless to say, this entry-level position is a great side-hustle option for those seeking a way to have a positive impact.
Instacart Shopper Requirements
Drivers who meet the following requirements should consider working as an Instacart Full-Service Shopper:
- 18 years or older
- Able to work in the United States
- Access to a vehicle at all times
- Have and use a personal smartphone (an iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 and up)
- Able to lift 30–40 pounds on average
If you are not able to drive, consider becoming an In-Store Shopper. Interested parties need only fulfill the short list of requirements below to get started.
- Older than 17
- Permitted to work in the United States
- Can use and own a smartphone – iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 or better
- Able to lift between 30–40 pounds
How Much Does Instacart Pay?
Surprisingly, Instacart independent contractors are pretty hush-hush in regards to the payment structure. Nevertheless, we would like to share a few details on what we know for sure. Instacart uses a different payment structure based on coverage area location and which type of shopper you are.
Each Instacart shopper is informed of how their unique payment plan works in an outline provided initially in the offer letter or Independent Contractor Agreement.
Here are the key points regarding pay from the agreement (emphasis added):
- 3.1 Instacart agrees to pay you for the Services within 30 days of performance. Instacart reserves the right to change the rates schedule at any time, and Instacart will provide you with notice of the changes in advance of your accepting a Delivery Opportunity through the Instacart Shopper App. Instacart does not pay earnings by salary or by an hourly rate.
- 3.2 For a Delivery Opportunity that involves both personal shopping and delivery, you will be provided a payment for each delivery, plus a per item payment, and any applicable bump payment. Available payment rates are posted in the Shopper App, and you can review the applicable rate schedule prior to accepting or rejecting a Delivery Opportunity.
- 3.3 For a Delivery Opportunity that involves delivery only, you will be provided a payment for each delivery. Available payment rates are posted in the Shopper App, and you can review the applicable rate schedule prior to accepting or rejecting a Delivery Opportunity.
- 3.4 As a condition of receiving payment, you agree to provide Instacart with your taxpayer identification number and the requisite authorization for required background checks. You shall be responsible for all costs and expenses incurred or necessary in the performance of the Services, including but not limited to phone, parking, vehicle, insurance, and travel expenses.
Come explore Ridester’s additional rideshare driver training videos
How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make?
Wages vary based on location and position. Nevertheless, an average estimate was provided by Instacart on their website at one point in time. Before taking down the reported average wage, Instacart stated that shoppers could earn up to $25 an hour. Since then, other estimates have come to light.
Although Instacart independent contractors are not offered a guaranteed hourly wage, when business is slow shoppers earn about $10 an hour. Sure, this amount is a far cry from $25 an hour, but there is a plus side. Drivers have reported earning $350 within a timespan of three days, which averages out to about $117 each day rounded up.
Unfortunately, the driver did not disclose how many hours were put in to acquire this amount. They did, however, reveal how important order completion is. After racking up over $100 a day, the driver made the mistake of messing up an order. Once this incident occurred, the shopper’s rating decreased thus damaging their ability to get high-price orders.
Another thing drivers should factor into their wage is gas. Instacart does not reimburse Full-Service Shoppers for the gas they use while making deliveries.
According to the Independent Contractor Agreement (linked above), “You shall be responsible for all costs and expenses incurred or necessary in the performance of the Services, including but not limited to phone, parking, vehicle, insurance, and travel expenses.” Having said that, it is worth mentioning that business expenses, such as gas and vehicle maintenance fees, are tax deductible, so be sure to keep track of that information.
As for the average wage for In-Store Shoppers, according to Quora, one In-Store Shopper received between $15 and $9 an hour without tips factored in. For example, Amora Rei estimates the hourly rate to be about $11 with tips being approximately 20 percent on average.
How to Become an Instacart Driver
The first step on the path to becoming a Full-Service or In-Store Shopper is to complete the online form. Filling out the required information will take about five minutes.
Once your form is approved, anticipate receiving additional information on how to proceed based on which type of shopper you aim to be.
Once an application is accepted, potential Instacart shoppers are asked to schedule a one-on-one. Bear in mind, with how popular Instacart is, it can be rather challenging to accomplish this since available slots are booked pretty fast.
After a spot has been reserved for you personally, the orientation typically takes around 2 hours.
During this time, shoppers will learn the ropes of what to do during the shopping portion of the job. For example, shoppers will learn what to do if an item is out of stock or how to select fruits and vegetables.
They will also be informed of how to pay for the order, namely via a prepaid card. All shoppers receive this financial item at orientation, so be sure to get yours.
If you would like more information about the onboarding process, check out Instacart’s complete FAQ located here.
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Working for Instacart
For drivers who are already working as a courier, the transition to becoming a Full-Service Shopper for Instacart is a piece of cake. At the start of your desired shift, turn on the Instacart app. While you are waiting for an order, be sure to position yourself near the local grocery store.
Once you receive an order, be sure to confirm the store listed. To assure proper payment, drivers may need to visit a specific store based on that company’s pricing. After a driver has determined which grocery store to shop at, they should head to the location. Upon arriving, drivers should park as close as possible to the entrance to assure that the quality of the goods they are retrieving remains intact.
If there is an In-Store Shopper at this location, drivers will be able to pick up the order from them. It is vital for drivers to double-check the order by reviewing each item and confirming it is in the bag. Although this may be very time consuming due to the quantity requested, the driver’s livelihood is on the line.
If an order is wrong, drivers are given a poor rating, which will lead to smaller orders and thus earning less money in the future.
If there is not an In-Store Shopper waiting, Full-Service Shoppers will need to pick up all of the items on the shopping list.
Upon completion, drivers should head for the checkout and use the prepaid card. When loading up the goods into your vehicle, take the time to make sure that items are secure and safe.
For example, refrain from putting fresh meat in front of your floor heater and be sure that carbonated drinks are not going to tip over during the trip. Doing so will assure that the food remains intact which improves the odds of being tipped by the recipient. With this all squared away and ready to go, the last leg of the delivery is to give the requested items to the customer.
As for the In-Store Shopper, there is less to worry about. Leave your Instacart app open and wait for an order. Once you receive the shopping list, head out to the aisles.
Depending on signage and your familiarity with the store’s organization, you may be able to head directly to an item’s location. Be sure to follow all of the recommended guidelines you reviewed during orientation.
Once these items are accounted for, head to the checkout area. While scanning each item, be sure to double check that each item is being loaded up. Upon completion, use the prepaid card to complete the customer’s transaction on their behalf.
From there, In-Store Shoppers should pack the items into the designated storage area. Or, if the Full-Service Shopper has arrived, hand off the order to them.
Driving for Instacart: Is It Worth It?
We have received very interesting reports from drivers in regards to who actually uses Instacart.
In general, most drivers report that the customers who are making orders are typically very wealthy. Having said that, some customers tip very nicely whereas others refuse to tip at all.
In addition, there are also customers that expect shoppers to cater to every need, like bring the groceries inside and helping them put them away, regardless of how practical the request is.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, keep a level head and stay rational. You may meet every demand and still not be tipped, so stay aware.
Nevertheless, working as a shopper for Instacart can be very rewarding. Shoppers get to be their own boss, earn as much as they want, and improve their local community over time. We probably wouldn’t recommend Instacart delivery as a full-time job, but it is a great part-time job where workers can usually make well over minimum wage.