How To Become An Instacart Shopper And Make The Most Money

Becoming an instacart shopper is a great source of extra income if you don’t mind shopping for groceries and delivering them to others on your own schedule.

If you need more ways to make extra money check out our other post: 60+ easy businesses to start that make serious money.

I find that being an instacart shopper also keeps you active and fit while earning money, because as an instacart shopper you get to walk around in the grocery stores, shop for items, carry them to your car, and deliver them to customers.

To become an instacart shopper, you can sign up online on the instacart website or through their application.

Now let’s take a closer look at what to expect when you become an instacart shopper.

What is Instacart?

Instacart is a same-day grocery delivery platform. They are available in the US and Canada.

Instarcart works by partnering with major grocery stores and super markets and then hires shoppers who shop and deliver groceries to customers for money.

Instacart shopper requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Eligible to work in the United States or Canada.
  • Access to a vehicle (car, bike, etc.)
  • A reliable smart phone.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds with or without assistance

So how do you get started?

How to Become an Instacart Shopper

screenshot of instacart homepage showing how to sign up to become a shopper
  1. If you meet the requirements above, the first step to becoming an instacart shopper is to sign up online or through the instacart shopper app.
  2. You are going to verify your identity by taking a selfie of yourself and submitting a form of identification and your address.
  3. Instacart will then use your address to mail you a preloaded card that you will use to pay for groceries.This card will arrive in 5-7 days.
  4. Finish by signing paperwork (tax forms, background checks, and linking your bank account to receive payments).
  5. Complete all necessary instacart training and quizzes.
  6. Once your background check clears, you will be ready to start shopping and earning.

How long does it take to become an Instacart shopper?

The process of becoming an instacart shopper is quite faster compared to other delivery platforms like ubereats and door dash.

Usually it takes 3–5 days to become an instacart shopper because your background check is run during that time frame.

Furthermore, you will need your instacart payment card that will be sent in the mail to pay for orders.

To speed up the process, you can choose to set up your instacart payment card with Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay for orders while waiting for your card.

How much can you make as an instacart shopper?

screenshot of the instacart shopper app showing baych details

Instacart shoppers can earn $25+ per hour, including tips.

Instacart also compensates you for your time if something goes wrong with your delivery order.

For example, if you go to shop for an item and it is not available in stock and the customer chooses to get a refund, Instacart will still pay you for the gig, excluding tips.

This is known as a base payment

How to complete your first instacart shopper order and get paid

When you open the instacart app, you are presented with a button to click in order to go online whenever you want.

Once you are online, you will see orders, usually referred to as batches.

Batches show the total number of miles for the gig, the amount of money you will get, the number of items in the batch, and the pick-up and drop-off locations.

After you accept a batch, you are going to head to the store and shop for the items, use your instacart payment card to pay for the items, and then deliver them to the customer.

You should note here that you should use the instacart payment card and not your own personal credit or debit card.

Some people made the mistake of using their own personal cards to pay for instacart orders, which is probably non-refundable.

How do Instacart shoppers get paid?

After you complete a batch, the payment shows up in the app.

It can take 30–60 minutes to show up.

At the end of each batch, you can cash out your earnings to your debit card up to five times per day.

If you choose not to cash out your earnings, Instacart will pay you weekly on Wednesdays.

The pros and cons of being an instacart shopper

Before you sign up to become an instacart shopper, there are certain things you should know to determine if it’s right for you.

Let’s start with the pros.


  • You are your own boss (work on your own schedule).
  • (You can cash out your earnings at any time or get paid weekly.)
  • Keep 100% of your tips.


  • It can be time-wasting if you are not efficient at shopping or finding items.
  • As an independent contractor, you will have to handle your own taxes. You want to save a portion of your earnings and keep track of your expenses.

15 Tips to Make the Most Money on instacart

The key to being a good and efficient instacart shopper is shopping fast.

You make more per hour when you shop faster and less when you shop slower.

Here are 15 tips you need to know to make more money with instacart.

  1. Always be prepared before you start shopping (get one or two large bags that can fit smaller grocery bags so that you can carry items at once).

    This saves a lot of time carrying bags from your car to the customer.
  2. Drive a smaller car.

    This is easy for parking, especially if you live in a big city.

    You don’t want to waste time looking for parking.
  3. Make sure your phone is fully charged and working properly before you start shopping.

    With instacart, you use your phone a lot (scanning items, communicating with the customer if you need to make a replacement, checking out, taking photos of receipts, etc.).

    If your phone dies in the middle of all of this, you won’t be able to proceed with your shopping and will have to find a way to charge your phone before you continue.
  4. Use help as much as possible.

    The staff in the stores will always be happy to help you find items on the shelf.

    Rather than wasting time looking for items, ask a staff member immediately if you can’t find an item.

    There may be special locations for certain items known only by staff.
  5. Walking faster will make you faster.

    As you shop for items, the batch details show you where exactly to find the items.

    Walking faster to the aisles saves a lot of time.
  6. Bring snacks.

    Being hungry will make you unhappy and make you less efficient or slower.

    You want to keep a high energy level as you shop.
  7. If you can’t find an item, replace it with a similar one.

    Customers will appreciate a replacement more than nothing.

    The trick here is to replace it before notifying the customer.

    You don’t want to waste time contacting the customer and asking them if they would like a replacement.

    Once you make a replacement, the customer gets the notification and they can choose to accept or decline the replacement.
  8. Since you are an independent contractor, remember to treat it as a business.

    Define your hours for the day.

    Think before you accept a batch.

    For example, if you see a batch of 73 items going 5 miles for $30 and 3 items going 3 miles for $23, which one will make you more money faster?

    It is probably the latter because you will spend less time shopping for 3 items than 73 items.
  9. Opt in to in app trainings to receive more batches for alcohol and medicine deliveries.

    On the instacart shopper app, alcohol and medicine delivery are optional, but if you take their course, you will have access to more batches, which will increase your chance of earning more.
  10. In order to receive more batches, uploading a picture of your cooler bag.

    Certain items require a cooler bag to stay frozen, and you will get access to them if you let instacart know that you have a cooler bag.

    The reason you might not be seeing any big batches or a few batches is probably because you haven’t uploaded your cooler bag.
  11. Keep your ratings up.

    Instacart sends the best batches to 5 star shoppers.

    You can become a five-star shopper by practicing customer service tips and being efficient on the platform (this includes metrics like speed, communication with customers, quality of items, item replacements, etc.).
  12. Avoid refunds.

    Always offer replacements when items are out of stock.

    If the customer asks for a refund, you will lose a portion of your earnings for the batch.

    As I mentioned earlier, customers usually prefer replacements than nothing.
  13. When you start shopping, grab the right cart size that can contain all the items in your batch.

    You want to save time by avoiding changing carts in the middle of shopping after you realize that the cart you have is too small to contain all the items in your batch.
  14. Follow traffic rules when you drive.

    No matter how fast you want to complete a batch.

    Getting a $275 ticket or getting into trouble can cost you more than what you were going to earn for the day.
  15. If you run into issues ,try to solve it yourself before contacting instacart support .

    This saves you time because contacting support takes away more time that you could be earning more money with.

Instacart Shopper alternatives

If you have been an instacart shopper or you are trying to sign up and you realize that it is not for you, then here is a list of other grocery, package, and food delivery platforms you can apply to work for.

1. Shipt shopper

Shipt is quite similar to Instacart because it is also a grocery delivery platform.

It differs in that it has an option where you can choose to only pick up and deliver groceries without shopping.

Shipt shopper requirements

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A current mailing address.
  • valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance.
  • A reliable vehicle (1997 or newer).
  • knowledge of product selection.
  • Ability to lift 45 pounds.
  • Smartphone-iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer)

2. Doordash driver

Deliver food, packages, and alcohol on your own schedule.

Available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Doordash dasher requirements

  • 18 years or older.
  • Any car, scooter, or bicycle (in select cities)
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social security number (only in the United States)
  • Consent to a background check

3. Grubhub

food delivery platform on your own schedule.

Grubhub Driver requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old (21 in Las Vegas).
  • Own an iPhone with iOS 11 or higher OR an Android with 5.0 or higher (a data plan is required).
  • Must have a checking account to receive direct deposits.

To partner with Grubhub using a car

  • Have an original, valid driver’s license
  • If 19 years old or older, 2 years’ valid license
  • If you are 18, you must have a valid driver’s license for at least one year.
  • Have auto insurance

To partner with Grubhub using a bicycle

  • Original, valid state ID.
  • Original, valid state driver’s license
  • Original, valid passport (US or international)

4. Ubereats

Deliver food and groceries on your own schedule.

Ubereats driver requirements

Delivery by car

  • be at least 19 years old.
  • Have a 2-door or 4-door car
  • Have a valid driver’s license in your name.
  • Submit your Social Security number for background screening.

by scooter

  • be at least 19 years old.
  • Have a motorized scooter under 50cc
  • Have a valid driver’s license in your name.
  • Submit your Social Security number for background screening.
  • When signing up, be sure to choose Delivery by scooter under transportation method.

by bicycle or on foot

  • be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a government-issued ID?
  • Submit your Social Security number for background screening.
  • When signing up, be sure to choose Delivery by bicycle (and in certain cities, Delivery by bicycle or foot) under transportation method


Is instacart shopper or its alternatives something that is right for you? Are you a current instacart shopper ? Let us know your thoughts on being an instacart shopper.

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