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Ever notice that a lot of slang words for money are also words for types of food? Words like “bread,” “dough,” and “bacon.” As in, “I’d love to make some extra bread,” “I could use some extra dough,” and “I want to bring home the bacon.” Sometimes, we could all use the extra income to pay bills, do home improvements, or just to have a little fun. Well, working as an Instacart delivery driver is an easy way to earn extra money, potentially up to $25 an hour or more. You’ll get paid to grocery shop and deliver those groceries to local consumers who order them. You’ll deliver actual bread, dough, and bacon and make some monetary “bread,” “dough,” and “bacon” at the same time!
And just like being an independent rideshare driver for Uber or Lyft, Instacart delivery drivers make their own hours and work as much or as little as they want. Let’s learn about how consumers use Instacart and what being an Instacart delivery driver is like.
Table of Contents
What is Instacart?
What is Instacart? Instacart is a nationwide, on-demand grocery delivery service that lets consumers order all kinds of items from supermarkets, discount warehouses, department stores, and drug stores online or through the Instacart app. These items are then delivered straight to the customer’s location by an Instacart delivery driver for a small fee, usually within an hour or so. Instacart refers to each delivery driver as an Instacart Full Service Shopper, because they not only shop for the items that customers order, but they deliver them to the customer as well.
Where does Instacart deliver?
In small towns and big cities across the USA, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. For a complete list of areas that might need delivery drivers click HERE.
How to Become an Instacart Driver & Getting Started as an Instacart Driver
“What can I do to earn some extra money?,” is a great question that many people ask themselves. Driving for Instacart could be the answer. It’s fun, easy, and you make your own hours because Instacart delivery drivers are independent contractors. If you’re already a rideshare driver for Lyft or Uber, or a delivery driver for another on-demand service, you can easily use the car you’re already driving to deliver for Instacart as well. Adding the Instacart platform is a perfect way to put more income in your pocket. Here’s how to become an Instacart driver:
Instacart Driver Requirements
Valid U.S. driver’s license with auto insurance in your name.
Have access to a reliable, functioning car.
If you need a car, HyreCar can help you rent a qualified vehicle in under 24 hours.
You must be 18 years or older to be an Instacart delivery driver.
Be at least 21 years old to purchase and deliver alcohol.
You need to be eligible to work in the United States.
You’ll have to pass a criminal background check. Takes 2-7 days, sometimes longer.
Own a recent model smartphone. (Android 5.0 or later, iOS 9 or later)
You’ll need to provide the standard info, like your name, area code, and phone number, email address, etc. After that, you’ll answer a few questions about your vehicle and the kind of smartphone you use. You can provide your bank account for direct deposit or use a payment method like PayPal.
There are two kinds of Instacart shopper jobs that you can apply for. If you want to shop and deliver for Instacart, make sure you choose Instacart Full Service Shopper and not In Store Shopper. Here’s why:
Full Service Shoppers are independent contractors who use their car to drive to a store, where they shop for the items that customers request. Then, they deliver the items to the customer. Full Service Shoppers can work as many hours per week as they want. There’s no limit to the amount of income that they can earn.
In Store Shoppers don’t do deliveries. They are part-time employees of Instacart that work in stores shopping and putting customer orders together. Then Instacart delivery drivers or the customers themselves pick up the pre-packaged order. There’s a limit of 29 hours a week for this position.
In Store Shopper is not the job for you if you want to shop and deliver for Instacart.
How Do Customers Order from Instacart?
New customers create an account on Instacart.com or download the Instacart app to their iOS or Android devices by entering their personal information, including their credit card of choice to keep on file for payments.
Customers then enter their permanent delivery address. This address can be changed on a per delivery basis, just in case they need something delivered to their office or another location other than their home.
Entering their zip code will determine if Instacart delivers in that area or not.
Once signed up, the consumer searches for their favorite local store or for particular items and places an order online or through the app. They can schedule the delivery to be completed within a couple of hours or at a later time of the day. Deliveries can also be scheduled for up to 6 days in advance.
Orders must be $10 or more to qualify for Instacart delivery.
Instacart orders can be placed for pick up at local grocery stores as well as national chains such as Whole Foods, Costco, CVS, Petco, Sam’s Club, Publix, Albertsons, Kroger, ALDI and more.
Once an order has been placed, a local Instacart Full Service Shopper is notified on the Instacart app. The Shopper then drives to a store to purchase the items and begin the delivery process.
Customers can track their Shopper’s progress throughout the shopping and delivery process through the Instacart app, including estimated time of delivery. The app also tells the customer if a particular item is out of stock and needs to be replaced on their shopping list.
Customers can contact their Shopper through the app to approve of item changes or to give last-minute instructions regarding shopping, delivery, or even parking at the delivery location.
How Much Do You Get Paid as an Instacart Driver or Shopper?
Here’s the question that’s probably been on your mind: How much does Instacart pay its shoppers? Instacart’s website says that a Shopper’s earnings can vary due to factors like how many orders they complete in an hour, the size of the city they’re delivering in, and the number of hours they work. Increased delivery fees during peak Busy Pricing times can increase the amount a Shopper gets paid per hour as well. Plus, tips can be added to a Shopper’s earnings. So, it’s hard to pin down exactly what you’ll earn per hour as a Full Service Shopper.
Here’s what an Instacart Shopper named James recently posted regarding the wages he earns:
“I work around 50 hours a week. My zone has $6-7 deliveries. I work 12 hours a day and usually have 10-11 orders and average $215 a day so for me it’s worth it.
Here are a few solid facts about Instacart driver pay that should give you a good idea of what you might earn while delivering:
Full Service Shoppers are paid for each delivery, plus a “per item” payment is added, meaning larger orders result in more earnings. Other fees like Busy Pricing surge fees are added if they’ve been activated by Instacart at the time.
Instacart states that Full Service Shoppers can make up $25 an hour or more.
Instacart provides you with an estimate of what you’ll earn for each order you accept. This is based on how many items are in the order, the kinds of items that the customer requested, the time it takes to shop for all the items on a customer’s list, and driving distance between the store where items are purchased and the customer’s location.
Instacart tipping directly from customers will also affect your hourly wage. Tipping after you successfully complete a delivery is up to the customer. The good thing is, you keep 100% of your tips whether you receive them in cash or through the Instacart app.
How to Maximize Your Instacart Earnings
Keep an eye on your Instacart app for Busy Pricing peak periods when delivery fees are increased. This is the best time to get out there and do deliveries for maximum earnings.
Accept as many orders as you can, especially during slow times, but try to concentrate more on larger orders than small ones, since your delivery fee is based on order size. Also, Instacart will sometimes offer delivery fee bonuses for orders over $200.
Delivery fees vary from zone to zone, meaning a delivery area a short distance away from you might be paying more. Check out neighboring zones on the app to see what Instacart is paying per delivery. Driving 30 minutes to deliver in another zone during your shift could be worth it for you if the fees are higher there.
An Instacart Shopper named Jeff had this to say about accepting as many deliveries as possible:
“I do 30 hours a week. I average $12-$14 an hour because I skipped a lot of small orders that are only around 1-7 items. I’ve noticed that the Shoppers who make $800 to $1,000 a week take everything they can get.” Want More Tips? Provide the Best Customer Service! Receiving tips directly from customers is a great way to increase your Instacart hourly wage. Providing excellent customer service is the best way to encourage tips. It’s also a good way to make sure that your customers give you excellent reviews on the Instacart app. Here are a few customer service suggestions:
Familiarize yourself with the various stores in your area so you know where certain kinds of items are stocked, reducing the time it takes you find requested items.
Always contact the customer through the app if you’re unsure about something they’ve ordered or you need to inform them of a change or delivery issues.
If the customer has ordered prepared food to go from a supermarket (hot rotisserie chicken, salads, freshly made sandwiches, or side orders from the in-store deli) grab some napkins, plastic utensils, and condiment packages to include with the delivery. The customer might appreciate the gesture and reward you with a gratuity.
When you arrive at a customer’s home, announce yourself by name and greet the customer with a smile when they open the door.
This is an important suggestion: Offer to bring the shopping bags inside for the customer. Sure, some people might not want strangers in their homes and will just take the bags from you, but some might appreciate the extra effort of hauling everything to the kitchen and be more likely to tip you.
If you arrive at a delivery location and the customer doesn’t answer the door, make sure you wait at least 5-10 minutes before moving on to your next order. Ring the bell, knock on the door and do whatever you can to reach the customer. If the customer does not answer, contact Shopper Support using the app for further instructions. Don’t just leave the bags at their door and leave.
Working for Instacart
Being an independent contractor for a rideshare company or a delivery company has its advantages. You are your own boss, meaning you decide when and how much you want to work. It’s this kind of flexibility that makes driving for Instacart so attractive to busy people looking to earn extra income. An independent contractor named Cindy had this to say about her job as an Instacart Shopper:
“I work about 30-40 hours a week. Comes out to $17-$20 an hour for me. Worth it! I love the hours I get to pick and choose, meaning I’m always able to put my family first.”
There are two kinds of shopping orders you can accept through the app:
Full Service Shopping
You drive to the supermarket or store requested by the customer and begin shopping for all the items on the customer’s list. The App will list every item from the customer’s order, complete with a picture. When you find each item, you check it off on the app.
During checkout, you will pay all the items with a pre-loaded special Instacart debit card. Once you have found all of the items, proceed to the checkout line like a regular customer and pay for the order. You then proceed to deliver the order to the customer.
You drive to the supermarket or store requested by the customer to pick up the order that has already been completed and bagged by an Instacart In-Store Shopper. You don’t actually shop for anything on the list yourself.
Take the bags to checkout and pay with your pre-loaded Instacart debit card like normal. Proceed with delivery to the customer.
Just be aware that you won’t be paid the “per-item” fees for an in-store pick up order like you would for a Full Service Shopping order because you’re not actually shopping for anything. The app will always tell you whether an order is a Full Service Order or an In-Store Pickup Order. You can decide if you want to accept either kind. As we stated before, the more deliveries you accept the more income you’ll earn.
Instacart Driver Expenses
Instacart does not reimburse drivers for gas or car maintenance. That’s why it’s a good idea to drive a fuel-efficient, reliable car if you’re going to deliver for Instacart.
Other expenses such as parking fees from meters or pay garages, or items that are work-related are also your responsibility. The good thing is that a lot of these expenses are tax deductible, along with a percentage of your mileage. HyreCar put together a list of tax deductions for rideshare drivers that could also apply to Instacart delivery drivers as well. If you have questions about what you can deduct, please consult a tax professional.
Instacart Vehicle Requirements
As far as we can tell, the only vehicle requirements that Instacart lists are that your car be reliable, functional and registered. If you’re already a rideshare driver, your vehicle has already met various safety and maintenance requirements that would make it eligible for Instacart deliveries.
What is on the Instacart App?
Pretty much everything an Instacart delivery driver needs is on the Instacart app.
Receive order requests.
Navigation to stores and from stores to customer location.
View estimated delivery payments for each order.
View and check off items on customer shopping lists.
Chat with customers in real time regarding their orders if questions or issues with the delivery comes up.
Total payments for the week.
Receive and view tips.
Contact the customer that you have arrived with their delivery.
See your driver ratings from customers.
Contact Instacart Support:
Contacting Instacart Shopper Support
Instacart calls its Shopper Support center Instacart Shopper Happiness. This is where Shoppers will contact Instacart when searching for answers or solutions to problems with shopping, pickups or deliveries. There are a few ways to contact Shopper Support.
There is an Instacart Shopper Happiness button on the app. You can connect with their support team during a delivery for real-time assistance by tapping the button.
888-246-7822 is the number to reach Shopper support. Customers can also call this number if they have questions about orders or deliveries.
Working for Instacart as a Full Service Shopper who both shops for items and delivers them to customers is an easy, fun way to earn extra income. You work when you want, as much as you want, and you can earn around $20 an hour or more when bonuses and tips are added to your delivery fees. That’s a decent paycheck if you put in a full day of delivering. And if you’re a rideshare driver as well, you’ve already got an approved, insured vehicle to use for Instacart deliveries. Score!
Want to Be an Instacart Delivery Driver but Don’t Own a Vehicle? HyreCar to the Rescue!
HyreCar can put you behind the wheel of a good quality, reliable car in less than 24 hours, in all 50 states. Meaning, you’ll be delivering for Instacart and earning extra income before you know it! Try us out for a minimum 2-day rental or for as long as you need a car. There’s no long-term contracts to worry about and get this – insurance is included with every rental! Start renting from HyreCar and your job as an Instacart delivery driver will be in the bag…the grocery bag, that is!
Happy Instacart Shopping and Delivering from your pals at HyreCar!
Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.