If you’re looking for a flexible side hustle to earn extra cash, consider becoming an Instacart shopper. As an Instacart shopper, you’ll shop for and/or deliver groceries to people. You can you set your own schedule, and very possibly make some decent money on the side.
Instacart is a useful solution for those looking to earn extra cash outside of their full-time jobs. If you’re interested in signing up, this Instacart review has what we feel you should know about the job, including answers to these questions:
- What is Instacart?
- What is the Instacart shopper experience like?
- How do you accept Instacart jobs and get paid?
- How do you become an Instacart shopper in the first place?
- What are the next steps for your side gig?
Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service. Users place orders for food and household essentials, and an Instacart shopper handpicks the items. As an Instacart shopper, you could either put together orders and deliver them to the customer’s door, or solely shop in-store. With the latter option, no car is required.
For busy individuals who are short on time, using a grocery delivery service can help them get healthy, nutritious foods or snacks without spending hours at the store. It’s also a convenient option for those who have disabilities, have limited mobility or don’t own a car.
The service is available in all 50 states.
Although wages vary, Instacart shoppers can typically choose how many hours they want to work each week. There are two types of roles available for Instacart shoppers: full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers.
- Full-service shoppers: Shop for groceries and deliver them to the customer’s door. You’ll work as an independent contractor and need a car.
- In-store shoppers: Shop for groceries in-store, but don’t deliver them. You’ll be a W-2 employee and can work for up to 29 hours per week. No car is required.
If you worked just 15 hours a week and earned $20 per hour, you could make $300 a week. That extra $1,200 a month can go a long way in helping boost your savings fund or pay down debt faster.
If you needed extra money to cover an unexpected expense, you could work a few extra hours to increase your income even more. That said, wages vary, and you might make less than $20 per hour.
Instacart shoppers can also receive in-app or cash tips.
Instacart workers can choose their desired shifts, but they won’t receive orders until their shift starts. There can sometimes be fierce competition for orders, according to Instacart shopper John Miller.
“One begins this job by going on the Instacart shopper app and check-marking every available hour one wants to work throughout the entire work week,” explained Miller. “A new or part-time shopper has access to future jobs starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays. You better hurry, because those orders are often grabbed within five minutes.”
As a long-time shopper who picks up plenty of hours, Miller is part of a group who has early access to orders, which gives them an earnings advantage.
“When you work enough hours, you get ‘early access’,” he says. “This means the shopper can grab hours earlier in the week. Early access shoppers get access at 9 a.m. on Sundays.”
Once you have claimed your time slots, walk or drive to the delivery zone when your shift starts.
“If I’m on a shift with Instacart, I often park in a centralized lot because I live about 1,000 feet from the delivery zone,” said Miller. “Once a shopper accepts an order with Instacart, they have 30 minutes to start shopping. Because I shop at the same store almost exclusively, I know where most items are and am quite speedy with picking up the order.”
That speed really helps improve Miller’s earnings.
“Shoppers should stay in a zone with the most business and where they know the store,” he said. “It’s all about speed. The faster you complete an order, the faster you can move on to the next.”
Instacart shoppers are issued a special credit card to pay for groceries at the store, and their earnings are based on a commission of the total order cost. The more orders you complete, the more you get paid.
Most Instacart shoppers are independent contractors. To qualify for a role, you must be 18 or older and be able to lift at least 40 pounds. You must be eligible for employment within the U.S. and have a recent smartphone.
As mentioned, you can apply to be an in-store shopper or full-service shopper. Miller says the process to apply for Instacart jobs is quick and straightforward.
“The application process was simple and expedient,” he says. “[I went through a] background check, tutorial and a quick meet-and-greet to get the shopper’s lanyard and T-shirt. I was hired and working within a week.”
To get started, visit the Instacart “Become a Shopper” page.
The site will ask you to enter your information, including your ZIP code and cellphone number. From there, you will be prompted to confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements.
Once your application is approved, you are asked to schedule an in-person meeting with a company representative at a local grocery store. You’ll learn how Instacart works and how to use the app to select orders. After your in-person session, Instacart will perform a background check.
The biggest perk of Instacart is the ability to control how much you work and what you earn; you can log in and select hours that fit your schedule when you need the cash.
In most cases, you can begin shopping and earning money within one week. The Instacart review above has all the application process details so that you can get started quickly — you can connect with them via the link in the previous section.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.