how much does instacart pay

How Much Does Instacart Pay?

Ezra Cabrera | November 8, 2021


    Key Takeaways

    • Instacart is an online platform that allows shoppers to get orders from customers and shop for their needs at the nearest grocery store. It is currently servicing 50 states in the U.S. and a few major cities in Canada.
    • Being a full-service Instacart shopper allows them to earn up to $45 per hour depending on a number of factors including the type of orders, the distance covered by the shopper, and more.
    • Knowing how much Instacart pays its shoppers will encourage you to allocate your spare time delivering groceries to busy consumers.
    • Instacart has more than 300 retailers on its platform, including a few large retailers like Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, and Wegmans.

    Shopping on the Instacart platform is a great way for many people to earn money. It’s designed for gig workers who want to enjoy flexible work opportunities and drive around town. But what income potential does Instacart offer to its full-service shoppers? How much does Instacart pay them?

    This article will delve into what Instacart is and how self-employed individuals can take advantage of its platform. If you are currently looking for seasonal or temporary opportunities to ramp up your income, Instacart might just be the perfect solution.

    What is Instacart?

    Instacart is an online platform that connects its shoppers to customers who need groceries in real-time. By using the app, you get to find orders, shop at the nearest grocery store, and deliver the goods to customers. In return, you will get paid instantly. If your customer is happy with your service, you’re likely to earn more with tips.

    Currently, Instacart is servicing all 50 states and is currently in high demand in the following cities: Philadelphia, Washington, San Diego, Buffalo, Sacramento, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Rochester, and Columbus. It also operates in Canada.

    How Does Instacart Work?

    Grocery delivery services are growing in popularity with the pandemic still upon us. It offers convenience to customers, particularly those who are working from home. If it’s the first time you’ve heard about Instacart, here’s how Instacart works.

    In a general sense, Instacart lets users shop from any local grocery store online then sends them a personal shopper to buy their goods for them. The transaction is delivered to the users’ doorsteps within the day. While some grocery delivery services keep fresh produce in their warehouse, Instacart lets its shoppers to shop at grocery stores through its mobile app or website then drive to the customer’s address. This ensures that all goods are delivered fresh to the customers.

    How Much Does Instacart Pay?

    Self-employed individuals use Instacart because they can work flexible hours. They can basically work anywhere and anytime they want. But on top of that, shoppers enjoy high wages compared with full-time minimum wage workers. This is the reason why even those who have full-time remote jobs still work as an Instacart shopper–they get to earn even more when their work is done.

    When determining how much an Instacart shopper earns, it’s important to note a few things: the hours you spend delivering goods, the city you’re serving, and the tips your customers give you. In-store shoppers are paid on a fixed, hourly wage depending on your location so your daily, weekly or monthly earnings will vary.

    Instacart shoppers enjoy the high rates from hourly pay alone. However, this will depend on a few factors: first, the number of orders available for pick-up. You’re likely to earn more in highly populated areas because orders will keep coming in. The more people there are in a city, the higher the demand and number of orders available for pick-up.

    Second, the amount of tips you get from every completed order. Satisfied customers are likely to give you higher tips, and you get to keep the full amount of the tips you receive at any given day. So if you want to earn more, make sure to go the extra mile when shopping for and delivering to your customers.

    Estimated earnings

    Full-service Instacart shoppers earn on a per-order basis. For every delivery-only batch order, you get to earn a minimum of $5. For a full-service batch order (that means you’ll include shopping, pick-up, and delivery) you may earn anywhere between $7 and $10.

    Take note that the amount Instacart pays its full-service shoppers depends on the total number of items in the order, the type of goods you need to pick-up, the total distance you’ll travel from where you are to the grocery store to the customer’s address, and additional service fees for your overall effort.

    Not to mention, you get to earn more during peak hours and seasons. If you have spare time during the Christmas season, you might want to take this opportunity to generate more money.

    All things considered, one Instacart full-service shopper may potentially earn around $20 per hour including tips. On a good day, some shoppers may even earn as much as $45 per hour. That said, signing up with Instacart can help you have enough money to suffice for your daily needs, pay for college debt, plan a vacation, or even start your own e-commerce business.

    Pros and Cons of Driving and Shopping with Instacart

    Before signing up to the Instacart platform, there are a few things you need to consider. We listed here the pros and cons of driving with Instacart so you’ll know if this is the best delivery service platform for you.


    1. Available in most major cities. Instacart is available in all the major U.S. cities and Canada so you can easily join the platform wherever you currently are. Supposing that you are situated in a low-demand city, you can travel to a more populated location and serve customers there.
    2. In partnership with major retailers. Instacart is in partnership with several large national and regional retailers such as  Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, and Wegmans. It already has more than 300 retailers on the platform.
    3. Prioritizes health and safety. Because Instacart prioritizes the health and safety of its shoppers and customers, customers may use its Leave at My Door Delivery option. This can easily be ticked off by the customer upon checkout. Just remember to take a photo of the delivery and send it to the customer before leaving the address.
    4. Work at your own pace. There’s no limit as to how long you want to serve customers. If you only have two hours to spare a day, that will work. You can choose if you want to be a driver, a shopper, or both (full-service). Just take note that being a full-service shopper will guarantee you higher earnings.
    5. No strangers in your car. Some Uber drivers switch to Instacart as a side hustle because they won’t have to drop-off a stranger in a different location. They can enjoy their alone time, especially those who feel uncomfortable in small talks.


    1. Can be frustrating. Grocery shopping isn’t for anyone, so if this is not your cup of tea then you’ll find signing up for Instacart’s full-service option may not be good for you. You may spend time looking for the exact goods your customer included in their order, especially when you’re not familiar with the grocery store.
    2. Fluctuating earnings. Some days are great, some aren’t. While Instacart tells you how much you’ll potentially earn after taking one order, there’s no assurance that you’ll earn just the same with the next one. Also, demand is seasonal so there will be days when you won’t earn as high as you did during peak seasons.
    3. Some customers can be difficult. Some customers can be pretty demanding especially when they’re in a rush or when they need something specific. If you’re good with human interaction and know good customer service, then this won’t be a problem.
    4. Not available in rural areas.

    How to Be a Full-Service Instacart Shopper

    Instacart has provided an extensive process on how you can become a full-service shopper on their platform. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

    Full-Service Instacart Shopper Basic Requirements

    • You must be at least 18 years old
    • You must be eligible to work in the United States
    • You must have your own vehicle or at least consistent access to a vehicle
    • You must have consistent access to a smartphone
    • You must be able to lift up to 50 lbs or without accommodation

    Full-Service Instacart Shopper Application Process

    1. Head on to Instacart’s application page and fill out your personal information.
    2. On the page, you may be asked to choose between becoming a full-service shopper or in-store shopper.
    3. Fill out the questionnaire then wait for an application down link, which will be sent to you. After that, answer a few more questions related to your work preference (such as the number of hours you’ll likely work, etc.)
    4. Once you meet all the basic requirements, you will be asked to download the Instacart shopper app to complete the application process.
    5. You will undergo a background check and wait for your application to be approved by Instacart.
    6. Once you get accepted, you will be asked to schedule a one-on-one call with a representative from Instacart. Take note there are a lot of applicants to be an Instacart full-service shopper so give this interview all you’ve got.
    7. When you secure a schedule, you will be asked to attend an orientation which may take about two hours. This is a crucial onboarding process because you will learn how to deal with certain situations–such as how to know if the item is still fresh, what to do when the item is out of stock, or how to use the Instacart app to complete transactions.
    8. During the orientation, you will receive your prepaid card. This is where Instacart will pay you for your services.

    Instacart welcomes everyone on their platform from a wide array of industries and backgrounds. Those who already have an experience as a personal shopper or are involved in any grocery or transportation services like a driver, courier, professional driver, or food delivery driver may take advantage of Instacart to earn more.

    Is Instacart Worth It?

    Definitely. Instacart is one of the best ways to earn money on the side especially when you have free time. It’s a great way to earn extra, which you can use for emergencies. Some self-employed professionals treat Instacart as a full-time job because of the income potential it offers. Now that you know how much Instacart pays its users, you should go and sign-up today.

    About the Author

    Ezra Neiel Cabrera has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Entrepreneurial Marketing. Over the last 3 years, she has been writing business-centric articles to help small business owners grow and expand. Ezra mainly writes for SMB Compass, but you can find some of her work in All Business, Small Biz Daily, LaunchHouse, Marketing2Business, and Clutch, among others. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in bed eating cookies and binge-watching Netflix.