If you’re someone who enjoys grocery shopping and helping others, then Instacart might just be the perfect gig for you.
As an Instacart shopper, you can make money by shopping for groceries and delivering them to customers’ doorsteps.
In this blog post, we’ll give you all the information you need on how to become an Instacart shopper and Instacart shopper tips on how to maximize your earnings with this flexible side hustle. So let’s dive in!
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What Is Instacart And How Does It Work?
Instacart is an online grocery delivery service that connects customers with personal shoppers who can shop and deliver groceries right to their doorstep.
If you are looking for a side hustle, Instacart is one of the many apps that provide you with the opportunity to make money with a flexible schedule.
The company operates in over 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada, partnering with local stores and retail chains like Costco, CVS Pharmacy, Kroger, and Target.
Customers simply create an account on the Instacart website or mobile app, select their preferred store, add items to their virtual cart, choose a delivery window time slot based on availability of the chosen store and place an order through secure payment options.
As for how it you can make money as a shopper, Instacart offers flexible opportunities for you if you are looking to make money as an independent contractor.
You can sign up to be either a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper. When you are a full-service shopper, you are responsible for both shopping for groceries at selected stores as well as delivering them.
On the other hand, if you are an in-store shopper, you solely shop orders in the physical store before handing them over to a driver or customer directly picking up.
To become a shopper you must meet specific requirements, including access to reliable transportation such as a car (unless you only want in-store jobs), minimum age requirements depending on state laws where you live, and pass a background check besides other necessary vetting checks by instacart.
How much does Instacart pay?
That depends on a few factors and according to Glassdoor, you will earn $15 to $19 per hour.
How To Become An Instacart Shopper
You can become an Instacart Shopper by following the steps necessary to get started. Let’s take a look at how that works.
Instacart Shopper Requirements
To become an Instacart shopper, you must be at least 18 years old and eligible to work in the United States. You also need a reliable vehicle and auto insurance if you plan on being a full-service shopper. You also need a smartphone with the latest version of the Instacart Shopper app installed.
The application process for becoming an Instacart shopper is straightforward. You can sign up on their website or through their mobile app. After passing their background check, you will then attend a brief online training session that covers everything from accepting batches to communicating with customers during deliveries.
Becoming an Instacart shopper is relatively straightforward. The application process begins by visiting the company’s website or downloading the app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
To be a shopper, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and access to a reliable vehicle for grocery deliveries. After submitting your contact information, you will undergo a background check that usually takes between three and five days.
Once Instacart approves you, they provide basic training on navigating the shopper app, selecting batches, interacting with customers effectively while shopping in-store or fulfilling orders remotely. You’ll also be introduced to different types of orders (e.g., full-service vs. in-store).
You can access the self-paced training online from your mobile device or computer. The purpose of the training is to familiarize yourself with how Instacart works, what’s expected of you as a shopper, and best practices for providing excellent customer service.
Instacart also offers optional in-person training sessions if you are a new shopper who prefers hands-on learning experiences. This training covers topics like handling customer substitutions and providing excellent customer service to improve ratings that attract more high-paying batches. You also learn strategies on how to minimize expenses like gas prices. Once you finish your training, you’re ready to start earning money as an Instacart shopper!
Instacart will provide you with a Instacart payment card that functions just like any other major credit card would at a grocery store. The Instacart shopper card is a special credit or debit card that allows you to buy items from the store on the customer’s behalf.
How To Earn Money With Instacart
As an Instacart Shopper, you can earn money a variety of ways:
Instacart pays you base pay for every delivery you make. The amount varies depending on factors such as the distance traveled, weight of the items, and complexity of the order.
Having said that, Instacart guarantees a minimum payment for every batch that an Instacart shopper accepts.
Tips and Bonuses
In addition to base pay, you can make extra money from tips. Customers can choose to tip you in-app or during delivery (it’s where they give cash tips directly to you).
Instacart then offers bonuses based on peak hour opportunities or completing a certain number of orders within a specified timeframe.
Instacart has a referral program, which is just another way to earn money. As an existing shopper, you can refer new shoppers to sign up with Instacart and receive a bonus for each successful referral. The amount varies based on location and number of referrals, but it can easily add up over time.
Shoppers in select locations qualify for the Guaranteed Earnings Referral promotion—the referrer will receive a cash bonus and the referee will receive Guaranteed Earnings when the referee completes the required amount of batches in the specified time period.
To take advantage of the referral program, simply share your referral code with potential new shoppers. Once they complete the application process and start working with Instacart, you’ll receive your bonus. It’s a win-win situation – you help someone else earn money while earning some extra cash yourself.
There are some conditions you must fulfill. For example, your referral must complete their bonus requirements within a specific number of days and there are some zone requirements (requirements that vary by zone and role).
Read up on the terms first to understand how much you are bound to make through the program.
How To Maximize Your Earnings With Instacart
To maximize earnings with Instacart, there are a few thing you can do. Let’s take a look at some tips for maximizing your earnings with Instacart.
Tips and Bonuses
As I mentioned before, when you are an Instacart shopper, you can earn tips and bonuses that increase your earnings.
The amount of money you make will depend on customer satisfaction, so you need to provide excellent customer service because that often results in higher tips from satisfied customers
Earn more with referrals
Another tip for maximizing earnings is to participate in the referral program offered by Instacart. By referring friends or family members who sign up and complete a set number of deliveries, both you and the new shopper are rewarded with additional compensation. These small strategies can add up over time and provide a steady stream of income as an Instacart shopper.
Take advantage of peak hour opportunities
Peak hour opportunities are one of the key ways to earn more money with Instacart. During busy times, such as holidays or weekends, there’s a higher demand for grocery delivery which means more batches available for shoppers.
It’s important to check the app frequently during peak hours and accept high-paying batches quickly before they’re taken by other shoppers.
To maximize your earnings during peak hours, consider working in areas where there is high demand. This may require some research on your part but it can pay off in the long run. Additionally, be sure to provide excellent customer service during these busy times as it can lead to higher tips and better ratings overall.
Choose high-paying batches
You can maximize your earnings as an Instacart shopper by choosing high-paying batches. When you open the app, you will see all available batches in your area.
Each batch shows the estimated pay and includes details such as the number of items, distance from the store to the customer’s address, and any special instructions. Look for batches that offer a higher payout or have a shorter delivery distance to increase your hourly rate.
It’s important to note that accepting every batch that comes your way may not always be worth it. If a batch requires driving long distances during peak hours or has too many heavy items, it may end up taking more time and effort than what it pays for. So choose wisely based on what suits you best without compromising your efficiency.
By being strategic about which batches to take, you can significantly boost your income with Instacart while also managing your workload efficiently.
Manage your time efficiently
As an Instacart shopper, time is of the essence. The more orders you complete in a given day, the more money you can earn. One way to maximize your time is by selecting high-paying batches that are located close to each other. This not only saves on gas but also reduces travel time between stores and customer’s homes.
If you complete orders as quickly and efficiently as possible, you maximize the number of batches you can take on in a day.
Provide excellent customer service
As an Instacart Shopper, if you provide excellent customer service, you increase the possibility of earning higher tips and bonuses.
Always be polite, responsive, and helpful when communicating with customers through the app or in-person. Make sure to double-check every item on their order before leaving the store to avoid mistakes.
In addition, make sure that groceries are delivered to customers’ homes within the designated delivery time. Notify them if there are any delays or substitutions in their grocery items and offer solutions if necessary. Providing exceptional customer service can result in repeat business from satisfied customers who will leave positive reviews on the app.
Maintain a professional look
Remember that you represent Instacart as a brand while working as a shopper. Dress appropriately while shopping and delivering orders, and keep your car clean and presentable at all times.
Customers will respond more favorably to you if you look decent. They are also more likely to build trust with you if you are professional.
Keep track of expenses
Tracking expenses is an essential aspect of making money with Instacart. As an independent contractor, you’ll need to keep track of your gas and car maintenance costs, as well as any other expenses that arise while shopping and delivering orders. Keep a detailed record of these expenses to determine the most efficient routes to take and how much money you’re actually making.
You can use various tools such as spreadsheets or expense tracking apps to monitor your spending. Another good practice is setting aside a percentage of your earnings for taxes if required so that it won’t surprise you come tax season. By staying on top of your finances and having accurate records, you can maximize profits and avoid any surprises down the line.
Take advantage of in-store shopper opportunities
You may earn more money with Instacart by taking in-store shopper opportunities than full-service. In-store shoppers work within the store location and they don’t have to deal with driving or delivering groceries, which can be a plus for some people.
As an in-store shopper, you receive a base pay rate along with potential bonuses and tips from customers. You also have the advantage of working in a climate-controlled environment where you can take breaks as needed.
While it may not provide as much flexibility as being a full-service Instacart shopper, in-store shopping can be a good option if you are looking for consistent hours and a steady paycheck.
How to deal with common challenges facing Instacart shoppers
Handling difficult customers, heavy traffic during peak hours, low order volume in certain areas, and staying organized and efficient are some of the challenges you will face if you work as an Instacart shopper.
Let’s take a look at how you can handle these challenges to have a better experience working the Instarcart gig:
Handling Difficult Customers
As an Instacart shopper, sometimes you will have to deal with difficult customers. You need excellent customer service skills. It’s important to remain calm and professional when dealing with irate or unhappy customers. Active listening, empathy and effective communication can help defuse tense situations.
Sometimes you may be at fault for your customer being upset. There are a few things you can do to avoid escalation.
For example, if there are any issues with the order, reach out to the customer as soon as possible. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and offer solutions that will address their concerns such as replacing missing items or refunding payments.
Remember that happy customers are more likely to tip higher and leave positive reviews that could lead to repeat business in the future.
Heavy Traffic During Peak Hours
One of the biggest challenges you will encounter as an Instacart shopper is navigating heavy traffic during peak hours. With more people ordering groceries online, it’s common to encounter congested streets and crowded parking lots at popular supermarkets. This can cause delays in pickup and delivery times, potentially affecting your earning potential.
To combat this challenge, Instacart recommends utilizing their app’s special features such as suggested routes and real-time traffic updates. Additionally, you can stick to a certain area or time of day when traffic is lighter to maximize efficiency.
Overall, while heavy traffic can be frustrating, being proactive with planning and using available resources can help minimize its impact on earnings.
Low Order Volume In Certain Areas
One of the challenges that Instacart shoppers might face is low order volume in certain areas. This means fewer batches to select from, which can result in a lower earning potential.
To combat this challenge, you should identify the busiest times and locations within your assigned zone. You can also consider expanding you delivery radius or signing up for in-store shopper opportunities.
Another solution to dealing with low order volume is being proactive about checking the app frequently for new batch offers.
You should have notifications turned on so you don’t miss any opportunity to accept orders as soon as they become available. Additionally, creating a good reputation by providing excellent customer service can lead to repeat customers who request orders more frequently, even during periods of low-order volume.
Staying Organized And Efficient
If you have to deal with many orders, you may struggle staying keeping everything together. To maximize your earnings as an Instacart shopper, it’s important to stay organized and efficient throughout the shopping process.
This means planning out your route ahead of time and making sure you have all the necessary equipment, such as insulated bags, to keep groceries fresh during delivery.
Another key aspect of staying organized is keeping track of expenses, such as gas prices and tolls. This allows you to accurately calculate your profits and adjust your routes accordingly.
Additionally, maintaining good communication with customers can help prevent confusion or mistakes in their orders, which can lead to negative ratings or reduced tips. By staying organized and efficient, you’ll be able to provide high-quality service while earning more money with Instacart.
Benefits Of Working With Instacart
Working with Instacart can be a nice side hustle because it comes with a number of benefits: Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of working with Instacart:
You have a flexible schedule
Just as you’d expect with any side hustle opportunity online, one of the biggest benefits of working with Instacart is the flexibility it offers.
As an independent contractor, you have complete control over your schedule and can choose to work as little or as much as you want. This makes it a great side hustle if you are looking to earn extra cash without committing to a full-time job.
Whether you’re a busy parent, student, or just someone who wants to make some extra money on the side, being an Instacart shopper allows you to work around your personal availability.
You can even take time off whenever you need it without worrying about requesting vacation days from a boss. Overall, the flexible schedule that comes with being an Instacart shopper is one of its most attractive features.
There are opportunities for advancement
Working as an Instacart shopper comes with opportunities for career growth and advancement. As you gain more experience, you can apply for leadership positions such as shift lead or in-store team leader. These roles come with higher pay rates and additional benefits.
Instacart also offers a program called “Shopper Success” which helps shoppers develop skills to grow their business and earn more money. The program includes access to training materials, coaching sessions, and exclusive job opportunities.
In addition to leadership roles, shoppers can also expand their services by becoming full-service shoppers who handle both shopping and delivery tasks. This opens up even more earning possibilities.
You get to keep 100% of customer tips
One of the biggest perks of being an Instacart shopper is that you get to keep 100% of your customer tips.
This means more money in your pocket if you provide excellent service and go above and beyond for your customers. Tips can range from a few dollars to over $20, and they can add up quickly if you are providing great service on every order.
Alternatives To Instacart For Making Money
If you are looking for a side hustle, you can explore other ways of making money outside Instacart. Here are some alternatives:
DoorDash is a food delivery service that allows anyone to earn money by delivering meals from local restaurants. It’s similar to Instacart, but instead of groceries, you’ll be handling and delivering prepared foods.
As an independent contractor for DoorDash, you have complete control over your schedule and earnings potential.
To get started with DoorDash, simply download the app on your phone and sign up as a driver (read my detailed DoorDash review for all the information).
Just like Instacart, there are certain requirements you must meet such as having a valid driver’s license and insurance coverage. Once approved, you can start accepting deliveries in your area and earning money with every completed order.
Postmates is a delivery app that allows independent contractors to deliver items from restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers to customers. It was acquired by Uber in 2020.
The application process is simple: sign up online, complete a background check, and start delivering. Postmates offers flexible scheduling and the ability to work in various cities across the US.
To make money with Postmates, you are paid based on the number of deliveries you complete. You earn a minimum payout per delivery plus tips from customers.
Additionally, there are opportunities for bonuses during peak hours or when completing multiple deliveries within a certain timeframe. Overall, Postmates can be a lucrative side hustle or full-time gig if you are looking to earn money on your own schedule.
Grubhub is a popular food delivery platform that connects customers with their favorite restaurants. It operates in over 4,000 cities across the US and allows customers to order from local eateries through its website or mobile app.
As an alternative to Instacart for making money, Grubhub offers flexible work hours for drivers who own their cars and can choose their working location.
To become a Grubhub driver, you must meet specific requirements, including being at least 19 years old and having a valid driver’s license and insurance. You also need to undergo background checks before taking up deliveries. Drivers earn per order delivered through direct deposit or on debit cards provided by the company.
One benefit of becoming a Grubhub driver is that you do not have any minimum wage requirement, but you earn based on factors like distance traveled between restaurant and customer locations, tips you get from clients, peak-hour incentives, and promo cash if applicable.
Uber Eats is a popular food delivery service that allows you to make money on your own schedule. Similar to Instacart, Uber Eats is an independent contractor position, meaning you have the freedom to choose when and where you want to work. With Uber Eats, you can deliver food from local restaurants right to customers’ doors.
To become an Uber Eats driver, all you need is a car or bike and a clean driving record. You’ll also need to pass a background check and provide proof of insurance. Once approved, you can start accepting delivery requests through the app and earn money for each successful delivery. It is pretty much the same process you are subjected to if you want to become an Uber driver.
One benefit of working with Uber Eats is the potential for higher earnings during peak hours or in areas with high demand. Plus, if customers tip through the app (which many do), you get to keep 100% of those tips as well as your base pay per delivery.
Instacart offers a flexible and convenient way to earn extra cash on your own schedule. By becoming an Instacart Shopper, you have the opportunity to provide essential services to customers in need while also maximizing your earnings through various incentives and strategies.
Remember to choose high-paying batches, manage your time effectively, offer excellent customer service, and keep track of expenses. Despite some challenges that may arise such as heavy traffic or difficult customers, the benefits of working with Instacart make it a lucrative side hustle option.
And if Instacart isn’t for you, there are always alternatives such as DoorDash or Postmates. So why not start shopping today and see how much money you can make?
Before you leave
If you’re tired of scams and want a real solution for making money online check out my no.1 recommendation.
It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:
(This is a 100% free training)
David Fortune has been the editor NoBSIMReviews.com since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.