MoneyLife

How Much Does Instacart Pay Shoppers? Delivering Groceries For Cash

By Alison Kimberly

Instacart is an app that lets people order their groceries and track their deliveries. As an Instacart shopper, you will collect orders in-store and, in some cases, deliver the orders to the customers’ homes. 

Instacart is a way to earn flexible income when you need it the most. The demand for Instacart shoppers has skyrocketed in the last year, making it a lucrative way to earn extra cash. 

Anyone 18 years or older can become an Instacart shopper. You can expect your Instacart pay to be anywhere between $5 to $7 per delivery plus tips. All you have to do is sign up on the app, set your hours, and start delivering packages!

How much money do Instacart shoppers make?

As a shopper, Instacart will pay you to shop for groceries and deliver them to customers’ homes in two ways. You will either be hired as a part-time employee or as a freelancer. Pay is either hourly or per delivery depending on your employment status. 

Income from Instacart depends on whether you are a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper. You can expect to be paid between $5 to $10 per delivery, or an average of $17 per hour including tips.

Instacart pays weekly as long as you have made at least $5. The limit is $3,000 per day,  so it is possible to earn a lot of money with Instacart! Instacart can serve as both part-time and full-time income depending on how many hours you work or how many deliveries you complete. 

Full-service shopper

Local driving jobs are increasing in popularity, but being a full-service Instacart shopper is a great way to get paid to drive. If you choose to be a full-service shopper, you will work as an independent contractor through Instacart by shopping for customers and delivering their groceries. You’ll get to choose your hours so you can work as much as you want. Being a full-service shopper is possible everywhere Instacart is available.

In-store shopper

If you choose to be an in-store shopper, you won’t need to make any deliveries. You will only have to shop in-store for groceries that customers order through the app. In-store shoppers are part-time employees of Instacart. You’ll need to work at least 15 to 20 hours per week, including Sundays and Mondays. As an employee, you will be eligible for 401(k) benefits. These part-time positions typically last 90 days and they are renewable. 

Instacart shopper requirements

To become an Instacart shopper, you will need to meet a handful of basic requirements. These requirements include:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old. In some states, if you want to deliver alcohol, you will have to be at least 21. 
  • LIfting groceries: You should be able to lift at least 30 pounds and as much as 50 pounds, “with or without accommodation.” Groceries can be heavy, and you’ll be lifting often, so being strong enough to carry items is a non-negotiable requirement of the job.
  • Smartphone: You’ll need either an Android phone (5.0 or later) or an iPhone (iOS 9 or later) to use the Instacart app.
  • Background check: Instacart performs a background check on all shoppers. You will typically be cleared within 10 business days, so plan ahead! Prepare to start working within a week of completing the background check. 
  • Bank account: You’ll need to have a bank account so that Instacart can pay you via direct deposit each week. 
  • Driver’s license: If you plan to be a full-service shopper, you will also need a driver’s license, access to a car, and up-to-date insurance. 
  • Cooler or insulated bags: Full-service shoppers will need thermal bags or a cooler that can store at least four standard-sized grocery bags. Your insulated materials must be safe for food storage and free of harmful chemicals. If you don’t have any, you can buy 4 pre-approved insulated bags from Instacart for $25.99.

How to become an Instacart shopper

Becoming an Instacart shopper is quick and easy. You can do it in 7 simple steps: 

Step 1: Download the Instacart shopper app

Once the app is downloaded, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Provide basic information

In the app, you will need to provide your name and location, Instacart will also request your permission to perform a background check. 

Step 3: Attend an in-person orientation

You’ll only need to attend orientation in person if you plan to be an in-store shopper. You can make this selection in the app as part of the on-boarding process. 

Step 4: Fill out paperwork

Full-service shoppers are considered independent contractors. As such, you will need to fill out a W-9 tax form and contractor agreement form if you plan to be a full-service shopper. 

In-store shoppers are considered part-time employees. They will fill out a W-4 tax form and sign an offer letter. 

Step 5: Register your payment card

Within 5-7 business days of approval, you will receive your Instacart payment card. You might also have the option to pick up the card in person depending on your location. The payment card is a pre-loaded card that you will use to pay for customers’ orders.

Step 6: Set your hours and preferences

In the app, you have the option to set your working hours and then find gigs that fit your schedule. 

Step 7: Get started!

At this point, you will have everything you need to start earning part-time or full-time income. Select your gigs on the Instacart app and start earning!

Instacart shopper pay rate

Instacart’s pay rate depends on whether you are working as an in-store shopper or as a full-service shopper. Your location will also impact pay rates. Full-service shoppers can earn more through tips. Busier shopping times and larger orders typically yield larger tips. 

  • Full-service shoppers earn $7-$10+ per batch, plus tips. Instacart guarantees payments of at least $7-$10 per order. 
  • In-store shoppers earn a fixed hourly wage. They can work up to 29 hours per week. Instacart guarantees payments of at least $5 per order. 

Exact payment amount is generally related to order size and demand. A large, heavy order will be more highly compensated than a small order. Earning potential increases when customer demand spikes, especially on Sundays. Consider researching customer demand for your area to optimize your earnings. 

Instacart payment schedule

Instacart pays all shoppers weekly via direct deposit to a bank account. 

Full-service shoppers have the option to access funds faster through “Instant Cashout.” This option immediately transfers funds to a debit card. You can start using Instant Cashout after your first five orders. After that, you can use it as often as you want, up to five times daily. You’ll just need at least $5 in earnings, with a maximum of $3,000 per day.

Expenses to consider 

While Instacart requires no costs to join, you’ll want to consider associated expenses. As an in-store shopper, you’ll want to account for:

  • Platform fees

And for full-service shoppers, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for the following

  • Insurance and gas for your car
  • Additional car maintenance from wear and tear
  • Taxes as an independent contractor

While these expenses do not outweigh the benefits, make sure you put money aside to cover your expenses.

Instacart shopper tips

To get the most out of being an Instacart shopper, you’ll want to optimize your schedule to work during times where demand is high. Other proven ways to earn more money from Instacart include:

  • Working holidays and game days. This includes New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, and Superbowl Sunday, as well as days dedicated to big local events like homecoming or prom.
  • Selecting large orders for bigger tips.
  • Delivering orders with alcohol. These orders often yield bigger tips. 
  • Participating in Instacart’s referral program. Referral bonuses can bring in extra money for you. Instacart gives you a bonus for every friend you refer. Bonus amounts vary by location.

Earn more on your terms

Instacart is a way to start earning a flexible income in as little as two weeks. The convenience of the Instacart app lets you choose your hours, your gigs, and your preferences. You get total flexibility and reliable work. With little setup, you can start earning when you need it—as full-time work or as a side gig.

Ready to get started? We’ve also got more ideas on how to earn money from your smartphone and other side hustles to earn even more when you need it. 

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