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Instacart Grocery Shopper Review

Everything you need to know about how to make money shopping and delivering groceries in your local area.
By: Aaron Moriarty
Updated: September 12, 2021
Make money shopping and delivering groceries for Instacart
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What is Instacart?

Instacart is an app and website where people can buy their groceries online. Customers pay a little bit more of a premium for their store-bought groceries for the convenience of having it delivered right to their doorsteps.

What does an Instacart grocery shopper do?

Your job as an Instacart grocery shopper is to fulfill the customer’s order. You go to the grocery store with the checklist of items to buy on the Instacart app. Find and scan items on your phone to mark them off. Then check out (Instacart provides you with a charge card to pay for the groceries), load them in your car, and drive to the customer to drop them off.

How do I make money as an Instacart shopper?

You get paid for every completed order. How much you make will be based on how many items you have to shop for, type of items, driving distance from the store to the customer, and overall effort in shopping and delivering the items. For example, an order that includes heavy items (watermelons, bags of rice) or has lots of different types of produce (think about all the varieties of apples there are) will yield you more pay.

Do I have specific hours or a set schedule?

This is the beauty of working for Instacart, you never have a boss telling you what shifts you need to work. You are in charge and set the times when you’d like to work. In the Instacart Shopper app, you can designate which specific days and time ranges you can work for the current week and upcoming week. Time slots are one hour long and you must select two consecutive time slots. Not all time slots are available and will depend on customer demand and other available shoppers in the area during that time.

Where will I be driving to? Will I have to drive far?

Instacart has predefined geographic zones that you can choose to work in. Once you pick your zone, you only shop and deliver inside that area. Time slot availability will vary based on what zone you pick.

Which grocery stores will I shop at?

Instacart has partnered with all the major supermarkets, local grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and even big-box stores like Target, Walmart, and Costco. Your orders could send you to any one of those places but never to multiple stores per order.

Can I pick and choose which orders to accept?

Yes, when an order comes in, you get an estimate of how much you’ll earn, how many items you need to shop for, and how far away the store is from your current destination. With that information, it’s up to you to decide whether to accept or reject the offer or not.

What about tips?

You get to keep 100% of the tips. When a customer checks out, it automatically adds a 5% or $2 minimum tip to each order.

How often will I get paid?

You never have to wait for payday with Instacart. After you complete a delivery, the earnings are deposited into your account instantly and available to be withdrawn into your personal checking or savings immediately.

What are the requirements to become a grocery shopper for Instacart?

If you’re able to get groceries for yourself and you have a smartphone, then you qualify to work for Instacart. Here are the specifics:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Eligible to work in the United States (or Canada, if you live there)
  • An iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 or newer
  • Capable of lifting bags of groceries (up to 50lbs)

How do I sign up to become an Instacart grocery shopper

  • Sign up with your zip code on the Instacart website.
  • Install the Instacart shopper app on your phone.
  • Answer a few questions in the app.
  • Pass Instacart's background check and you’ll be ready to start working.

What’s the deal with the background check?

Instacart wants to ensure a safe community, so background checks are required of everyone wanting to work for Instacart. They typically take no more than 10 business days and sometimes quicker depending on the volume of applications. They’ll look for any criminal history and your driving record to see if there are any significant violations.

Is being an Instacart shopper right for me?

If you’re in between jobs or looking for work, then the flexibility of Instacart might be the thing for you. Lots of people who want to earn extra cash after school, on the weekends, or looking for seasonal work find grocery shopping and delivery to be the perfect job for them.