Making Money with Instacart

Making Money with Instacart, Zeo Route Planner
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the rise of the gig economy and changing consumer behavior, new professional opportunities have surfaced. Working with Instacart is one of them!

Instacart is a grocery delivery service. It serves as a mediator between the grocery stores and customers. It has made grocery shopping super easy as customers don’t even need to step out of their house.

Customers can select the groceries from their preferred grocery store and place an order via the app or the website. A personal shopper gets assigned to each order, who will pick the items and deliver the order to the customer’s doorstep.

Being an Instacart shopper can be a great side-hustle for those looking to make some extra money. It can even replace your full-time job if you want flexibility!

Shopper roles with Instacart

There are 2 types of shopper roles you can explore on Instacart:

In-store shopper

In-store shoppers are Instacart employees who work in the stores and earn an hourly wage. These shoppers help in packing the orders for the customers or delivery persons and keep them ready for curbside pickup. They have to service each and every order as it comes. They also get employee benefits from Instacart. In-store shoppers work for a maximum of 29 hours a week.

Full-service shopper

Full-service shoppers are like freelancers who have signed up with Instacart. These shoppers provide the complete service from shopping for the orders to delivering them to the customer’s address. They have the flexibility to choose their working hours.

Before accepting an order the full-service shoppers can see how much they will earn by fulfilling it. Accordingly, they can choose which batches to accept.

Requirements to become a full-service shopper:

To become a full-service Instacart shopper one must satisfy the below-mentioned requirements:

  • Be minimum of 18 years old
  • Able to lift 40 lb
  • Own a smartphone for accepting and delivering orders
  • Have access to a vehicle for making deliveries
  • Be eligible to work in the US
  • Have a bank account

How does Instacart pay?

Full-service shoppers get paid for every batch that they complete. Instacart keeps track of the weekly earnings and deposits them into the savings or checking account every week.

The full-service shoppers can also cash out their earnings within 2 hours of completing a minimum of 5 batches.

Shoppers keep 100% of the tips they earn and can also earn more by participating in Instacart promotions.

Earnings from Instacart depend on below factors:

  1. Number of hours

    You can choose to work with Instacart as per your availability. As a full-service shopper the higher the number of hours you put in, the higher the orders you’ll be able to deliver and the higher the earnings. However, you have to be strategic about the type of orders you accept. If the order is too small then you can decline it as the time and gas spent will not be worth the earnings.

  2. Location and market demand

    Choose your location wisely. If you are in a sparsely populated suburban area then the frequency of orders will be low. However, if you are in a city with high demand then competition will also be high. You can experiment and find the area that keeps the orders coming in.

  3. Delivery speed

    If you are able to deliver the batches quickly, then you’ll be able to service more batches in your shift. Quick deliveries will also earn you higher tips and higher earnings. One way of ensuring that you take the best route to reach the customer is by using a route optimization app. It will give you the shortest route not only in terms of distance but also in terms of time.

    Hop on a quick 30-minute demo call to find out how Zeo helps you plan efficient routes!

  4. Earn tips

    Tips can help boost your income. Tips are correlated with the customer experience you provide. To earn higher tips make sure that you communicate with the customer. Let them know in case their requested item is not available and recommend a substitution. Deliver on time and keep them in the loop if you are running late. Deliver the order with a smile and maintain a friendly vibe.

  5. Customer rating

    Shoppers that have a high customer rating get priority when an order comes. To achieve a higher rating you have to provide excellent service and positive customer experience. Follow the instructions provided by the customer to make sure that the customer gets what they have ordered. Read our blog ‘How to Deal with Difficult Customers During Deliveries?’ in case a customer gives you a tough time.

  6. Number of items to be delivered

    Larger and more complicated batches have higher earnings attached to them as they require more effort. When you get a big order, make sure to scan the list before you start picking the items. This will save you time running back and forth between the aisles.

  7. Peak Hours

    Another way to bump your earnings is by working on the peak hours. On some days like weekends or holidays when the demand is high Instacart incentivises the shoppers by offering higher pay per order. You can check the peak hours when selecting your shift.

How can Zeo help you efficiently deliver Instacart orders?

Zeo Route Planner is an affordable route planner app trusted by the drivers. It gives you an optimized route within seconds along with accurate ETAs so that you can, rest assured, reach the customer within the promised time window.

It’s useful for multi-stop routes as well. You can completely focus on the shopping and not worry about planning the route!

You save time by completing the deliveries faster. Use the saved time to make more deliveries in a day and earn more. Check out the review by James Garmin (driver).

Sign up for a free trial of Zeo Route Planner to start optimizing your routes right away!


Signing up as a full-service shopper is a great way to make money with Instacart. You can get started by fulfilling the basic requirements. It has great earning potential once you learn the tricks of the trade and plan your deliveries smartly. There’s nothing better than making money while having all the flexibility you need!

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