One question I get a lot is “How much does Instacart Pay?
While I’ve always had a general idea of Shoppers and drivers earned, I’ve never had truly granular understanding of the numbers. And to be honest, given that I run a website about ridesharing and delivery services, frustrated me quite a bit.
So after I got frustrated having no answer time and time again, I decided to put my head down, dig into the data, and answer the question once and for all.
After getting the opportunity to analyze real-world earnings data from Instacart Shoppers and drivers in 54 cities across the United States (big shoutout to Solo for the data), this is what I found.
Average Hourly Pay:
Instacart Shoppers earn an average of $18.95 per hour nationally, considering base pay, tips, and bonuses.
Base Salary Insights:
Median hourly pay is around $16.61, with cities like Las Vegas at $15.52 and Portland at $17.95.
Nationally, tips contribute about $9.90 per hour. Some cities like Tacoma-Olympia see an average of $21.84 in tips per hour.
Bonuses & Guarantees:
While not consistent, bonuses average $0.40 per hour. Instacart assures minimum earnings per batch order and compensates if weekly earnings fall short.
- How Does Instacart Calculate Pay?
- How Much Does Instacart Pay, On Average?
- How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Week?
- How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Delivery?
- Highest-Paying Cities for Instacart Shoppers & Drivers
- Notable Observations As I Analyzed the Data
- Our Take: Does Instacart Pay Well?
- Wrapping Up
How Does Instacart Calculate Pay?
Instacart’s payment structure for its shoppers and drivers is a multi-faceted system, designed to compensate them for their time and effort.
The primary components of this structure include a base pay, which is a predetermined amount for each order or delivery. On top of this, shoppers and drivers can also earn tips from customers, which can significantly augment their earnings.
Base pay is the fundamental component of any worker’s earnings. It’s the consistent rate at which a worker is paid for their service, irrespective of external factors.
The intriguing aspect is how much this can fluctuate based on the city. In regions with a high cost of living, like San Francisco, one might expect a higher base pay to offset living expenses.
However, this isn’t always the case. Other factors, such as supply and demand for services and competition, can play a significant role in determining base pay in various cities.
In addition to the base pay and tips, Instacart occasionally offers bonuses and incentives.
These bonuses can be for achieving certain milestones or for working during peak hours. Incentives, on the other hand, might be offered for completing a certain number of orders within a specified time frame or for maintaining a high customer satisfaction rate.
Together, these components aim to ensure that Instacart shoppers and drivers are fairly compensated for their services.
How Much Does Instacart Pay, On Average?
All in all, considering base pay, tips, and bonuses, an Instacart Shopper can expect to earn an average of approximately $18.95 per hour nationally, with fluctuations based on location and individual work patterns.
Instacart shoppers have a varied earning potential based on factors such as region, hours worked, and customer tipping habits.
How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Hour Before Tips?
On a national scale, the median hourly pay for Instacart shoppers hovers around $16.61, but this figure can differ significantly depending on the city. For instance, while shoppers in Las Vegas earn a median hourly pay of $15.52, those in Portland see a slightly higher rate at $17.95.
How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make In Tips?
Tips form a substantial part of an Instacart shopper’s income. Nationally, tips contribute approximately $2.50 per hour on average to a shopper’s earnings. In cities like Tacoma-Olympia, the average tips per hour soar to an impressive $21.84, whereas other cities like Atlanta see a figure closer to the $7.00 mark.
What About Bonuses?
Bonuses, while not as consistent as base pay or tips, provide an additional earning avenue for shoppers. The national average bonus sits at around $0.40 per hour. However, it’s worth noting that bonuses can be sporadic and are influenced by promotional events or peak shopping times, like weekends.
How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Week?
Instacart shoppers can expect weekly earnings between $200 and $1,800. Earnings depend on the number and size of orders completed.
While completing more orders generally results in higher earnings, larger orders can also boost pay. Occasionally, on-time order completions might come with promotional bonuses ranging from $0.50 to $0.75. Pay differs across cities and regions but always meets the minimum wage.
Full-service shoppers, due to tips, tend to earn more. While being proactive helps in maximizing earnings, some opt for a relaxed approach, preferring the steadiness of in-store shopping and the advantage of familiar store layouts.
How Much Does Instacart Pay Per Delivery?
Determining an exact pay per delivery for Instacart is challenging due to various factors like location and time of day.
Generally, shoppers can anticipate earning between $10 and $20 per batch, though there are outliers. Batch payouts consider factors like base pay, pay per mileage, per item, heavy order payouts, and tips. A good tip can raise a $15 batch to $20 or $25.
High earning batches, reaching up to $30 or $40, are often double or triple batches. While these can be challenging for newbies, experience can turn them into lucrative opportunities.
Minimum Pay for Instacart Delivery
Instacart assures a minimum earning per batch order, contingent on the shopper’s role. Full-service shoppers, handling both shopping and delivery, are guaranteed $7 to $10 for their orders, while delivery-only batches have a $5 minimum.
In regions like California, Instacart promises additional guarantees, such as $0.30 per mile and 120% of the state’s minimum wage for active shopping hours.
If a shopper’s weekly earnings fall short of these guarantees, Instacart compensates the difference, reflecting as a wage adjustment during cashouts.
Highest-Paying Cities for Instacart Shoppers & Drivers
Some cities have a better profit margin than others for Instacart shopping. Here’s a sampling of the earnings data:
|Average Hourly Pay
|Base Pay per Hour
|Bonus Pay per Hour
|Tips per Hour
|Top 15 Averages
Notable Observations As I Analyzed the Data
As I delved into the data, a few intriguing patterns caught my attention.
1. Tips Can Heavily Impact Earnings
Instacart suggests a 5% tip rate to customers. Tips typically increase during busy times or when shoppers exceed expectations. The natinoal average tip received by shoppers is $9.90 per order, but it can vary between $0 to $20+ based on order size and shopper performance.
Tacoma-Olympia stood out prominently with an impressive average hourly pay of $32.96. In stark contrast, Chicago recorded the least hourly rate at $18.65.
What caught my eye was noticing that Tacoma-Olympia also led in the tips per hour category, boasting a generous $21.84. This made me wonder about the culture of tipping in this city and how much it influences the overall earnings.
Meanwhile, San Francisco, despite its reputation for high living costs, surprisingly lagged with the lowest tips per hour, registering just $8.62. But a silver lining here is their higher base pay, somewhat offsetting the impact of lower tips.
Tip Baiting Concerns
One note I must mention regarding tipping: Tip baiting.
Tip baiting occurs when customers promise a high tip but reduce or remove it post-delivery. This tactic lures quicker deliveries. Instacart workers voiced concerns about this misleading practice.
To address tip baiting, Instacart modified their tip system in 2020:
- Customers now have only 24 hours, down from three days, to modify tips.
- Customers must provide feedback if they change their tip.
- Habitual tip baiting will lead to user removal from the app.
The updated system aims to safeguard driver earnings and maintain a motivated workforce. Before this change, tip reductions could severely impact earnings, with many relying on tips to bolster their pay. Excessive tip baiting demotivates workers and can result in decreased platform retention.
2. Peak Times Also Matter
Diving deeper into the data, I recognized a consistent trend suggesting that the hours between 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM seem to be the golden hours for work across most cities. This aligns with the popular shopping hours, and it’s a valuable insight for those keen on maximizing their earnings.
As for the best days, Sundays and Mondays repeatedly emerged as the clear winners. These insights led me to deduce that these might be the busiest shopping days, offering a plethora of opportunities for workers.
3. Promotional Pay Can Be Lucrative, Too
This component is particularly interesting.
Promotional pay is often provided as an incentive for workers to take on more tasks or work during specific hours. The wide variability in promotional pay from one city to the next can be attributed to multiple factors.
In cities where demand outstrips supply, platforms might offer higher promotional pay to attract more workers. Alternatively, in cities where there are more workers than required, promotional bonuses might be minimal.
Our Take: Does Instacart Pay Well?
For those seeking alternative sources of income, becoming an Instacart Shopper has become an attractive option.
On the surface, Instacart’s average pay seems to stand out, especially when compared to the likes of Uber drivers. Specifically, Instacart’s average hourly rate stands higher than many rideshare apps, allowing shoppers to earn without the nuances of having passengers in their vehicles.
However, it’s essential to consider the dynamics at play. Earnings can be influenced by various factors, including one’s geographical location and customer tipping habits.
For instance, bustling urban areas like Los Angeles may present higher earning opportunities than smaller markets such as La Mesa. Furthermore, while there’s no ceiling on potential earnings, the lack of guaranteed income remains a critical point of consideration.
It’s not all about delivery, though. Those looking for a more structured role might lean towards becoming an In-Store Shopper. These individuals earn around $13 per hour. They benefit from a more consistent pay structure, albeit without the added tips that delivery drivers might receive.
However, stepping into the shoes of an Instacart driver isn’t without its costs.
These shoppers, categorized as independent contractors, need to manage several out-of-pocket expenses. These range from fluctuating gas prices (which vary significantly from state to state) to insurance, vehicle maintenance, and taxes.
Such costs can quickly add up and significantly impact one’s net earnings. While Instacart doesn’t provide direct reimbursement for gas or mileage, savvy shoppers often employ cash-back apps to alleviate some of these costs.
It’s also worth noting that the IRS allows deductions for certain job-related expenses, a potential saving grace during tax season.
How much can you make a week with Instacart? Now you know! If you follow these tips, you’re well on your way to earning a great income as an Instacart worker.
So, what are you waiting for? Download the Instacart shopper app, sign up, and start grocery shopping.