The gig economy has made it easier than ever for anyone to earn extra cash on the side with minimal effort.
One of the most popular ways to do this is by delivering groceries for services like Instacart.
Instacart operates as an on-demand grocery delivery service, partnering with local stores to provide customers with the convenience of having items delivered right to their doorstep.
They offer flexible hours and income opportunities for Instacart employees, known as shoppers, with pay rates that vary based on location, hours worked, and job type.
If you’re thinking of becoming an Instacart shopper, one of the most common questions is: how much does Instacart pay?
In this article, we’ll dive into that question and give you the key details you need to know about delivering groceries for cash and earning almost $20 an hour.
- Instacart hires independent contractors (called Shoppers) to shop for and/or deliver people’s groceries, where shoppers can pick their hours and work as they want.
- As an independent contractor, you aren’t an employee and work as you want on your own schedule.
- The average salary for Instacart Personal Shoppers is $19. The total pay range, which likely includes tips and other incentives, is estimated to be between $16 and $23 per hour.
- Working as a shopper can bring high earnings but also comes with drawbacks, such as vehicle expenses and lack of guaranteed income.
- To become a full-time or in-store shopper, download the Shopper App, attend orientation (if applicable), complete paperwork & start taking orders to get paid.
- Shopper pay comes weekly via direct deposit or instantly Instant Cashout.
- Find out more in our in-depth Instacart Shopper Review.
Pros & Cons: Working With Instacart
- Can set your own hours- work when it is convenient for you
- Average Shopper pay is $19 per hour
- Shop in-store for orders or deliver the groceries
- Potential for high earnings in busy markets
- Possibility to make $20+ an hour during peak hours
- Responsible for your own vehicle expenses, including gas, maintenance, and insurance
- May not have enough orders during slow times
- No guaranteed income- you get paid when orders come your way
As an Instacart shopper, you’ve got two roles to choose from:
- Full-Service Shopper
- In-Store Shopper
As a Full-Service Shopper, you’re your own boss. You set your schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
You’ll be out and about, shopping for groceries and delivering them right to the customer’s door.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more stable schedule and don’t mind staying in one place, you might enjoy being an In-Store Shopper.
You’ll be working part-time, picking out the products and packing up orders for customers to pick up or for delivery.
Now, there are a few qualifications you’ll need to meet. But don’t worry; they’re not too daunting!
To become an Instacart shopper, you must meet certain basic Instacart shopper requirements and qualifications.
- To be 18 years old or older
- The ability to lift 40+ pounds
- A smartphone (iPhone with iOS 14 or later or Android 5.0 or later)
- To pass a background check
If you plan on being a full-service shopper who delivers alcohol, additional requirements may apply, such as passing an alcohol safety quiz.
Where You Can Work
One of the best things about working for Instacart is its flexibility. You can work practically anywhere there’s a store partnered with Instacart.
Instacart operates in all 50 states across the United States, partnering with approximately 900 retail stores and local grocers.
Job availability may vary depending on your ZIP code, as it hinges on the number of Instacart shoppers in your area.
The more new Instacart shoppers there are, the more competition there is for customer orders.
Full-Service Shopper (Batch Pay)
Average Pay Rate: $19 per hour
A full-service shopper is an independent contractor who provides both grocery shopping and delivery services.
The amount full-service shoppers earn from batch pay depends on the order size, driving distance, and the effort involved in in-store shopping and delivery.
Plus, you keep 100% of customer tips and get opportunities to earn extra through promotions Instacart offers.
Once you have completed at least 5 batches, you can request that Instacart pays your earnings in as little as 2 hours.
Since Full-Service Shoppers are independent contractors, they’re responsible for their own taxes as they’re not employees of Instacart but 1099 contractors.
Average Pay Rate: $18 per hour
In-Store Shoppers are part-time employees who earn at least minimum wage and are paired with specific partner stores for in-store shopping.
Your job? You get to find and bag all the items on a customer’s grocery list and set it up for pick-up.
Now, even though an in-store shopper can choose when they want to work at the local grocery store, they actually work hourly shifts rather than on a per-order basis.
But hey, that’s the beauty of Instacart jobs – they’re super flexible!
Instacart handles all applicable taxes for the in-store shopper, and they are eligible for 401(k) benefits as part of the comprehensive job payment plan Instacart pays.
Get Started On Instacart
Becoming an Instacart Shopper is a great way to earn more money on your own schedule. By following these steps, you can become an Instacart Shopper and start earning today.
1. Download Instacart Shopper App
The first step is to click the link to sign up for Instacart and download the Instacart Shopper App from the App Store or Google Play Store.
To sign up, you’ll fill in your basic information, such as name, email, and phone number. You’ll also need to undergo a background check and submit a photo of yourself for verification.
2. In-Store Shoppers Orientation
After the signup process, you’ll be invited to attend an in-person orientation session. During orientation, you learn about Instacart policies, procedures, and standards.
At the in-person orientation, you also learn how to use the Shopper App to shop for groceries, communicate with customers, and deliver orders.
3. Complete Your Paperwork
After you’ve completed the orientation, you’ll need to complete some paperwork before you can start taking customer orders.
Full-service shoppers must complete a W-9 tax form and contractor agreement form, while in-store shoppers have different paperwork requirements.
4. Start Taking Instacart Orders
Once approved as an Instacart Shopper, you can begin taking orders through the Instacart app.
As a full-service shopper, you’re responsible for both shopping and delivering orders.
As an in-store shopper, you only need to shop for the groceries, as a full-service Instacart Shopper will handle the delivery.
Never Forget the Instacart Card!
During your in-store orientation, you’ll be issued an Instacart Card. This card is used to pay for the groceries during checkout.
It’s important to remember to bring the Instacart Card with you when you shop for groceries, as without it, you won’t be able to complete the order!
5. Pay Day!
We all love payday! And with Instacart, you’ll experience this joy every week!
Instacart pays its Instacart shoppers weekly, so you’ll see a regular influx of earnings into your bank account.
So, when payday rolls around, take a moment to celebrate your hard work and the earnings that come with it. You’ve earned it!
Instant Cashout Feature
Once you’ve completed a shopping and delivery request, your earnings are ready to be cashed out instantly for same day pay.
For a small service fee of $0.50 per transaction, you can transfer your earnings to your bank account. You can use this feature up to 5 times per day, giving you plenty of flexibility.
However, this only works on batch pay- your tips can’t be cashed out until 24 hours after you finish your batch. This is because tips aren’t finalized until then.
So, if you’re counting on a hefty tip to boost your earnings, you might have to wait on the instant cashout.
Instacart Shopper Payments
Pay Structure for Full-Service Shoppers
Full-service shoppers are paid based on several factors in the Instacart Pay Structure, including:
- The number of items in each order
- The distance from the store to the customer’s
- Delivery time and address
- Available incentives during the time of delivery
- Tips from generous customers
The Shopper pay has a base amount for each order, known as the batch pay.
They no longer pay a flat delivery service fee, but the batch pay better reflects your efforts- it increases if there are heavy or bulky items on the shopping list.
Shoppers also receive small mileage reimbursement, though the exact value varies by city.
During peak hours, when customer demand is high, Instacart offers pricing incentives so that you can earn extra money on top of your standard fares.
Pay Structure for In-Store Shoppers
When they join the Instacart team, they’re given an offer letter that outlines the Instacart pay, payment structure, and hourly wage.
In-store shoppers earn a guaranteed minimum wage level payment structure.
While they don’t have the opportunity to earn tips from customers, they also aren’t responsible for making deliveries.
They also don’t receive health insurance because they only work up to 29 hours each week.
Instacart Bonuses & Tips
Instacart rewards its best shoppers with bonuses called Peak Boost and Quality Bonus.
The Peak Boost bonus is an additional payout that Instacart drivers receive when they drive in times of high customer demand. It’s the grocery equivalent to Uber’s Surge Pricing.
Quality Bonuses are a $3 incentive given to shoppers that earn 5-star ratings from customers.
Full-service Instacart Shoppers can also receive tips as part of their job and keep 100% of the tips they earn when driving and delivering through the service.
After Instacart introduced the automatic tipping feature, many shoppers reported that their customer tips increased due to the feature.
Minimum Batch Payment
Now, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of a batch payment. Every order you handle comes with a base batch pay called the Batch Incentive.
When it comes to the minimum batch payment for each batch or order, Instacart ensures that you receive fair compensation.
For full-service batches, the minimum batch payment ranges between $7 and $10, while delivery-only batches guarantee a minimum of $5.
These minimum batch payments don’t include the tips you receive, which means your earning potential can go even higher with the satisfaction of your customers.
And guess what? If you’ve got some heavy or bulky items on your shopping list, that base pay gets a boost.
Don’t Forget About Car Expenses
As you’re crunching the numbers and dreaming of the potential earnings, there’s one crucial factor you shouldn’t overlook – car expenses.
The Shopper tells you what they’ll pay you, but you need to figure out how much you’ll be spending on gas!
As a Full-Service Shopper, you’re not just a grocery guru but also a delivery driver. And that means your car is your trusty sidekick in this gig.
But just like any sidekick, it needs a little TLC to keep it running smoothly. We’re talking gas, maintenance, and the occasional car wash – these costs can add up and take a bite out of your earnings.
So, before you hit the road, make sure to factor in these expenses.
Consider the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, the cost of gas in your area, and how much maintenance your car typically needs. These are all part of the equation when calculating your potential earnings.
Remember, being an Instacart shopper can be a great way to earn extra money. But it’s also a business, and like any business, costs are involved.
As independent contractors, you’ll also need to keep up with the expenses for tax time!
So, do your homework, crunch those numbers, and make sure the Instacart salaries align with your financial goals.
How much do you make an hour with Instacart?
The hourly earnings for Instacart shoppers can vary quite a bit depending on your location, the time you choose to work, and the type of shopper you are (full-service or in-store).
According to data from Glassdoor, shoppers can expect to make around $19 per hour.
Keep in mind this is just an average, and your earnings can be influenced by factors like customer tips and the number of orders you can fulfill in an hour.
Can I make $500 a week with Instacart?
Yes, it’s possible for Instacart drivers to make $500 a week with Instacart, depending on the number of hours you work and the location in which you’re shopping.
To increase your chances of earning $500 a week, try working during peak hours and focusing on providing excellent customer service to maximize your tips.
Shopping during peak hours can help you earn more money as customer demand spikes, and the customers are more likely to tip.
Can I make $1000 a week with Instacart?
While it’s not impossible, making $1000 a week with Instacart would require significant work and strategic planning.
You’d likely need to watch the Shopper app and work many hours, including peak demand times when customer demand spikes, and complete a high number of batches.
Remember, your earnings also depend on factors like the size of the orders you’re fulfilling, the distance you’re traveling for deliveries, and the tips you receive from customers.
So, while possible, it would require a lot of dedication and a bit of strategy to get $1,000 per week.
How much does Instacart pay for each order?
The Instacart payment structure for each order varies based on factors such as the order size, customer demand, and location.
Full-service shoppers can earn between $7 and $10 per batch, not including tips or a flat delivery fee.
In-store shoppers earn a minimum wage level hourly rate, averaging $18 an hour, with the potential for bonuses during high-demand periods.
Remember that the hourly wage can fluctuate based on customer demand and other factors.
Does Instacart pay for gas?
When it comes to Instacart, they offer an estimated mileage pay in the pay structure, but they don’t pay for gas.
As a Full-Service Shopper, you’re an independent contractor, which means you’re responsible for all your own vehicle expenses. That includes:
- Maintenance (brake pads, windshield wipers, etc.)
- Car washes to keep your ride looking spiffy
While it might seem like a bummer, it’s pretty standard in the gig economy. Don’t let it get you down!
Just make sure to factor in these expenses when calculating your overall earnings and before you accept all jobs on the Shopper app.
Who pays for groceries on Instacart?
When customers place an order through the Instacart app, they pay for their groceries right then and there.
But wait, you might be thinking, how do I pay for the groceries at the store?
That’s where the Instacart payment card comes in.
As a shopper, you’ll be given an Instacart payment card. This handy little card is pre-loaded with the necessary funds to cover the cost of the groceries.
So, at the checkout, you’ll use this card to pay for the order. No need to worry about dipping into your own pocket to cover the cost – Instacart’s got it covered!
Can Instacart drivers write off their job-related expenses?
Yes, full-service shoppers can deduct their job-related expenses from their taxes.
This includes car expenses like gas, maintenance, and depreciation, as well as phone expenses and other work-related costs.
Deducting these expenses can help reduce the taxes you owe, so it’s important to keep track of them throughout the year.
Organizing your expenses into categories and tracking them throughout the year can help you maximize your deductions.
How do Instacart shoppers get paid?
Instacart shoppers are rewarded for their hard work as Instacart pays weekly.
Payment is transferred directly to their bank account through a direct deposit.
Alternatively, instead of direct deposit, you can use the Instant Cashout feature to access your earnings quickly.
Instant Cashout can be used up to five times daily, with a minimum balance of $5 and a maximum of $3,000 per day.
Yes, the Instacart pay structure can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and you’ll have to cover your own vehicle expenses, but the freedom to set your own schedule? That’s pretty sweet.
Before you jump in, though, take a moment to weigh the pros and cons. Consider the potential ups and downs in earnings, and think about whether this side gig aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. What works for one person might not work for another. So, take your time, do your homework, and decide what’s right for you.
And hey, if you decide to give Instacart a shot, happy shopping!