We all could use some extra cash right? More than 44 million Americans agree and have a side hustle. Whether you are saving for something specific, just looking to supplement your income, or considering a full time job, becoming an Instacart shopper could be the solution you are looking for.
It’s a job where you don’t have to report to an office, you can set your own schedule, and you have the freedom to make as much as you want depending on how long and how quickly you work. Read on to learn more about Instacart, how to use the Instacart Shopper app, and what it’s like to shop and deliver groceries for Instacart.
What Is Instacart?
Instacart is the leading grocery delivery app. People using the app submit a shopping list that shoppers then fill and deliver.
Once the Instacart shopper gathers all the items and checks out, the shopper then delivers the items to the customer’s home. If you don’t have a car or other mode of transportation, don’t worry. You can still be an Instacart shopper. Another driver for Instacart will handle the delivery portion of the order. If you are interested in working for yourself but not comfortable driving strangers around, Instacart is for you!
Sign up to be an Instacart Shopper
To qualify to be a shopper for Instacart there are a few requirements you need to satisfy. You need to be at least 18 or 21 years old depending on the state you live in.
You need to have a relatively new smartphone, Android or IOS (Iphone). You will also need to be able to lift at least 30 pounds without assistance. As with most on demand services, Instacart does run a background check. You will also have to pass a couple of short online food handling safety tests, but that’s about it as far as the requirements go. To start your Instacart application, click HERE or on the blue button below.
Instacart jobs: Two kinds of Instacart Shoppers
There are two different types of Instacart shoppers, in store shoppers, and full service shoppers. In store shoppers collect the items on the list and pay for them at checkout using a PEX credit card provided by Instacart. They then place the items in an area designated for pickup by a delivery driver. Full service shoppers deliver the items themselves after checking out.
When it comes to Instacart jobs, most Instacart shoppers are full service. However, if you just want to be an in store shopper, you can do that too.
The Instacart application process
Once you determine that you satisfy all of the Instacart requirements, you can begin your application. You’ll provide your contact information, and give the company permission to run the background check. You will be texted a link to download the shopper app. You will do all of your work through the app.
You will also need to get some insulated food bags to help control the temperature of the food during delivery. You can get them directly from Instacart, but you’re probably better off choosing from the wide variety of insulated delivery bags available on Amazon.
Answer a few questions
Instacart asks a few basic questions as part of the screening process. Don’t worry they aren’t hard, just be positive and friendly in your answers.
They will ask you why you want to work for Instacart. They will probably want to know about a time you delivered amazing customer service.
You can also expect some food safety quizzing. Something like, you are tasked with buying organic strawberries but there is only one container and they are bit moldy on the bottom. What do you do?
You will then choose from four options, buy them anyway, buy the non-organic, don’t buy any, or ask the customer what they would prefer. Great customer service would be checking with the customer.
The last question asks that you give a sample text. What would you say to your customer in the moldy strawberry situation?
Using the Instacart Shopper app
Although you’ll have to wait to pass your background check to start shopping, you can sign up for a shift while you’re waiting. Choose a shift about a week in the future so Instacart has time to complete your background check.
When it comes time for your shift, you will get a notification reminding you so you are ready when your shift starts. As soon as your shift starts it is possible for you to start getting delivery orders, or batches, as Instacart calls them. You’re first few orders will likely be small (10-20 items total), so you have time to get used to the app. After a few orders, you’ll likely get a big one (50 to 100 items total).
When you get your first order, accept the order and go to the store to start shopping.
Once in the store, you will gather the items that are on the list created by the customer, using the Instacart shopper app to scan the item barcodes as you go. You will need to update your progress as you go. Be sure to make note of any changes such as unavailable items that require substitutions or a refund.
Once you’ve gathered everything on the list, you’ll pay for the groceries with your Instacart issued card.
Then, you’ll bag and deliver the groceries to the customer’s home.
You will have a window of time to complete the order. Keep in mind though you won’t get another order until this one is completed.
Once you’ve completed the order, you will wait for the next one. This could happen immediately or take a bit of time.
What if you can’t find an item?
Sometimes when you are at a store, you won’t be able to find an item. This could be because you just can’t find the item, it’s out of stock, or the store doesn’t carry the item anymore.
The first thing you should do is find a store employee and ask where the item might be located. This is the easiest solution, maybe you are just looking in the wrong location in the store.
If the item is out of stock or discontinued look for an item that is a comparable to the one the customer requested.
Let’s say that a customer requested a specific brand of organic milk at 2%. If the 2% is unavailable look for that same brand but maybe in a different fat percentage such as 1%
If that isn’t possible, look for another brand of organic milk in the same fat percentage. If that isn’t possible you have two options, reach out to the customer and let them know, or issue a refund.
The customer will then go into the app and see that you have requested a substitution. They will either approve or deny the substitution.
Sometimes you just can’t find a replacement no matter how hard you try. If the customer requests blood oranges and they are out of stock. The customer may not want regular oranges.
In this case, you would select the item on the grocery list and choose to refund that item. It will be moved from the main list and the customer will be notified of the refund.
Once you deliver the groceries your customer will be able to give you a rating. With great customer service, you will be getting 5-star ratings in no time!
Here’s a great video walkthrough of what it’s like to use the Instacart shopper app from Sia Knight
Instacart Shopper pay: How much do Instacart Shoppers make?
The great part about being a shopper is that you are not limited in how much you can earn. You can earn as little or as much as you want by signing up for more or less shifts. However, the minimum wage for an Instacart shopper is $10 across the country. So you know you will make at least that.
You will earn a commission based on the total of each order you fulfill. Customers can also choose to give you a tip through the app or in person via cash.
Some shoppers will consistently make over $20 an hour. If you live in a more populated area like a city, you will have more opportunity for orders. Here’s some earnings examples from current Instacart shoppers
You will get paid via direct deposit to the bank account that is in your profile. Payday is Friday. Your paycheck will include your commission plus any in-app tips you are awarded.
Instacart Shopper pay: Rates vary
Pay attention to the different pay rates when you are selecting the shifts you are planning to work. You will notice that your pay rate will change depending on the time of day and day of the week.
Instacart Shopper pay: Tips
Tips can vary widely, which is to be expected. Overall, a good expectation is that your tips will be about 18% of your Instacart pay.
You have the potential to earn a bonus each week. Customers rate you, and the top 25% of shoppers by rating in your city will get a $100 bonus.
Tips for being an Instacart Shopper or Instacart delivery driver
There are few things that you will learn along the way that will make your life easier as an Instacar shopper. We are going to give you the advantage and give you some tips before you get started.
If it’s available, take advantage of early access in your first couple of weeks. Early access allows you to select your hours for the coming week at 9 am on Sunday morning. Most new shoppers will have early access for a limited time.
Once your new shopper automatic status runs out, you will have to earn it by working the required hours. Generally, this means working a total of 90 hours in the current three week period.
If you don’t want to work for many hours, you can also work a total of 25 hours that are on the weekend. Achieve either threshold, and you will be able to select your hours before others who have not worked enough.
If you don’t want to work that many hours that’s ok too! Hours tend to become available throughout the week. Just keep checking back in with the app.
Give Yourself a Break
You may be tempted to sign up for a ten-hour block of time. This may not be so bad if it is a slow day.
However, if it is a busy day, you will be getting one order after another. There will be no time for you stop, take a break, grab something to eat.
Make sure you schedule a time to take care of yourself and your family. It is tempting to continually work nonstop to earn the most money.
Too many hours and you will burn yourself out. Try strategically scheduling yourself to work two, two-hour blocks, then take a break, and work another four hours.
As a shopper, you are considered an independent contractor. This means that if you earn more than $600 in a year you need to claim it on your taxes.
Don’t worry this is a very easy process. If you more than the $600 threshold Instacart will automatically contact you and send you a 1099 tax form.
You Can Work Before Your Shift
In the 30 minute window before your shift is set to begin it is possible to get an order if there is one available. If you are ready early you need to promptly accept the order.
If you do not promptly accept, it will move on to the next person. You won’t be punished for not accepting this order.
Pay Attention to Organic
It is very important to pay attention to whether or not someone has requested organic. When you are in the store make sure that you are selecting produce that is organic.
Stores Where a Shopper Would Be Selecting Groceries
Instacart is currently in thirty-eight states and Washington DC. They are everywhere from large metro cities to smaller communities.
Major grocery stores such as Publix, Kroger, The Food Emporium, Shaw’s, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and Costco, all partner with Instacart. Customers can also order from other stores such as CVS, Petco, and ABC Liquors.
Start Earning Extra Cash
If you are looking for the freedom of working for yourself but don’t want to be a taxi, Instacart is defintely for you. If you know the layout of a grocery store like your own home, being an Instacart shopper will be a good fit.
Download the app and start the onboarding process. You will be picking up shifts and delivering groceries in no time!
Have questions about shopping for Instacart, drop us a line!