Instacart is an online delivery service where you can get paid to shop and deliver people’s groceries.
It’s an easy side hustle for anyone that wants up to $25 bucks an hour. No special skills are required and it can be done either full-time or part-time if you’re in the USA or Canada.
Income Potential: $25/hour
To sign up on Instacart all you have to do is fill a form on their website and wait to be approved. To be eligible you have to meet the following conditions:
Be over the age of 18
Have a smartphone with Android 5.0 or later, or iOs 9 or later
Can lift up to 30 pounds
If you get approved, Instacart will send you instructions on how to complete the full registration. Once your registration is approved, you will have a small training course so you can be ready to shop and deliver goods.
How much do you make?
Shoppers are compensated on an hourly rate, which is calculated by taking into consideration the number of orders, the items per order, the days when the shopper works, etc.
The payments are made on a weekly basis, and according to an article on HuffingtonPost, the hourly rate can go up to $25 per hour during busy hours.
Each client can also decide to tip you, which can be done in 2 ways:
On hand – when you deliver the groceries to them; or
Through the app – at the end of each order, Instacart offers clients to tip the shopper through the app. 100% of the tips go to the shopper without any deductions from Instacart’s part.
Another way of making money through the platform is referring it to other shoppers. You can send a link to people around you that would want to work as a shopper too and get a bonus for it.
When you register as a Personal Shopper, you can choose between 2 different roles:
Full Service Shopper –
as a Full Service Shopper, you can work for as many hours as you want per week without any limit. Your tasks can be either shopping and delivering groceries, or just delivering groceries. To be able to register as a Full Service Shopper, you will need a vehicle that has the proper insurance.
In Store Shopper –
the only condition to register as an In Store Shopper is just to be US-based. In Store Shoppers don’t need a vehicle, can work for a maximum of 29 hours per week and on a single store location.
How does the job work?
At the moment, Instacart has the following offers for customers:
Delivery within an hour done by a local Personal Shopper
Scheduled delivery at a set time in the future
Scheduled grocery pick up from the store at a set time
The most used and basic offer is the delivery by a local personal shopper. Most of the offers function in a similar way, but the basic one is done through a 4-step process:
1. The clients place an order online which contains their grocery list and any other notes they have for you (i.e. organic food, date, fruit type).
2. The personal shopper that is located near the market picks up the order and buys the required groceries according to the list.
3. The personal shopper pays the market with his/her Instacart prepaid debit card.
4. The personal shopper delivers the products to the set address mentioned in the order.
Pros of using Instacart
Flexible working schedule
Opportunity to make a lot of money during busy hours
Can work for just a few days
Cons of using Instacart
Items that are out of stock in the markets
Complicated customers with specific requirements
Unpredictable working hours
Not available everywhere
What type of vehicle do I need to become a personal shopper?
There are no specific requirements regarding the type of transport you use, as long as it allows you to respect the required time limits when you’re an In Store Shopper. For Full Service Shoppers, you need a vehicle with a proper insurance.
How do I sign up?
You can sign up on InstaCart’s website here
If you’ve signed up for Instacart or are already a shopper here are tips so you can make more money!
Making more money with Instacart ultimately comes down to your speed and efficiency. The faster you shop and pick items the more you will earn per hour since you earn a fixed price for each delivery.
Here are 30 tips summarized from Aleks Haugom’s fantastic video with some more bonus tips sprinkled throughout:
1. Shop Fast
The faster you shop the more you earn per hour. Shopping slow can make $12-$14/hour but if you learn to shop fast you can earn $25-$30/hour.
2. Don’t Worry About The Due Time
The due time is not the same time the customer sees so there is no need to be unnecessarily worried by it.
3. Use Large Bags
Use large reusable bags that can hold a lot of groceries. Invest in a quality bag or else it will break down. Here are links to 3 bags:
Ikea Bag ($1.49)
Collapsible Cart (On Amazon)
Cooler Bag (On Amazon)
4. Grab Multiple Carts (If Needed)
Do this if you’re doing a large delivery and there’s lots of bags. You can also grab a basket to grab multiple items while you park your cart in an aisle.
5. Park Near a Cart Rack
This makes it a lot easier when leaving the grocery store.
6. Drive A Small Car
If possible, drive a small car if you’re in a city. Easier to park and better on gas (which means more profit). If you don’t have a small car, have patience while you drive 🙂
7. Leave Bags At The Persons Door
If you knock on the persons door and they are not home just leave the bags by the door. Since more orders equals more money you won’t be wasting time waiting. Take a picture of how you left the bags and send it to the customer. This can also be proof if there is ever any disputes with HQ.
8. Always Carry Spare Change
If driving in a city make sure you always have dimes, nickles, and quarters for parking.
9. Don’t Speed
Drive safe and don’t get tickets
10. You Probably Won’t Get A Ticket On Private Property
Try to pay attention to who has jurisdiction to give parking tickets. If the place can’t issue a ticket or the tow truck can’t get there in time just park there if you’re willing to take the risk.
11. Familiarize Yourself With The Order
Don’t start shopping right away. Scan through the order on your phone and visualize what isles you’ll be going through.
12. Don’t Back Track
Scroll up and down through your order a lot. It’s better to go slower while you shop and not miss anything than to continuously back track.
13. Get A Portable Battery For Your Phone
Don’t let your phone die if you’re doing a long day! Alternatively you can keep a charger in your car.
Portable battery (On Amazon)
14. Take Quick Photos
Photos do not matter. Just take them quick and click “Force Mark as Found”. No one looks at them.
15. Check Dates Of Food
Make sure the food you’re buying (produce, meats, etc) are not expiring soon.
16. Don’t Use Produce Bags
There is no need to use the bags in the produce section. Only do so if it makes you move faster.
17. Replace Items Quickly
If you can’t find the right size item quickly replace it with a smaller size. If an item is out of stock don’t overthink it. Make a decision quick.
18. Stop Timer As Quickly As Possible
When you get your last item force through the end of the timer and take screenshots of the barcodes for when you go through checkout. The faster you appear to the algorithm the larger your orders could be.
19. Walk Fast
Super simple time saver. You can also pull the cart behind you to peak around corners quickly and safely.
20. Checkout Quick
Scan the barcodes and run the payment first. Then pack your items.
21. It’s Ok To Not Accept Some Orders
If a location is super far you don’t need to accept it. Just decline but head towards a grocery store to get prepared for your next order.
22. Bring Snacks
It can be a long day and you’ll save money from buying take out.
23. Buy A Cart
If delivering to apartment buildings this will be a life saver. Make sure to get a quality one and don’t skimp out.
Collapsible Cart (On Amazon)
24. Cover QR Code
If the app can’t recognize a barcode when taking a photo, try covering the QR code with your finger.
25. Download Store Apps
Some grocery stores are very large and it’s hard to find items. Download the store apps so you can see which aisle each item is when Instacart doesn’t provide that.
26. Talk With Customers
Use voice to text to message customers. This is a faster way to communicate and it’s also good to send messages to your customer for a chance to increase tips.
27. Save Deli Orders To The End
Save deli orders until after you hit go to checkout and enter all your receipt information. This way the deli orders don’t count towards your average time.
28. Hit Delivery Button When You Get In Your Car
Make sure you’ve paid for the groceries and are at least walking out before you tap Start Delivery. This way it seems like you’re getting to your customer faster.
29. Talk To Customer
When you deliver the order ask the customer how their day is going and chat with them. Your tips will increase from this in the long run.
30. Find More Ways To Be Faster
There are hundreds of other hacks you can find while shopping. If you keep searching for them you can go from making $12 hour to $25+ an hour.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up for Instacart here and start making money!