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Is Driving for Shipt Worth It? A Review For Potential Shipt Shoppers

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Key Takeaways

  • Shipt is a flexible side hustle offering delivery work, but not ideal for primary income due to variable pay and high expenses.
  • Shipt offers schedule flexibility and tips but has downsides like delayed payments and vehicle expenses.
  • Pay is commission-based with potential for tips, averaging between $13-$23 per hour.
  • Conclusion: Shipt is suitable for supplementary income, providing flexible work but limited as a main income source.

Is Shipt Worth It? A Quick Answer

Shipt can be worthwhile as a side hustle, offering flexible scheduling and the ability to earn through commissions and tips.

However, it’s not ideal as a primary income source due to variable pay, high job-related expenses, and the responsibility for taxes and vehicle maintenance.

While Shipt offers the convenience of setting your own hours and earning extra money, the financial benefits are often offset by the costs of gas, car upkeep, and other associated expenses.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

I personally do Shipt Shopping, but only if the right order comes along – such as a “Deliver-only” order that requires little time. If not, I might find myself shopping for an hour only to make $10-12.

With a limited number of these orders, I have found that Shipt is worth it for extra income, but not as a full-time replacement for a job.

I usually find myself only doing Shipt when driving for Lyft is slow or I have some extra time throughout the week.

However, there are a handful of notable exceptions that I clear my calendar for – holidays and times of really bad weather, like snow days.

First, the demand for Shipt Shoppers around Thanksgiving and Christmas is unreal. People usually need last-minute shopping done, which means there are usually a ton of orders to go around.

The tips during these times are usually much better than normal, too, due to the fact that people are pretty generous during this time of year.

Secondly, days that bring bad weather are also very in demand. When daycares are cancelled or people aren’t really at the office, they don’t want to venture out. So they’ll pay somebody very well to do so.

Like the holidays, tips during these times are pretty lucrative.

What Is Shipt?

Founded in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt is a delivery service that initially targeted underserved areas. It spread to 27 metro areas in nine different states within only two years, making it a force to be reckoned with in the delivery sector.

Target acquired it in 2017 to improve same-day shipping and home delivery.

Despite being owned by Target Corporation, Shipt doesn’t tie itself to Target stores. Instead, it provides delivery services from a broad range of local retailers. These services aren’t provided by in-house employees but by independent contractors using the Shipt app.

As of 2024, Shipt is available in more than 5,000 cities in the US, covering about 80% of its territory. The delivery service fleet employs more than 300,000 Shipt shoppers.

How Does Shipt Grocery Delivery Work For Shoppers?

Working for Shipt is similar to working for other delivery services, such as Instacart.

Step 1: Marking Availability

As a Shipt shopper, you need to mark yourself as available in the shopping schedule up to five days in advance through the app. You’ll also get to set an area you want to work in by choosing one or more zones you’ll be tasked with shopping in.

A zone is an area of at least several square miles containing at least one store eligible for Shipt delivery.

Step 2: Accepting Orders

Once your scheduled block begins, you’ll start receiving orders from customers assigned to you by the app’s algorithm. You don’t need to accept every order you receive, but a higher acceptance rate will make it easier to receive new orders.

The order will include a grocery list, the store you’re supposed to buy them from, and the delivery address. If an item is out of stock, contact the customer and ask whether they have a substitute in mind or if you should pick one yourself.

Step 3: Paying for Orders

You pay for your order using the Shipt card you’re provided with once you’re approved as a Shipt shopper. It’s preloaded with money, so you don’t have to pay for anything out of your pocket.

For Target purchases, Shipt customers can also opt to make a prepaid order and pay for it in advance via the app. In this case, you’ll pick up the order without paying.

Step 4: Delivering Orders

After buying, follow directions to your destination, arriving within the delivery window. Being punctual will contribute to your Shipt shopper rating.

Depending on the customer’s preferences, you need to hand the order to them in person or just leave the groceries at their doorstep.

Each successful delivery nets you a fixed commission of 7.5% of the order’s total value, plus potential tips. Shipt reserves the right to deactivate your account for failing to maintain a 90% on-time rating.

Step 5: Receiving a Rating

Your customers will award you a star rating after you finish your delivery, rating your service on a scale from 1 to 5.

Shipt holds their shoppers under strict criteria, and failing to maintain a rating of 4.70 or higher for your last 50 deliveries makes it possible for the platform to deactivate your shopper account.

A rating of 1 or 2 means that you won’t be able to claim orders from those customers again, while a 5-star rating gives the customer the option to choose you as their Preferred Shopper, which you can accept or reject.

Being a Preferred Shopper means that you’ll receive a notification when that customer places an order, even when you’re not scheduled, so that you can claim it more quickly.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Shipt?

Before moving on to covering each important aspect of Shipt individually, let’s go over the main pros and cons.

Pros of Shopping With Shipt

  • Flexibility: As a Shipt shopper, you’re completely free to set your work schedule any way you like it.
  • Tips: You get to keep 100% of your tip money.
  • Free Shipt Membership: As a bonus, you get a free Shipt customer membership, including a variety of perks, such as no delivery fees for orders over $35.

Cons of Shopping With Shipt

  • Delayed Payment: If using a direct bank deposit, your week’s worth of labor will only be paid next Friday, plus a few extra days for the bank to process it.
  • Vehicle-Related Expenses: Shipt won’t cover your gas, maintenance, and other car-related expenses, leaving you to take care of them yourself.
  • Order Transparency: You won’t be able to see the exact contents of a grocery list before deciding to accept or reject an order.

How Much Does Shipt Pay?

Shipt shoppers don’t have a fixed salary. They’re paid $5 plus a 7.5% commission per completed order. Additionally, they’re entitled to keep 100% of the tips.

Such an arrangement makes it seem wasteful to claim small orders, as more of your time and effort will be spent on going to and from the store rather than purchasing the groceries themselves.

According to Glassdoor, most Shipt shoppers earn between $13 and $23 per hour, including tips, with a median of $17 per hour.

This makes earnings on Shipt roughly average when compared to similar delivery services. There are two payment options you can choose from.

Direct deposit pays out every Friday for all the money earned between the previous Monday and Sunday. Keep in mind that it may take another 2–3 days for the payment to go through.

You can also set up Stripe to use the Instant Pay feature once per day, with a 1% withdrawal fee.

What Potential Expenses May Impact Your Pay?

As a Shipt shopper, you’re an independent contractor, not a full-time employee. The company won’t cover many potential expenses you may face while delivering.

While there are no membership fees to worry about, you’ll still be expected to cover the costs of:

  • Insurance: You aren’t eligible for any employee benefits, including insurance, which you’ll have to cover yourself.
  • Taxes: While Shipt will conveniently provide you with a 1099 tax form, you’re responsible for paying your own taxes, so remember to save money to account for any taxable income at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Gas: As a personal shopper, you’ll inevitably spend most of your workday driving to and from grocery stores, meaning that you can expect gas expenses to chip away the most from your earnings compared to the other factors listed here.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Constantly driving your car around is bound to increase its wear and tear. You can expect to spend more money on vehicle maintenance than you usually would.
  • Mobile Data: Having to stay constantly online while delivering means that you may have to invest in a more expensive mobile data plan.

How Do the Pay and Expenses Add Up?

The fee paid per successful Shipt order may seem low, especially when accounting for expenses that the job requires, and is barely enough to meet minimum wage standards.

However, most Shipt shoppers report that the bulk of their income comes from tips, so you can expect customers to be generous, especially with larger orders.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Shipt Shopper?

To sign up as a Shipt shopper, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have access to a reliable vehicle that’s newer than 1997 and covered by car insurance, a valid driver’s license, and at least a year of driving experience.
  • Own a smartphone with a data plan.
  • Have an insulated cooler bag to use for food delivery.
  • Be physically able to lift and carry at least 30–40 lb of goods.
  • Pass a background check by Checkr, which will screen your criminal and driving records.

How Can I Apply to Work for Shipt?

There are two main parts to the Shipt application process: the application form and a virtual interview. Our briefing will help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

Step 1: Fill Out Your Application Form

You can start your application process through the Shipt app or the dedicated website section for Shipt shoppers.

You need to provide basic information about yourself, including your name, age, address, contact details, insurance information, driving experience, and whether you’re already a Target employee.

The application will also ask you to provide a T-shirt size for your official Shipt T-shirt which you’ll receive if you pass the whole application process.

You’re encouraged to wear the T-shirt while doing the delivery process, mostly because it makes it easier for store employees to recognize and potentially help you, but it’s not mandatory.

Step 2: Complete the Virtual Interview

If your application form is satisfactory, a Shipt staff member will schedule a virtual interview with you.

You’ll receive a set of standard work interview questions, including your availability, skills, previous experience with similar jobs, and a few hypotheticals to check how you’d handle certain situations.

The interview will take about 15 minutes to complete and requires you to submit a combination of essay responses, answers to multiple-choice questions, and video responses.

Step 3: Wait for Your Approval

If you pass your interview as well as the Checkr background check, you’ll receive an acceptance message from Shipt at any point between 3-4 days and several weeks.

They’ll also send you a welcome package, which includes a Shipt debit card and an official T-shirt, which should help you get started with deliveries as soon as possible.

You’ll gain access to the Shipt Shopper Hub, which will provide more information to help your onboarding process go as smoothly as possible. You can also take an optional learning course.

Step 4: Download the Shipt Shopper App

All that’s left to do now is download the dedicated Shipt app for shoppers and set your schedule as soon as you feel ready!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is the Customer Charged More Money Than Shoppers Pay In the Store?

As a grocery reseller, Shipt reserves the right to set its own prices and keep the difference as commission, making Shipt pricing higher by 10–20% compared to in-store pricing.

What Are Promo Orders?

Promo orders are orders that are approaching their delivery window, but no other shopper has claimed them yet. To encourage shoppers to claim them, they’ll offer a bonus amount of money on top of their regular pay.

Wrapping Up

Despite some caveats, mostly related to the fact that your pay is far from ideal and often difficult to accurately predict, as well as the high expenses that come with the job, working for Shipt is a solid way to make extra money that’s best kept as a side hustle.

While it’ll hardly be an effective primary income source, Shipt’s flexible scheduling makes it possible to include it in your daily workflow to supplement your regular or part-time job.

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