Shipt vs Instacart: What Platform is Best for Drivers?

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Shipt vs Instacart debate brings a complete side hustle guide by providing all the important information on unspoken things.

Shipt vs Instacart: What Platform is Better to Work For?

What if you can combine two things that usually don’t get hand in hand; making money and shopping? Is that even possible?

This is precisely why the grocery delivery scene is flooded with battles known as Shipt vs Instacart. This confrontation has been around for some time, giving the opposite information.

To help you decide which platform is better to work for and how to make the most of it, we are bringing you a complete introduction of both platforms.

Let’s dive into the world of grocery delivery services.

Before we explain how to make money with these platforms, let’s get to know them first.

What is Instacart?

Instacart Logo

Instacart is another popular grocery delivery service. Founded in 2012, the company is based in San Francisco and is valued at nearly $8 billion. In other words, Instacart has partnered with leading local and national retailers and is present in more than 4000 cities.

Some of their partners include CVS, Kroger, Costco, Publix, Wegmans, local organic stores, etc.

In this case, too, if you want to order groceries, you will have to sign in to your account. After that, choose the grocery items from your shopping list.

Schedule a delivery time, and voila! Your groceries are on their way.

Instacart also offers the possibility of same-day delivery as fast as an hour. The other option is to schedule a grocery delivery maximum of six days in advance. For those who want to physically pick-up their groceries on their way home, Instacart has a solution.

Simply choose the items you need and select a pick-up time. The bagged products will be waiting for you at the time you scheduled a pick-up.

Hourly Pay Tip % Delivery Volume Next Steps
$10-$14/hour 100% (Check Policy) Decent

Finally, access to this grocery service is available via the website or through the Instacart app. The app is customized for both Android and iPhone devices.

What is Shipt?

Shipt Logo

Shipt is a web-based delivery service founded in 2014, in Alabama. Today, they are present in more than 260 cities and are still counting. Moreover, the company is the fastest growing online grocery marketplace in the United States.

They work with retailers such as Target, Costco, Kroger, Whole Foods, H-E-B, ABC Fine Wines & Spirits, and others. That means Shipt not only delivers groceries but also home products, electronics, and everyday essentials.

The only exceptions are deliveries from restaurants and retailers, which are no longer available.

Placing an order is a very easy thing to do. Simply use the Shipt website or Shipt app. The app is available for both Android and iPhone devices. If you decide to use the app, you will have to create an account.

After signing into your account, choose the items for your grocery list and pick the delivery window.

The next step is to place your order. In this step, choose the delivery time. The great thing is that you can opt for same-day delivery, even from grocery stores that are open 24/7.

Furthermore, if you are more of a person who likes to pick up their own groceries, no worries. Shipt will provide you with this option too.

Use your Shipt app to select local grocery stores and grocery items. Don’t forget to choose your pick-up time.

Hourly Pay Tip % Delivery Volume Next Steps
$10-$14/hour 100% Fair Read Full Review

This way, the store will prepare your grocery package and it will be waiting for you at the time you schedule your pick-up.

Referral Programs

Both Instacart and Shipt offer unlimited deliveries with their membership options. However, Instacart does not require a paid membership in order to try their services. It also offers you a chance to refer friends and earn Instacart credits.

This way, both you and your friend will get $10 in Instacart credits. Keep in mind that you are limited to five referrals with Instacart.

Meanwhile, Shipt has a more generous referral program. It offers both you and your referral a $50 value.

This way, you will get $50 in credits that you can spend on your next order.

Similarly, your referral will get $50 off their annual membership fee, which means it will bring it down to $49 for the first year.

Shipt vs Instacart: How to make money?

Just as there are many of those who use these services, so are many of those who would like to work for these platforms.

Which platform is better to work for? How to make money? Who pays more?

Keep reading and find out all the important answers.

Become a shopper

The first step of making money through these platforms is to become a shopper.

  1. Instacart

To begin the sign-up process of becoming a shopper for Instacart, head to their website and click the ‘Become a shopper’ button. The next step is to provide all the basic information such as name, email address, phone number, and zip code. If you have a referral code, enter it as well.

Furthermore, there are two types of positions if you want to work for Instacart: a full-service shopper and an in-store shopper.

  • Full-service shopper

Full-service shoppers shop orders by receiving those through the app on their smartphones. After picking up the groceries, they deliver them to the customers’ doors. It’s a great opportunity to meet the community by delivering to new and familiar areas.

However, the best thing about this position is that you can shop on your schedule.

To apply for this position, you have to be at least 18 years old and eligible to work in the United States.

Furthermore, the ability to lift 50 lbs. is a must, as well as the recent smartphone and consistent access to a vehicle.

  • In-store shopper

In-store shopper shops orders within the store. After receiving orders through the app, in-store shopper shops and stages the groceries in-store. You get to work on your own schedule.

In this case, too, you have to be at least 18 years old and eligible to work in the United States.

The possession of a recent smartphone and the ability to lift 50 lbs. is a must-have.

become a shopper in instacart

  1. Shipt

To be paid to work for Shipt, visit their webpage and click the ‘Apply Now’ button.

You will have to provide some basic information and introduce yourself. After applying for the position, you will have to pass the interview. The company will also perform a background check, which may take up to 1-2 weeks.

Upon approval, download the app and start earning money!

For those who want to become a shopper in Shipt, there are some requirements that need to be fulfilled.

You have to be at least 18 years old with a valid US driver’s license and auto insurance.

Android or iPhone is a must-have. Moreover, the company looks for those who have the ability to lift 40 pounds.become a shopper in shipt

Shipt vs Instacart: Who should you work for?

Work for Instacart

As already mentioned in this Shipt vs Instacart battle, Instacart offers two types of positions: full-time and part-time. A full-service shopper is a full-time position, while an in-store shopper is a part-time employee.

Once you get approval to work for Instacart as a full-service shopper, you need to download their app. The next step is to schedule your working hours. Sign up for as many hours as you want for any given week.

Keep in mind that all schedules are made a week ahead of time. Moreover, this type of side hustle is not available if the stores are not open. That’s why most Instacart shifts start around 10 am and finish around 9 pm.

Therefore, after scheduling your own working hours, the orders will show at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.

This way, you will have time to accept the order or to pass on them. If the distance is too far or too heavy, for example, you can reject the order.

However, if you reject too many orders, you may lose your contract with Instacart.

full-service instacart shopper

Finally, after accepting the order, you will need to visit the store and begin filling the order. The Instacart app will show you a shopping list, so you can check items as fulfilled as you find them.

This time, customers in real-time can also track the order.

Pay at the register using a special Instacart shopping debit card and you are ready to go!

On the other hand, in-store shoppers also have the availability to choose their own working schedule. Even though shifts are based on their availability, in-store customers can work up to 29 hours per week.


Work for Shipt

shipt vs instacart shopper

When you get approval to work for Shipt, you get to choose the shopping schedule for up to five days in advance. It means you are available to shop and deliver around certain areas.

As a Shipt Shopper, you can also limit your shopping and delivery to a single zone. This way, you will pick a few mile areas with at least one grocery shop. On the other hand, choosing multiple zones is also an option.

Once you are on your shopping schedule, you will start seeing shopping orders coming through the app.

Each order will have a notification of its size, the store where you’ll need to shop, and the final destination where you’ll need to deliver.

After driving to the grocery store and selecting items, pay at the register using the app.

Finally, deliver the items to the customer. For each order you deliver, the company pays you a commission.

Even though you don’t have to accept every order in your selected zone, Shipt measures the acceptance rate.

In other words, if you reject too many orders, you may lose the ability to work for Shipt.


Does Shipt or Instacart pay more?

If you are wondering if these platforms should be your side hustle, the payment rate is something to consider. Likewise, Shipt vs Instacart payment differs between the two platforms.

  • Get Paid by Shipt

When you work for Ship, the main way to be paid is through a commission per order. Currently, that commission is $5 plus 7.5% of the order amount. For example, a $100 order will provide a $12.50 commission.

The company pays a commission via direct deposit every Friday for the work completed the previous week (Monday through Sunday).

However, the main extra cash comes from tips. According to Shipt shoppers, the average salary made of tips goes up to $15+ per hour.

A great thing is that after completing several shops, you will be able to manage multiple orders at the same time.

  • Get Paid by Instacart

The amount of money you can earn by working for Instacart depends on several factors. The three main categories are the number of orders you complete, the number of hours you work, and the types of orders you receive.

Your location and time of day will also have an impact on how much money you can make. Instacart Delivery

Therefore, sometimes you can get more money if the order is heavier.

For example, the company will pay you more for a big bag of cat food than a bag of fruit.

Instacart will provide you with estimates for your earnings on every order, as well as total earnings per week.

On the other hand, an average in-store Instacart shopper earns $14 per hour.

Extra Tips

When it comes to tips, both platforms claim that 100% of customer tips go to the shopper.

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you maximize your earning opportunities.

  • Customer Service

Amazing customer service is the key to making extra money. That’s why always make sure to offer the best service you can.

In other words, always greet your customers, bring groceries inside and put them onto the countertop.

shipt vs instacart explains why customer service is important

Moreover, before reaching the store, you can send them a text with your name and question if they need anything else.

Finally, as many orders include substitutions, send a text picture to your customer to be sure they are okay with the substituted items.

All these tricks will boost your commission, making you a great shopper.

  • Prioritize

Weekends are always the main days for shoppers. If you schedule your working hours on weekend days, especially Sunday (and Monday!), you will maximize your ability to accept orders.

  • Small Orders

Even though the commission for small orders is not going to make you rich, tips can be extremely big.

You can also claim multiple orders at the same time. In other words, more orders = more cash.

Shipt vs Instacart: Pros & Cons

To give you an answer to the question of which platform is better to work for, first we should check out all the pros and cons.

shipt vs instacart

Shipt Pros & Cons

Pros of working for Shipt

  • You are your own boss

Working as an independent contractor means you can choose your own working days and schedule your own working hours.

You can also be very flexible with delivery time. In other words, you can choose if you want to shop in your free time, during evening hours, holidays, etc.

  • It pays well

Shipt pays really well. Moreover, cash out is weekly. Experienced shoppers can earn from $16 to $22 per hour. If you add tips, the amount of earned money increases.

Finally, the job itself is easy and not demanding.

  • Backup Team

To make the most of your Shipt experience, the company provides a backup customer service team. It means you will always have an expert team at your service, 24 hours per day.

  • Free Membership

Besides making money with Shipt, you get a free membership too. This way, you can have someone else deliver your groceries.

  • Supportive Community

All Shipt shoppers have access to networking groups in the cities they deliver to.

Their Facebook group called Shipt Shopper Lounge is a great place to show some love and support to other colleagues.

pros of working for shipt


Cons of working for Shipt

  • Not So Great Customers

Not all customers are nice and friendly. Some of them are rude, unkind or ungrateful. However, it is a part of the job to handle all kinds of people out there.

  • Item Struggles

If you can’t find some items, you need to provide the substitution. But this is not always an easy thing to do. You can rely on your own instinct, scan it and wait for approval from the customer.

You can also try to find out if they have a preferred substitution. Both ways, you will spend some time waiting for them to answer.

  • Car Usage

Sitting in traffic or having nowhere to park is a nightmare. Add a gas you’ll spend, as well as wear and tear on the car, and you have one of the biggest cons of working for Shipt.

Keep in mind that you may also need to check on your car insurance.

  • Taxes

Taxes are something that nobody can avoid.

Instacart Pros & Cons

Pros of working for Instacart

  • You are your own boss

You have the freedom to do the job as you like. Schedule your own working hours accordingly to your needs and wishes.

  • No Commission

Instacart pays by the number of hours you work and not by the number of orders you deliver. Moreover, tips are another great way to earn some extra cash.

Apparently, they are even better when you deliver alcohol.

Cash-out is weekly.

pros of working for instacart

Cons of working for Instacart

  • Not So Great Customers

As already mentioned above, not all customers are grateful and kind. Dealing with though people is one part of this job.

  • Item Struggles

Another disadvantage that repeats for both platforms is a struggle on substitution items.

Always check the situation with the customer and be patient because you will spend time waiting for the response.

  • Car Usage

Every shopper faces a problem of waiting in traffic or searching for a parking spot. This problem is especially emphasized during busy hours.

  • Tech Troubles

There were some problems with connectivity to the Instacart app. It can be a huge problem as this is your only source to see delivery times, orders, and other important information. Furthermore, their backup customer service is hard to reach.

  • Low-paying Orders

One of the biggest cons of working for Instacart is probably low-paying orders. Of course, you can decline those you do not want to deliver but make several cancellations in a row and you will lose a contract. Not cool.

  • Taxes

Well, taxes. No need to add anything.

See Related: Uber Eats vs Postmates – What is Better?

Membership Fees

No services come free of charge. To make the most of your experience with online grocery deliveries, we’re bringing you an overview of Shipt vs Instacart membership fees.

It is also a good thing to know, even if you only want to make money, as it gives you a background perspective of each platform.

Shipt Fees

Shipt LogoFirst of all, Shipt has yearly and monthly membership fees. It means you can choose to pay $99 per year for unlimited orders or $14 per month.

Let’s not forget to mention another term specific to Shipt; pre-launch membership. When the company launches in the new city, they offer a special grocery credit with an annual membership option. In other words, they offer $25 in free groceries if you sign-up before launch. Not bad, right?

Furthermore, Shipt also has delivery fees. For orders more than $35, delivery is free. However, for orders less than $35 delivery fee is $7.

It encompasses the picking, packaging, and processing of the order. The same fee applies to alcohol orders from select retailers (you must be 21 or older with a valid ID).

Finally, the company does not have busy-pricing. In other words, pricing is the same every time you use the app.

Extra info: tips are not required but are appreciated. If you want to show your shopper some love, go for it. You can tip in cash or within the app after you receive a delivery. In this case, 100% of your tip goes to the shopper.

Instacart Fees

Instacart LogoInstacart offers Express membership, which costs $99 per year or $9.99 if paid monthly. Moreover, all orders over $35 are free of charge. On the other hand, for deliveries under $35, a fee needs to be paid.

It covers operating costs including insurance, shopper operations, Instacart Care, and background checks for shoppers.

Therefore, for non-members, that fee is $3.99 ($5.99 for those from New York City and Canada). There is also an additional 5% on top of that.

On the other hand, for members, there is no delivery charge but the minimum order is $35.

In this case, too, you can opt for same-day delivery or next-day delivery without any extra cost. Moreover, after joining the Instacart Express membership, you’ll get free delivery for the first 14 days. Think of it as a 14-day trial period.

So, the delivery fee also depends on the size of the order and delivery time. Each time when selecting a delivery window during checkout, an amount of delivery fee will be displayed.

When it comes to alcohol, there is an additional service fee scaling from $2 to $10, depending on the total of the order.

Finally, busy pricing fees may apply if the company experiences a high demand for delivery time. It only affects the delivery fee and you will see it displayed after you select a delivery time.

Extra tip: tips are not included but are appreciated. By default, the company suggests a 5% tip at checkout, with a minimum suggestion of $2 for individual store delivery.

Of course, you can adjust the amount of tip, as well as change it within 3 days of your completed order. Keep in mind that 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper delivering your order.

Here is a guide to help you understand Instacart tipping.


Both platforms are a great way to bring in extra money while doing an undemanding job. It is an especially great gig for those who look for side hustle while doing things they love.

Who else pays you to shop?

However, both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages. Before deciding which one is right for you, consider all parameters.

On the other hand, for those who are searching for a way to make their shopping easier, there is no big difference.

Shipt and Instacart are great delivery grocery services, each with its own benefits. The differences are in the shades.

What is your opinion on the Shipt vs Instacart debate? Have you already tried one of these platforms? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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