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How Much Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

By Ferdi Vol
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Instacart operates like any other delivery services, the difference is that they only deliver groceries. With just a few taps on your smartphone, your groceries will arrive at your doorstep within hours. And tipping is usually common for all delivery services. If you are new at shopping using Instacart, you must be wondering how much you should tip your delivery driver.

You should tip your Instacart delivery driver at least 5% of your total bill. But depending on the service and the attitude of the driver you can also increase the tip rate. Generally, 15 to 20% is considered a good tip. Most of the money Instacart drivers make is from customers' tips.

Through this article, I am going to answer the questions of why and how much should you tip Instacart drivers. I’m also going to talk about when you should tip more and when you shouldn’t tip your delivery person. So, read till the end to find out.

Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

The short answer is yes, you should. The average base pay for Instacart drivers (According to Glassdoor) is 11 USD per hour. This is normal pay for grocery delivery jobs. However, depending on various factors, the pay rate for Instacart drivers can vary from 5 to 27 USD per hour.

On the other hand, Instacart drivers aren't paid on an hour basis. Rather, they are per delivery job. As a result, if there is no delivery job, drivers are not going to make any money. Typically, for each successful delivery, Instacart drivers are paid around 10 USD.

The gas cost, parking cost, tolls, difficult delivery conditions, or bad weather, Instacart shoppers do not get paid anything extra for any of these. They are only paid for picking up the grocery, loading them in their vehicle, and successfully delivering them to customers. So, the money they make solely depends on customers’ tips.

Tipping is a great way to appreciate someone for his or her service.  Instacart drivers appreciate your tips as they work around minimum wage which is for many not enough to make a living. Tips are a great way to support them. Although tipping is not compulsory, it is a great way to reward the hard-working Instacart drivers for the excellent service they are providing.

So, tip your drivers. It won’t make you any poorer. But it surely will make someone's day. And maybe even his or her next meal or their children’s birthday gift. Just knowing that is a reward of its own. And the good feeling you’ll have knowing that you made someone happy is more than worth the amount you tip. 

How to Decide the Right Tip Amount?

Tips are how Instacart drivers make most of their money.  But customers often find it very hard to decide the tip amount. Instacart drivers make it easy for their customers to do grocery shopping without going to the store and waiting in line for checkout.

While tipping, always follow the 5% rule when tipping your Instacart delivery driver. Tipping just 5% is not going to cost you much at all. As most of the money they make is from the customers’ tips, which means every dollar counts. Typically, a tip between 15 to 20 % is considered a good tip.

When to Tip More

Besides the obvious convenience Instacart provides, you should also consider some other factors while deciding the tip amount. The first one is the size of your order. Tips are typically decided based on some recommended percentage.  If your order size is small, the gas cost might be more to reach the delivery location for Instacart drivers than what they are paid upon completing the job. In that case, you should consider a more significant tip to help them out.

If the order is large, the tip amount will also increase. But even if the tip is higher compared to other delivery jobs, you might want to increase the tip amount ever more depending on the delivery conditions like-

  • Poor Weather conditions (snow, rain, storm, etc.)
  • Challenge Instacart drivers might face reaching the delivery point like a huge traffic jam, or they need to climb lots of stairs, or the delivery point is far away from the driveway, etc.

Additionally, you can also decide your tip amount upon the delivery of your grocery depending on the factors given below-

  • How the driver handles your products
  • The attitude of your delivery driver

Exceptional delivery service always deserves higher rewards. If your delivery driver fulfills more than the basic requirements of the delivery job, keeps you up to date at every stage of the delivery process, thus turning good service into great service, you should tip them more than 5%.

The 5% tip rate is considered as the base tip. If you think that the driver handled your groceries with care and has a great attitude, feel free to increase the tip rate up to 15% or more.

When to Tip Less

No matter how good the delivery service is, sometimes there will be some situations when the service might not meet your satisfaction level. This type of situation warrants a reduced tip. Typically, there are mainly two situations that call for a reduction in tip amount. They are-

Damages

The first situation occurs when Instacart delivery drivers damage your groceries. For example, if they broke your eggs or some fragile item by tossing it on your doorstep, you may want to reduce the tip or even opt-out of the tip altogether depending on the extent of the damage.

And in this case, you can also report to Instacart describing the situation and you will get a refund for your damaged goods. Remember, only reduce the tip if you are certain that the damage to your groceries was entirely the driver's fault.

Poor Delivery Service

Poor delivery service is one of the main reasons that call for a reduction in tip less than the standard gratuity. There are some common signs of poor service. If your Instacart delivery driver made some rude gestures or statements towards you and has a bad attitude, you should consider reducing the tip significantly.

Again, incorrect grocery items, or the wrong number of packages delivered, or delivery to a wrong address, despite your clear instructions are also signs of poor service. All these situations call for a reduction in the tip.

In these situations, you should at least pay the minimum standard tip of 5%. Instacart delivery drivers work for the company at minimum wage. So, most of the money they make is from customers' tips. This is why it is never recommended to skip tipping altogether.

However, sometimes poor service escalates to the point of harassment. In that case, you can skip tipping the driver and report the situation on the Instacart app. But you should never reduce tips for poor delivery service that occurs due to unavoidable circumstances like traffic, bad weather, or other situations that are completely out of drivers’ control.

How to Tip Instacart Drivers?

Customers can tip their Instacart delivery drivers through the Instacart app as well as with cash upon delivery. The default tip in the app is set at 5%, which used to be 10% in the past.

While customers are checking out in the Instacart App, a 5% tip is applied by default. But the minimum tip limit in the Instacart App is 2 USD. If the 5% tip is less than 2 USD, a 2 USD tip is applied during the checkout process by default.

But tipping is not compulsory, rather it is an option for the customers. Customers can also enter a custom amount for tips in the application. If they don’t want to tip their drivers, they can also do so. The entire amount of the tip goes to the delivery driver. Customers can also change the tip amount after delivery.

Can the Instacart Delivery Drivers See the Tip?

The answer is Yes, Instacart drivers can see what the customer ordered, and how much he or she is willing to tip before accepting any offer.  If they think that the tip is too low or not enough, they may not accept the delivery job. As a result, your delivery may take some time to arrive. If you want your groceries to be delivered as soon as possible then make sure you give a good tip.

The same goes for cash on delivery. Make sure you put how much you’ll tip while ordering. Or not you will not receive your orders as early as you should. So, always remember to give a good tip.

Tipping Drivers with Cash at Delivery

Instacart used to keep a portion of the tip for themselves. But the current policy is that all the money from the customer tip goes to the drivers. This makes giving tips a lot more digestible for customers. It’s good to know that their tips are going fully to the delivery person who really needs it and not some big shot company.

Most of the customers pay tips using the Instacart App. However, if you are still concerned with Instacart tipping policy, you can tip the drivers with cash too. But tipping in cash is not always a good idea.

If you have the intention to tip your delivery driver with cash and that’s why you applied 0 USD tip in the Instacart App while checking out, some drivers might not be happy to see your order. They might not accept the offer thinking that the delivery job is not worth it. 

You can enter the tip amount while checking out in the App, pay the tip in cash upon delivery, and change the tip amount to 0 USD later. But whether you are paying tip virtually or in cash, your delivery driver will get the 100% of the tip either way.

Instacart provides great convenience to its customers. Its delivery drivers work very hard to deliver groceries to customers' doorsteps in time. These drivers are working for Instacart at minimum wage. Tipping helps them to earn some extra money. Although tips are not compulsory, it is a great way to appreciate their hard work.

I hope that through this article "How much should you tip Instacart drivers?”, I was of some help to you. Thank you for going through the entire article and have a nice day!

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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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