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How Much Does Instacart Pay In 2024? [Data From 54 Cities]

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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.

Key Takeaways

  • Instacart offers base pay plus tips; earnings average $18.95/hour nationally.
  • Median hourly pay is around $16.61, with tips adding about $2.50/hour.
  • Weekly earnings range from $200 to $1,800, depending on orders and size.
  • Pay per delivery varies, but shoppers can expect between $10 and $20 per batch.

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.

image showing an overview of how much instacart pays

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:

CityAverage Hourly PayBase Pay per HourBonus Pay per HourTips per Hour
Tacoma-Olympia32.9610.860.2621.84
Seattle26.0411.000.3114.73
Milwaukee25.389.861.0414.48
New Haven24.338.940.6414.75
Portland24.137.990.7415.40
San Diego23.7311.280.3712.08
Bay Area23.5013.440.259.81
New York22.9311.090.6111.23
San Antonio22.678.440.4013.83
Minneapolis22.519.470.2712.77
San Francisco22.3613.680.068.62
Los Angeles21.4612.430.248.79
Sacramento21.3312.200.059.08
Riverside21.2711.410.099.77
Austin20.748.950.4711.32
Top 15 Averages21.4311.730.189.52

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.

Wrapping Up

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.

4 thoughts on “How Much Does Instacart Pay In 2024? [Data From 54 Cities]”

  1. This is old information. For full shoppers, Instacart pays under minimum wage now with a base pay of $7.00 per batch regardless of whether the batch has one or multiple orders. It also does not pay by item so you can get a batch of 8 items for $7.00 or 88 items and more for $7.00. The gas and maintenance on your vehicle is part of the base amount of $7.00. They do still pay for heavy items as of today but I expect that will go away as well. The typical job one sees now is between $7.00 and $15.00 and on average 40 to 100 items. They take approximately an hour to shop plus delivery time. In my zone delivery time is on average 15 minutes to 30 minutes. They are basically paying for you to get there in your car and a minimal amount which is WELL under minimum pay. The tips change throughout the order even going up by a dollar or less which indicates they are playing with the tips. I worked for them full time for 3 years and maintained a very high rating. I really enjoyed this company but as of this time I do not work for them except very occasionally since they have clearly changed their policies and their ethics have taken a back seat for profits.

    Reply
    • I’m not so sure about tips changing “throughout the order even going up by a dollar or less which indicates they are playing with the tips.” IC shoppers don’t see the batch pay once they accept an order until after the order is completed. The tip amount can change if a customer is tipping a percentage rather than a fixed amount and an item or more are refunded or added to the order, changing the total cost. IC clearly shows the original est. pay and the final actual pay once the order is completed.

      Reply
  2. Hello 👋 I’m a multi-platform worker. I work for Instacart, Uber eats, doordash, flipcart, corner shop… etc. this article is pretty accurate. It’s very hard (actually impossible in my opinion) to say how much any gig worked on this side of gig working gets paid. To be 100% honest with you… my personal experience best paying shop and deliver for me Is corner shop. Corner shop has been around for a while and recently was bought by Uber. Unlike Instacart where to could have an order with 50-100 items the most items I’ve ever shipped for on corner ship was around 20. (That being said you spend last time in the store per customer) you are paid in 2 portions first part is paid per item and of course shopping the order and the second portion to your pay is distance from store to customer. Instacart has batched orders meaning you can shop for up to bc 3 customers at a time (and 3 different delivery addresses so it’s always important for me to look at distance and how many customers I have in a batch) I also have to mention that when you have a batched order with more than one customer you DO NOT GET A HIGHER BASE PAY. Instacart classifies these multi-customer orders 1 batch so you only get the $7-$10 Instacart pay regardless if you have 1 customer or 3 customers. If the 3 customers tip well it could possibly be worth it if you are desperate for money like me. Corner shop does not do this. You only have 1 customer. Corner shop pays more for 1 customer than Instacart pays for a 3 customer order. Corner shop shows you what corner shop will pay you upon acceptance. They never include any upfront tip amounts. If the customer tips you will see it after delivery. Only problem with corner shop online Instacart who has tons of store choices, corner shop has a handful. Corner shop in my area has about 6-8 stores displayed but honestly there’s 3 main stores which is Randall’s, Fiesta and Costco. The others I’ve never heard of before so I can’t tell you much about shopping at the others. It’s impossible to get more than 1 order shopped and delivered with Instacart. So the $7-$10 base pay (not including heavy pay, promotions etc) is what you get per hour in most cases. Also I saw the promotions you listed and I’ve never headed of the quality bonus. I’m a 5 star shopper with a couple hundred give it take orders under my belt and I’ve never been rewarded for this. Customer service just said because I’m a 5 star shopper I will see the best paying batched first (this is hard to believe). Also on the shopper end of the app batched are posted as they come in and they are taken the second they go up. If you’re not staring at the app On your phone waiting for an order to pop up to accept it before even looking at the details to make sure pay is worth that shop you will never get an order. Corner shop personally sends each individual shopper an opportunity to accept a batch within a few minutes which shoppers can accept or deny. If you do not accept or deny within a few minutes then the order goes to another shopper. So you’re actually given a chance.

    This is the wrong article but it kind of goes along with this article. In my experience of a combined probably just under 2,000 food deliveries Uber eats in my area with combining tip amount with Uber eats base pay pays better than doordash. But anyways back to this article… depending on how I accept Uber eats orders and what the distance and pay are and how quick the restaurant gets the order to you and the time of day,,, I can probably do (give or take an order) 3 orders in an hour with an average (including tips) of between $4-$10 per order. So you’re looking at a possible $12-$30 in an hour for food deliveries. Of course at times that’s not the case depending on a lot of factors but this pays more in all than Instacart. Less work and less hassle. I’ve been tip baited a handful of times all but a couple have been on Instacart (where shoppers rely on their tips the most). I’ve never had my account hacked in any order platform other than Instacart. I received an “order” a couple weeks ago that was not from Instacart but I received it through the Instacart platform. Instacart also has those bots that steal all the high paying orders. So security of Instacart system in whole is not too secure in my opinion. But I still shop and deliver with Instacart when I am quick enough to swipe a decent paying order or accept low ball orders when I’m desperate. I’m the only provider for my family so my income from these gig jobs are the only source of income for us.

    Anyways thanks for your time listening to my experiences with these companies and over all great article!! 👍

    Reply
  3. As an Instacart shopper that moved from California to New Jersey, I’m really surprised that I do not make minimum wage! I figured out that I make between four and seven dollars per hour! In California we are guaranteed a minimum wage of $18 per hour. My time counts from the minute I start shopping to making a delivery. If my hourly rate does not come out to be $18, Instacart makes up the difference. But here in New Jersey people are basically working and making no money. When there’s three customers in a batch, you only find out after you make the delivery that one of the customer didn’t tip a dime! When I’m shopping, I shop for the customers as if I was shopping for myself! I make sure that each item is in great shape. I shall check the dates on perishables. I was a five star in California gold status. When I moved here, they took my five stars away. I now have to make a certain amount of deliveries in order to get my five star gold status back. We all work work very hard and it is so unfair how much we get paid here in New Jersey. Is it legal for them to pay below minimum wage? That is my question! I actually love doing Instacart, but very unhappy with the pay! Something Has to be done about our payment from Instacart!

    Reply

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