Last year, social media specialist Amy Barton was facing a sick dog and expensive veterinarian bills that ate up her savings. In need of extra cash, she signed up to be a Shipt shopper. A flexible gig that lets her work as much as she wants, Barton describes it as the perfect side-hustle for her needs.
“The beautiful thing is, I can work 50 hours a week if I want,” says Barton. “Or I can not work at all, for weeks at a time. Shipt is built on that flexibility. It’s as easy as opening my phone app and putting myself on the schedule for the day, hour, or week.”
What is Shipt?
Known as the Uber of food shopping, Shipt is a grocery delivery service app. Customers place their orders on Shipt, choosing items from a local grocery store. Shoppers, who work as independent contractors, pick up the items and deliver them directly to clients’ doors.
Whether users want fresh vegetables or need medicine, Shipt shoppers provide same-day delivery. For people with tight schedules or who just hate the grocery store, it’s a great option.
The service is available in 25 cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Orlando, Houston, and Phoenix. As demand grows, the company expects to expand to more cities and states.
The shopper experience
When it comes to wages, shoppers can make up to $25 an hour and can work as many or as few hours as they want. Shoppers get a percentage of each order’s cost and they can earn tips.
“Everyone’s hourly rate differs and depends on various factors,” says Barton. “How fast you shop, how many gigs you can squeeze in, and how many tips you receive all play a part. On average, I make between $18 and $22 an hour.”
Tips are not mandatory; customers can add a tip to their bill via the app after the shopper delivers the food. However, Barton says customers tip only about 50 percent of the time.
“People think the company pays us more handsomely than we are,” explains Barton. “Because Shipt is a paid membership service, people think we get a larger cut of what they’re paying.”
But Barton stresses that the job is rewarding, citing her favorite thing as the gratitude people express.
“I got an order one night in advance for normal, everyday things. I woke up the next morning, and the order had been changed multiple times to add things like Pepto Bismol and Advil, so I figured the lady must be sick,” says Barton.
“While shopping, I grabbed her a $4 bunch of flowers and a balloon. She almost cried, and I almost cried. We underestimate how meaningful human care and interaction can be.”
In addition to earning money delivering groceries, shoppers can also earn income by promoting the service.
“You make commissions from both new customers signing up through you and new employees referred by you,” says Barton. “Promote yourself, use social media, get out in the community, attend events, and wear your Shipt shirt.”
How to become a Shipt shopper
Shipt is always hiring shoppers in areas where they offer their services. Anyone can become an independent contractor if they meet the following requirements:
- 18 or older
- Have access to a reliable car
- Current driver’s license
- Knowledge of produce selection
- Own an insulated cooler bag
- Can pass a thorough background check
- Ability to lift 25+ lbs
- Own a smartphone
The application is simple. It asks for basic information about where you live and confirms that you have a car and a cooler bag.
The form also prompts you to list your availability and has two short-answer questions. Next, you need to explain why you want to be a shopper and what apps you use on a regular basis.
Before you can submit your application, you need to attach a copy of your automobile insurance to prove that you have coverage. Once you hit submit, your application will be reviewed. Most potential shoppers hear back in just a few days.
Once approved, Shipt will send you a T-shirt and you are cleared to start. Using their app, you can choose your hours. Deliveries are available between 8 am and 10 pm, seven days a week.
You do not have to agree to a set quota. Instead, you can log in and sign up for deliveries whenever your schedule allows.
What deliveries you do is entirely up to you. Some shoppers only deliver orders if they reach a certain price point, or only take customers within a few miles of their home. The app gives you the freedom to do what works for you.
If you want to become a Shipt shopper and earn extra income on your own schedule, check out the Shipt website.
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