If you’re looking to make some extra cash, getting signed up for Instacart jobs is a great way to do it.
The Instacart app is becoming more popular, with more customers using grocery delivery services.
In this article, we’ll explain how to make the most money with Instacart.
You’ll learn how the app works and get tips for earning a quality income as an Instacart shopper.
Whether you’re already an Instacart shopper or just thinking about signing up, keep reading for some helpful advice.
Table Of Contents
How Does Being a Shopper for Instacart Work?
When you sign up to be an Instacart shopper, you agree to pick up and deliver orders from customers who want their groceries delivered in a specific time frame (usually within an hour).
You can choose how many orders you want to take on at any given time, and you’re able to decline any order that doesn’t fit into your schedule.
When an order comes in, the app will give you all of the information you need, including the customer’s name and address.
The Instacart app also provides you with the complete list of items needed for the order so you can pick them up from the store.
You’ll head to the store to pick them up and then head to the customer’s house to deliver them.
Full-Service vs. In-Store Shoppers
There are two types of Instacart shoppers: the full-service shopper and the in-store shopper.
- A full-service shopper picks up orders from customers and delivers them to their homes.
- An in-store shopper only works at the store itself.
Generally speaking, a full-service Shopper will earn more per hour than an in-store shopper.
Where to Work for Instacart
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at the Instacart opportunity.
The first is that not all cities have the same level of Instacart business.
Like San Francisco and New York, some cities have more Instacart shoppers than others.
If you’re looking to maximize your income potential as an Instacart shopper, it’s essential to consider where the most business is.
Cities With the Most Instacart Business
It’s impossible to list all the cities where you can work for Instacart.
However, here’s a list of some of the busiest Instacart cities:
- San Francisco, CA
- New York City, NY
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles, CA
- Denver, CO
- Atlanta, GA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Seattle, WA
- Austin, TX
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- Miami, FL
Tips to Make More Money With Instacart
Now that we’ve gone over how Instacart works, here are some tips for making more money as an Instacart shopper.
1. Have a Strategy
Like any type of delivery driver independent contractor opportunity, you need to work it with a solid plan.
- Accept as many orders as you can handle: The more orders you take on, the more money you’ll make.
- Decline any order that doesn’t fit into your schedule: It will help ensure that you’re not overwhelmed with too many orders at once.
- Follow the list closely when picking up items from the store: Make sure to check off each item on the list as you pick it up from the store. It will help to avoid any mistakes that could lead to a return trip.
- Pack the order neatly and carefully: Doing so will ensure that everything arrives at the customer’s house in one piece.
2. Go Above and Beyond for Customers
Keep in mind that Instacart workers are in the customer service industry.
Your ability to earn a tip for extra money depends on how well you treat your customers.
Here are five tips to help you do well in this area.
If an item on the customer’s order is unavailable, it’s your responsibility to reach out and let them know.
Many customers will understand if there’s a delay in their order due to substitution.
However, some might not like the change.
In either case, always communicate well with the customer, so they have all the information they need.
Follow Instructions Closely
When picking up an order from the store, make sure to follow the list closely.
It will help to avoid any mistakes that could lead to a return trip.
It will also help you get a nice tip.
Deliver on Time
One of the most important things you can do as an Instacart shopper is to deliver orders on time.
If a customer expects their groceries in the next hour and it takes you two hours to get there, they’re going to become disappointed.
Your delivery times must stay short if you expect a customer to tip you well.
As an Instacart shopper, you should always remain friendly to customers and other shoppers in the store.
It will help make your job more enjoyable and increase how much money you’re able to earn as an independent contractor for Instacart.
Be Ready With Substitutions
If a customer’s order includes an unavailable item, it’s your responsibility to find a substitution.
Find a list of items you can provide the customers as a replacement.
Contact your customer and ask them which item they prefer as the substitution.
3. Choose Your Hours Wisely
You can optimize the money you make on the Instacart app by selecting the best days and hours to work.
Busiest Days, Hours, and Areas
It’s essential to learn which days and times get busy so that you can plan accordingly.
The busiest times for Instacart shoppers are usually weekends.
However, weekday mornings and evenings also tend to have high demand as well.
The best way to find out how busy it will be during your shift is by checking the app.
For example, if you’re working in Washington D.C., look at how many orders exist on the app.
If 100+ orders need filling from just one location, then chances are good you should get out there to work a shift.
In addition to busy times and days, some areas are also more popular than others for Instacart shoppers.
For example, the San Francisco Bay Area is a high-demand area due to the high population density and expensive cost of living.
Consider working in a high-demand area if you’re looking to maximize your earnings potential with Instacart.
Let’s now go over additional tips to follow when your goal is maximizing your Instacart earnings.
4. Don’t Accept Far Away Orders
The Instacart app offers nearby orders first.
You can still accept a far away order if it’s convenient for you.
So how much money does an Instacart shopper make per delivery?
The answer depends on how long it takes from start to finish.
If the grocery store is close by and there’s no traffic, then an order that’s a few miles away shouldn’t take too long to complete.
If you’re getting sent to a store across town and there’s rush hour traffic, it could quickly turn into a two-hour delivery.
In this case, you’re not making as much money per hour as you would if you only accepted orders near your location.
5. Pick the Right Check-Out Lane
When you’re choosing a check-out lane at the store, make sure to pick the one that will go fast.
Some lanes have more people in them than others, which can slow down how quickly you’re able to complete an order.
For example, if there’s a long line at the express lane, you can choose a different lane so that you’re not held up.
Don’t forget to use instant cashout, as well.
6. Keep Track of Tax Deductible Items
When you’re grocery shopping for Instacart, make sure to keep track of the tax-deductible items.
Doing so will help reduce how much money you have to pay in taxes at the end of the year.
7. Save Money on Gas
If you can complete multiple orders in one trip, it will save you money on gas.
You’ll use your car for a shorter amount of time, which means less fuel consumed.
You can also help save money by using gas rewards cards and finding the cheapest gas stations in your area.
8. Use Receipt Award Apps
Consider using receipt award apps if you’re looking to increase how much money you make with Instacart.
These allow you to earn cashback on groceries already paid for through the app.
When you use a receipt award app like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta, it’s possible to earn up to $50 per month in cashback rewards.
Does Instacart Have Bonuses for Shoppers?
Yes, Instacart offers its shoppers various bonus programs to help you earn additional income.
Let’s review those now.
Instacart Shopper Signup Bonuses
If you’re referred to Instacart by another shopper, then you’re eligible to receive a signup bonus.
These bonuses are typically tied to completing a certain number of deliveries within your first 30 days on the job.
For example, if you sign up through a referral link and complete 20 deliveries in the first 30 days of getting approved as an Instacart shopper, then you’ll receive a signup bonus.
These bonuses range in amount depending on where you live.
You might expect to see signup bonuses from $50 to $500.
The bonuses tie to a different delivery number as well.
Some areas might want you to deliver more than 20 orders to qualify in your first 30 days.
Instacart Shopper Bumps
Once you become an Instacart shopper, you’re eligible for bumps.
Bumps are small bonuses given to shoppers depending on various situations.
How Do You Get Instacart Shopper Bumps?
Instacart pays out bumps for the following types of situations.
- Bad weather
- A customer cancels while you’re still shopping for items
- You need to carry heavy items
Other incidents might cause you to get paid a bump.
For example, if you’re bit by a dog at a customer’s house, Instacart may pay out a bump payment to you.
Other situations can help you earn extra promotional money from Instacart.
For instance, if it’s a busy weekend, Instacart may offer a promo for completing a certain number of delivery trips.
You can also earn more during surge times.
Instacart shoppers can make anywhere from $15 to $25 per hour when there’s a surge.
It’s because the company pays a higher fee for each order completed during a surge.
If you’re looking to make the most money with Instacart, then it’s essential to be aware of when surges are happening.
You can do this by checking the app’s surge map or by following Instacart on social media.
Things to Bring When You are Shopping for Instacart
There are a couple of rookie mistakes that you should avoid when your goal is making as much as possible from the Instacart app.
If you don’t bring freezer bags or a phone charger, you might find yourself in difficult situations.
1. Phone Charger
It’s essential to bring your phone charger with you when shopping for groceries through Instacart.
You’ll use the app extensively to track orders and find customer addresses.
The last you want to happen is to see your phone go dead while shopping or driving to a customer’s home.
2. Freezer Bags
In some situations, you might have an item that’s going to melt or spoil if it sits too long in your car.
It’s helpful to bring freezer bags with you when shopping for customers through the app.
You can use these bags for items like ice cream, meat, and cheese.
How to Know if Instacart is the Right Side Hustle for You
You might still wonder if doing grocery delivery for Instacart is the best gig for you.
Let’s review the pros and cons of becoming one of the newest Instacart workers.
- You have a flexible schedule when you drive for Instacart
- You work as much or little as you want to
- Wide market availability
- Potential for tips
- Less driving than with Lyft or Uber
- You might not get enough work during specific shifts
- Delays at the store cause frustration
- Inability to find certain items can slow you down
Now you know how to make the most money with Instacart.
It’s a great grocery delivery side hustle for those who want to make some extra money.
You have flexibility with your schedule, and you can work as much or as little as you want.
If you’re good at customer service, you can make some tips on top of your earnings.