Instacart is one of the largest food delivery services for groceries in the U.S. Instacart shopper pay has changed over the past few years, and the demand for shoppers skyrocketed during the pandemic. Shopping for Instacart is a solid option if you want to supplement your income with a flexible side hustle. To help you decide if Instacart is worth your time, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how much Instacart shoppers make.

What Is Instacart?

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service that partners with local grocery stores to deliver orders directly to customers’ homes. And it’s been neck-and-neck with Walmart Grocery, which is the largest grocery delivery service in the U.S., according to Bloomberg Second Measure.

There are two different kinds of Instacart shoppers — the difference in those types directly relates to how much Instacart shoppers make:

  • Full-service Instacart shopper: These are independent contractors who accept orders in the app, shop for the orders, and deliver them to customers in their own vehicles. You have the flexibility to choose when and how often you work. Full-service shoppers are paid for every order they deliver and can make anywhere from $15-$20/hour.
  • In-store Instacart shopper: In-store shoppers are part-time, W-2 employees who only shop for orders (no delivery and a car isn’t required). You must work at least 15 to 20 hours per week and no more than 29 hours a week. In this role, you’re paid a flat hourly rate that varies by market but is typically under $15/hour.
Great Alternative
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Deliver on your own schedule

This is one of the best side hustles if you are looking for a low-commitment gig and have access to a reliable vehicle.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make?

How much Instacart shoppers make is a question that varies on shopper role and where you’re working, but Instacart shopper reviews say pay ranges from $12-$20/hour.

How Much Does Instacart Pay By The Hour?

Instacart only pays by the hour if you’re an in-store shopper, while full-service shoppers are paid per order. Glassdoor estimates the range for in-store shoppers at $12-$16/hour with $13/hour as the average.

Full-service shoppers make anywhere from $15-$20/hour when you calculate the amount you make for the week and divide it by the number of hours you work.

Here are some examples from Instacart shopper reviews on Reddit:

  • $250-$350/week working 20 hours = $12.50 to $17.50/hour
  • $100/day working 4-5 hours = $20 to $25/hour
  • $400/week working 20 hours = $20/hour
  • $100-$300/day working 5-6 hours a day = $16.50 to $60/hour
  • $70/day working only 3-4 hours = $17.50-$23/hour
  • $1,200 in 42 hours = $28.50/hour

How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Day?

It’s not unrealistic for full-service Instacart shoppers to make $100 per day or more, working 4-6 hours a day. Remember, hourly pay varies because shoppers are paid per order. In-store shoppers working the same number of hours daily will earn around $50-$80 a day.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make Per Week?

Considering that you can make $100/day doing Instacart delivery, we can extrapolate that amount to say you can earn $500+ a week, and further, you can make $2,000 a week working for Instacart as a full-service shopper.

Glassdoor confirms the $2,000/month pay in shopper reviews. The range they share is $1,000 to $8,000/month, with the average monthly pay at $2,775.

Again, there’s a wide range in that monthly pay, and that’s because you’re paid per delivery. This next section will explain more…

How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Delivery?

The variation in pay for full-service shoppers is because you’re paid per delivery, not per hour. And Instacart uses a complex black-box algorithm to determine your per-order earnings. Instacart has made changes to its pay model over the years, but here’s the most current version:

Instacart Pay Model

The new pay model gives shoppers a higher guaranteed compensation floor. Instacart hasn’t shared the algorithm, but we know the minimum batch payment is now $7 to $10 for full-service batches and $5 for delivery-only batches.

Here are the factors affecting Instacart shopper pay:

  • Difficulty: How difficult each order is to shop for (think heavy or oversized items)
  • Distance: How far away the drop-off destination is from the store
  • Batch incentives: Base pay calculation
  • Quality bonuses: A bonus for every five-star review you receive
  • Peak boosts: A bonus shoppers receive when they shop during periods of high demand
  • Tips: Shoppers always keep 100% of their tips

How do we get to $15 to $20 per hour?

Let’s say you spend four hours shopping for Instacart, and you’ve accepted and delivered six orders. Those orders might look like this:

  • Order 1: $10 batch payment + $12 tip
  • Order 2: $7 batch payment +$5 tip
  • Order 3: $9 batch payment + $6 tip
  • Order 4: $10 batch payment + $10 tip
  • Order 5: $7 batch payment + $4 tip
  • Order 6: $10 batch payment + $9 tip

Over those four hours, you’ve earned $99. Divide that by 4, and you earn $24.75/hour. There might be days when you earn less per hour and days when you make more.

When Does Instacart Pay?

Instacart pays shoppers (in-store and full-service) weekly via direct deposit to a checking or savings account.

Full-service shoppers can use the Instant Cashout feature and immediately transfer funds to their debit card. There’s a $0.50 transaction fee each time you Instant Cashout. You’ll need to complete five orders before you can use Instant Cashout for the first time, and you’ll need at least $5 in earnings.

What Instacart Shoppers Need to Know About Tip Baiting

Tip baiting is when customers enter a larger tip (the bait) to get you to choose their order over another customer’s. Then, they remove or lower the tip once the delivery has been completed.

This practice started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when people avoided grocery stores at all costs and relied on food delivery drivers. Some large tips were a genuine “thank-you” for your service, while others were only luring drivers to their orders.

In response, Instacart has narrowed the customer tip window from three days to one. And while it might not be related, the policy change came just a week after three U.S. senators sent a letter about tip-baiting to Instacart’s CEO Apoorva Mehta.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to understand what tips might be too good to be true. For example, an $80 tip on a $20 order? It might not be worth your time when Instacart only prompts tips of 5% of the order total.

Changes In Instacart Shopper Pay

Instacart made significant changes in 2019 that affect how much Instacart shoppers make. The change made minimum batch payment go from $3 to $7-$10 for full-service batches, and shoppers can now see their zone’s batch payment minimum in the Instacart shopper app.

They made these changes and said in a letter to shoppers that “We’re launching new measures to more fairly and competitively compensate all our shoppers.”

The changes were directed at two major issues:

  • Tips: Before this change, tips impacted Instacart’s contribution to shoppers’ earnings. Essentially, tips were used to subsidize shopper pay, and now shoppers keep 100% of the tips they earn for each order.
  • Pay for small batches: The increase from $3 to $7-$10 in batch pay is because drivers reported that compensation didn’t always match the effort they put forth. Instacart looked over many of its most extreme instances of batch pay inconsistency and said in its letter that they “shouldn’t be paying a shopper $0.80 for a batch. It doesn’t matter that this happens 1 out of 100,000 times—it happened to one shopper, and that’s one time too many.”

Instacart Shopper Expenses

We know that Instacart shoppers make $15-$20/hour while delivering, but this doesn’t account for the expenses related to being out on delivery. Since you’re working as an independent contractor, Instacart doesn’t cover these expenses, and they will eat into your total take-home pay.

Independent contractors can write off expenses when filing self-employment taxes, including the miles you drive, but let’s take a closer look at some of the largest expenses food delivery drivers are responsible for:

  • Fuel costs: Gas is your responsibility as an independent contractor, and the kind of fuel mileage your car gets can dramatically impact your total earnings. Many drivers are saving on gas using apps like Upside (you can earn up to $0.25 back per gallon).
  • Maintenance and repairs: When you drive your car for work, you’ll need more frequent maintenance, like changing oil, brake pads, new tires, fluid changes, etc.
  • Insurance: Instacart shoppers may need special insurance to be fully covered in the event of an accident. You can expect to pay about $15/month or more.

Highest-Paying Cities for Instacart Shoppers

Where you live can be a significant factor in determining how much Instacart shoppers make. The demand is greater in some cities, deliveries are more difficult to make, the cost of living is higher, and so on.

We looked at dozens and dozens of Instacart shopper reviews online, and here’s what Instacart shoppers are making in specific cities:

  • Portland, OR: $175 on a bad day, $250 on a good day like Sundays
  • Detroit, MI: $200+ a day for approximately 10 hours
  • Tucson, AZ: Minimum of $250 a day in 8 hours
  • Long Island, NY: $25+ per order
  • Chicago, IL: $450 a week working 20-25 hours
  • Omaha, NE: $20 per batch
  • Los Angeles, CA: $400+ per day
  • Boston, MA: $200/day

Instacart Shopper Requirements

Now that you know how much Instacart shoppers are paid and you want to sign up, first look over these requirements to make sure it’s the right fit for you:

Requirements for full-service Instacart shoppers

  • 18+ years old
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Ability to lift at least 50 pounds with or without accommodation
  • Regular access to a reliable vehicle and insurance
  • A smartphone that’s capable of running the Instacart app
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check
  • Clean driving record

Even though you only need to be 18 years old to work as a full-service shopper, you’ll need to be at least 21 if you want to be able to accept orders with alcohol. Those types of orders often result in larger tips, so keep that in mind.

Requirements for in-store Instacart shoppers

  • 18+ years old
  • Legally able to work in the U.S.
  • Ability to lift at least 50 pounds with or without accommodation
  • A smartphone that’s capable of running the Instacart app
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check

Working as an in-store shopper could be a good option if you don’t have a vehicle or if you have issues on your driving record that would prevent you from being approved.

How to Become an Instacart Shopper

The steps to becoming an Instacart shopper are pretty easy, and the application process takes 15 minutes or less. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Step 1: Head to the driver sign-up page

Here’s our referral link to the Instacart driver sign-up page. You’ll need to enter your zip code first, and then Instacart will ask for your first and last name, email address, and cell phone number. Then Instacart will send you a link to download the shopper app.

Step 2: Get approved

Instacart will ask for your driver’s license number, Social Security number, and your bank direct deposit information. They use this information to pay you and verify that you can drive for Instacart.

You’ll also be asked to consent to a background check—all food-delivery services require this step—and it can take up to two weeks to be approved to drive.

Step 3: Start shopping for Instacart

As soon as you’re approved, Instacart will mail you a payment card to checkout and pay for groceries. You will not use your own credit or debit card to buy groceries.

You’ll find orders in the app and choose which ones to shop for. Make sure you communicate with customers in the app and follow their instructions for shopping and delivery.

Great Alternative
DoorDash logo

Deliver on your own schedule

This is one of the best side hustles if you are looking for a low-commitment gig and have access to a reliable vehicle.

How to Earn More With Instacart

Below are a few tips from savvy shoppers who have learned how to make more than average as an Instacart shopper. These strategies can help you boost your per order/batch pay and earn more in tips.

  • Become an efficient shopper: Time is money, and you’ll end up earning more per hour if you can shop efficiently. The best way to do this is to familiarize yourself with how stores are laid out. Most follow a very similar layout with dairy and meat in the back and produce up front, but look at the customer’s order to plan out your route through the store.
  • Make yourself available during peak times: Not all times are created equal in the minds of Instacart customers. Put yourself in their shoes: who’s ordering from Instacart and when would they be doing it? Busy professionals who work M-F are more likely to order, and they’ll be wanting their orders delivered after work or on the weekends. There are Peak Boosts available during busier hours, but the schedule has to make sense for you. If you have to pay for child care to shop at 7 pm M-F, then it might not be worth it. Especially if you can shop during the day when your kid is in school.
  • Go after bigger orders: Larger orders almost always pay more. It’s more time in the store, the difficulty level is up, and so on. Most Instacart shoppers find that one large order pays better than small ones, even two or more small orders at a time.
  • Avoid double or triple batches: Instacart lets you shop for multiple orders at a time, but this isn’t recommended for new Instacart shoppers. It’s stressful and takes a high level of organization. Plus, if you have anything frozen in one of those orders… forget about it.

Instacart vs. DoorDash vs. Shipt

Instacart is one of a handful of on-demand delivery services, and they all pay in slightly different ways. Here’s a quick breakdown of how Shipt and DoorDash compare:

You can learn more about how Instacart compares with each in these in-depth comparisons:

How Much do Instacart Shoppers Make? The Final Word

You can sign up for Instacart and make $15-$20/hour as a full-service shopper. Shoppers are paid per order (what Instacart calls batches), and you keep 100% of any customer tips. In-store shoppers get paid hourly, and make $12-$16/hour on average.

Overall, Instacart is a solid side hustle app if you want a flexible way to make extra money. Keep in mind that you are responsible for covering driver-related expenses and self-employment taxes.

Many Instacart shoppers also work for other delivery services, like DoorDash or Shipt, because there will be times when one app isn’t as busy. Working for multiple services helps you earn a steadier stream of income.


How much do Instacart shoppers make per order?

Instacart shoppers are paid $7-$10 per batch, and that’s before tips. If you can complete two orders in an hour, you’d make $14-$20 without tips.

Is driving for Instacart worth it?

Shopping and driving for Instacart is a flexible way to make extra money. You can work as a full-service shopper if you have a car, but in-store shoppers aren’t required to have a car or license.

Does Instacart pay for gas?

No, Instacart considers gas a driver expense. However, Instacart started charging customers a temporary fuel surcharge of $0.40 per order in March ’22 to help with rising fuel costs. The fee is paid to drivers to help offset gas prices.

DoorDash Disclaimer:

  • Earning more on certain types of orders (ex. alcohol): Earn more per order as compared to restaurant orders. Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries you accept and complete, time of day, location, and any costs. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90-day period and includes compensation from tips, peak pay, and other incentives.
  • Get paid instantly (DasherDirect): Subject to approval
  • Cash out daily (Fast Pay): Fees apply
  • Start dashing today: Subject to background check and availability
  • Dash anytime: Subject to availability