With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, this is a boom time for Gig workers, especially those offering on-demand services. Companies like Instacart, Uber Eats, and Postmates are cashing out as many people are averse to leaving their homes.
They offer you earning opportunities with the flexibility to choose your location and working hours.
But How Much Does Instacart pay?
With the numerous opportunities available, you may want to know what each company pays before signing up with them. Here, we’ll break down what it will pay you to work for Instacart.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery delivery service available in the United States and Canada. They partner with local retailers to deliver items directly to ordering customers’ homes. The customer places their orders either through the website or a mobile app. Independent contractors and part-time workers, known as shoppers, fulfill and deliver the orders straight to the customers.
How it Works
Instacart enables you to shop online at participating local stores. Once they get your order via their website or through the mobile app, they will notify a nearby available delivery driver or personal shopper. The personal shopper then buys the items from partner stores and delivers them to you the same day.
They do not stock any of the products, unlike some other grocery delivery services. Instead, their workers and independent contractors buy from nearby stores such as ALDI, Costco, Kroger, and Shaw’s. The Instacart designated personal shopper will then deliver the items directly to the ordering customer’s address using their vehicle.
Instacart has a presence in all parts of the country, making it the grocery delivery service with the broadest coverage.
Instacart Delivery Costs
Instacart will pay you from the proceeds of their delivery services. But how does Instacart generate revenue?
Before we delve into what you can earn from working for Instacart, let us look at how the platform makes money in the first place. How much will you pay as an ordering customer?
Instacart does not set the prices of groceries. Just like when you go shopping in-store, the individual partner stores determine the pricing for each item. You can look up each store’s pricing policy on the Instacart homepage. As a rule, you’ll pay a slightly higher amount than you would if you were buying in person. And that is not the only downside.
You won’t have the opportunity to participate in in-store sales. But, you could enjoy a few deals offered through Instacart on some stores as well as coupons.
Instacart delivers your first order for free. Subsequent orders start at $3.99 for orders of more than $35. But if you sign up for Instacart Express, with a monthly fee starting from $9.99 or $99 for a year, you won’t pay any fees for orders above $35
The Instacart platform encourages you to tip. Typically, this will be the higher of $5 or 20 percent of the total bill.
How Much Can You Expect to Make as an Instacart Shopper?
In the ever-growing space of grocery delivery services, Instacart is now one of the most favorite platforms for delivery service workers. And for good reasons too. Please see our Instacart review article.
Their drivers make good money by delivering items to customers while enjoying the flexibility of setting their own hours and, of course, tips. Comparatively, Instacart drivers make more than most part-time jobs.
But how much do they exactly pay?
If you consider taking up gig work, you must know how much you can earn from your gig of interest. This is crucial as it helps you to choose a job that will align with your money goals. It’s time we break down how much Instacart shoppers can earn and what sort of expenses they might incur.
It is challenging to get the actual hourly wage the various delivery services platform pays independent contractors. To further complicate things, what you can earn working for a delivery service company is subject to a wide array of factors. Some of these are – the number of hours worked, location, operating times, driving distance, and more.
Instacart Job Types
You can work for Instacart in 2 ways – as a Full-Service Shopper and as an In-store shopper. It’s vital to make this distinction. A full-service shopper completes all the facets of the order. Once the platform notifies them of an accepted order from a customer, full-service shoppers shop and pays for the requested items at the local store, they will then pack and take them straight to the ordering customer. That is how it works in areas with little demand.
But this model could result in slow order fulfillment and delivery in areas with greater demand. Instacart solves this problem by recruiting in-store shoppers.
Full-service shoppers (also referred to as Instacart drivers) have more work to do (shop and deliver). Consequently, they are better paid and also enjoy customers’ tips.
How Much Do They Pay Their Drivers?
Instacart has no official data on what their drivers earn. Glassdoor puts this figure at about $15 per hour before tips. Still, there are many factors that determine how much a driver makes. These include demand volume, location, the distance between the store and customer, and time.
A big city driver will earn more than a delivery driver working in a small one-horse town. And drivers will earn higher in periods of higher demands.
However, as an independent contractor, your earnings aren’t cast in stone. It depends on how much you’re willing to work and the number of batches that come your way.
You will earn below average if you get fewer batches to deliver due to low grocery demand. Again, you could make far higher than the average when you get orders consistently. Some drivers have collected about $2,000 weekly.
Putting your best foot forward in delivering exceptional service will get you extra tips from customers.
Instacart Driver Expenses
Instacart does not cover most of the expenses you incur as a delivery driver. As an independent contractor, expect to spend part of your earnings to pay for gas, vehicle maintenance, vehicle registrations, insurance, taxes, and other expenses incurred in the course of the job.
On the plus side, you could write off some job-related transport expenses when filing taxes.
Instacart Payment Breakdown
Instacart algorithm calculates shoppers’ and driver’s compensation based on some factors. These include the number of items in each order, the distance between the store and customer’s address, time-based incentives, and tips. The formula for this computation is known only to Instacart.
But let us investigate the known earning structure, which can help you form a formidable earning strategy.
- Minimum Batch Payment: Instacart shoppers receive a minimum payment for every order or batch completed. This amount is typically between $7 and $10 for a full-service batch. The shopper handles the entire transaction—meanwhile, delivery-only batches payout just $5.
- Batch Incentives: The base pay per customer’s order, which is a base on your customer’s ordered items. Heavier and bulkier groceries will increase the batch incentives.
- Distance Incentives: This is a mileage reimbursement that Instacart factors into your pay. It varies from city to city.
Demand Bonuses: Instacart pays peak hour pricing to incentivize drivers to handle periods of demand surge. This is known as the Peak Boost bonus.
- Quality Bonuses: Apart from the Peak Boost bonus, Instacart also pays shoppers a quality bonus. This amounts to $3 paid to a shopper that receives a 5-star rating from a customer. This is to reward and encourage exceptional customer service delivery.
- Tips: Thanks to an automatic tipping feature, Instacart encourages customers to tip. When they checkout, a prompt appears showing a precalculated tip based on the order size. Customers may change this amount higher or lower, but many of them leave it as it is. You get to keep all the tips you earn.
Instacart In-Store Shoppers pay
Instacart in-store shoppers work exclusively in Instacart partner stores. They do not handle deliveries. An in-store shopper job means that you are an Instacart employee and not an independent contractor. Similar to most traditional jobs, you are entitled to paid time-off and wages above the minimum wage.
If you prefer this option to full-service delivery, you might want to know how much is in it for you.
According to Ridester.com, Instacart in-store shoppers earn an average of $13 per hour.
Instacart pays in-store shoppers less than full-service shoppers. However, as an in-store shopper, you have the security of a steady paycheck that comes in for every hour you work.
The grocery shopping delivery gig is an excellent way to make money in your spare time. You can even go for it full-time if your earnings are in line with your financial aspirations. And Instacart manages to stand out amongst other grocery shopping platforms.
Compared to rideshare services, Instacat is a better alternative. The average pay of $17 per hour is slightly higher than rideshare platforms such as Uber and Lyft. And you won’t have to expose yourself to the probability of carrying a serial killer in your car.
Hopefully, this little guide has given you insight into what you can earn from working for Instacart. Knowing what compensation to expect for working for Instacart will help you determine if it is the right tool for achieving your financial targets. If their pay rate and terms of service don’t meet your expectations, you can always check out other gig work.
Gig economy jobs are here to stay, and you can be assured of the above minimum wage pay no matter which one you sign up for.