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How Much Does Instacart Pay? A Detailed Guide

By Ferdi Vol
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I know grocery shopping is not an interesting activity. But what if you get paid to do this easy and simple job? Instacart allows you to do grocery shopping for the customers. You must be wondering how much money can you make by working at Instacart?

At Instacart you can work in two different sectors, you can either deliver the food to the customer or shop the grocery items for them, or do both. Now, for just delivering, you should get at least 5 US dollars, and for doing full service, you should get at least 7 to 10 US dollars.

I’ve talked about some of the ways you can make money by working on Instacart and now I'd like to provide some valuable insights into this topic. In this article, I will extensively discuss how much does Instacart pay. For a better understanding of this topic, it would be wise to read through the whole article.

How Much Can You Earn From Instacart?

Working for Instacart is one of the easiest ways to earn a good sum of money. Now, how much you will earn depends on the timeframe and location of the outlet. In situations where people can’t go out for grocery shopping, the demand for Instacart shoppers is very high. This company provides three kinds of service.

Shoppers

Instacart provides a service where you can earn a significant amount of money just by shopping for the customers. People will reach out to you using the Instacart app and they will provide a list of grocery items for you to shop. If you are just a shopper, then you will only have to buy the items and hand over them to a delivery man.

Now, how much money you will make will completely depend on the type of work you are doing. If you are an in-store shopper, then you will be provided a fixed amount of wage which will vary with the store and location. For example, working in a high-demand store will raise your hourly wage, and it might also vary with the number of items you are shopping for.

Specifically speaking, if you are a full-time employee, your earning will greatly vary with the number of items you are shopping for. This feature, unfortunately, is restricted to the part-time employees of Instacart. If you are a part-timer, you will get a fixed amount of money for every order you receive, it doesn’t matter how long the order is.

If you are worried about your hourly wage, then you might be relieved by knowing that Instacart ensures a minimum amount of hourly wage for both part-time and full-time shoppers. The company ensures at least 5 US dollars per hour, even if the number of orders you get does not match that amount.

Instacart will also provide an estimation of your earnings on the app. For example, it will show how much money you will make for shopping for 5 items. Of course, the amount will increase with the number of items you will buy. You can use this estimation to determine whether you will take this order or not.

The earning as a shopper will also depend on the customer demand. For example, many people buy grocery items on Sundays. So, you will earn significantly more money if you choose to work on a holiday. Also, on events like the Super Bowl, the hourly wage increases significantly. So, keeping an eye on the demand spike would be clever.

Drivers

Instacart also allows you to work as a delivery man for the company and you can earn a pretty good amount of money just by driving. How much you will make depends on a lot of things such as location, distance, the number of items, and so on.

For working as a delivery man in Instacart, your age must be at least 18, and having a driver's license is a must. Now, an Instacart driver can earn around 15 US dollars per hour. It is just an average estimation; the amount will vary with the number and total weight of the items.

If you deliver a very heavy item, you will get a higher wage, even if you are carrying only one item. Also, the hourly earnings will increase with the number of items you are carrying, even if the total weight of the items is not much.

Sometimes, your earning can reach as much as 35 US dollars per hour. But it means you would likely have to buy a lot of grocery items and the distance of the delivery will be very high, but at the same time, the earning is also pretty good. Although, if you are a new driver at Instacart, getting such orders won’t be easy.

So, determining your income per order is a bit tricky. But luckily, you won’t have to solve math as the Instacart app will show you an estimated income for each order. You can use that estimation to determine which orders would be suitable for you.

I know it would be easy for you to decide whether you will join Instacart or not if you knew the exact earning, but unfortunately, it is impossible to tell the exact amount. But after doing some research, I can say that you will at least get 10 US dollars per hour; more likely 15 US dollars.

For delivering, you would obviously need a vehicle. Now, is it a must to own a car for working at Instacart? Well, the good news is, you can even use a bicycle for delivering products to the customers. The drawbacks of using non-motor vehicles are, you won’t be able to carry a lot of items and as a result, your hourly wage would be significantly low.

So, it is better if you use a car instead of a bicycle or a motorcycle. You should keep in mind that if any items are damaged or tempered, you would have to pay for that and your rating will degrade. You will get fewer and fewer orders as your rating goes down. So, it is very important to keep your customers happy.

Full-service Workers

A full-service worker will have to do both shopping and delivering. If you are looking for making a good amount of money, then being a full-service Instacart worker would be a good choice. A full-service worker can earn as much as 10 US dollars for each order they receive.

Again, the wage will vary with the location and type of orders. There are some additional benefits for you if you are a full-service employee. The 401k plan is only limited to a full-service worker, it is a massive advantage over part-time shoppers and delivers.

On top of that, if you are a full-time employee, there is a holiday bonus set for you. Unfortunately, the part-time workers can only expect the hourly wage or payment per order, there are no bonuses or plans available for them.

How Instacart Payment Works

If you are willing to work at Instacart, there are basically two payment systems. They will either pay you for every hour of your service, or you can also get paid for each order. Both of these payment systems have some pros and cons. You, yourself have to decide which payment system will suit you best.

Per Hour payment 

If you choose to get paid for every hour of service, then you can expect as much as 20 US dollars or even more.

Pros

  • Will get a fixed wage.
  • Will receive bonuses during holidays.

Cons

  • Cannot earn more than the company decides.

Per-Order Payment

If you choose to get paid for every order, then you don’t have a cap on your earnings. You will make more money if you work hard.

Pros

  • Have more freedom.
  • Can earn more money if you work hard.

Cons

  • You will be under constant pressure.
  • Sometimes, the earning would be comparatively low.

How Instacart Handles Tips

One of the most fascinating aspects of working at Instacart is, they will let you keep all the tips you get via cash or app. So, for earning a good amount of money, it would be wise for you to stay connected with your customers.

Research reveals that if you talk to your customers about various sub situations, you are likely to get a higher amount of tip. So, call your customers and talk about the items you are purchasing to make sure you are buying exactly what the customer wants. This way, the customer will realize that you made a good effort while shopping.

Especially, if you can find some items that are “Out of Stock” in a particular store, there is a very high chance that you will get a healthy tip. You can go to a nearby store in search of that item. With tips, there are Instacart employees that earn as much as 50 US dollars per hour.

Learn to Avoid Tip Bating

If you are new at Instacart, then there is a good chance that you will fall for a tip-bait that is provided by a customer. Unfortunately, such incidents occur due to the higher competition and in the current situation, people are losing patience and want their grocery items as quickly as possible.

What happens is, an unethical customer will provide a large tip along with the items they need so that their orders get accepted quickly. But as soon as you deliver the items, they will simply remove the tip and will only pay you for the goods you bought for them.

So, if you see a customer offering an abnormally high tip (for example, 120 US dollars of tip for an order that is worth 40 US dollars or so), it would be a wise decision to skip it. Or you can wait for an order that looks and feels normal.

Experienced Instacart drivers claim that you will be able to identify the baits more fluently within working there for a month. But if you are new, you should be careful about taking such orders as those customers who put a bait for receiving the grocery items quickly, are more likely to give you a poor rating.

Recently, an email came from Instacart that announces that if a customer decides to change the tip after receiving the package, they will have to send an email to let the company know why they had to change it. If the change is drastic, the fellow customer can face some serious consequences.

That email from Instacart also stated that those who will abuse their platform just to get the grocery items quickly might get banned from the app and website for good. Normally, a customer will be permanently deactivated from the app if they repetitively change the tip amount.

Is Instacart Worth it?

The truth is, working at Instacart will not be as easy as it seems, especially if you are a full-service employee. It would be tiring for you, both mentally and physically. But does it make a bad working platform? No, because it is one of the most flexible platforms that are available out there.

You can work whenever you want and for as long as you wish. On top of that, you can cash out what you’re earning every day as long as you have at least 5 US dollars in your account. The highest cap is set to 3000 US dollars. So, it is safe to say that this company provides one of the best cash-out systems, unlike other companies.

And, if you are an active Instacart employee, you will earn a significantly higher amount of money than other jobs such as being a salesman, receptionist, and so on. The hourly wage of a salesman is around 12 US dollars per hour, whereas you can earn around 45 US dollars (including payment) per hour by working at Instacart.

As you can see, you can get paid quite well by Instacart if you know how to handle customers and are willing to work hard. In this article, I have extensively discussed how much does Instacart pay. Hopefully, after reading the whole article, it would be easy for you to decide whether you should work at Instacart or not.

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About the Grocery Store Academy
The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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