Does that seem like a humongous stretch? We have news for you. It’s very doable. Instacart has a bunch of new features that make it easier than ever to earn more with this grocery delivery giant, and in this blog post we’ll tell you all about them. We’ll also share other tools and tricks you can put to work, so you really can make a cool grand a week as an Instacart shopper.
Here’s how we’ll lay it out:
- Instacart shopper pay: What’s average? and why?
- In a changing landscape, work sharper and be smarter than average
- Help from Instacart
- How to make more money with Instacart: extra steps to take and moves to make
Instacart shopper pay: What’s average?
How much do Instacart shoppers make? If you look this up, you’ll find a wide range of figures, depending on who’s telling you the story and how biased they might be. There are different types of Instacart shoppers, too. That’s part of the answer to the question, How much do Instacart shoppers make?
Here are the three roles that let you earn with Instacart:
- In-store shoppers, who are employed by Instacart and simply fill the orders so they can be made ready for curbside pickup.
- Delivery-only drivers, who are independent contractors, simply pick up completed orders and deliver them to customers.
- Full-service shoppers, who serve both roles, go through the grocery store to fill customer orders and then deliver them. They too are independent contractors.
How much does Instacart pay in-store shoppers?
Glassdoor.com states that the average in-store shopper gets paid around $15 per hour, but pay can range from $6–$24 per hour. Hourly wages such as these, for 30 hours or less per week, appeal to some people, because these jobs come with some limited benefits. However, they’re never going to add up to $1000 per week.
How much does Instacart pay delivery-only drivers?
Doing delivery-only for Instacart is more flexible than working in the store, but this, again, would be a difficult way to pull down $1000 per week. You won’t make as much as a driver who also does the shopping duties.
What about Instacart full-service shopper pay?
Now we’re talking! When you shop and deliver for Instacart, you’ll make more money than you can with the other two alternatives. Here we’re going to give you actual earnings numbers, based on data collected anonymously from Gridwise drivers. Gridwise’s figures reflect averages taken from our nationwide network of app users and are broken down into categories such as earnings per hour and per trip, and tip amounts per trip.
Before we get to the actual numbers, it’s important to know that, despite trends that show less demand for grocery delivery in the post-pandemic market, Instacart full-service shopper pay is holding steady.
How do we know this? You can read the full details about Instacart shopper earnings in the first quarter of 2022 in this blog post from Gridwise. Here, we’ll keep it to the basics so you can get a general idea of where Instacart full-service shopper pay is currently.
- How much does Instacart pay per hour?
Our stats show that the national average of hourly earnings for Instacart drivers was between $15 and $16 in the first three months of 2022. Notice that being a full-service shopper puts you ahead of in-store shoppers, as their actual average hourly pay is more like $14, and can be much lower than that.
- How much does Instacart pay per trip?
Gridwise data reveals that the national average earnings per trip for Instacart shoppers is $16.06. That is rather substantial, considering that, with some hustle, it’s possible to make more than just one trip in an hour.
- What about tip earnings for Instacart shoppers?
Gridwise drivers reported that they earned between $5 and $6 in tips per trip. At about 34%, this a rather substantial percentage of per trip earnings—way more than the 10% or 15% you might expect.
As you can see, you’re already getting close to that $1000 per week. If you make the maximum here, which would be around $16 per trip, plus $6 in tips per trip, you would make your grand by fulfilling somewhere between 45 and 46 orders per week. That’s a lot of orders, though, and a bit of a hustle.
Don’t panic. There’s a way to get more money in less time, and we’ll get to that. First, you have to know what you’re dealing with in terms of your personal parameters, market conditions, supply, and demand.
In a changing landscape, work sharper and be smarter than average
No one quite expected the volcanic-type growth the grocery delivery business showed during the pandemic, but it was very real. Now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted, you might think people would stop ordering their groceries online and getting them delivered.
Lucky for the food delivery business, it seems that people have developed a liking for ordering online. There are reports of some decline in activity, but it isn’t as sharp as it could be. There is still business out there for Instacart full-service shoppers. You just have to know yourself, and be aware of your opportunities. So, go ahead and answer a few questions about yourself.
How many hours do you want to work?
The first thing you need to determine is whether you want your gig as an Instacart full-service shopper to be full time or part time. This will depend on whether you have other sources of income, your family lifestyle, and if you have access to a vehicle when you’re going to need it. Driving full time is going to give you more opportunities to earn more, but you can still make good money working part time. You’ll just have to work that much harder—and smarter.
How large is the market for Instacart shopping where you live?
There are two things to consider here. If you live in a small town or suburban location, business might not be very brisk. Urban areas usually have more batches, but there’s also the possibility that there will be a lot of shoppers ready to fill orders. You will have to compete with them.
You can always consider working in an area that’s going to be more productive for you, whether that means driving closer to a more heavily populated area, or expanding your reach to outskirts that have lots of demand, but fewer drivers. There are shortcuts to figuring these things out, and we’ll get to that in a bit.
Once you determine your personal commitment and market factors, you should know that Instacart has done many good things to change the way shopper pay and pay structure works in 2022. Here are some highlights.
Help from Instacart
Instacart has taken steps to help shoppers make more. Here’s a “new for 2022” list of efforts the company has made to improve the shopper experience and open up new windows of opportunity.
In-store navigation—Remember how we said that it would be easier to make more money if you could make more than one trip in an hour? That’s no easy feat when you’re running around the store, striving to find just the right jicama, or distinguish between a kumquat and a persimmon.
Now, imagine if you could just tap on an item on the shopping list, and then see a map of the store pop up, indicating exactly where you can find the item. After a recent update, the Instacart app does exactly that! This can save shoppers a whole lot of time and make it possible to take and fulfill more orders than before.
Reinstated phone support—Instacart responded to distressed shoppers who were unhappy about being unable to talk to someone when they needed to resolve certain issues. To make shoppers happy, Instacart brought back phone support. So issues such as “I can’t find the almond milk with vanilla; will plain be ok for the customer?” or “the GPS on the app isn’t taking me to the right store” can be solved by a living, breathing, and well-informed human being.
Better access to batches—If you work hard and customers love you and you have high ratings, shouldn’t you get first dibs on batches when they become available? Instacart thinks so, and they’ve adjusted their app’s algorithm to give shoppers who have a rating of 4.7 or better priority when it comes to distributing batches.
Multi-store batching and add-ons—The Instacart app now allows for multi-store batching, so you can shop at more than one store as part of one batch. The add-ons feature lets you accept a second order in the same store while you’re shopping for another. These two features give shoppers what they really want—a chance to earn more and make a greater number of trips in a shorter period of time.
Customers can be a source of endless frustration. Some even play tricks on drivers, such as taking back a tip they promised when they placed the order. Instacart will now reinstate a tip up to the amount of $10, as long as the customer doesn’t report an issue with the order. By doing this, Instacart protects drivers from the “bait and switch” game some customers play.
Instacart is making an effort to get customers to give shoppers better tips. When a customer gives a 5-star rating, the app automatically encourages the customer to leave a bigger tip. Instacart says this has yielded a 6% increase in tips given for eligible orders.
At the checkout, they’re reminding customers to recognize how hard shoppers work, and how much tips are appreciated. As a result of this prompting, there’s been a 12% decline in the number of customers neglecting to leave a tip.
Instacart is making it easier for retailers to fulfill different kinds of orders, and this will mean more opportunities for Instacart shoppers. In select cities, the new Instacart Platform for retailers gives them the ability to create “Carrot Warehouses.” These are flexible, local stores and warehouses that let retailers provide 15-minute, ultra-fast delivery. These nano-fulfillment centers will be designed to fit the specifications of specific retailers and could bring a new level of opportunities to shoppers.
How to make more money with Instacart: extra steps to take and moves to make
Like we said earlier, if you want to make $1000 a week with Instacart, you have to put in extra effort. Instacart is helping out with their new measures, but even with them, the downturn that’s predicted for the grocery delivery company is bound to make earning the kind of money you’re after more challenging. You need to create a strategy that capitalizes on the best times and places to drive, and helps you contain your expenses so you can hold on to your earnings.
We told you there are tools you can use to help you create and maintain your strategy. Now it’s time to learn more about them and see how you can put them to work for you.
- If you haven’t already, you can sign up to deliver groceries with Instacart here.
- Track expenses and mileage. Your Instacart full-service shopping gig is a business, and you have to run it like one. That means taking advantage of tax deductions, from fuel and special equipment, to mileage on your vehicle. Use Gridwise to see how much you’re earning, and maximize your tax deductions. Our free app lets you seamlessly sync your Instacart platform to an earnings, expense, and mileage tracker that gives you a ton of extra earning power.
- Know When to Drive and Where to Drive. These Gridwise features give you the insight you need to plot out your driving strategy. You’ll see exactly how much shoppers are earning in your area, based on the times they’re shopping and where the biggest batches are to be found. Like all Gridwise data, this information comes directly from real drivers, so you can be sure that you’re not being led on a wild goose chase. Knowing when and where to drive will surely help you succeed in making $1000 a week with Instacart a lot faster!
- Hustle for tips. Now that Instacart has a tip protection policy and is reminding customers how important tips are for you, you’ve got a leg up. But if you want to make more, you can get more tips by adding extra effort into your shopping and delivery activities. Stay in communication with customers, letting them know if you’re running late or are having trouble finding an item. Get equipment that makes it easy to deliver the packages without crushing bread or breaking eggs. If you see your customers, greet them with a cheerful attitude that will let them see how much you care about giving them what they’re paying for.
- Work the bonus and referral programs. Instacart offers bonuses for shoppers from time to time. You can enter contests based on the number of eligible batches you complete. Prizes can be as big as $500 added to your shopper account. The Instacart shopper referral program pays as much as $400 per new shopper, if the shopper you refer completes the required number or orders within the time limit given.
- Cash in on shopper perks. Instacart’s adding perks into the full-service shopper package. While this program might not directly make you more money, it will help you save. You’ll get deals on entertainment, travel, restaurants, retail stores, gyms, phone plans, and even some financial services.
See? If you thought making $1000 a week with Instacart was out of your reach, we hope you see things differently now. With a sound strategy that incorporates new Instacart efforts to support shopper earnings, plus tools from Gridwise, you can definitely make that grand-a-week dream come true.
It costs you nothing to track your earnings and mileage, see when to drive, where to drive, and calculate your tax deductible expenses. It’s really easy, too.