How To Make Money as an Instacart Shopper

Article Summary:

To become an Instacart shopper and make money with Instacart, you will need to download the Instacart shopper app, set up direct deposit, and pass a background check. The best way to make money as an Instacart shopper is to treat it like a full-time job.

Instacart is one of the biggest delivery services on the internet, and it also happens to be one of the most reliable side hustle options on the market. As long as you have a functional car and the time to put in the work, you can make some serious money through Instacart.

Being an Instacart shopper is a great choice for people who want to work on their own schedule. But how do you work for this grocery delivery service as a side gig? And more importantly, how much money can Instacart shoppers make?

What do I need to shop for Instacart?

Not everyone can become an Instacart shopper. In order to make money through this delivery service, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be over 18 years old. No minors allowed!
  • You must have a smartphone. The smartphone must be an Android or iPhone that is capable of downloading and running the Instacart shopper app.
  • You must pass a background check. Needless to say, felons need not apply. Most people will be cleared within seven to ten days.
  • You must be able to lift at least 50 pounds. Instacart shoppers carry a lot of groceries. The more weight you can lift, the easier it’ll be to shop for Instacart.

Full-service shoppers must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • You must have a driver’s license and a car. The car also has to be insured. If you don’t have a car, you can still work as an in-store shopper.
  • You may also need to meet hourly minimums. This will usually be between 10 and 15 hours per week.

Pro Tip

If you are worried about being laid off from your full-time job, download the Instacart app now and start a side hustle delivering groceries in your spare time. This way, if you do lose your job, you’ll already be making extra cash to tide you over until you find another job.

Should I become an in-store shopper or a full-service shopper?

There are two types of shoppers that work for Instacart: in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers. Here’s the main difference between the two:

  • An in-store shopper will stick to shopping around a single store. In-store shoppers do not leave the store, nor do they deliver the goods to the customer’s home. They simply pack the grocery items for someone else to come and pick up. In-store shoppers generally get paid less than full-service shoppers.
  • A full-service shopper will go to a store, pick out the groceries, and deliver them to the customer’s home. Full-service shoppers generally get more batch orders and have higher pay rates, since they have to drive to local stores and assemble the customer’s order themselves by picking grocery items straight from the store shelves.

Basically, in-store shoppers and full-service shoppers do not play by the same rules. Here’s everything you need to know before deciding whether to be an in-store shopper or a full-service shopper.

In-store shoppers

  • In-store shoppers are part-time employees of Instacart. You will have to put in a minimum of 15 hours per work a week.
  • You earn an hourly wage. Since you are an employee of Instacart, you get an hourly wage with taxes taken out of your check. You can work up to 29 hours per week.
  • You have to attend an in-store orientation session. You can choose which one to attend via the Instacart app.
  • You get benefits. These include a 401(k), as well as protections like workers’ compensation. However, you cannot withdraw your money as soon as you earn it.
  • The position lasts 90 days if it’s a temporary seasonal hold. You can renew your position if there is a demand for it. In larger cities, this position can be permanent.
  • This position is not always available. In-store shoppers are more common in big cities.

Full-service shoppers

  • Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who must provide their own car. This means you won’t have taxes withheld, but you can withdraw your money after meeting the minimum batch payment whenever you want.
  • You can set your own schedule. This is a huge perk, especially if you also have a full-time job. However, if you want to make extra money, it’s worth setting aside time to shop for Instacart during busy hours.
  • You may need to provide some of your own supplies. New shoppers are encouraged to bring their own insulated bags. You also need to prove that you have a car and that it is covered by car insurance.
  • You get paid per batch. The exact payment amount may vary depending on the batch and the distance you need to travel to fulfill the delivery.
  • This position is available nationwide. Because Instacart is the most popular grocery delivery service of its kind, full-service shoppers are always in demand.

How much does Instacart pay?

How much the company pays you will vary based on the position you work in, how populated your area is, and how many batches you choose to delivery (if you’re a full-service shopper). For example, according to Indeed, full-service Instacart shoppers in New Jersey can make over $73,000 working full-time.

There are several major caveats to consider here. In order to make money to the tune of a full-time job with an app like Instacart, you have to put in the hours. A typical batch will earn you between $7 and $10, not including customer tips or bonuses for five-star reviews.

Pro Tip

Instacart shopping work tends to ramp up after you delivery a few batches, but the first couple of weeks may be rough. If you plan to transition to full-time shopping, make sure you have as much money as you need to tide yourself over when you start.

How much do Instacart shoppers typically make?

It’s important to remember that Instacart shoppers earn a wide range of incomes through the app. This is largely due to the fact that Instacart shopping is a gig economy job that most shoppers take on as a part-time side hustle.

Because of this, a typical Instacart driver can expect to earn $200 to $500 per week delivering groceries — though you have the potential to make more money by taking on more work.

How does Instacart pay me?

Instacart shoppers are paid weekly through direct deposit. You get to choose the bank account where your money will be deposited. Full-service shoppers can also have the cash sent immediately to the debit card of their choice through a service called Instant Cashout.

Pro Tip

The most money that can be withdrawn in a single day is $3,000. With that said, it’s important to realize that most Instacart shoppers do not make that much within a single pay period, even by working high-demand hours.

How to make money as an Instacart shopper

You can absolutely earn extra money in your spare time by shopping for Instacart. And becoming a professional shopper has never been easier. Here’s what you need to do in order to start your new gig:

How to make money as an Instacart shopper

  1. Install the Instacart shopper app. You’ll find it on the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. Note that this is not the same app you would use to have groceries delivered to your home; even if you already use Instacart to buy groceries, you will need to download a separate app to be an Instacart shopper.
  2. Apply to be an Instacart shopper. This is where you choose whether to be a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper. Remember that if you choose to be an in-store shopper, you will also have to fill out your information and go through an in-person onboarding process.
  3. Wait for your background check to clear and your Instacart payment card to arrive in the mail. You will need to link your payment card to the app to confirm you received it. This is how you will pay for groceries at the grocery stores you shop in.
  4. If you’re a in-store shopper, attend your in-person onboarding meeting. All Instacart jobs that are not for independent contractors will require this step.
  5. Start shopping! Once you have been cleared to work, you can start shopping on the flexible schedule you want. You get to choose the individual batches you pick up, so there is some flexibility on how much you get paid. If your delivery time is quick and you deliver groceries to the customer’s home with no issues, you may also get a tip or a bonus.

Note that you can get extra cash for each delivery through customer tips or bonuses for a five-star rating. These bonuses incentivize Instacart drivers to deliver batches quickly and professionally.


Can you make good money with Instacart?

It’s absolutely possible to make a living wage with Instacart. Many Instacart shoppers have made over $50,000 a year through the app. Instacart pays well for a side gig, especially if you have a lot of time to work as a full-service Instacart shopper.

Is it worth being a shopper for Instacart?

Although it may not be typical employment, many in-store shoppers have been able to find financial stability through Instacart. If you are a fan of grocery shopping, have the skills to be your own boss, and have no problem working as an independent contractor, then it can absolutely be worth your time.

With that said, slow periods are possible. There are times when shoppers don’t even make a minimum wage from grocery delivery. It’s a good idea to check out the average hourly pay of other Instacart shoppers in your area to have a better understanding of what to expect.

Does Instacart pay for gas?

No, Instacart does not pay for gas. If you do shop for Instacart, you will need to pay for gas with your earnings. The good news is that gas prices are tax-deductible for independent contractors.

Can I bring my child with me while I’m shopping for Instacart?

No, Instacart shoppers are strictly forbidden from bringing anyone who is not an Instacart employee or independent contractor along while grocery shopping, including kids.

Key Takeaways

  • To make money with Instacart, you will need to download the Instacart shopper app and apply to be an Instacart shopper.
  • You have the option to be a full-service shopper or an in-store shopper. Both offer a flexible schedule, though one is a freelance gig and the other is a form of part-time hourly employment with Instacart.
  • Every applicant needs to pass a background check in order to be able to work as an Instacart shopper.
  • A typical Instacart shopper will make between $200 and $500 per week. Instacart shopper tips for excellent service can increase your Instacart earnings significantly.
  • Full-time shoppers who have consistent access to transportation and availability to work peak hours can make as much as $70,000 a year.

Are you looking to get a side job, or do you just want to learn about what driving jobs are available out there? Either way, we’re here to help! SuperMoney has plenty of guides to help you earn more money and keep more of what you earn.

Wondering how else you can make money with your car? Use our comparison tool to find and read reviews on side jobs near you.

View Article Sources
  1. Instacart Shoppers: Get Paid to Shop – Instacart
  2. Instacart salaries in New Jersey: How much does Instacart pay? – Indeed
  3. Become an In-Store Shopper – Instacart
  4. Become a Full-Service Shopper – Instacart
  5. Here’s How Much Instacart Workers Really Make – Mashed