How Much Does Instacart Pay

​This helpful guide will provide you with all you need to know how and what Instacart pay their employees and independent contractors.

Instacart is a popular grocery delivery service, and the number of drivers is growing, so it makes sense to find out what they will pay you to sign up as one of their Full-service shoppers or In-store shoppers.

As an Instacart driver, you will enjoy flexible hours, tips, and the opportunity to make some extra money. If you work the 'right' hours or days, you can potentially earn an income that is comparable to the minimum wage, while choosing your hours making it a perfect job for the weekend​.

​Anybody can work for Instacart, meaning it is possible to earn your primary income, make a few extra dollars in addition to your primary job or work ​part-time while the kids are at school.

​Read on to find out how Instacart pays their employees and find out if its something that interests you.


​How Does Instacart Work?

​​Instacart is a company that allows its shoppers to shop at local grocery stores, via a mobile app or on the Instacart website.

A personal shopper will then fulfill the order at the designated time, heading to the store chosen and then deliver the order using their car.

​Instacart Job Types

Instacart employs Full-Service Shoppers and In-Store Shoppers before we move on to how much they earn, let me explain the difference.

Instacart Full-Service Shopper

Full-service shoppers or Instacart drivers can complete all elements of a customer's Instacart order.

These shoppers collect the customers 'shopping list' at the customer's chosen store and deliver the items directly to the customer.

​Full-service shoppers regularly work for smaller shops, who receive limited orders, and as the number of orders grows for each shop, the demands on full-service shoppers become too big, so the roles are divided into two separate functions. 

Instacart In-Store Shoppers

In-store shoppers collect and pack the customer's orders.

Shoppers regularly work for Instacart partner stores; they are responsible for collecting and packing up everything on a customer's shopping list ready for collection by an Instacart driver.

​In-store shoppers do generally not have as much flexibility as full-service shoppers as they work hourly shifts, rather than customers submit their orders.

​An In-store shopper will also shop for customers who require curbside pickup, often customers do not want to wait at home for the driver, so they pick it up instead. ​

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​How Much Do Instacart ​Pay Full-Service Shoppers?

​​Full-service shoppers / Instacart drivers are independent contractors so do not earn a guaranteed base amount each week, Individual driver pay will differ, based on the demand of the service in their particular delivery area and a variety of other factors which I will explain in detail below.

The demand of the grocery service will impact on the amount you earn; if ​demand is low ​in your area, other full-service shoppers may claim the batch (work) before you. 

You will also need to remember to deduct a proportion of your earnings for your car maintenance, taxes, and other job-related expenses because the company does not pay this to independent contractors.

All of these factors will impact on your net income.

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Instacart ​Full-Service Shoppers Pay Breakdown

Let's start with the Instacart pay structure - The structure consists of batch or order payments. 

How Instacart pay their shoppers 

Instacart pays their shoppers a minimum amount for every batch they complete. The current amount for full-service shoppers is between $7 and $10. Instacart pays its full-service shoppers based on several variables:

  • How difficult it is to shop for a particular item - you will receive extra for heavy and bulky items.
  • Number of Items in the order - pay will be higher for larger orders. The drop of destination location and distance (mileage rate)
  • Demand - pay rates differ, depending on the time of the day or week, you will receive a peak hour incentive when demand is high.
  • Tips - All Instacart shoppers can keep 100% of the tips they receive. 

Instacart changes the way they formulate their pay structure regularly; we are unfortunately not aware of how Instacart calculates pay. 

Expenses Instacart Drivers ​Must Consider

There are many expenses, as independent contractors, that Instacart drivers must take into account:

  • Taxes - Taxes are probably one of the most important expenses you need to consider.  As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for paying state and federal income tax on the money you make.
  • Vehicle Maintenance - You must cover all vehicle maintenance costs; this would include new tires, oil, and filter changes, and any other expenses to ensure your car is safe to drive. The older your vehicle, the more expensive the costs will be. Remember to put aside an amount for maintenance each week.
  • Gas - You must cover the cost of your gas.
  • Vehicle Registration And Fees - These fees are payable each year you own a car, not generally over $100, but another fee you need to factor into your expenses.
  • Car Repayments - If you have finance for your vehicle, do not forget those car loan repayments.
  • Vehicle Insurance - Don't forget to factor this significant expense into your calculations; this will differ depending on what car you own and your circumstances. 

As an independent contractor, you will also be responsible for filing your tax return each year. You will be able to write off some of your business-related transportation expenses, such as the number of miles you drive while making your Instacart deliveries. The amount changes every year.

When weighing up whether becoming an Instacart employee is financially viable, also consider the other benefits:

  • You will be able to choose your hours, and your schedule will be flexible.
  • Life will not get boring as you get to work with a variety of different people.
  • Tips can boost your income significantly.

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Instacart Policy on Tipping​​​​​​

Instacart's Tipping Policy ​states that 100% of every tip the Instacart shoppers earn goes directly to them.

​When Customers place an order on the Instacart app or website, the company automatically calculates a suggested 5% tip for the Instacart driver. ​

​Customers can choose their tip amount, but the majority of customers keep it the same for ease. The prompt also advises the customer that the driver will keep 100% of the tip.

​Upon receipt of the delivery, customers provide a satisfaction rating for the service; at this point, they can add or change the tip amount. They have three days to amend the amount.

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Instacart Pay - Bonuses

To encourage Instacart shoppers to go over and above when delivering to their customers, Instacart offers Instacart bonuses:

  • Instacart Peak Bonus - In addition to their Instacart pay, shoppers receive a payment when they work during peak periods and periods of high demand.
  • Quality Bonuses - You will receive a quality bonus when shoppers ​rate you ​five stars. 

​These bonuses aim to improve the quality of Instacart's shopper's service and to retain shoppers who consistently work hard as this benefits ​Instacart's customers.

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​How Much Do Instacart Pay In-Store Shoppers?

Until now, I have spoken about Instacart Full-service shoppers/Instacart drivers. 

Instacart pays its In-store shoppers differently. To start with, In-store shoppers are not independent contractors, they are Instacart employees, which means they have a traditional job, which ensures receipt of a minimum wage and the other perks of being an employee of a company such as holiday pay.

​In-store shoppers will not receive bonuses, promotions, or tips. However, you have the luxury of a set hourly rate of, on average, $1​3 per hour​ , according to Indeed.com, who is a popular career ​rating site.

Instacart In-store shoppers will have more of a consistent schedule than Full-service shoppers as they can schedule shifts in advance.

If you think this sounds like the role for you, you can apply as an Instacart shopper and start making money​, if it doesn't then consider working as an uber driver.

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Susan Elaine

Susan is a stay at home mum of three young girls.  Originally a chartered Accountant, but moved into content writing so she could have flexibility and be there for her kids

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