How to make $1000 a week with Instacart

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You read that right – you can make $1000 a week by doing Instacart. Who knew shopping and delivering groceries for people could make that much money? 

Making $1000 a week with Instacart does take some strategizing and hard work. But if you apply yourself full time and follow the recommendations in this article, you’ll be well on your way to bringing home that much money. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Get serious
  • Have a solid strategy
  • Tricks to earning tips
  • Bring home the cash

Get serious

A key part of improving your earnings is your approach to being an Instacart shopper. Are you doing Instacart as a way to make a little extra money on the side? Are you a full-service shopper who completes orders and delivers, or are you an in-store shopper who only does order fulfillment? 

Both are good options for side hustles, but if you want to be hitting that $1000 mark consistently, you may want to consider being a full-service shopper. Instacart’s full-service shoppers earn tips and have a more flexible schedule than in-store shoppers. If you’re curious to learn more about how much Instacart shoppers make, check out this Gridwise post.

So maybe you do Instacart part-time to get some extra income in addition to another job. That’s great if you want to make a few hundred dollars a week, but doing Instacart part-time won’t get you to that $1000 goal. To do that, you’ll have to buckle down and commit to this full-time. View yourself as a business that provides a service … because that’s really what you’re doing.

Stay organized. 

An important part of providing a service is being organized, which includes tracking your miles, income, and expenses. As an independent contractor, these can be tricky to keep track of, especially when it comes to figuring out tax deductions. To help with staying organized, it’s a good idea to have a separate bank account for all your Instacart earnings, just so nothing gets mixed in with your personal finances. 

If you decide to set up a separate bank account, you might want to consider using a “business identity.” Using your personal name is an option, but it’s more professional to use a “Doing Business As” (DBA) identity. An even better choice is setting up a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or choosing to incorporate (creating a corporation). LLCs and corporations limit your liability, whereas a DBA just gives you a business name to use. Figure out what works best for you by doing your own research or talking to a licensed professional, such as an attorney or CPA. 

If you still need help with starting your business, check out this article, which provides a do-it-yourself checklist for incorporating your business. Also, the US Department of Labor sponsors the CareerOneStop website, which offers some helpful resources.  

Know your area. 

Understanding your market will go a long way. Are you familiar with the roads in your area? Do you know where construction is, what times it gets busy, or what shortcuts you can take to decrease delivery times? Do you know where gas stations are, and are there certain parking spots at the store that allow you to get in and get out quickly? Answering even a few of these questions can save you time and increase the number of deliveries you can make per hour. 

What local events or holidays impact your customers’ buying behaviors? Is there an increase in grocery orders during the summer as people host family cookouts? Do holidays slow down demand because people are traveling? Are there local food competitions or events that might cause people to buy more? Do some research to get familiar with what events could increase grocery orders. Those are prime opportunities for you to go out and earn top dollar, especially now that COVID is becoming more manageable. 

Don’t just limit yourself to doing deliveries to family homes, either. College dorms and assisted living housing units are another great opportunity. Get creative and be observant about who uses Instacart. Maybe there’s a valuable segment of customers you’ve never noticed before.

You can also check to see what ordering options are on the customer side. You may find out there are stores available that you hadn’t thought of.

Minimize your costs. 

Fulfilling and delivering orders can be exhausting, and it’s often tempting to spend some of your hard-earned money on tasty snacks or pre-made food from the stores you shop in. Some stores even have fast food shops set up inside the store itself – talk about tempting! There’s a reason for the saying, “Don’t shop on an empty stomach.” You might end up spending a big chunk of your earnings.

So, how do you curb that urge to treat yourself to a Costco hot dog, a soft drink, and some freshly made ice cream? Make yourself a nice, well-rounded meal at home and pack some snacks to munch on later if you get hungry. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

But there are many more costs to deal with than just food. Gas and maintenance costs are, of course, a large part of driving for any delivery service, and as all drivers know, they can get expensive. Check out the Gridwise Perks tab to learn about discounts on gas, oil changes, and more. 

Track your mileage, earnings, and expenses. 

In addition to knowing what your expenses are, you’ll need to be on top of how much you earn and how many miles you drive per shift. This is information you’ll need for filing your taxes. Gridwise can help you keep an eye on how much you earn daily, as well as per trip. 

You can deduct your mileage in one of two ways. The standard deduction method is the most common and is pretty straightforward to use. You can also do the actual cost method, which is preferable if you lease your car. 

Unsure of the differences between the two methods? Take a look at this 2021 tax deduction guide from Gridwise. Even though tax day has already passed for this year, there’s still a lot of helpful information to consider for next year. If you have the Gridwise app, don’t forget to log on before every shift so you can track your miles and get all deductions that are available to you. 

Have a solid strategy 

Coming up with a strategy is one of the most important steps toward earning $1000 a week. It allows you to be focused and gives you a plan of action that will be invaluable to you in running your business. Here are some steps to help you develop your strategy.

Set achievable goals. 

You don’t need to be a manager or CEO to set realistic, achievable goals for yourself. You will, however, need to do more than have that weekly goal of $1000. It might take going over your past performance as a shopper. How many batches can you reasonably complete per hour? What can you do to increase that number?

Think about what you get paid on average between your base pay and your tips. Maybe you need to work different hours or work longer each day in order to make your daily and weekly goals. If you want to work five days a week instead of seven, you’ll need to set a daily earnings goal of at least $200. That way you can have your two days off while still making $1000. 

Don’t forget to take other aspects of your life into account. Is it reasonable for you to expect to shop and drive for eight hours on Saturday if you have other responsibilities at home? Set realistic hours for yourself and create goals to meet within those hours. 

Be consistent. 

Now that you’ve determined a schedule that works for you, stick to it. Consistency will work in your favor. Even if you have to adjust your schedule, getting out there to fulfill orders is the only way to achieve that $1000-a-week goal. It’s not always appealing, particularly when you have to trudge out in bad weather. And some days you may have to force yourself to roll out the door. But staying with the schedule you’ve set for yourself is the best way to achieve your goals. 

Stay alert. 

As mentioned, you’ll need to know your general surroundings, your city’s traffic patterns, and any busy hours during the day. You’ll also need to know your way around the store you’re shopping in. A lot of time can be lost looking for items on your list. To prevent this, take a couple of trips to some popular stores in the area and familiarize yourself with where things are. Don’t be afraid to ask store workers where certain items are kept, as it will save you time in the long run. 

Gridwise can help with events and traffic that might clog your route to your customer. You can use the app to check what events are happening in your city and will send you alerts to notify you when they’re going on. This is what it would look like in the app:

Adjust as needed. 

You may need to adjust your schedule to find the hours that fit your availability and your monetary goals. Some days will be slower than others, and that’s okay. Be prepared to work a few extra hours here and there to make up for those days. Keeping up a steady stream of income is the way to reach that coveted $1000 a week. 

Tricks to earning tips 

Customers are always encouraged to tip the people fulfilling their order, but it’s not required. Some of the best money on Instacart can be made through tips, which is why learning how to boost your tip earnings is so crucial. Here are some tips to increase the likelihood of a better tip. 

Be flexible and communicative. 

The virtue of flexibility doesn’t just apply to your schedule. It’s incredibly useful when you’re handling an order that doesn’t have all the items in stock. You’ll need to deal with replacing items, as well as fulfilling multiple batches at a time, if you choose to stack orders. 

Customers appreciate when you communicate changes in their order and ask them their preferences; it shows that you care about them, and you’re looking out for them. They’ll be more likely to tip better if you demonstrate that you’re trying, even if they don’t get the item they originally wanted.  

Deliver excellent service with a smile. 

Even a smile from a stranger can brighten a person’s day. It’s always important to be pleasant to your customer when dropping off an order. Having an upbeat attitude, going the extra mile to make sure the customer has what they want, and being on time can all help you get better tips. 

There are a few other things you can do while shopping to provide excellent service – and hopefully earn a large tip. As an Instacart shopper, you’ll often be delivering perishable food and delicate produce. Invest in a couple of insulated bags to keep cold and frozen food from thawing on your delivery. When selecting produce, look for items that appear fresh and unblemished and handle them with care. 

When delivering items to someone’s doorstep, put your cold items out last. You want to avoid having the cold groceries sitting in the heat as much as possible. These might seem like small details, but the customer is sure to notice and be appreciative. 

Bring home the cash

Still think it’ll be a struggle to earn $200 to $250 a day or $1000 a week? Here’s another tip to edge you closer to your goal.

Instacart, like most other delivery services, has a referral program, so take advantage of it. By referring someone, you can make anywhere from $400 to $750 just by getting the person to start delivering batches. That’s a pretty big chunk of change that you don’t even have to work to earn. 

You can access your referral code in the Instacart app. Every Instacart shopper is given one when they sign up to start working. Start by asking friends or family who might be interested; it never hurts to ask, and you’ll never know if you never try. To take things to the next level, try expanding the circles of people you’re contacting. You never know who might want to get paid to shop. Here are a few ways you can get that sweet referral bonus: 

  • Send your referral code in a few of your group texts.
  • Make and print cards with your referral code and stick them on bulletin boards in various stores and restaurants. 
  • Use social media to your advantage – post about making $1000 a week with Instacart and drop your code so people will use it.
  • Take videos of yourself delivering for Instacart and post it on YouTube, Tiktok, or Instagram to show how easily they could be making bank – but only if they use your referral code.
  • As you’re promoting your code, remind your contacts and followers that even if they’re not interested, they might have a friend who would love to be given your referral code.

Make $1000 a week with Instacart – and Gridwise! 

Although we fully believe in your ability to make $1000 a week with Instacart, we can’t guarantee it. We do know that if you follow the tips in this post, you’ll be well on your way to making that goal. Gridwise can also help you maximize your earnings as an Instacart shopper. From logging mileage to tracking earnings and expenses, you’ll have the ultimate delivery assistant on your side. 

And remember, the Gridwise blog and YouTube channel have lots of relevant news and advice for drivers. If you head to our Facebook page, you’ll find opportunities to win gas cards in our giveaways, and an amazing community of other drivers who’ll want to hear about how you made $1000 with Instacart. So what are you waiting for? Go and download the Gridwise app now

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