Getting paid to deliver groceries is one of the most popular side hustles right now, and Shipt is one of the fastest growing services. Customers love the ease of having groceries delivered directly to their doorstep, and side hustlers love making extra money and the flexibility of scheduling the hours they want.
If you want to become a Shipt shopper, this guide will explain everything you need to know. You’ll learn what shoppers do, shopper requirements, how much you’ll make, pros and cons, and more.
What do Shipt shoppers do?
Shipt started as a membership-only grocery delivery service back in 2014. They were acquired by Target in 2017, and they’ve since expanded their services with passes so customers don’t have to commit.
Now Shipt is available in over 5,000 cities in the U.S., and they’re a top customer pick because they offer same-day orders from Target, fast delivery times, and alcohol and prescription delivery options.
Shipt shoppers fulfill customer orders in the app from stores like Costco, Target, Kroger, H-E-B, CVS, Petco, and more. Shipt also works with local grocery store chains, and the selection varies by city.
Here are the three main things that Shipt shoppers do:
- Accept orders: Orders come in the Shipt app as offers, and you can learn more about an offer before you accept it. The offer shows the closest store to you, the number of items in the order, and the delivery address. You click the “claim” button to accept the order and take the job.
- Shop: Before you start shopping, review the entire order to view the delivery time frame and any special requests or notes. Customers can suggest per-item substitution preferences and special requests, and you’ll want to fulfill these as much as possible and stick to the list. You’ll also need to message the customer when you begin shopping. You pay for the order using a prepaid Shipt card.
- Delivery: The Shipt app provides GPS directions to the customer's house, and it also gives you special instructions for delivery, like gate codes and where to drop off the order. Your customer can also request contactless delivery or ask you to bring the order into their home
Shipt Shopper Pay
If you want to become a Shipt shopper, the big question is how much do Shipt shoppers make? You’ve got to know if this side hustle is worth your time or not.
Shipt advertises that you can make up to $22/hour if you become a Shipt shopper. However, most Shipt shoppers say average pay is closer to $12-$20/hour.
It’s important to understand that Shipt shoppers are independent contractors so there’s no set hourly wage. You’re paid based on each order you complete, and orders pay varying amounts based on how long it takes to complete.
Shipt shoppers can also earn tips, and you keep 100% of the tips you earn. You’ll have to have a strong customer service game to earn good tips, and that means on-time orders and filling the customers’ orders the way they want them.
Things like investing in an insulated cooler bag to keep frozen products from melting can add to the customer experience and increase your chances for better tips.
When Shipt shoppers are paid
Shipt pays drivers weekly, and payments are sent out on Fridays via direct deposit. It can take 1-3 business days for funds to show up in your bank account.
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How to become a Shipt shopper
Requirements for becoming a Shipt shopper
Shipt is clear about their shopper requirements, and you’ll need to look over this list before you apply. Fortunately, these requirements are pretty easy to meet, and you should have no proble, if you’re already delivering for another service.
Here are the Shipt shopper requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- Valid mailing address
- Valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance
- A reliable vehicle, 1997 or newer
- Knowledge of produce selection
- Ability to lift 40 pounds
- iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer) smartphone
“Knowledge of produce selection” means that you can easily find the produce customers are looking for and know if things are too ripe or not ripe enough.
Applying to become a Shipt shopper
If you meet those requirements, the next step is actually applying to become a Shipt shopper. The application process takes less than 30 minutes, and you can expect to hear back in a few days to a few weeks.
Shipt shopper applications ask for:
- Basic personal information: Provide your legal first and last name, email address, phone number, and zip code.
- Availability: Shipt wants to know when you’re available to shop. Shoppers deliver between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., 7 days a week, and you can schedule anytime within those hours. The busiest days on Shipt are Sundays and Mondays, and they really like to hire drivers who can work those days.
- Answers to short interview questions: You’ll be asked to submit a few short answers to simple questions about your problem-solving abilities, communication, and decision-making skills.
- Video responses: Shipt asks that applications submit a short video component of answers to similar interview questions. The goal is to see how well you communicate and familiarity with the app.
- Paperwork: There’s a little bit of paperwork involved, including your signature on the Shipt shopper agreement, a background check consent form, and a W-9 form.
Shipt says it takes a few days or weeks to be approved; it really depends on the demand for shoppers.
As soon as Shipt approves your application, you can start scheduling hours in the Shipt app.
Things to know before becoming a Shipt shopper
Delivering for Shipt can be a decent way to make extra money in your spare time, but here are a few more things you should know about working for Shipt:
1. You need to schedule your hours in the app
Shipt shoppers can’t just open the app and shop whenever they have spare time. You need to schedule yourself into a delivery zone, which is a combination of delivery time frame and area you’re willing to shop in.
You can schedule zones up to a week in advance, and there may be times when you can schedule that day, so there’s some flexibility.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll get orders when you schedule your hours. Orders go to shoppers with the highest rating first and the demand in your zone.
2. Your shopper rating is very important
Like I mentioned, shoppers with the highest ratings have priority access to orders. The highest-rated Shipt shopper in a zone gets to accept or decline orders first. This is why your rating is so important. You can also be deactivated from the Shipt shopper app if your rating dips below a certain level, although Shipt isn’t really clear on what that threshold is.
The good news for new drivers is that Shipt temporarily puts new drivers at the top of the list so they have an opportunity to build good ratings. So accept as many orders as you can in the beginning and provide stellar customer service to boost your ratings.
3. You might need special insurance
Shipt requires that you have an active insurance policy on your vehicle that meets the standards in your state. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may not cover you while you’re driving, and that’s because you’re using your car to make money.
There is nothing on the Shipt website about additional coverage for shoppers who are actively working, so you’ll want to look into rideshare insurance as an additional layer of coverage if you’re injured, your car is damaged, etc.. This insurance can cost around $15/month.
4. Tax implications for independent contractors
Shipt shoppers are considered independent contractors, like most gig workers. There’s a lot of flexibility that comes with being an independent contractor, but here are some important income and tax implications you need to understand:
- Shipt doesn’t withhold federal or state income tax
- You will need to track your income and expenses and make quarterly estimated state and federal tax payments
- Independent contractors who earn more than $400/year must also pay self-employment tax, which is about 15.3% and includes 2.9% for Medicare and 12.4% for Social Security
5. Shipt doesn’t cover driver expenses
Because you’re an independent contractor, you’re on the hook for your driver expenses. This includes fuel, vehicle maintenance and repairs, special vehicle insurance, etc.
Those costs can eat into your take home pay, which is why you’ll need to take tax deductions where you can. The IRS allows for a mileage deduction to account for some of those expenses, so track your miles!
6. Work opportunities vary
The reality of Shipt shoppers and other gig workers is that demand for services has an acute and immediate effect on your ability to work.
Shipt tries to balance demand with the number of shoppers they hire, but it’s not always perfect. This is another reason to keep your Shipt ratings high— you’ll have priority access to orders.
Pros and cons of becoming a Shipt shopper
The final word on how to become a Shipt shopper
Shipt is a solid side hustle if you’re looking for a flexible and low-comittment way to make extra money. There are minimal driver requirements, and you can be working in just a few weeks.
You’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons before you apply for Shipt, and don’t forget that Shipt shoppers can work for other delivery services like DoorDash and Instacart at the same time.
And if Shipt isn’t for you, no problem! There are lots of other great side hustle ideas where you can earn $1,000/month or more.
Shipt shoppers average $12-$20/hour which is a little less than the $22/hour an hour that Shipt advertises. Drivers are paid per order, not a flat hourly wage, and you keep 100% of your tips.
Shipt’s shopper requirements are:
At least 18 years old
Valid mailing address
Valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance
A reliable vehicle, 1997 or newer
Knowledge of produce selection
Ability to lift 40 pounds
iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer) smartphone
Shipt is a pretty easy side hustle if you enjoy grocery shopping. It’s fairly flexible, and there’s a lower commitment compared to other side hustles like freelancing, because you’re not starting your own business and trying to build a customer base.
It takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get approved. It all depends on how many drivers are applying and customer needs.