How much do Instacart shoppers make? This is a question that I’m asked all of the time and it's not one that I can answer easily. There are many factors to take into consideration when you're trying to figure out how much an Instacart shopper makes, such as what city you live in, which delivery zone your store is located in, whether or not there is surge pricing during certain times of day/week, etc.
Check out my article below for an estimate of how much you’ll make working for Instacart. However, the best way to find out exactly how much Instacart shoppers make for your particular situation is by signing up with them!
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery shopping platform that allows customers to shop for their groceries from the comfort of their homes.
Through the platform, customers in the U.S and Canada can conveniently shop at their local grocery retailers and pharmacies, and their groceries and pharmaceutical products are delivered to them.
So how does it work?
Instacart has a website and a delivery app that customers use to order their groceries. Once they fill in all the required information, Instacart shoppers are then tasked with shopping for all the ordered products and delivering them to the customer’s doorstep. All this is done within an hour or so after placing the order
How much do Instacart shoppers make?
Every full-service Instacart shopper gets paid per batch delivered. They can earn anywhere between $15 and $20 per hour during a typical shift.
So if you want to earn more, you should go to work early to get all those early-bird shoppers. By doing this, you prove to your customers and the company that you are reliable. It could really boost your earnings in the long run.
Pros of being an Instacart shopper
First, getting started as an Instacart shopper is easy and quick. You just have to pass the verification process, and that’s pretty much it. You will then receive a confirmation as soon as your application goes through.
Next, as an Instacart shopper, you have the freedom to operate within your own schedule. This allows you to easily take care of all the other aspects of your life stress-free.
Finally, being an Instacart shopper doesn’t require any pre-earned complex skills like other jobs. All you need to do is prove that you are a licensed driver. Simple right?
Cons of being an Instacart shopper
On the downside, Instacart does not have a set minimum wage for its shoppers. This can be discouraging at times, especially when other shoppers receive higher earnings than others.
Another disadvantage of being an Instacart shopper is that it can be physically demanding at times. You may find that you have to deliver bulk orders, so it takes much of your energy to shop, load your truck, and then offload it once you reach the order destination.
Last, considering all the additional costs that you have to incur as an Instacart shopper, sometimes the wage you receive may not be sufficient to cover all the expenses.
Full-service shoppers vs in-store shoppers
Note: Just recently, Instacart changed their shoppers’ policy and converted all in-store shoppers into full-service shoppers.
As a prerequisite for being an Instacart shopper, you need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have access to a registered vehicle
- The vehicle should be insured
- Have a smartphone with Android 5.0 or above or iOS 9 or above
- You must be able to lift at least 30 pounds
If you meet all these requirements, you can then move forward to applying for the job position. All job positions are applied for using the app or online.
There, you will be required to provide all your legal documents, after which you will wait for a confirmation from Instacart’s offices informing you whether you have been successful with your application or not.
If you get accepted, you will receive further instructions regarding when and how to begin work. In some instances, they may even schedule you for an orientation session to educate you on essential product and customer handling procedures.
As mentioned before, full-service Instacart shoppers operate independently, meaning that you will be liable to make estimated quarterly tax payments.
Prior to the above change, in-store shoppers operated as part-time W-2 employee shoppers. Additionally, in-store shoppers only shopped for customers’ orders from one store.
Instacart scheduled all shifts in advance and committed all In-store shoppers to work for at least 29 hours a week at an hourly wage between $11 to $16 per hour. The good thing about in-store shopping was that owning a car was never a prerequisite.
All you needed to do was wait for the company to assign you the grocery store you would be shopping at, and that’s it!
Costs that lower your Instacart earnings
As an Instacart shopper, there are some costs that you will incur to enable your business to run smoothly.
Want to know some of them? If yes, read on.
Gas and vehicle maintenance
As a vehicle operator, gas and vehicle maintenance is the most significant cost that you will incur. If you don’t stay up to date on your car maintenance routine, your business could potentially suffer.
However, there is some good news.
In 2021, it was confirmed that the set mileage rate by the IRS is $0.56 per mile. At such rates, you can quickly write off your accrued mileage while shopping with Instacart.
For accuracy when capturing the mileage, you can use Hurdlr. This app automatically tracks your mileage alongside other things like taxes and expenses in real-time.
Insulated freezer bag
To be allowed to work as an Instacart driver, you will need to own an insulated freezer bag for storing the groceries and pharmaceutical products before you deliver them to their owners. However, this is a one-off expense.
Another significant expense you will incur is the depreciation of your vehicle. As you cover mileage, your car will be subject to wear and tear, thus depreciating your car’s value.
In that case, you may want to increase your earnings to cover most of your expenses.
How to maximize your Instacart earnings
Apart from just being a regular Instacart shopper, there are a few things you can do to rack up your earnings.
1. Follow your customers’ instructions
One of the best things you can do to increase your earnings is to follow your customer’s instructions. An excellent way to do so is to add all the request details to a checklist and tick them off as you go.
2. Deliver orders on time
Once you receive orders from customers, ensure you deliver them within the correct time frame. This proves that you are reliable. Once you show that to your customers, they may even tip you after a good job.
3. Hustle your way through
Simply put, nothing comes easy. You have to work for it. This includes researching how you can improve your efficiency and time management to increase the number of orders, thus boosting your income.
4. Be friendly
Consider the way you interact with your customers. Everyone in business should be keen to maintain good customer relations. Without that, you risk losing customers.
You can achieve this through body language, such as making eye contact and smiling once you arrive with the delivery. Also, never forget to smile. This makes the delivery experience more personal and sincere.
Getting started with your Instacart side hustle is a great move towards earning money on your own terms. In this article, I’ve answered the question ‘how much do Instacart shoppers make’ as well as included some quick tips for maximizing your earnings. The only thing left to do is sign up and give it a try. Don't invest your time in it without doing enough research to understand what you’re getting into first, though.