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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.
- 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.
- 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.
Compare to Other Delivery Driver Jobs
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
Earn $25 per hour plus keep 100% of your tips (4000 cities in USA)
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
2 Types of Instacart Jobs
One of the two ways to work with Instacart is by being a Full-Service Shopper. By working as a shopper, you’ll be receiving orders customers made through the Instacart app. Then, you’ll need to shop for these and deliver them to your customers.
As a Full-Service Shopper, Instacart gives you the opportunity to work on your schedule. It’s also an ideal gig if you’re looking to earn extra cash during your free time. This also works if you’re looking for job opportunities that are:
There are so many ways you can fit this job into your schedule. Another excellent thing about working as a personal shopper is that you get to explore being an independent contractor.
In essence, this is quite similar to running your own business. Imagine being the boss and communicating directly to your clients. You’ll have more freedom to pursue success.
Now, there might be few people who enjoy running errands and shopping. If you’re one of them, being an Instacart Full-Service Shopper is a sure way to indulge this interest. On top of that, you get to earn extra cash.
Finally, working as a personal shopper provides you the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Driving around the city to deliver to your customers also helps you explore places you’ve never been.
Similar to Full-Service Shoppers, In-Store Shoppers receive orders through the app. Then, they’ll shop for those in-store and prepare for delivery. Basically, they just do all their tasks inside a store and wait for the delivery persons to pick up the orders.
But compared to Full-Service Shopper, you won’t be an independent contractor. Instead, you’ll be a part-time employee and you get to choose your work schedule.
In some places, In-Store Shoppers are quite in-demand. Thus, Instacart offers seasonal jobs, which can last up to 90 days. This is an excellent option for those looking for extra cash during their free time.
How Much Do Instacart Jobs Pay?
There are two factors that affect how much you’ll receive as an Instacart Shopper: the number of completed orders and location. For both types of shoppers, the pay comes every week. You’ll need to have either a savings or checking account to receive it.
However, since the two differ in employment terms, you’ll find more differences in their pay computations.
Full-Service Shopper Earnings
As previously mentioned, Full-Service Shoppers are independent contractors. It means they get to choose their schedule and how long they want to work in a day. By working longer hours, they can maximize their daily earnings.
Additionally, Instacart provides a pay estimate every time an order comes in. On top of that, Full-Service Shoppers can view their total earnings for the week.
Considering that earnings are based on each order, here are other contributors to its final value:
- Number of items
- Type of items
- Driving distance
- The effort to shop and deliver the orders
This implies that smaller or lesser items and closer shops pay less than larger or more items from farther shops. For each shop and delivery, Full-Service Shoppers can make $7 to $10. On top of that, they get to keep 100% of tips.
Pro Tip: Full-Service Shoppers can use Instant Cashout, letting them quickly withdraw their earnings to their debit card. This option activates once you complete five batches or orders. After that, you can pretty much use the feature for up to $3,000 per day.
In-Store Shopper Earnings
As part-time employees, In-Store Shoppers receive an hourly wage, the amount of which depends on their location. This means limited freedom to earn as much as you can. However, In-Store Shoppers for Instacart receive benefits, such as 401(k) savings.
Instacart offers referral rewards for their personal shoppers. The gist of the program is that by referring people to shop with Instacart, referrers will receive cash bonuses.
Additionally, the referee will be eligible for the Guaranteed Earnings Referral program. This means that by completing a required number of orders within a certain period, they also receive a reward.
The referral program aims to encourage current shoppers to recruit more shoppers for Instacart. As such, the program’s terms, conditions, and amount may differ depending on the region.
Although, generally, qualifying for the referral bonus requires the following:
- The referee must use the referral code when they sign up, right on the first page of the process.
- The referee must complete their required number of orders within the specific period and region.
- The referrer must have a good standing record as an active shopper.
- The referrer must have worked 40 hours or more within the last six months at the Instacart platform
Instacart Shopper Requirements
To become an Instacart Shopper, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years or older
- Legally allowed to work in the United States
- Have a smartphone with at least an iOS 6.0 or Android 5.0 operating system
- Can lift, with or without accommodation, 50 lbs.
If you’re applying as a Full-Service Shopper, you’ll also need to have your own vehicle. Once you meet these requirements, you can start your application through the following steps.
Step 1: Sign Up Online or on the App
To become an Instacart Shopper, you can either apply on their website or app. Through the Instacart website, simply enter the following information:
- First and last names
- Email and phone number
- Country and zip
- Referral code, if you have it
You can also download the App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. From there, you can enter the same information.
Once you start on the job, you’ll also use the App to:
- Set your availability
- Pick up orders
- Check your earnings
- Contact Instacart’s support team
Step 2: Background Checking and Orientation
After sending your application, Instacart will ask for your consent to do background checks. Their contractor, Checkr Inc. will conduct the checking.
The process typically takes 10 days to complete. You can check your Checkr applicant portal to know your status.
In-Store Shoppers, on the other hand, are required to attend an in-store orientation. You’ll need to schedule this yourself once you receive the confirmation email from Instacart’s recruitment team.
In some cases, schedules for in-store orientation fill out quickly, so you’ll need to consider the following:
- Check back often as Instacart adds new schedules every week.
- You can cancel or reschedule your appointment.
- A slot also becomes available if someone cancels or reschedules.
Step 3: Complete Paperwork
There are different sets of paperwork you need to complete if you’re applying as a Full-Service or In-Store shopper. For the former, you’ll need to accomplish a W-9 tax form and sign the contractor’s agreement.
In-Store Shoppers, meanwhile, have to complete the W-4 tax form and sign an offer letter. The offer letter shows the terms of their employment, including their hourly rate.
Step 4: Instacart Payment Card Registration
One of the common questions from those interested to apply as a personal shopper is if they will pay for the items themselves. With Instacart, you’ll use a preloaded payment card to pay for customers’ orders at the checkout.
Before you can start working as a shopper, make sure to register for the Instacart Payment Card. You can opt either to have it delivered or picked up at the store, depending on your location. Delivery of this card typically takes five to seven days.
Instacart Shopper Schedules
Being an Instacart Shopper mostly allows you work flexibility, especially if you choose to be a Full-Service Shopper. Using the app, you can sign in for work any time you want.
Additionally, you can set the app to notify you when orders come in. That way, you can easily accept the order assuming you have time to do it. This lets you convert your free time to cash.
For In-Store Shoppers, the schedules can be quite limited. After all, they are mostly part-time workers, requiring only 29 hours per week. Earning as much as you can, may not be entirely possible.
However, this job can be advantageous for those with specific needs. For example, you already have a day job and are simply looking to earn a little extra, regularly. Or, you’re a student who doesn’t have much time for most of the day.
Indeed, either of the two Instacart jobs can still provide you the freedom to work on your time.
Does Instacart Have Office Jobs?
Instacart offers office jobs as well, in case you’re not partial to working in stores or driving around the city. Some of the departments you can also work at are the following:
- Accounting and Finance
- Business Development and Sales
- Customer Service
- Business Operations and Data Science
- Design and Research
- Engineerings, such as for Software and Mobile
- HR and Talent
- Policy and Government Affairs
Note that job openings in these departments depend on the region. You can conveniently check all current openings through their website. It also shows the location where the job is available.
For each available job posted, you’ll find the job overview and its required knowledge, skills, and abilities. When you’re ready to apply, you can fill up the application form and upload your resume and cover letter.