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Instacart Review 2022. Is Instacart Worth It? (Personal Shopper)

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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.

Rating

4.6

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.

Jump to: Full Review

Compare to Other Gig Economy Jobs

DoorDash

DoorDash logo

Earn $15 – $25 per hour + keep 100% of your customer tips (4000 cities)

You can use any mode of transportation: your car, bicycle or motorcycle

You have the freedom to pick and choose which orders you want to accept

Grubhub

Grubhub logo

Make around $12 per hour + tips and create your own flexible schedule

No resume, interview or delivery experience required, and no dress code

Cash your earnings out up to $500 a day (free for Chase Bank customers)

GoPuff

GoPuff logo

Experienced delivery drivers can earn up to $21 per hour ($13 on average)

Choose when you want to work based on your schedule in 1000 cities

Delivery snacks, drinks, grocery, quick meals, cleaning supplies and more

What is Instacart?


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

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

With over 500 million products available to shop across the catalog, 40,000 stores5, 500+ cities served across the U.S. & Canada, Instacart has delivered and picked up yearly.

Instacart offers Free Delivery on Your First Order $35 or more.

How Does Instacart Work?


Instacart allows you to;

  • Sign up: Enter your Zip code to check availability (Free delivery on the first order $35 or more).
  • Shop your favorite markets: Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, and Wegmans, among others. 500 million products, 40,000 stores, 5,500+ cities in the USA and Canada.
  • Schedule delivery: As fast as an hour, or for later in the day or week to fit busy schedules. $7.99 for one-hour delivery or $5.99 for two-hour or more delivery.
  • Get your groceries: Meet your Shopper at your door or choose a pickup option.

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.

How to Make Money with Instacart?


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

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. As a full-service shopper, you will work as an independent contractor and you may choose your own work hours. You will earn money per item in an order and per delivery. Instacart pays full-service shoppers weekly.

Another role to work for Instacart is an in-store shopper. As an in-store shopper, you will work in the store, 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 are still able to have a flexible schedule.

Let’s take a look at a simple step-by-step process of earning money as an Instacart shopper.

To check if Instacart is available in your area, visit the locations page and enter your ZIP code.

Full-Service Shopper


Step 1 – Get approved to shop

Go to shoppers.instacart.com and follow the signup instructions. Instacart will review your application and notify you when you are approved.

Step 2 – Fill out the paperwork

You need to sign an independent contractor agreement and W-9 tax form.

Step 3 – Choose the orders you want to shop

Once you are approved, you will see orders near your current location in the app. You can pick the order that you want to fulfill and start earning.

Step 4 – Take your Instacart shopping card

All Instacart shoppers use a preloaded payment card to purchase customer orders. It usually takes 5 to 7 business days to claim your registered shopper’s card.

Step 5 – Shop your customers’ orders

Once you pick your order within the app, it’s time to actually shop. Go to the indicated store and pick all the products your customer has ordered.

Step 6 – Communicate with your customer

Update your customers when the product is out of stock and ask how to replace it using a built-in messenger.

Step 7 – Deliver the order to your customer

After you have purchased all the products, it’s time to deliver the order. The app shows you the exact address of your customer on the built-in map.

Step 8 – Cash out instantly and earn tips

After delivering the order successfully, your earnings are available to you instantly. Some customers will leave tips for you, which are always 100% yours.

In-Store Shopper


Step 1 – Submit an online application at shoppers.instacart.com

Step 2 – Attend an in-person orientation

This step is a part of the onboarding process. You can choose the session that works best for you from your app.

Step 3 – Fill out the paperwork

As an in-store shopper, you need to sign an employment offer and W-4 tax form.

Step 4 – Prepare your customers’ orders for pick up

You shop on your customer’s behalf and pack the order for pick-up.

Step 5 – Communicate with your customer

If you have questions regarding an order, you can use the built-in messenger within an app to contact your customer.

Step 6 – Get paid weekly

Instacart will pay you as an in-store shopper weekly, according to the hours you have worked.

How Much You Can Make with Instacart?


The amount you will earn with Instacart varies based on which type of shopper role you choose.

If you choose to be a full-service shopper, you have the flexibility to work on your own time schedule. This means that the amount Instacart will pay you totally depends on how many orders you will fulfil.

According to FastCompany, you will get paid a minimum amount of $7-$10 per order as a full-service shopper. This amount doesn’t include customer tips, which is directly transferred to your earnings. Instacart also gives you different types of bonuses and promotion opportunities to make even more money.

On the other hand, in-store shoppers are Instacart employees earning an hourly wage of $13 on average. You can schedule your shifts based on your availability, up to 29 hours per week.

Instacart Benefits: What Does Instacart Offer?


Wide Coverage

Instacart operates in more than 5,500 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Locations range from large urban areas such as San Francisco and New York to smaller communities such as Spring Creek. This gives many shoppers an opportunity to make money.

Sign Up is Free

Unlike other platforms, signing up with Instacart is free. Once you’ve filled out an online application and get approved, you are free to get started.

Manage Your Own Shifts

With Instacart, you can manage your own shifts directly from the app.

Easy To Use App

Instacart’s app is also simple and easy to use.

Instacart Requirements


Anyone can become an Instacart shopper regardless of their experience. However, there are some basic requirements to meet in order 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.

Instacart Costs to Consider


As a full-service shopper, you are an independent contractor. Therefore, Instacart doesn’t provide you with employee benefits, such as insurance, gas, etc. 

There are several costs to consider when you think of doing business with Instacart. Your monthly expenses will include buying insurance as well as paying for gas and maintenance of your vehicle. You are also responsible for filing your own taxes.

However, if you wish to become an in-store shopper, car-related expenses won’t apply to you.

Instacart Payout Terms and Options?


Instacart has different payment policies for full-service and in-store shoppers. It pays full-service shoppers per batch completed. The number of items per order, type of items, the effort involved in shopping and delivering as well as driving distance determine the amount you will earn per batch.

If you are a full-service shopper, your earnings are instantly accessible after completing the orders. This means you can transfer your funds to your debit card anytime. If you don’t request the withdrawal, the company will release your payment every Wednesday.

As an in-store shopper, you are an Instacart employee earning an hourly wage. In this case, Instacart pays you every Friday by direct deposit or a check.

Instacart Reviews: Is Instacart Legit?


Instacart is a legit and reputable business that provides a safe, convenient way to buy groceries without needing to visit stores. Having a rating of 1.8 on Sitejabber, 1.3 on Trustpilot, and 2.6 on consumer affairs, most negative reviews revolved around poor customer service. Others also think that rating them according to what’s in the store is unfair.

Other users also complained about Extremely high fees, including as much as 20 percent of the cost of the groceries.

That said, Instacart has gathered a few positive reviews with most reviewers praising it for being prompt and having good communication. Others also loved the fact that they can track and ensure the item is delivered

How Good Is Instacart Support and Knowledge Base?


Instacart has a rich support base including Blog, frequently asked questions, ideas & guides. You can also contact them via their contact page. So, Instacart can be considered helpful.

Instacart Review Verdict: Is Instacart Worth it?


Instacart is a solid choice for grocery delivery, especially if the stores you regularly shop at participate in the service. It’s also the best platform for gig jobs online. Whether you are looking for the best gig jobs or delivery services, the regular Instacart service should be a good option. 

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. 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, if you shop fast to manage many orders, you will increase your earnings. Instacart also offers bonuses to shoppers who are the fastest in the area and on top of the leaderboard.

Tip 3 – Maximize Your Opportunity for Tips

Being positive, caring and polite maximizes your opportunities for tips. Make sure to communicate with your customer 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 means 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 after a week.

Tip 5 – Leverage bonus and promotion opportunities

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

Instacart Pros & Cons


Instacart Pros

  • No minimum hours are required and you choose your own time to shop..
  • Bonus opportunities – you can earn $3 for every 5-star rating. 
  • Most customers will tip you for the good service, either in the app or cash.
  • It’s easy to use and never has any issues.

Instacart Cons

  • No guaranteed number of orders 
  • As tipping is optional, some customers won’t tip.

Sites Like Instacart


Instacart Doordash Grubhub GoPuff
Delivery Charges$3.99$1.99 to $5.99Between $1-$10,$1.95
Earning Potential$9 and $48 per hour $20/hour. $12-$13/hour.$13 per hour.

Instacart vs. Doordash


Doordash Summary

  • Choose your own flexible working hours
  • Earn up to $25 per hour during peaks
  • Get $150 when you refer a friend to join
  • You get to keep 100% of all customer tips

Like Instacart, you must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid driving license to join Doordash. Both platforms also require you to provide your name, phone number, email, and vehicle type while signing up. Instacart is a grocery delivery service, while DoorDash mostly delivers food from local restaurants to your home or office. 

In terms of payments, Instacart full-service shoppers earn between $9 and $48 per hour with an average of $29 per hour compared to Doordash’s average of $20/hour. While Doordash is the clear leader here, there is no significant difference between the two.

Instacart vs. Grubhub


GrubHub Summary

  • High average earnings of $12 per hour
  • Instant cash out for your earnings
  • Earn more from tips and peak periods
  • Deliver with car, bike, scooter, motorcycle

Grubhub is a food delivery app that provides side hustlers with an opportunity to make money delivering food. Similar To Instacart, Grubhub is free to sign up and start using. While drivers for both of these delivery services average a similar amount per hour, the pay range for Instacart is $29 compared to Grubhub drivers at a range of $12-$13/hour. 

Like Grubhub, Instacart drivers aren’t paid a flat hourly rate Grubhub also gives their drivers more chances to increase their earnings through promotions like Peak Pay 

Instacart vs. GoPuff


GoPuff Summary

  • Potential to earn up to $21 per hour
  • Additional ways to earn extra cash
  • Good side hustle even with a full-time job
  • Work as much or as little as you want

Similar to Instacart, GoPuff is a platform that helps deliver essentials like food, toilet paper, and other foodstuffs. While Instacart Operates in over 500+ cities across Canada and United States, GoPuff functions in more than 650 US cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Austin, and more. 

GoPuff mainly delivers products usually found in convenience stores such as drinks, snacks, toiletries compared to Instacart that delivers goods through personal shoppers. As for delivery fees, Instacart charges $3.99 for an order of $35 compared to GoPuff’s $1.95 delivery fee.

Instacart vs. Amazon Fresh


Amazon Flex Summary

  • Earn between $18 to $25 per hour
  • Flexibility to choose delivery blocks
  • Keep 100% of all tips from customers
  • Cancel up to 45 minutes before a block

Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service for Amazon Prime members and the biggest alternative to Instacart. Personal shoppers of Amazon Fresh earn a fixed fee of $15 to $17.25 per hour. This is almost similar to what you can earn as an in-store shopper for Instacart. However, as an Instacart full-service shopper, you have an opportunity to earn more than that if you leverage the bonus and promotion opportunities.

Instacart vs. Shipt


Shipt Summary

  • High earnings potential in some areas
  • Get a paycheck on a weekly basis
  • Start shopping within 5 days of approval
  • Easy to apply to become a shopper

Shipt is another alternative to Instacart. According to Glassdoor reports, Shipt personal shoppers make $11 to $14 per hour. Instacart shoppers typically make more money for larger orders and during busy times.

Instacart vs. Postmates


Postmates Summary

  • Earn at least $4 per order plus bonuses
  • Get extra cash incentives of up to $1000
  • Flexible working hours that are up to you
  • Generous tips of 20% per order on average

Another alternative to Instacart is Postmates. The payout at Postmates fluctuates based on the service area. As a Postmates driver, you have an opportunity to make a minimum of $4 per order. You also earn $1 for every pick-up and drop-off and $0.10 per minute while waiting for your order.

At Postmates you might lose time waiting for restaurants to prepare your orders. As this is not the case while shopping with Instacart, you can fulfill more orders within an hour and earn more.

Instacart vs. Uber Eats


Uber Eats Summary

  • Flexible schedule – choose your own hours
  • You get to keep 100% of all customer tips
  • 3 different delivery options available
  • 4 bonus ways to increase your earnings

Uber Eats is a very popular alternative to Instacart, paying the drivers $10-14 per hour. However, as Uber Eats also offers food delivery, you as a driver might lose some time waiting for restaurants to prepare your orders. Taking this into consideration, you might be able to manage more orders and earn more hourly as an Instacart shopper.

Other Sites Like Instacart


Instacart FAQ


What are the delivery hours? 

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

How does delivery pricing work?

Prices on the Instacart site may vary from one instore to another. Most in-store prices, sales, promotions, gifts with purchase, offers, coupons and discounts do not apply

How can I cancel an order?

To cancel an order, log back into Instacart’s site and find your pending order then cancel. Typically, this is 1-2 hours before the requested delivery time

Is there a minimum order amount for delivery?

The minimum order amount must be more than $10.00 before tax.

Can I order an item that is not found on the site?

If you cannot find an item in your search, click “Add a special request” and fill out the information to add the item to the cart.

Instacart Express is a subscription option that waives delivery fees and lowers service fees, and it’s ideal for people who order grocery delivery regularly.

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