If you love grocery shopping, you may have wondered if you should give Instacart a whirl. The thought of making money doing something you do daily sounds enticing. Even better would be the opportunity to grocery shop on your own time while making money. You want to know, though, what are the pros and cons of Instacart? Is it all worth it? This Instacart review is going to go over all of that for you, so keep reading.
What Is Instacart?
Instacart provides grocery delivery and pick-up services via its website and mobile app. They operate in all 50 U.S. states and 5,500 cities across the U.S. and Canada and work with over 350 retailers in more than 25,000 grocery stores.
As an Instacart shopper, you would handpick food and household items for users that place orders on the app. Then, you would deliver those items to the customer’s door.
To see if they deliver in your area, click here.
To become an Instacart shopper, you must meet the following basic requirements:
- You must be 18 years+ and legal to work in your local market.
- Own a decent smartphone with service to download and use the Instacart app.
- Be able to lift between 30-40 lbs.
- Pass a background check
- Have a checking or savings account for payment via direct deposit
For full-service shoppers, you must meet these additional requirements:
- Have a valid driver’s license, registration, and insurance.
- Own thermal-insulated bags that close completely and can hold three standard-sized paper grocery bags. They also shouldn’t contain any harmful chemicals. Instacart does sell their pre-approved options for $26.99 per four bags. You can also use a cooler instead.
To sign up, visit the Instacart website and click “Become a Shopper.” Or you can download the mobile app and click “Sign Up.” Then, from there, you can create your free account and verify your identity.
In-store shoppers need to attend an in-person orientation.
As an Instacart shopper, you will also receive a prepaid card to use when you check out.
How To Make Money With Instacart
There are two ways you can make money as an Instacart shopper. Keep reading to learn about those two ways to see which one works better for you.
1. In-Store Shopper
As an in-store shopper, you don’t need a car to deliver groceries. You would instead receive orders through the app, pick the items, and bag them. Then, an Instacart delivery driver will pick up the orders and deliver them to the customers.
You would be considered a part-time employee and could only work a maximum of 29 hours. Additionally, in-store shoppers get benefits, including 401K. However, the number of hours you get each week is not guaranteed. It depends on the demand for shoppers throughout the week.
In-store shoppers get paid a fixed hourly rate that varies by location. According to Glassdoor, the average pay for an In-Store Shopper is $13/hr but can range from $7-$21.
2. Full Service-Shopper
As a full-service shopper, you would receive orders, shop for them, bag them, and deliver them to customers by specific delivery times. There may be times where you are asked only to do a delivery. As a full-service shopper, you would be considered an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you do not get any work-related benefits.
Your wages would include a per-item commission and a per-order commission per delivery. You also get compensated for driving over 14 miles to deliver the groceries. Again, rates vary by location, but the pay can range from $3 – $25 an hour. Sometimes you can get paid up to $35+ an hour depending on the order and location.
The Pros Of Being An Instacart Shopper
Below are the main pros of being an Instacart shopper.
You Get To Set Your Hours
As an Instacart shopper, you get the flexibility of making your own hours. Even as an in-store shopper, you will get assigned hours each week through the app, which you can either accept or decline. You can also add additional shifts through the app.
The fact that Instacart has two ways to work for them makes it more versatile than apps that only pay people to make food deliveries. You technically can work for them without a car as an in-store shopper, which makes working for Instacart more accessible to more people. If you can walk to a local grocery store that works with Instacart, you can become an Instacart shopper!
High Pay Potential
Depending on your location, you can make quite a bit of cash with Instacart. Even if you become an in-store shopper, you may be able to make more than minimum wage in your area!
Additionally, for full-service shoppers, there is potential to make a hefty hourly wage if a customer makes a large purchase with many items. You get paid per item, so even if your base pay is $9 for the delivery, if you end up having to get 60 items at $0.40 apiece, that’s an extra $24! And that’s not including tips!
Instacart tends to have high tipping because its customers realize that quality grocery shopping requires paying attention to details such as brand labels, allergy specifications (e.g., gluten-free), choosing high-quality produce, and weighing produce. All of that takes time, and customers who use Instacart don’t want to go through the chore of doing it themselves, so they are happy to tip Instacart shoppers.
That won’t always be the case, but in certain areas, the tips can be so generous that they make up half of your income!
Working for Instacart means getting paid sooner than you would a regular 9-5 job. They pay every week via direct deposit. That goes for both in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers.
Additionally, if you are a full-service shopper, you can use their “Instant Cashout” option after completing your first five batches. Then, you can cash out whenever you want up to 5 times a day (as long as you have earned a minimum of $5). The only part of your earnings not eligible for instant cashout are tips. Noteworthy is that there is a $0.50 fee for each instant cashout transaction.
The Instacart shopper app is easy to use and has a clean look. The in-app map makes it convenient for you to get to your destinations.
The best part about Instacart is that they communicate everything with you through the app. You don’t have a boss to report to, which means less stress for you, especially when you have to skip a day of work.
Even as an in-store shopper, the app will tell you how well you are doing and how to improve. The app is also what gives you your hours.
Less Drive Time
For the most part, with Instacart, you won’t have to worry about being taken out far away from your house as you would with diving for an app like Uber. As both an in-store shopper and a full-service shopper, you will be spending most, if not all, of your time doing the actual grocery shopping.
So while you will have to deliver the food as a full-service shopper, you won’t necessarily have to go super far away from your area. That means less drive time and less wear and tear on your car than other apps that require you to drive/deliver food.
The Cons Of Being An Instacart Shopper
Below are the main cons of being an Instacart shopper.
Hard To Get Hours
Some markets can be overly saturated, and this makes it hard to get hours at first.
The difficulty of getting hours is particularly true for full-service shoppers. While yes, you do have the flexibility to create your own hours, that doesn’t help if you can’t get hours. In the beginning, you will practically have to stalk the app to see if there are any hours available that you can schedule.
However, if you can obtain the “early access” status, you will have priority in scheduling. You will be able to schedule whenever and wherever you would like.
To get early access status, you need to complete 90 hours over three weeks or 25 hours over three weekends working for Instacart. To keep early access, you must maintain this minimum amount of work hours.
As a full-service shopper, you may occasionally get asked to accept delivery-only orders. Delivery-only orders pay a lot less. The only way to make that up is in tips, and if you don’t get tipped well, it can feel like you wasted time, wear and tear, and gas doing the delivery.
More Difficult Than Other Delivery Apps
Instacart delivery is different from other food delivery apps in that you have to grocery shop. Therefore, you need to pay more attention to detail. You need to make sure you get the correct items that customers want, and if you can’t find the brands/products that a customer wants, you need to ask them for permission on substitutions.
Additionally, if you need to weigh any produce, that is another thing you must consider. Instacart charges customers based on weight, so if you need to find a 15-pound watermelon, you may be going back and forth to the scale to make sure the watermelon you chose is 15 pounds.
The extra work that goes into grocery shopping makes the job a bit more complicated than just grabbing the food and delivering it like with Postmates. It’s also even more complicated than just picking up passengers and dropping them off at their destination like with Uber.
Are There Other Apps Like Instacart?
If you want an app exactly like Instacart, you can try Shipt. However, Instacart is known to pay more, so Instacart wins in the grocery delivery realm of business. You can still give Shipt a shot, though, because, in some markets, Shipt is more popular than Instacart.
If you want to try other apps that pay you to deliver/drive, and you don’t care about the shopping aspect, you can give one of the following a try:
When it comes to paying, though, Instacart is still competitive in comparison to these other apps. If you want to have the highest chance of being busy making money whenever you would like, try driving/delivering for multiple apps.
Is Being An Instacart Shopper Worth It?
Instacart is worth it. It is an excellent side-hustle that allows you to set your own hours. As long as you get early access, you will have even more flexibility in your hours. And the pay in some areas can be quite high for a side-hustle.
If you get tipped well and have a large order, you can make up to $35+ an hour in some areas! The best part is that you don’t have to drive as much as with other delivery/driving apps.
Unless you hate the idea of having to weigh watermelons, you should give Instacart a shot!
Wrapping Up: Being An Instacart Shopper
Instacart is the leading grocery delivery app with high pay and flexible hours. Remember, though, that the pay will depend on your location. With that said, being an Instacart Shopper is still excellent for anyone trying to make some extra side cash and do it on their own time.
You don’t even need a car to become an Instacart shopper, which gives you more choice. You can either be a part-time employee or an independent contractor, so you have more control over how you get taxed and whether you want to forfeit benefits.
Now, go make money while you grocery shop!