shoppers and drivers

Shipt vs. Instacart: Which is better for shoppers and drivers?

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Does trying to pick the right shopping and driving gig have you ready to pull out your hair? We don’t want you running around without at least half of your crowning glory, so we put together this blog post to compare two of the biggest players in the game.

Shipt and Instacart workers shop for their customers’ orders and then deliver them. This makes the gig somewhat more involved than rideshare or delivery-only, but it has some great rewards. Earnings for both platforms are quite substantial, but there are differences between Shipt and Instacart that might sway you when it comes to making a choice between the two of them.

Here’s what we’ll examine in this post:

  • Who pays drivers the most, Shipt or Instacart?
  • The company image: Which one fits?
  • The sign-up process: Which is easier?
  • The shopping and delivery experience: Which company offers more opportunity?
  • What incentives do the companies offer? 
  • Shipt vs. Instacart: You decide!

Who pays drivers the most, Shipt or Instacart?

Earnings for both Shipt and Instacart are relatively high. When comparing Uber vs Lift rideshare earnings, the average earnings are about $16 per hour and $10 per trip. Using the same Gridwise metrics for Shipt and Instacart shopper/drivers (shown below), you’ll see that shopping and driving for these two companies either meets or beats average rideshare earnings.

Jan. 2020–Apr 2021Avg. Earnings per HourAvg. Earnings per Trip
Shipt$18.15$19.22
Instacart$15.27$20.71

When we compare Shipt and Instacart earnings, Shipt earnings per hour are 18% higher than Instacart, but Instacart earnings per trip beat Shipt by almost 8%. That leads us to conclude that, overall, Shipt drivers wind up with more money in the bank. 

But … is money everything? Of course not. It’s really important, but there might be reasons besides the actual earnings that entice you to choose one company over the other. 

The company image: Which one fits?

Shipt

The company image of Shipt via its website conveys the impression of ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. The website invites people from virtually any demographic group to ship and drive for the company. Although Shipt is owned by Target, that’s far from the only store in Shipt’s delivery network. Still, there’s that Target uniformity, a cookie-cutter-like image that makes you feel the Shipt experience will be very predictable.

Also, the Shipt logo and shirt do not depict any one kind of store that may be covered by their services. This gives the impression that Shipt will deliver just about anything people want to have brought to their doors.

Instacart

The carrot that represents Instacart is clean-looking and cute, but it belies the company’s diverse range of services. A short visit to the Instacart website shows that shoppers/drivers are hauling around far more than just groceries. Still, its company profile states that it’s a grocery pickup and delivery service, so Instacart’s company image might need an overhaul. As the delivery business continues to expand, Instacart would benefit from not pigeon-holing itself to that “we bring you fresh food” look.

Logos may not seem that important – but because of customer perceptions, it could pay to work for a company whose image conveys offerings that go beyond just food. Customers are more likely to order from the service they believe can bring them a wider array of items.

You can decide which you’d rather work for based not on logos, but definitely on the company image. Maybe you’d prefer to stick to delivering groceries because you don’t want to find yourself attempting to fit a huge flat-screen TV into your 4-door sedan. Plus, there are other factors you’ll want to look at, such as how easy it is to sign up.

The sign-up process: Which is easier?

The first part of signing up is learning what it takes to qualify. 

For Shipt, these are the requirements:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Auto insurance
  • A reliable vehicle, 1997 or newer
  • Knowledge of produce selection (yes, really)
  • Ability to lift 40 pounds
  • iPhone with iOS 10 or newer, Android, 5.1 or newer
  • Pass a comprehensive (criminal and DMV) background check

Instacart requires you to:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have legal authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Be able to lift up to 40 pounds without accommodation
  • Have access to a reliable car
  • Have access to a smartphone capable of running the Instacart shopper app
  • Pass a background check

Instacart seems less particular about the vehicle, as the website doesn’t say your name must be on the title. Instacart also doesn’t specify that shoppers must have a working knowledge of how to choose produce, but it always pays to do so if you want to get good tips and ratings.

If you’re not too hot on produce selecting, or if you don’t want to do a video interview, you may want to stick with Instacart. Shipt will check you and your video presence out before they agree to let you start shopping for them. 

The shopping and delivery experience: Which company offers more opportunity?

More stores from which to obtain merchandise and delivery means more opportunities. Let’s look at the companies side by side to see which offers more:

ShiptInstacart
Bed Bath and BeyondALDI
MeijerBig Lots
Office DepotFamily Dollar
PetcoDick’s Sporting Goods
buybuyBABYRite Aid

Keeping in mind that the companies’ lists of stores change all of the time, it’s pretty obvious that Instacart has a more extensive network. The company even delivers for Target, which is somewhat surprising since Shipt is a wholly owned subsidiary of Target.

Again, this is important because when the company you work for covers more stores and offers more types of merchandise, you have the potential to make more money. 

Another thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a company to work for is what is expected of you. Instacart is a fairly straightforward company. Learn more about how much Instacart shoppers make as well as find out exactly what it’s like to work for them and what your options are. 

Part of Shipt’s pitch to sway customers to use its app is the shoppers’ commitment to going that extra mile. Selecting produce is only the beginning so keep doing your homework to answer the question; should rideshare drivers should work for Shipt? You’ll have to take an honest look at your personality and your attitude toward customer service before choosing to work for Shipt. Doing this gig will require a lot of enthusiasm, a big smile, and more than a smattering of goodwill. 

One last consideration about the shopper/driver experience is where you live. Which company is more popular where you are, and is there room for more drivers?

Instacart delivers in so many areas it takes a while to scroll through them all. See what we mean by looking at this extensive list (you can search by zip code). Shipt’s network is not quite as large, but as long as you live near a major city, you’re probably covered. Want to know where Shipt operates? Check out the Shipt coverage map.

What incentives do the companies offer?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard there’s a driver shortage. That’s right… there is more business in delivery (and rideshare) than there are drivers to meet demand. Learn more about prepared food delivery drivers incentives, and why the grocery and dry goods delivery biz is less aggressive about offering them.

The bottom line is, while drivers report some bonuses that are akin to the kinds rideshare drivers get, the incentives come in other forms with delivery shopper/driver gigs. For example, Shipt offers rewards that can add up and be put toward gift cards, and also offers discounts on products sold by the companies for which they deliver.

Instacart adds on to driver earnings by tacking on extra for carrying bulk items and gives drivers a bonus of $3 for getting a 5-star rating from a customer. Business is brisk in the delivery business, but if the companies want to get more drivers, they might consider adding on more of the time-sensitive (surge-like) incentives they dole out from time to time.

Shipt vs. Instacart: You decide!

Both of these companies have a lot to offer, and we hope our side-by-side comparison helps you decide which one is best for you. There’s something else we have to offer that can help you, and that’s the Gridwise app. Seamlessly log your earnings and mileage when you sync your apps to Gridwise. Open Gridwise on every shift, and you’ll be able to compare which app is making you the most money by looking at great-looking graphs like these:

Because Gridwise is the ultimate assistant for rideshare and delivery drivers, you get other amazing features like traffic and weather information, the lowdown on local events, and the Perks tab. That’s where you’ll find deals and discounts for drivers, plus quick access and alerts to driving gig news on the Gridwise blog and the Gridwise YouTube Channel. Join us on Facebook for gas card giveaways and community discussions that make your driving and delivery life easier and help you make more money.

Did you say you don’t have the free Gridwise app?? Well, download it today!

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