Instacart Shopper Review: How much do Instacart Shoppers earn?

Do you want to make money driving for Instacart? This Instacart Shopper Review will show you how it works and how much money you can make delivering groceries. Instacart is a popular website for people looking to earn extra money shopping for and delivering groceries. Instacart gives you the option to turn your free time…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 8, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Do you want to make money driving for Instacart? This Instacart Shopper Review will show you how it works and how much money you can make delivering groceries.

Instacart is a popular website for people looking to earn extra money shopping for and delivering groceries. Instacart gives you the option to turn your free time into a chance to make some extra money.

As an Instacart shopper, you can enjoy the flexibility of choosing when and where you want to work, making it an attractive option for those with busy schedules or seeking gig work opportunities.

Before deciding if you want to become an Instacart shopper, there are some things to think about, of course. And, you may have some questions too.

In this Instacart Shopper Review, we’ll dive into an in-depth review of what it’s like to be an Instacart shopper, from shopper requirements and the sign-up process to tips for increasing your earnings and making the most of your time (so that you can make more money).

This information will help you make a smart decision about whether becoming an Instacart shopper is the right side hustle for you.

You can click here to sign up to be an Instacart Shopper.


Instacart is a popular website for people looking to earn extra money shopping for and delivering groceries. Instacart gives you the option to turn your free time into a chance to make some extra money.

Key takeaways:

  • It is easy to get started as an Instacart shopper.
  • The flexibility of being an Instacart shopper provides an opportunity to make extra money. You can choose your hours and there is no minimum you have to work.
  • Maximizing earnings and efficiency is essential for success as an Instacart shopper so that you can make the most money per hour.
  • There is no compensation for car maintenance or gas expenses. You are driving your own vehicle.

Instacart Shopper Review

What is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that allows you to view, select, and purchase products from a variety of stores online or through their Apple and Android apps. As a user, you can place an order for groceries, and an Instacart Shopper will fulfill your order and deliver it to your doorstep.

I have used Instacart many, many times in the last couple of years. The service has made my life so much easier, because sometimes I simply don’t have time to run to the grocery store or I may simply not have a car (such as when traveling).

Instacart is available in the United States and Canada.

Related content that you may be interested in reading:

What is an Instacart shopper?

As an Instacart shopper, your main responsibilities include shopping for and delivering groceries to customers from stores like CVS, Publix, and Kroger. The amount of money you can earn depends on factors like order size, tips, and the distance traveled for deliveries.

To become a Instacart Full-Service Shopper, you’ll have to meet basic requirements such as:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have a valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle
  • Own a smartphone with the Instacart Shopper app installed
  • Be able to lift heavy items (up to 40 lbs.)

You can click here to sign up to be an Instacart Shopper.

How does Instacart make money with grocery delivery?

Instacart makes money in a few different ways. They charge customers a delivery fee and a service fee for each order placed.

Usually, the prices of items on Instacart are higher than in-store prices. So, customers are paying a higher price when shopping on Instacart than if they just went to the store themselves.

Additionally, Instcart has partnerships with retailers that offer their services on the platform. So, they charge these companies a fee as well.

How much do Instacart shoppers make?

The amount of money that you can make as an Instacart shopper can widely vary depending on several factors such as location, order volume, tips, and your efficiency of shopping and driving.

Shoppers typically make around $11 to $20 per hour. Keep in mind that as an independent contractor, you may have additional expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance to account for when calculating your earnings.

Where do Instacart shoppers shop?

There are many different stores that you may shop at as an Instacart shopper. These stores may include major grocery retailers, as well as specialty shops, depending on your area.

Stores where you might shop at through Instacart include Walmart, Walgreens, Aldi, Kroger, Publix, Petco, and more.

shopping cart cash money - Groceries laying on table with brown paper bag with text that says "How To Make Money As An Instacart Shopper" for an Instacart Shopper Review article

How To Sign Up As An Instacart Shopper

Here’s what you need to know when signing up to be an Instacart shopper:

Background Check

To become an Instacart shopper, you first need to pass a background check. The background check for Instacart means that you will need to give them some personal information and consenting to a check before being allowed to be a shopper.

This is so that they can protect Instacart customers, as you will be personally going to people’s homes.

Car and Insurance Requirements

To deliver groceries for Instacart, you will need to have a reliable car and meet any insurance requirements. This is because you will be delivering groceries, of course.

This also means that you will want to maintain your vehicle and make sure that it is in good working condition. After all, you do need to drive and deliver groceries, so you do not want your car breaking down on you.

Also, don’t forget to factor in the expenses that go along with driving, such as gas and regular maintenance, as part of what you are actually earning from Instacart. These expenses can add up quickly.

Cell phone and the Instacart App

To shop for Instacart, you will need a phone so that you can accept orders and see what you are supposed to be shopping for.

You will need a smartphone with either Android or iOS to access the Shopper app (iPhone 5  or Android 4.4 or newer).

Another important thing is that you will want to make sure you have reliable cell service, as the Instacart app is what you need so that you can receive orders, choose your work hours, and more. So, you need to have enough data to actually do the job.

Also, Instacart does not give you a phone, you would be using your own phone. There’s no special equipment that you need.

What are the steps to sign up as an Instacart Shopper?

It’s fairly easy to sign up to become an Instacart shopper and you can do so today or even right now.

To become an Instacart Driver/Shopper, you will need to:

  1. Sign up for Instacart by clicking here: You can go to the Instacart website or download the app to start the registration process.
  2. Submit your Instacart shopper application: Here, you will provide your personal information and submit it for review to Instacart. A local Instacart team will review your application, and if approved, you’ll receive an email with more instructions on the next steps.
  3. Onboarding process: You may be required to attend an in-person onboarding session where you’ll learn about Instacart’s policies and procedures. These onboarding sessions are typically around 90 minutes long and will tell you what you need to know about being an Instacart shopper.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can start accepting orders and making money as an Instacart shopper.

How To Make Money as an Instacart Shopper

There are a few things that go into how much money you can make as an Instacart shopper. I will talk about these below:

Your Hourly Rate As An Instacart Shopper

As an Instacart shopper, your pay will vary depending on the type of order and the size of the grocery batch. The company guarantees at least $7 to $10 for each full-service batch, where you pick, load, and deliver the order of groceries. On average, Instacart shoppers can earn between $11 and $20 per hour.

However, the actual hourly rate tends to vary based on things such as location and demand.

You can earn more by shopping when it is busiest. This is usually on the weekends and on holidays.

Tipping and Bonuses

In addition to the base pay, you can also earn tips from customers. Instacart allows customers to tip their shoppers, so providing excellent service can result in more generous gratuities.

There are also opportunities to earn additional bonuses through referral programs, promotional periods, and peak hours.

Keep in mind that while tips and bonuses can boost your overall earnings, they may not always be consistent or guaranteed.

Direct Deposit and Debit Card

Instacart shoppers receive payment via direct deposit or the optional Instant Cashout feature, which transfers earnings to a debit card for a $0.50 fee.

You receive payments weekly between Wednesday and Friday for services you provided the week before (from Monday to Sunday).

How Shopping and the Delivery Process Works

Once you receive an order through Instacart, you will go to the designated store and find the items on the customer’s shopping list.

This means that you will be personally picking out the fruits and vegetables (please make sure to pick out good ones that are fresh), checking expiration dates on items, and more.

You will be personally going through the store and putting things into a shopping cart or basket.

Also, while shopping for a customer, you may also have to make replacements in case a requested product is not available (this does happen!). If there are any changes, then you will want to contact the customer through the app and confirm any substitutions with them.

After completing the in-store shopping, you will need to deliver the groceries to the customer’s doorstep.

Sometimes, the customer does have specific delivery instructions, such as placing the items at the doorstep or handing them over personally.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Being an Instacart Shopper?

Advantages of being an Instacart shopper

As an Instacart shopper, there are several positives of this side hustle. This may include:

  • Flexible hours: You can choose when you want to work and decide on your own schedule.
  • No minimum hours required: You can work as little hours as you want. It’s all up to you.
  • Quick payment: Instacart pays its shoppers weekly or they also have an instant cash out feature.

Disadvantages of being an Instacart shopper

While there are benefits to being an Instacart shopper, it’s important to consider the negatives such as:

  • Driver expenses: As an Instacart shopper, you will have expenses such as gas, vehicle maintenance, and insurance. So, if you are making $20 an hour, you will want to make sure that you are still making money after all of the car expenses that you will have.
  • May need additional insurance: Depending on your car insurance, you may need additional coverage to work as an Instacart shopper.
  • Orders aren’t guaranteed: Just because you’re signed in and available to work doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive orders.
  • Hidden costs: Using your personal vehicle can lead to additional costs, including depreciation and potential repairs. Keep this in mind when calculating your overall earnings from Instacart.
  • Tips aren’t guaranteed. Not everyone will give you a tip.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons of becoming an Instacart shopper. Some of these may not mean much to you, whereas others may make or break this side hustle gig for you.

You will want to determine if it is something you want to do as everyone’s situation is different.

Fruits and vegetables laying on a white table

Instacart Shopper Alternatives

If you are interested in becoming an Instacart shopper, then there are a few other side hustles that you may be interested in as well.

Some alternatives to Instacart include:

  • Shipt: This company also allows you to work as a personal shopper and offers flexible hours. Stores on Shipt include Costo, CVS, Harris Teeter, Sephora, Target, Winn Dixie, and more.
  • UberEats: If you are looking for something where you would not be personally shopping for groceries, then you may be interested in UberEats. With UberEats, you can deliver restaurant meals, groceries, and drinks.
  • Postmates: Another food delivery service, Postmates gives you the flexibility to deliver not only restaurant meals but also groceries and retail items.
  • DoorDash: This website focuses on restaurant meal deliveries. So, you would not be shopping for any groceries, just picking up and delivering meals.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to Instacart.

Tips for Increasing Your Earnings and Efficiency

As an Instacart shopper, you can make more money if you are careful with your strategies and how you use your time. Not all shoppers make the same amount, and some people are able to earn more.

This is because there are certain things you can do to increase your earnings and make more money with your time.

Instacart Shopping Strategies

When working as an Instacart shopper, it’s important to choose batches/orders carefully. This will help to increase the amount you are earning and to make sure that you are picking the most profitable orders.

One factor worth considering is the distance to deliver the order- picking closer orders will save you time and fuel expenses. Another factor is the number of items in the batch. Larger orders may take more time but can result in higher earnings. Also, it’s important to be in an area with high demand to find more batches and have less competition.

Additionally, you should:

  • Familiarize yourself with the store layout to reduce shopping time.
  • Group items by category or aisles to complete batches more efficiently.

Time Management

As an Instacart shopper, you have the flexibility to create your own schedule. That means you can choose the most convenient time for you to work.

However, you’ll make more money if you work during peak hours. Typically, the busiest times tend to be weekends and early evenings when people finish work.

Consider the following tips to improve your time management:

  • Organize your day by taking into account peak hours and the time required to complete each batch.
  • Choose deliveries that are close together.
  • Save time by shopping at stores that you frequently visit, so that you know where items are located.

By applying these shopping strategies and time management practices, you can take advantage of the flexibility Instacart offers while maximizing your earnings and efficiency.

Common Questions About Becoming An Instacart Shopper

Does the Instacart shopper pay for the food upfront?

As an Instacart shopper, you will be given an Instacart payment card to pay for the groceries. You do not pay for anything out of your own pocket. The amount on the Instacart card is usually similar to the amount on the order that you are shopping for.

How much can I earn as an Instacart shopper?

Pay is based on a combination of factors such as the number of items, weight, and distance. Instacart guarantees a minimum of $5 for delivery-only batches and $7 for shop and deliver batches.

Average pay is typically between $11-$20 per hour.

How do Instacart Shoppers earn money?

Instacart shoppers earn money through a combination of base pay, tips from customers, and potential bonuses or incentives (such as by completing orders during a peak time).

The earnings depend on factors like order size, distance, and the number of batches completed.

As you can see, there are many different things that go into your page for this side gig.

Are there any vehicle requirements to become an Instacart Shopper?

Instacart allows shoppers to use a car or a bicycle for deliveries. Car shoppers must have a valid driver’s license, insurance, and a reliable vehicle.

Bicycles must meet certain requirements for carrying groceries.

What are the pros and cons of working for Instacart?


  • Easy to get started as an Instacart shopper
  • Flexible schedule and you can choose your own shifts
  • Opportunity to earn tips
  • Exercise while working (walking and lifting groceries)


  • Variable income
  • Wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Responsibility for gas and other driving expenses

What are common Instacart shoppers complaints? What is the downside of Instacart?

Some common complaints from Instacart shoppers include:

  • Inconsistent earnings
  • Difficulty in getting desired working hours or batches
  • No compensation for vehicle maintenance or gas expenses

What benefits are offered from Instacart?

Instacart shoppers, being independent contractors, do not receive traditional employee benefits like health insurance, paid vacations, or retirement plans.

However, they can benefit from flexible schedules, potential for tips, and control over how much they want to work each day and each week.

Does Instacart pay for gas?

No, Instacart does not cover gas expenses or any other vehicle-related costs for shoppers. These expenses are the responsibility of the Instacart shopper.

Can I choose my working hours as an Instacart Shopper?

Yes, one of the advantages of being an Instacart Shopper is the flexibility to choose your own working hours. You can log in to the app and accept or decline orders based on your availability.

How to make $500 a week with Instacart?

To make $500 a week with Instacart, you may need to strategize by working during peak hours, increasing your speed and efficiency, and delivering to higher-income areas for better tips.

It will require dedication, effective time management, and continued efforts to maintain good customer ratings.

What’s an in-store shopper?

Occasionally, Instacart hires for in-store shoppers. This is a position where you would be shopping for groceries, but not delivering them. The downside of this is that you will not get tips.

Is it better to do Instacart or DoorDash?

Instacart and DoorDash are a little different.

With Instacart, you are shopping for and delivering groceries.

With DoorDash, you are primarily delivering meals from restaurants.

So, the amount of time you spend on each order will be a little different, as is the skillset, and earnings.

Is it better to do Instacart or UberEats?

Similar with DoorDash, choosing between Instacart and UberEats will depend on what you want to do.

While Instacart focuses on groceries, UberEats specializes in restaurant food delivery. Consider pay rates, potential tips, the type of work, and your local market demand when making a decision.

Can I work for other delivery platforms while being an Instacart Shopper?

Yes, you can work for Instacart and other delivery platforms all at the same time. But, you will want to make sure to stay organized.

Is it worth it being a shopper for Instacart?

This is a personal question, as everyone is different. Some people love being an Instacart shopper, whereas for others, it’s not a good fit for them.

The ability to have flexible hours and earning potential can be attractive, but you still need to think about the car costs you will have as you will have to drive in your own vehicle.

Analyze your needs and research other Instacart shopper reviews to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Instacart Shopper Review Summary

As an Instacart shopper, you can make extra money by delivering groceries.

With flexible work hours and typical average pay around $11 to $20 an hour, Instacart can be a good source of income for you.

Actual earnings can vary due to things such as tips, the number of orders, and the distance traveled for deliveries.

A positive of working as an Instacart shopper is the ability to make your own schedule. You can choose how many hours you want to work each day and each week, and there is no minimum amount of hours that you must work.

But, there are negatives to Instacart as well. As an Instacart shopper, there may be extra costs that you may not have thought of, such as gas and vehicle maintenance costs, and you might need to purchase extra insurance to cover your activities on the platform. These extra car costs can add up quickly if you are not careful.

Navigating the gig economy can be tricky, but Instacart may be a good way to make extra money for your situation.

You can click here to sign up to be an Instacart Shopper.

Are you interested in becoming an Instacart Shopper? What other questions would you like me to answer in this Instacart Shopper Review?

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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