This is how much Instacart drivers are making in 2020 amid COVID-19

This is how much Instacart drivers are making in 2020 amid COVID-19


Most rideshare drivers think of delivery as that thing other people do, or maybe something they’ll try from time to time. Rarely would a driver think of delivery as more profitable than riding with passengers. When times were good, drivers could opt out of those Uber Eats deliveries whenever they wanted.

So why would a rideshare driver consider switching to grocery shopping and delivery? Isn’t that even less profitable than being a take-out food courier? 

You might be surprised.

It’s a fact that the normal paradigm has shifted for drivers due to the ravages of COVID-19 on the gig economy. Passenger traffic is way down, the distance drivers have to travel between trips is long, and the hourly rate for rideshare has plummeted. Learn more about how much gig drivers are making during the COVID 19 pandemic.

With so many of our riders working from home, schooling their own children, and trying their best to avoid getting out too much, fewer people need those rideshare trips. No longer are they going out to dinner, or meeting friends for a drink, or spending the evening at a pub. So (at least for now) they don’t need the safety of your rideshare car to shield them from the illegalities of combining alcohol and driving. 

And they certainly don’t need a ride home from the office. They’re alone, together with their families, and they don’t need you to drive them around.

So, what services are the #AloneTogether crowd paying for? Turns out it’s delivery.

This really isn’t that surprising. In the COVID-19 lockdown era, many adults are trying to perform their jobs from home while also making sure the kids are being schooled, entertain ed, and fed. And speaking of feeding, people are cooking more—which means they’re buying a lot more groceries than they used to. So it only makes sense that the people you used to pick up after happy hour are now interested in having their grocery shopping done for them and their order delivered to their front door.

In case you’re still on the fence about this, we have some numbers that might convince you.

So how much are grocery delivery drivers making?

We’ve compiled anonymized earnings data from more than 105,000 drivers, and found that grocery delivery drivers are making as much as or more than rideshare drivers were making—even before the COVID-19 crisis.

As you can see, the earnings for grocery delivery drivers is not too shabby. The peak of $20.72 per hour for the week of April 13 is certainly what most rideshare drivers would expect on a good day. The average hourly rate, based on the entire time period from March 30 through the week of April 27, is $17.93. That’s also pretty good.

It sure beats what drivers were getting from rideshare at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out national rideshare figures from late December 2019 to late March 2020. Even the highest figure, $19.36, doesn’t match the highest figure for grocery delivery driving. The low for rideshare, $12.35 in mid-March, is significantly less than what you can make as a grocery gig worker.

How does grocery delivery work?

Good question. It’s always best to understand exactly what you’re getting into before making the leap. The first thing to know is that there are two main companies in the business: Instacart and Shipt. 

With Instacart you have two options, the first of which is working directly for the company as an employee. This arrangement requires you to work in stores, filling orders for customers and packing the orders to be picked up, either by the customer or a driver who will deliver the items to the customer’s door. You’ll make an average of $9 to $10 per hour and will receive unemployment insurance, but not health insurance. Instacart caps working time for shoppers at 29 hours per week.. Beyond providing your own transportation to and from the store where you work, you won’t have any expenses.

Your second option with Instacart is being a full-service shopper. You’ll be responsible for driving to the store, doing the shopping, and delivering the orders to customers. The money can be very good: up to $25 per hour including tips, and about $15 per hour if you don’t count tips. As an independent contractor, you’ll have the convenience of flexibility: being your own boss, and setting your own schedule and hours. 

Of course, part of being an independent contractor means you forego most benefits and perks that are available to hired employees, including health insurance. In addition, you’ll need to keep close track of your expenses because you’ll need that information at tax time. Learn more about your options for working on the Instacart platform here.

Shipt, another grocery delivery leader, is a membership-based shipping-for-hire business headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Similar to Instart, as a full-service Shipt shopper, you handle the task from order through shopping and delivery. Once you get the call about an order, you’ll drive to the store, shop for the items in the order, and deliver it all to the customer. 

According to Shipt, experienced shoppers make an average of $22 per hour. All the independent contractor conditions apply here as well. For more details about becoming a Shipt shopper, visit the website

Is grocery delivery right for you?

Only you can make this decision, of course. You can temporarily hang up your rideshare driver tip jar and dive right into a career working in grocery delivery. You might enjoy it, and you could make really good money. 

Many other drivers are permanently getting out of the drivers seat and joining code and UX design camps like the ones offered at Kenzie.

But what if your instincts tell you not to give up rideshare just yet?

There’s another option. You could do some rideshare and take-out delivery with one platform, and then do a little grocery delivery driving with another. If you approach work this way, diversifying your business activities, you could soon find that you’re making as much as you did before COVID-19 came on the scene and put a damper on everything.

Many drivers are diversifying like this for a couple of reasons: one, to capitalize on opportunities to make money; and two, to avoid being inside their cars with several different riders per day, which elevates the risk of being infected by the virus.

In any case, the decision is totally up to you.

Is it possible to tell which app earns me the most?

Yep. To keep track of your earnings, expenses, mileage, and all the other information that’s crucial to your driving gig life, all you need to do is…

Download the Gridwise app!

You’ll see right away why Gridwise is the ultimate rideshare and delivery assistant. You can enter your earnings from each app you’re using, and get a definite grip on which services are making you the most money. You can analyze what days are good for delivery versus rideshare, and optimize your time according to the data you save in the app.

You can also track mileage and other expenses to maximize your tax deductions, and cut your calculation time down to a bare minimum. Then, once this virus crisis is over, you’ll get a heads-up on all events, and the lowdown on all the airport action. It’ll be great to sit in those long queues in the cell phone lot once again, won’t it?  

Also, if you haven’t signed up to be an Instacart driver yet, you can use the link below to sign up!


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