When John Miller signed up for Instacart, he had no idea how lucrative the work would be.
“An Instacart shopper can earn up to $1,500 a week,” he said. “And you can set your own schedule.”
If you’re looking for a well-paying side gig, delivering groceries as an Instacart worker can be a great option. The work is easy, and the pay can be excellent.
Instacart is the perfect 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 everything you need to know about the job.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service. Users place orders for food and household essentials, and an Instacart shopper handpicks the items before delivering them to the customer’s door.
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 with disabilities, limited mobility, or who don’t own a car.
The service is available in 34 states and hundreds of metro areas and neighborhoods. As demand grows and the company continues to succeed, the company plans to expand to all 50 states.
What the Instacart shopper experience is like
Though wages vary, Instacart shoppers can make as much as $20 an hour and choose how many hours they want to work each week. For Miller, who’s based out of Illinois, that means he can work longer shifts just a few days a week and still make a good income.
If you’re a driver or shopper with Instacart, there’s no limit to the number of hours you can work each week. (Though other roles impose a 29-hour workweek limit.)
If you worked just 15 hours a week, taking orders on nights and weekends when you aren’t at your full-time job, you could make up to $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 decided to make this gig a full-time job, you could earn much more. You could make $800 a week if you worked a typical 40-hour workweek, giving you have an annual income of $38,400. If you needed extra money to cover an unexpected expense, you could work a few extra hours to increase your income even more.
Instacart shoppers can receive in-app or cash tips. And unlike Shipt, one of Instacart’s leading competitors, the company offers a wage guarantee.
“The tipping option goes hand-in-hand with how an Instacart shopper gets paid,” said Miller. “And Instacart offers an hourly guarantee. This guarantee means that if a shopper is available for their selected hours, there is a minimum amount that the worker will receive. This is especially lucrative on the slow days.”
How to accept Instacart jobs and get paid
Unlike Shipt, where shoppers can accept orders hours or even days ahead of schedule, Instacart workers have a much shorter window. 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.
“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.
Shoppers are paid weekly via direct deposit.
How to become an Instacart shopper
Most Instacart shoppers are independent contractors. To qualify for a role, you must be 21 or older (18 or older in Boston) and be able to lift at least 30 pounds. You must be eligible for employment within the U.S. and have a recent smartphone.
There are four positions you can choose from: shopper, cashier, driver, and driver-shopper.
If you are a base shopper or cashier, you do not need a vehicle. However, you can only work a maximum of 29 hours a week, and the positions pay less than the other roles. Drivers or driver-shoppers can work an unlimited number of hours.
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 application process takes about five minutes to complete.
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. Then, it will ask you if you have access to a vehicle and have more than two years of driving experience.
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.
Next steps for your side gig
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. This Instacart review can help you navigate the application process so that you can get started quickly.
If you want to become an Instacart shopper, check out the Instacart site.
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