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Instacart Shopper Review 2024 – Is Instacart Worth It? (5 Hours Test)

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Written by: Kate Starr

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Instacart, a well-known grocery delivery app, allows you to make money by shopping for and delivering groceries right to customers’ homes.

After trying out the app and using different ways to boost my earnings, I discovered that while you can earn some extra cash as an Instacart shopper, the pay may not be as substantial as you might hope.

Over a 5-hour shift, I earned $60.63, which consisted of $47.83 in batch pay and promotions, plus $12.80 in tips. This equates to an average of $12.12 per hour before expenses.

Is becoming an Instacart shopper the right choice for you?

Here is what you need to know:

Is Instacart Available in Your City?


To determine if Instacart is available in your city, you can visit the Instacart website and enter your zip code or city name in the search bar. The website will show you if your area offers the service and which stores are participating.

Alternatively, you can download the Instacart app on your mobile device (available for iOS and Android) and follow the same process. If Instacart is available in your city, the app will display the local stores from which you can shop.

How to Make Money With Instacart?


Instacart hires two different types of shoppers: a full-service and an in-store.

Full-Service Shopper

As a full-service shopper, you will shop and deliver the orders. You will need an active driver’s license and access to a car, work as an independent contractor and you may choose your own work hours. You will then earn money per item in an order and per delivery.

In-Store Shopper

You will work in the store as an in-store shopper, shopping and preparing orders for pick-up. Therefore, you don’t need access to the car. 

As an in-store shopper, you are a part-time employee of Instacart and not an independent contractor. However, you can still have a flexible schedule.

What Are Instacart Requirements?


Anyone can become an Instacart shopper regardless of experience. However, some basic requirements must be met to be considered for a job. 

Basic requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be eligible to work in the US
  • Pass a background check
  • Have an up-to-date smartphone (iOS 9 / Android 4.4 or later)

Full-service shoppers must also have:

  • An active driving license
  • Unlimited access to an insured vehicle
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs
  • A set of insulated bags or a cooler to deliver orders.

How Much You Can Make With Instacart?


Based on my experience completing a 5-hour shift, I earned $60.62 by delivering 5 batches.

This included $47.83 in batch pay and promotions plus $12.79 in customer tips.

In addition to the batch pay, you would keep 100% of the tips you receive from customers. Customers have the option to add a tip when placing their order, and they can also adjust the tip amount for up to 14 days after you complete the delivery. Tips can significantly boost your earnings, so providing excellent service is key to maximizing your income.

However, it’s important to note that this is the gross pay before accounting for gas and vehicle wear & tear expenses. Using the IRS standard mileage rate of $0.67 per mile driven, my 57.7 miles equated to $38.66 in costs.

After subtracting these expenses, my net earnings for the 5-hour shift came to $21.97, or roughly $4.39 per hour.

What Instacart Costs to Consider?


It’s important to note that you would be responsible for withholding your taxes from your earnings as an independent contractor.

You also would not receive benefits like health insurance or paid time off from Instacart. However, the flexibility to choose when and how much to work can be an appealing aspect of the job for many shoppers.

How Instacart Pays to Shoppers?


Instacart shoppers are paid weekly for the batches they complete. Payments are typically processed and sent via direct deposit every Monday. The payment includes the batch pay from Instacart and any customer tips received for those orders.

For shoppers who need access to their earnings more quickly, Instacart also offers an Instant Cashout feature. This allows you to withdraw your available earnings to a debit card for a small fee of $0.50 per cashout rather than waiting for the weekly direct deposit.

Is Instacart Legit?


I can personally confirm Instacart’s legitimacy, as I received payment for my work as a shopper. The payment I received was timely and reflected my earnings, which I could view in detail within the app.

Instacart’s legitimacy is further supported by its high ratings on popular app stores. On Google Play, Instacart maintains a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars, while on the Apple App Store, it holds an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars. These ratings, based on thousands of user reviews, demonstrate the overall satisfaction and trust that both customers and shoppers have in the platform.

WebsiteRating
Google Play4.3
App Store4.8

Is Instacart Worth It?


Whether Instacart is worth it for you depends on your circumstances and goals. Consider the following:

  1. Flexibility: Instacart allows you to set your schedule, which can be ideal for those seeking a side hustle or a job with flexible hours.
  2. Earnings: While you can earn a decent amount, your net earnings may be close to minimum wage after accounting for expenses. Your earnings can vary based on the number of batches completed, tips, and promotions.
  3. Physical demands: Shopping and delivering groceries involves walking, lifting, and carrying. If you enjoy being active, this could be a good fit.
  4. Location: Batch availability and earning potential can vary depending on your area, with busier urban regions often having more opportunities.

Instacart can be a viable option for earning extra income on a flexible schedule, but it’s essential to have realistic expectations about the earnings potential and the nature of the work involved.

How to Start Earning With Instacart?


First, you need to create an account at shoppers.instacart.com. After providing some basic information, you need to download an app from the App Store or Google Play. Once you complete the signup process you need to take a background check through the app. 

The online application process takes about 5 minutes and doesn’t require writing a motivation letter to get accepted. However, a background check takes a bit longer – around 20 minutes. At this step, you need to provide the company with more information about yourself and your background.

Once you submit your online application, Instacart needs time (up to 10 business days) to review your profile. As Instacart shoppers state, the review process usually takes much less than that.

How to Earn More With Instacart?


Tip 1 – Work in Hot Spots

Some areas are busier than others. Find out locations with high demand and get orders in those hot spots. Instacart highlights the zones of high demand with red rectangular areas. Pink color indicates moderate demand, while greyish-white shows normal (or weak) demand.

Tip 2 – Work Fast

This doesn’t mean you should be in a rush all the time. However, you will increase your earnings if you shop fast to manage many orders. Instacart also offers bonuses to shoppers who are the fastest in the area and on the leaderboard.

Tip 3 – Maximize Your Opportunity for Tips

Being positive, caring and polite maximizes your opportunities for tips. Communicate with your customers when things don’t go as planned. Let them know if the product in their order is out of stock or when you get stuck in traffic. Remember that lack of communication, rudeness and being late mean no tips from your customer.

Tip 4 – Go online during peak hours

Each area has its own peak hours—the time when there is more demand for the service than usual. Find out the peak times in your area and always try to go online during those hours. The Instacart app doesn’t directly highlight peak times; however, you will recognize peak hours after working as a shopper for a week.

Tip 5 – Leverage bonus and promotion opportunities

As the best place to get gig work from home, Instacart offers you several bonuses and promotions based on your work.  So ensure you keep up-to-date with what they offer and try to grasp as many promotions as possible. You will see available promotions and bonus opportunities in the dashboard section of your mobile app.

Best Instacart Alternatives


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Instacart FAQs


What is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery delivery service connecting customers with personal shoppers online within the United States and Canada.

Customers can use a website or a mobile app to order groceries and other household goods online. Instacart promises deliveries to customers’ doorsteps within 1 or 2 hours after placing an order.

With over 500 million products available to shop across the catalog, 40,000 stores, and 500+ cities served across the U.S. and Canada, Instacart delivers and picks up yearly.

Who is Instacart best for?

As one of the best gig worker websites, Instacart is best for individuals who want to earn extra income shopping and delivering goods to customers.

What are the delivery hours? 

The typical delivery hours are between 9 am and 10 pm. Visit Instacart’s site for more information about your area’s general service hours and available delivery windows.

Can you make $500 a week with Instacart?

If you become a full-service shopper you can add a few hundred dollars to your weekly paycheck and make up to $500 a week.

Instacart Review

instacart logo

Instacart is a grocery pickup and delivery service based in the US. The platform was founded in 2012 and is available in over 5500 US cities. As an Instacart shopper, your job is to visit grocery stores to make purchases on behalf of customers, before delivering the groceries to them on the same-day. Instacart is a great side hustle option for people who want to get paid to exercise and shop.

Legit & Safe

Earning Potential

Flexible Schedule

Payout Process

Pros

  • 2 types of work available – you can either be a full service shopper (shopping and delivering groceries) or an in-store shopper (just shopping).
  • Earn up to $10 per order – get paid at least $5 for a delivery-only order or $7 to $10 for a full-service (both shopping and delivery) order.
  • Referral bonus – get $10 for each friend you refer to become an Instacart shopper once they complete their first delivery, up to a maximum of $50.
  • Flexible hours – work whenever you want as a full-service shopper. In-store shoppers can work up to 29 hours per week, based on their schedules.

Cons

  • May involve some heavy lifting – all Instacart shoppers must be able to lift 30+ pounds. Thus, you may sometimes need to lift some heavy groceries.
  • Vehicle expenses – Instacart will not cover your vehicle expenses such as fuel, maintenance and repairs. These can cost up to 40% of your earnings.
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Kate Starr

Dollarbreak

About the author:

Kate Starr is a personal finance, FinTech and MarTech writer. Her areas of expertise include making money, investing, and money management.

From earning money as a beginner entrepreneur to advanced investing in the stock market, Kate’s guides can help you to get more ideas on how to earn income online and increase your wealth.

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