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Do You Tip Instacart Shoppers? Amount & Etiquette Explained

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Key Takeaways

  • Tipping Instacart shoppers reflects appreciation for their personal shopping service.
  • Instacart suggests a 5% default tip or $2 minimum, whichever is higher.
  • Adjust tips up to three days post-delivery to reflect service satisfaction.
  • Shoppers receive 100% of tips, directly impacting their earnings.

Do You Tip Instacart Shoppers?

Yes, you should tip Instacart shoppers. Tipping is optional but recommended as a way to show appreciation for the shopper’s service, which often includes both shopping and delivering your groceries.

Instacart suggests a default tip of 5% or a higher percentage based on your most recent order, with a recommended minimum of $2 per delivery.

For curbside pickup, even though it might seem that the service is less intensive, the person bringing your groceries to your car likely also did the shopping, deserving a tip as well.

However, I do think the tip for curbside pickups should be a bit lower than normal Instacart orders. I usually tip around half of what I would normally, since there is no drive time or expense (which includes the shopper paying for their own gas and vehicle).

It’s also worth nothing that you can change the amount of your tip after the delivery if you weren’t happy with your shopper.

How Much Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

You should tip Instacart drivers based on the level of service you received during the delivery. 100% of your tip goes directly to the Shopper, so you are directly rewarding them for their performance.

This takes into account common factors like order correctness, speed of delivery, and the amount of communication from the shopper.

I typically recommend:

Tipping Amounts for Great Service

Exceptional service deserves recognition with a higher tip, starting at 20%. Consider factors such as the complexity of your order, the delivery time, and how much the service benefited you. A tip of 20% or more can significantly express your appreciation for their effort and quality service.

Tipping Amounts for Average Service

A tip of 15% to 18% is standard for service that meets basic expectations. The order may not have been great, but it may not have been bad either.

In these cases, I think an average tip is almost expected by the shopper. This acknowledges the effort of the shopper in fulfilling and delivering your order, even if there were minor issues.

Tipping Amounts for Poor Service

Most customers sometimes misinterpret something out of the driver’s control for poor service. In these cases, even if the service is below expectations, consider keeping the default tip of 5%.

Before removing the tip, attempt to resolve any issues with Instacart or the store to understand any potential reasons behind the service quality.

A 5% tip can serve as constructive feedback without entirely penalizing the shopper for possibly uncontrollable circumstances.

Example: Calculating a Hypothetical Tip

Here are the most common methods for calculating an Instacart tip.

  • Move the total bill’s decimal one to the left and double that number.
  • Take the tax of the bill and double it. (You can’t use this method with food items as they aren’t taxable, but it’s suitable for everything else.)
  • Double the pretax bill and move the decimal over one space.
  • Take 10% of the bill and add 50% to that number.
  • Use Instacart to help you establish standard tip percentages or use a custom tip of your choosing.

You Should Know

Instacart drivers can see the tip amount before accepting an order, which includes details like the number of items and delivery distance.

This transparency helps drivers make informed decisions about the orders they choose to accept, however, you should keep this in mind while selecting a tip.

How to Tip an Instacart Shopper

Tipping an Instacart shopper is a straightforward process that you can complete during checkout or adjust after your delivery has been completed.

Tipping on Instacart Before the Delivery

First, go to the checkout page once you have all the items in your cart that you’d like to purchase as part of your order.

You’ll need to go through a few steps, like adding delivery instructions and selecting a delivery time, before you can add or modify a tip.

At some point after this, somewhere in the payment details you’ll clearly see an option to add or modify a tip.

The tip option changes for me constantly – sometimes it appears as a checkbox, other times it appears as an intermodal box that pops up during checkout.

a screenshot of the instacart tipping screen

The checkout page will suggest a default tip of 5%, which usually comes out to be around $2-5, depending on the size of your order.

You can change this by either selecting the “change” button that sometimes appears, or in the case of my example, simply selecting another option.

Once your tip is selected, you can place the order.

Tipping in Cash During the Delivery

For those who prefer to give a cash tip, you can hand it to your driver upon delivery.

However, given how most people use contactless delivery, I suggest notating a cash tip within the delivery instructions of your order or the app’s messaging function. This helps the driver to understand they’re getting tipped and to not leave without it.

It’s worth noting, however, that Instacart batches are claimed by shoppers. If they see an order without a tip, they may be less likely to claim it right away, meaning that your delivery time may take longer.

In some cases, while highly unlikely, a shopper might not claim your order at all and there’s potential for your order to be automatically cancelled and your money refunded.

This is a very common issue with both DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Adjusting an Instacart Tip After Delivery

Instacart understands that service quality can sometimes only be fully assessed after the delivery has been completed. That’s why the platform allows customers the ability to modify their tip amount post-delivery, for up to three days after the transaction takes place.

This feature allows customers to adjust their tip based on the actual service received, ensuring that it reflects their level of satisfaction.

Immediately following your delivery, the Instacart app will present an option to adjust your tip directly through a receipt pop-up or via a link in your emailed receipt.

image showing an Instacart receipt emailed post-delivery

In the emailed receipt, the ability to change a tip isn’t very clear. However, you can do so by selecting the “Rate your order” or “Get help” options at the bottom of the email.

If you wish to modify your tip later, you can do so through both the Instacart website and app.

On the website, access your order details through the Menu, select “View Order Detail,” and then choose “Rate Order” to update your tip.

Similarly, in the app, navigate to “Your Orders,” select the appropriate order, and then “Rate and Tip” to adjust the tip amount.

A Brief Overview of Tip Baiting and Why It Should Be Avoided

Tip baiting refers to the deceptive practice where customers initially offer a large tip to entice Instacart shoppers to quickly accept and prioritize their order, only to reduce or entirely remove the tip after the delivery is completed.

While not exclusive to Instacart specifically, this practice has become widely abused by customers using both grocery and food delivery services.

This tactic has been around for quite some time, but became more prominent during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, as demand for delivery services surged and both shoppers and customers shifted to ordering food almost exclusively online.

Be careful to avoid tip baiting though. Instacart is cracking down hard on the practice, especially given that Shoppers often rely on tips to supplement their earnings, which may otherwise be close to minimum wage.

Customers are now allowed a 24-hour window to adjust the tip after delivery, and those who repeatedly engage in tip baiting risk being banned from the platform.

Additionally, when adjusting a tip downwards, customers are required to provide a reason for their decision.

In addition, if a customer tip-baits a Shopper, Instacart is now giving that Shopper $10 as a way to maintain fairness on the platform.

Wrapping Up

Committing to Instacart tipping is the best way to ensure your helpful Shoppers are making a living wage.

While tips may be listed as optional on the Instacart platform, always remember that your drivers are providing a service,  just like waiters at your favorite restaurants, and a zero-tip order can cause their hourly earnings to take a hit.

The responsible way to order through this food delivery service is to view 15% as the average — and give a little extra when your Instacart Shoppers deliver your order perfectly and are friendly as can be.

1 thought on “Do You Tip Instacart Shoppers? Amount & Etiquette Explained”

  1. 5 Percent is ridiculously low considering someone has to have rideshare insurance gas and their time to deliver your order terrible advice on the tip


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