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Become an Instacart Shopper: Apply to Shop or Drive

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Key Information

Why Shop for Instacart?

Earn extra money, enjoy a flexible schedule, and develop a new skill set by shopping for others’ groceries.

Key Requirements:

Must be 18+, eligible to work in the US or Canada, possess a smartphone, and for full-service shoppers, own a registered and insured vehicle.

Application Process:

A simple online application including a background check via Checkr. Approval may be delayed due to high volume or other factors.

Roles & Opportunities:

hoose between in-store shopping or full-service (shop & deliver). Instacart also offers roles in customer service for those looking for desk job alternatives.

During your regular grocery store visits, you might have spotted individuals donning green shirts, using their phones, and scanning items as they add them to their carts. These are Instacart Shoppers, part-time employees who provide a valuable grocery delivery service for those who either lack the time or ability to shop on their own.

In today’s thriving gig economy, with platforms like Postmates, Uber, and Lyft on the rise, becoming an Instacart shopper has never been more enticing.

Interested in joining their ranks? We’ve detailed everything you need to know about the application process and what to anticipate below.

Reasons to Become an Instacart Shopper

There are various reasons why becoming an Instacart shopper would be beneficial, but three reasons stand out in particular.

  • Make Extra Money: If you want to make money outside of what you’re making as an employee elsewhere, you can earn easy extra cash by shopping for other people’s groceries.
  • Kill Time: Another benefit is that you can work on your own schedule, serving as your own boss. This flexibility allows you to decide when your next shift will be and what kind of flexibility you need to be able to perform the job duties.
  • Develop a New Skill Set: Another highlight of the gig economy, in general, is that you get to pick up a new skill or service. In this case, that’s learning how to find fresh groceries and essentials and navigate a shopping cart through the sometimes busy grocery aisles.

Instacart Shopper Requirements

Are you considering becoming an Instacart shopper to earn some extra money and make productive use of your free time? Before you apply, take a moment to review the minimum requirements. If you meet these qualifications, it might be the perfect time to begin your application

Requirements for Full-Service Shoppers

18 years or older

Eligible to work in the United States or Canada

Consistent access to a smartphone with iOS 9 or later or Android 5.0 or later

Possession of a registered, insured vehicle that works

Ability to lift at least 30 pounds

Ability to satisfy all of Instacart’s food safety policies

Requirements for In-Store Shoppers

18 years or older

Eligible to work in the United States or Canada

Consistent access to a smartphone (same operational requirements as above)

Ability to lift at least 30 pounds

Ability to satisfy all food safety policies

As you can see, the only real difference between the two requirements is the vehicle. Since you’ll be driving for deliveries, to be a full-service shopper, you need to also have a car that is registered, insured, and functioning. To become an In-Store Shopper, you won’t need this part.

Instacart Insurance Requirements

As mentioned earlier, Instacart requires certain workers to have insurance – a stipulation that applies specifically to those applying as full-service shoppers. There’s no need for specialized commercial insurance; you simply need to ensure your coverage meets the minimum state requirements.

For those interested in only in-store shopping without making deliveries, there’s no insurance requirement.

Related: Does Instacart provide insurance?

Instacart Background Check

Instacart, in its effort to vet potential employees and contractors, mandates a background check for all applicants prior to finalizing any new positions.

They outsource these checks to a third party, Checkr, Inc. When you accept a conditional offer from Instacart, it gives them the authorization to carry out this check.

Instacart conducts thorough background checks on potential hires but does not publicly disclose specific criteria. Key areas of evaluation include:

  • Driving History:
    • Emphasis on moving violations, DUIs, and major safety violations.
    • Sources: Public driving databases and national violation records.
  • Criminal History:
    • Focus on recent felonies, violent crimes, and recurrent criminal patterns.
    • Methods: SSN Trace, Locator Select, and Nationwide Criminal Database.
  • Background Check Duration: Varies based on record availability and regional policies, with no fixed timeframe mentioned. Juvenile records aren’t typically reviewed.
  • Disqualifications: While not specified by Instacart, common reasons from research include significant moving violations, recent felonies, and being a registered sex offender.

Typically, the background check process is completed within 10 days. However, certain factors like court closures or high request volumes might extend this timeframe. If you’re anxious about this and would like to monitor the status of your Instacart background check, you can refer to the Checkr applicant portal for timely updates.

How to Become an Instacart Shopper

Applying to drive for Instacart is a very simple process and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Documents You’ll Need

You’ll need to show a driver’s license if you’re applying to be a full-service shopper, otherwise, any ID will work. Other than that, you just need to hook up a debit card to the account so you can get paid.

How to Apply for Instacart [Tutorial]

vector graphic showing man in the process of trying to become an instacart shopper

Follow these instructions to become an Instacart Shopper.

Total Time: 2 minutes

1. Click the Referral Link

To join the company and become an Instacart driver, first click our referral link that will take you to the driver sign up page on the Instacart website.

Once there, enter your first name, last name, email address, zip code, and referral code if you have one.

2. Download the Instacart Shopper App

From there, the application will prompt you to download the Instacart Shopper app.

Enter your phone number in the box and appears, and a download link will be sent to your mobile device.

3. Enter Basic Information

Fill in the form with your first name, last name, email, cell phone number, and ZIP code.

You can also enter a referral code if another Instacart Shopper referred you to drive for Instacart.

Then, tap “Create account.”

4. Confirm Account

You’ll then receive a verification code via text.

Enter the code in your app.

Enter that into the screen that says “Enter SMS Code”

5. Confirm You Meet Requirements

Confirm you meet the Instacart Shopper requirements.

6. Confirm you have a car.

You will then need to confirm that you have a vehicle to drive.

7. Choose Role

Select the “Shop & Drive” gig, read through the details about the gig, and tap “Choose this role.”

8. Begin questionnaire

Tap “Start” to begin the questionnaire. It will ask you about your experience working at grocery stores or in customer service roles and what you would do in relevant situations.

9. Take Photo

Once you’ve finished the questionnaire, tap “Take photo” to submit images of the front and back of your driver’s license.

10. Follow Remaining Prompts

Follow the remaining prompts to submit the required personal information and authorize a background check.

Once your documents and questionnaire answers are accepted and your background check comes back clean (usually in about a week), Instacart will mail you a prepaid debit card.

Once you receive your card, which you’ll use every time you check out at the store, you can start your first delivery.

What to Expect After Applying for Instacart

Once you apply, what’s next? In between your application and your approval, here’s what to expect.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Instacart Shopper?

The approval process is usually only held up by the background check, which takes an average of ten days. However, it can become a longer process if there is abnormally high volume or any distinct court closures.

What Does the Instacart Shopper Approval Process Entail?

The approval process entails verification of the details you provided, including checking to see that you meet the basic requirements for the role you’ve applied for.

How Will I Know if Instacart Approved or Denied Me After Applying?

You can go into the Shopper app and look for your signup status. If it says “Awaiting Approval”, that means the team hasn’t had time to review your application yet.

What if I Get Waitlisted by Instacart?

If you get find yourself on the Instacart waitlist, that just means the zip code where you live is already too saturated with drivers or shippers. Over time, as things change, you may be accepted.

If you’re willing to shop in an area other than your own zip code, you can reach out to
Instacart customer service.

You can start a live chat with an Instacart agent or send them an email to share these new zip codes. You may be able to skip the waitlist by working outside of your immediate area.

What Happens if I Get Denied by Instacart?

If you get denied, you have legal rights to fix any mistakes that may have led to this or even sue for damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Things to Keep in Mind After Applying for Instacart

Once you apply and are accepted, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you get started working your new part-time gig.

1. There is a Learning Curve

The first thing you need to know is that yes, there is a learning curve.

Even if you’re a pro-shopper for yourself, shopping for others and learning how to use the Instacart shopper app can be a bit challenging at first. Don’t expect to complete your order shopping as fast as you would your own, and give yourself time to get the hang of it.

2. Gain Experience from Other Shoppers

You can learn a lot about the Instacart experience from other shoppers. You’ll see them in the stores, with their branded shirts and carts full of insulated Instacart bags.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, help, or even stories of their experience working for the grocery delivery service. It’s a great way to ease yourself into the job and get to know others doing the same thing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting your career as an Instacart driver is simple, especially when you’re confident you meet all the requirements for the role. Read our answers to these frequently asked questions for additional information about the Instacart Shopper gig.

Do Instacart Shoppers Get the Delivery Fee?

Yes, they must pay for delivery unless they are an Instacart Express member.

Can I become a full-service shopper if I have a standard bike or electric scooter?

Unfortunately, Instacart does not allow bike or scooter deliveries. All full-service shoppers must have access to a car that can transport groceries safely.

We recommend at least having a standard sedan with a roomy trunk, as grocery delivery orders tend to be larger than your typical food delivery requests.

Do Instacart Shoppers Get a Discount on Delivery?

No, they do not get a discount on delivery. However, Instacart offers other perks through Perkspot. If you’re looking to save on your grocery orders, then consider signing up for a separate customer account using an Instacart promo code.

Who pays the Instacart Shoppers?

Instacart pays their shoppers either hourly wages for in-store shoppers or a wage based on the order for full-service shoppers.

It’s worth noting that, Instacart Shoppers don’t pay for groceries out of their own pockets. Instead, the company issues them a card that can be used to charge the groceries to the company.

Can I drive for Instacart full-time?

Absolutely. If you’re looking for a full-time opportunity rather than a part-time job, Instacart can definitely be an option.

The company doesn’t limit the hours you work, so you can potentially pick up a 40-hour equivalent of batches per week if enough demand is present. However, as an independent contractor, you won’t qualify for any benefits or be guaranteed a specific amount of orders.

Final Thoughts

You have two options if you’ve thought about joining the Instacart ranks. You can either become an in-store shopper and part-time Instacart employee (no car needed), or you can be a full-service shopper working as your own boss using your car to deliver groceries.

As long as you meet the company requirements and pass the background check, it’s an easy sign-up process. Become an Instacart shopper when you sign up today.