There are plenty of side hustle options out there. But a flexible side hustle with the potential to significantly boost your earnings can be difficult to find.
As an Instacart driver, you’ll have the ability to take control of your schedule. Plus, you'll open the door to earning a significant income to help you reach your financial goals as a shopper.
Let’s explore your options as an Instacart full-service shopper. Here's what you need to know to determine whether or not this is a good side hustle option for you.
- Get paid to deliver groceries
- Set your own schedule
- Need consistent access to a vehicle
Instacart Driver Details
$5–10 Per Batch
Weekly (Free) Or Instantly ($0.50 Fee)
What Is Instacart?
is a company that offers online grocery delivery services. As a customer, you can download the app to order groceries from a local store. Once ordered, you may be able to get them delivered within a few hours of placing the order.
Although Instacart isn’t available in every market, it is in thousands of cities in the U.S. and Canada. If Instacart isn’t available in your city yet, it may be coming soon as the company continues to grow.
There are two different ways to make money with Instacart. One way is to apply for a part-time W-2 job as an in-store shopper. The other option is to sign up as a full-service shopper.
Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who drive to the grocery store to pick up the groceries and then deliver them to the customers. In this review, we'll be specifically looking at the benefits and drawbacks of being an Instacart driver (i.e. full-service shopper).
What Does It Offer?
So, what does Instacart offer its full-service shoppers? Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect as an Instacart driver.
If you're looking for a way to make extra money, Instacart offers a viable option with minimal barriers to entry. Once you sign up for Instacart, the company will complete a background check. Once the background check clears, you can start accepting orders and earning cash right away.
As soon as you are approved, you’ll have access to "batches" in your area. The batches can be at different stores with details provided about the requirements. After selecting a batch, you can collect the items and deliver them to the customer. In addition to your base delivery fee, the customer will also have the option to leave you a tip.
You can cash out your earnings each week for free or instantly for 50 cents as long as you have more than $5 in your account. So Instacart truly provides a flexible way to earn cash quickly.
When you work with Instacart, you won’t be tied to any particular time commitment. Instead, you can choose to accept batches whenever and wherever you want to.
As a side hustle, this is an important feature. It means that you can earn extra money without compromising the flexibility of your schedule.
If you want to work with Instacart as a driver, you’ll need to have your own car. Although this might seem obvious, it can be a barrier to entry for some. Unlike other driving side hustles, like Uber, Instacart doesn’t have any specific requirements for your vehicle type. Instead, you can drive anything you like.
Importantly, Instacart recommends checking out your state’s commercial vehicle insurance requirements before accepting your first order. In some states, you may need to purchase commercial vehicle insurance before getting started. However, Instacart leaves this up to your discretion.
No Guaranteed Hourly Rate
The goal of working as an Instacart driver is to bring in extra cash. But a big downside with this side hustle option is that there is no guaranteed hourly rate. According to Indeed, the average pay for an Instacart shopper is $14.33 per hour.
Instacart does have a minimum Batch Payment. You'll never earn less than $7–10 per batch for full-service batches and $5 per batch for delivery-only batches. But the variability of the batches you receive and are able to complete in an hour can significantly impact the amount you earn each day.
Are There Any Fees?
As an Instacart shopper, you won’t have to pay any fees.
Curious about how you pay for the groceries? As an Instacart shopper, you’ll receive a payment card from the company. You'll use this card to pay for your batches of groceries.
How Do I Contact Instacart?
You can contact Instacart via chat, phone, or email. You'll be able to see the details for each contact method after you enter your phone number on this page to sign into your account. Additionally, you can reach out through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @Instacart.
There are numerous reports from shoppers that it can be a challenge to obtain a quick response from Instacart. But the growing company may resolve these communications issues in the future.
How Does Instacart Driver Compare?
As a side hustle that involves a car with your own timeline, Instacart offers a great opportunity. Unlike some side hustles that involve your vehicle, Instacart does not require you to transport other people. Instead, you’ll only be transporting groceries.
But Instacart shoppers spend a lot more time on their feet than with delivery services that focus on restaurant food delivery like DoorDash or UberEats. The activity of hunting around for your order can feel like a scavenger hunt. Here's a closer look at how Instacart compares:
Instantly ($0.50 Fee)
Daily ($1.99 Fee)
Up to 5 Times Per Day
How Do I Open An Account?
To become an Instacart driver, you'll need to be at least 18 years old, legally authorized to work in the U.S., have access to a car, access to a smartphone that can run the Instcart app and can lift 50 pounds without assistance. You can get started by creating an account here.
Once you've signed up, you will need to download the Shopper app to your smartphone. Instacart will ask you to provide some basic information about yourself. Additionally, you should have your banking information ready to set up direct deposit.
Finally, the company will run a background check. Once you've clear the check, you'll be ready to start accepting batches.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Instacart takes the security of your data seriously. As of now, it requires random shopper ID certification, automatic logouts, and secure logins. Additionally, you can’t switch devices in the middle of an order, which closes a weak point for hackers.
Unfortunately, Instacart shoppers experienced a data breach in 2020. But since then Instacart has ramped up its security efforts to keep their shopper’s information safe.
Is It Worth It?
Becoming an Instacart driver isn’t for everyone. But the company provides a valuable opportunity for anyone with a smartphone and a vehicle to take control of their income. If you have extra time and want to give Instacart a try, you'll likely be able to earn $15 per hour or more including tips.
However, there may be more lucrative side hustles available to you that will also cause less wear and tear on your vehicle. If you aren’t interested in driving all around town, you might want to look into other side gigs. Want some ideas? Check out these 5 ways to start an online side hustle >>>
Instacart Driver Features
Weekly or instantly
Instant Cashout Fee
$0.50 per cashout
Minimum Suggested Tip
24 hours after order delivery
Driver Minimum Age
Vehicle Maximum Age
Background Check Required
Set Daily Or Weekly Schedule
Customer Service Options
Chat, phone, and email
Web/Desktop Account Access
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
Instacart Driver Review
Ease of Use
Instacart drivers earn money by shopping and delivering groceries. Their schedules are flexible and they earn a base pay per batch plus tips.
- Earn extra money shopping
- You decide when you work
- Tips are allowed and encouraged
- Instant cashouts are available
- Wear and tear on your vehicle
- More physically demanding than other delivery side hustles
- No guaranteed hourly rate
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.