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How Being On The Instacart Waitlist Impacts Your Application

Learn about what the Instacart waitlist is, how long you'll be on it, and what you can do to improve your chances of getting off it.

Key Takeaways

  • Instacart Waitlist: When applying to Instacart, you may be placed on a waitlist until a position becomes available.
  • Reason for Waitlist: The waitlist exists due to an oversupply of drivers compared to customer demand, particularly heightened since the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Wait Duration: The wait time on the Instacart waitlist varies, ranging from a few days to several months, with no way to check your exact status.
  • No Skip Option: There’s no direct method to skip the waitlist, but changing your application’s zip code to a less busy area may increase your chances of getting shifts.

What Is The Instacart Waitlist?

The Instacart waitlist is a system in place for managing the influx of applicants wanting to work for Instacart.

When you apply to work for Instacart and there are more drivers than needed based on customer demand in your area, you’re placed on this waitlist.

an Instacart waitlist notification
The notification you’ll receive if you’re waitlisted by Instacart

Being on the waitlist means you cannot immediately start picking up shifts. You have to wait until the app notifies you that a spot has become available.

This waitlist is not unique to Instacart; many rideshare and grocery delivery apps – such as Grubhub and DoorDash – use similar systems, especially when there’s a high demand for jobs.

Whether you encounter the waitlist can depend on your location and the timing of your application.

In some cases, if demand matches the supply of drivers in your area, you might be able to start working without having to wait.

How Long Is The Instacart Waitlist?

The duration of the Instacart waitlist varies greatly and is unpredictable. Some applicants may only be on the waitlist for a few days, while others might wait for months before getting their first shift.

There is no set time frame for how long you’ll be on the Instacart waitlist, which can be frustrating for those eager to start earning income.

The duration of the Instacart waitlist varies, influenced by factors such as increased job seeking due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the appeal of Instacart jobs.

The minimal requirements for these jobs, like having a personal car and a smartphone, along with the flexibility of shift selection, lead to a high number of applicants.

This results in Instacart often having more workers than needed, which extends the waitlist times.

There is no method to check your exact position on the Instacart waitlist, and contacting Instacart customer service won’t provide additional information.

The likelihood of getting a shift increases the longer you’ve been on the list, so stay alert for notifications if you’ve been waiting for a while.

How To Get Off The Instacart Waitlist

To get off the Instacart waitlist, you simply need to wait until a position becomes available, as there’s no way to expedite this process. You’ll be notified by Instacart once a spot opens up.

If you find the wait too long, you always have the option to cancel your application and explore other delivery or rideshare apps for quicker opportunities.

While you can’t skip the Instacart waitlist, you can potentially find more shift opportunities by changing the zip code in your application to a nearby area with less competition.

This method can be tried with multiple zip codes, but be sure to choose locations that are realistically within your daily travel range.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

Getting waitlisted when applying to Instacart is a frustrating process. After it happened to me, I began to wonder if it is even effective, and what the potential ramifications for gig workers is.

On one hand, it’s reassuring to see Instacart take measures to prevent an oversaturated market.

Before the waitlist, a surge in new shoppers made it challenging to grab enough batches, often leading to reduced earnings and shoppers using batch grabbers to get more.

This hit hard, especially for those of us relying on Instacart as a primary income source.

However, the waitlist also brings uncertainty, especially for new drivers eager to start.

They face an unpredictable wait time and an uncertain income outlook once they do get on board.

For existing shoppers, while the waitlist temporarily eases competition, it’s a double-edged sword.

There’s the looming question of how long these measures will sustain our earnings before market dynamics shift again.

In addition, the high competition has its impact on work quality too; some of us rush through orders to make the most out of available batches, which might affect customer satisfaction.

In essence, the waitlist is a temporary relief, but it underscores a larger issue in the gig economy: the constant balancing act between earning potential and market saturation.

My personal suggestion is to eliminate it altogether. The demand for Instacart has definitely eased, so maybe it’s now time to try giving applications a shot without the waitlist.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Instacart offers a flexible way to earn extra income, despite the initial discouragement of a waitlist. Patience and a willingness to travel can improve your chances of getting shifts.

Additionally, the growing customer base for grocery delivery apps, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, suggests that demand for drivers will likely increase over time.

3 thoughts on “How Being On The Instacart Waitlist Impacts Your Application”

  1. I sighed up for a full service shopper on Instacart 2 months ago and still I’m on the wait list. Can someone look into my application to see if I missed something in the application process. Thank you.

  2. I received an email stating I’m off the waitlist and when accessing the app it will start the process and then revert back to “You are on the waitlist”

  3. it is not possible to change zip code bc the app does not display menu option if you are on the Waitlst and customer service tells you to do it on the app.


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