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Many opportunities exist inside the gig economy, like becoming shoppers for the grocery delivery service apps Shipt and Instacart.

Both of these services offer personal shoppers the opportunity to pick up groceries from a grocery store and deliver them right to someone’s door.

It’s a win-win situation where you get to help busy families while earning money your family needs.

But the real question is… does Shipt or Instacart pay more?

Keep reading to see which service makes the best fit for your situation.  

How Much Do Shipt and Instacart Shoppers Make?

Let’s start by breaking down what you can expect to earn while working for Instacart or Shipt.

On average, you can expect to earn somewhere between $11 and $20 per hour by choosing to drive and shop as a Shipt shopper or an Instacart shopper.

Each company claims a different amount, but that’s roughly what you can go by.

How Much Do Shipt Shoppers Make?

Shipt will tell you that you can earn up to $22 per hour.

However, pay close attention to the words “up to” in that sentence.

You won’t make $22 per hour on most normal Shipt shifts.

Expect to earn somewhere around $11 to $15 per hour.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make?

While the potential to make as much as $25 per hour exists with Instacart, many drivers report earning the same hourly rate as Shipt shoppers, coming in around $11 to $15 per hour.

Getting Granular With Earnings

It’s not enough to look solely at what you might expect to earn on an hourly basis.

Other factors come into play that affect the kind of income you can make with Instacart or Shipt.

Per-Order Pay

Both of these services offer per-order pay, which means you get compensated for every order you complete.

How Much Do Shipt Shoppers Make per Order?

Each order you deliver with Shipt starts at a commission of $5.

After that, you’re paid a commission of 7.5% on the order size.

For instance, if you deliver an order that amounts to $100 in groceries, then you’ll earn a total of $12.50.

If the order came to $200, you would make $20.

Multiply the order total by 7.5% and then add the first $5 commission to it to reach to your total.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make per Order?

Like Shipt, it’s challenging to provide a specific number on how much you can expect to earn on every Instacart order.

Here’s how to get an idea of what to expect.

Instacart provides two ways to earn money on its delivery app.

Working as an In-Store Instacart shopper is the first option.

As an In-Store Instacart shopper, you’re responsible for packing up the orders.

You don’t need to get into your car to deliver the grocery order to the customer.

The second option is to work as a Full Service Shopper.

In this case, you will perform the role of an In-Store shopper (shop for and pack up the order) and deliver the order to the customer’s home.

Hourly Pay

The hourly pay for Instacart and Shipt shoppers depends on factors such as order size and how long it takes to complete each order.

How Much Do Shipt Shoppers Make per Hour?

Using one of the examples provided above, you might earn $12.50 per hour if you can shop for and deliver a $100 Shipt order in one hour of work.

If you delivered the $200 order in one hour and earned $20, then you can make $20 per hour by getting it all done in 60 minutes.

As you can see, it all depends on how far away the grocery store is from you, how long it takes to shop, and how far you must drive to the customer’s location.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make per Hour?

The same factors come into play for Instacart workers as they do when working with the Shipt app.

You must select hourly shifts when working only as an In-Store shopper with Instacart.

You’ll work on a per-order basis when working as a Full-Service shopper, however.

You need to factor in the time it takes to complete each order to understand why your hourly rate might fluctuate between $11 and $15 per hour (or even go as high as $20 per hour).

Factors That Impact Income

A few factors can impact how much money you make with Shipt pay or through the Instacart app.

vector graphic showing two grocery delivery bags and a delivery driver in the middle of them to illustrate does shipt or instacart pay more

Order Size

Factor in order size if you’re looking for ways to maximize your income with either Instacart or Shipt.

Do Shipt Shoppers Get Paid for Bigger Orders?

You’ll get paid more on larger orders with Shipt because you’ll earn a larger amount after applying the 7.5% commission to the order total.

That’s why you can earn $23.75 on a $250 grocery order ($250 x 7.5% + $5 = $23.75) and only $14.38 on a grocery order of $125 ($125 x 7.5% + $5 = $14.38).

Of course, you need to factor in how much longer the bigger order will take to shop for and bag up.

Do Instacart Shoppers Get Paid for Bigger Orders?

Instacart’s pay structure is more complex than the Shipt pay structure.

Instacart uses the following factors to come up with your order pay:

  • Pay per item
  • Base pay
  • Pay per mileage
  • Heavy order-pay

With that said, you can expect to earn more on a bigger Instacart order than a smaller order.

Referral Bonuses

You can create another source of income by taking advantage of referral bonuses.

Both Instacart and Shipt payout bonuses when you refer other people to their platforms.

If you have friends who would also like to earn money as a personal shopper, then make sure they sign up under your referral code.

Does Shipt Offer Referral Bonuses?

You can earn $50 each time you refer someone else to the Shipt app.

The company only accepts new Shipt shoppers if the company sees a need based on demand in your local area.

You won’t get the bonus payout until after your referral completes ten orders in their first 30 days running multiple orders for the grocery app.

Does Instacart Offer Referral Bonuses?

Instacart also accepts new people based on demand in any specific local area.

Each local area also comes with a different referral bonus amount.

Most areas pay about $100 per referral.

However, other larger cities pay as much as $1,000 for an Instacart referral bonus.

The qualifications for the referral bonus also vary from city to city with Instacart.

First of all, you’ll need at least 40 hours logged with the Instacart app over the previous six months to qualify to get paid the bonus.

The number of orders your referral must complete (and the timeframe to complete those orders) varies depending on where you live.


You might wonder if you can earn tips while working for Instacart or Shipt.

The answer is “yes,” you can expect to get tips after completing an order on either one of the apps.

Do Shipt Shoppers Earn Tips?

Many Shipt customers will tip their Shipt shopper.

When you receive tips, this will, of course, increase the monthly amounts mentioned in previous sections.

If you can do an order that pays you $12 to $17 or so in one hour, then you can earn much more per hour after getting a $2 to $5+ tip.

You will receive 100% of your tip amount on top of your regular payout.

Do Instacart Shoppers Earn Tips?

The Instacart app includes a $2 minimum suggested tip.

However, many customers will tip you even more if the order is on the larger side.

Similar to Shipt, you will get 100% of the tip amount added to your regular order commission.

Whether you’re working for Instacart or Shipt, do your best to influence higher tips.

Use quality customer service at all times.

Notify them if any delays occur due to traffic or problems at the store.

Help them with their groceries.

Doing things like this will often garner you a higher tip.

Tips can make a huge difference in your overall pay at the end of each week.

The Verdict: Does Shipt or Instacart Pay More?

vector graphic showing two grocery delivery bags and a delivery driver in the middle of them to illustrate does shipt or instacart pay more

Too many factors exist to give a definitive answer on whether Shipt will pay you more than Instacart.

In all actuality, the pay is about equal across the board.

If you factor in what you can expect to earn on an hourly basis with Shipt and Instacart, expect to earn $11 to $15 per hour on average.

Once you get going with either one of the grocery apps, then it’s up to you to find pockets of time or order sizes that seem to maximize your final payouts.

Part of the gig economy system is thinking more like an entrepreneur, gaining some experience, and figuring out how to work each gig in your favor.

Can You Work for Instacart and Shipt at the Same Time?

You can log time on both apps and work as an independent contractor for each company.

Many shoppers do this to maximize their income potential.

Make sure that you’re not working more than the maximum number of hours allowed by either company so as not to risk losing your gig with one or both of them.

If you’re looking for full-time hours as a shopper, using both apps in conjunction with one another works well.

It’s a similar strategy that Lyft and Uber drivers use to get more hours each week than allowed by each individual rideshare app.

Is It Better to Work for Shipt or Instacart?

When comparing whether it’s better to work for Instacart or Shipt, it’s a similar thought process to which one pays more per hour.

It depends on what you’re looking for.

For example, do you like the idea of simply picking up grocery orders and avoiding the need to drive anywhere?

If so, then you should become an In-Store Instacart shopper.

You’ll pack up the orders for a Full-Service Instacart driver to pick up and deliver to the customer.

You can also pack up the orders that customers pick up at the curb.

If you’re going to drive the orders to customers, consider driving for both Instacart and Shipt.

In doing so, you’ll discover the nuances of each grocery delivery app and will figure out which one you like working for best.

One app difference to know about is that Instacart tells you exactly how much you’ll earn when taking an order.

The Shipt app only estimates how much you’ll make per order and how long it should take you to complete.

What Pays More Than Instacart and Shipt?

If you’re looking for another gig economy option that might pay better than Instacart or Shipt, then you’ll find it difficult.

Most of the available options out there pay somewhere in the same range of averaging $11 to $20 per hour.

For example, you might decide to deliver for UberEats, Postmates, Grubhub, or DoorDash.

These apps allow you to make restaurant deliveries to the homes and businesses of customers.

You’ll discover that the same variables exist with these types of delivery apps as when using Shipt or Instacart.

You might get stuck at a busy restaurant on one delivery trip that causes your per-hour pay to dip into the range of $10 to $14.

Or, you might make another quicker trip, receive a large tip from the customer, and end up making $22 for that hour.

The same goes if you decide to enter the rideshare market and drive for Uber or Lyft.

During one shift, you could get matched with passengers taking relatively long trips.

Uber and Lyft drivers get paid chiefly based on the distance traveled.

Longer trips pay them more, and customers typically tip larger amounts on those trips.

Another shift might give you several shorter trips that don’t pay as much as the longer trips, which could cause that shift to pay you only about $12 to $15 per hour.

Those longer trips on a shift might bring you closer to $20 per hour or more.

On the other hand, you might get a long trip with Uber during the Los Angeles rush hour.

Now, that long trip doesn’t look as good to you and your wallet.

In the end, these types of gig worker economy opportunities all average out to a relatively similar per hour experience.

How Shipt and Instacart Shoppers Can Earn More

Here are tips that Shipt or Instacart workers can use to maximize their income:

vector graphic showing a person confused about shipt vs instacart and which app to use

1. Accept all orders

Both the Instacart app and the Shipt app allow shoppers to choose the orders they want to accept.

Don’t cherry-pick ones that look the easiest.

Taking all of the available orders will help maximize your income potential.

2. Use both apps

As mentioned earlier, using Shipt and Instacart allows for a more significant number of orders and a bigger chance of earning extra money.

3. Drive the most direct route

This is an important one to mention with all gig economy apps.

Take the time to make sure your map app gives you the best route.

Sometimes, your personal knowledge of the local area will tell you when to avoid specific roads that the software maps you to.

4. Work during peak times

Peak times pay you more and can help maximize your overall earnings.

5. Go to locations with high demand

The Instacart app, for example, tells you how to find high-demand areas.

Go into those zones to maximize your opportunities to stay busy with back-to-back batches.

5. Stay up to date on the latest promotions

Both apps offer different promotional deals throughout the year.

Make sure you’re taking advantage of these deals to increase your earnings.

6. Do everything you can to keep your trips quick

Choose replacement options at the store quickly.

Don’t agonize over these decisions and lengthen your grocery shopping time.

Park close to the grocery store so you can get in and out as quickly as you can.

Are They Worth It?

Even though you now know that both Shipt and Instacart offer similar pay opportunities, you might wonder if it’s worth it to work for either app.

Is It Worth Doing Shipt Full Time?

Depending on your needs, it can work well using Shipt as your full-time gig.

Use the above tips to maximize your earnings, and you should end up earning more than the minimum wage hourly rates at other jobs.

Is It Worth Doing Instacart Full Time?

The answer is the same for Instacart.

You find it possible to earn as much as $800 to $1,000 per week working this opportunity on a full-time basis.

Wrapping Up

Does Shipt or Instacart pay more?

You know now that you can use these two grocery apps interchangeably to increase your income.

Both Shipt and Instacart provide a solid way to earn more for your family.

Give them both a try and see which one you like working for the best.

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