How to Start Making Money as an Instacart Shopper

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Are you looking for a way to make some extra cash? If so, did you know you can make money shopping for other people’s groceries? But is it worth it? In this post, I’ll show you how to start making money as an instacart shopper.

If you didn’t already know, Instacart is the grocery version of Uber. But, instead of driving people around, you’re delivering people’s groceries to their homes, from the local grocery store straight to the customer’s home.

While some people may think, “why would someone pay someone else to do their grocery shopping for them?” It’s something that’s becoming more and more popular. It’s still cheaper than eating out every night, and people do it for so many other reasons. 

  • It saves a busy mom or dad time they could use somewhere else.  
  • Instacart helps out someone who’s sick and can’t drive.
  •  It’s also a lifesaver quick last minute items, like flowers on mother’s day. (Yes, that was my first order ever.)

Why I signed up to be an Instacart shopper

When I came back from my six-month backpacking trip in April of 2019, I was scraping for cash towards mid-May. My money was low, I mean real low and my June bills were coming up. I had no job, no money, and I needed cash fast. Honestly, I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough even to make the minimum payments on my credit cards.

That’s when my best friend, who was already doing Instacart, told me about it and how easy it was to get started. At this point, I was ready to take on any job I could. Money is money and so I gave it a try.

If you’re looking for a way to make fast cash on your own time, Instacart may be a way for you to make extra cash on the side. Check out this post as I write out my thoughts on being an instacart shopper. From signing up, to being out on the road, the pro’s and con’s about it, and my honest opinion on whether it’s worth it.

How to Start Making Money as an Instacart Shopper

What is Instacart?

Instacart is the new way people are getting their grocery trips done.

At first, I thought to myself, “wow, I can’t believe people are skipping out on grocery shopping.” Grocery shopping is still one of my favorite things to do. But, after a couple of trips, I realized that Instacart was also helping out people who can’t walk, move, or drive. Helping people who were unable to do something as simple as grocery shop is one of the things I had not thought about and did like about Instacart.

If you’re like me and don’t mind being in a grocery store, why not help someone out who doesn’t have the time to do so. And make money while you’re at it.

As an Instacart shopper, your job is to pick up orders or “batches through the app, head to the grocery store selected in the order, and deliver all the items on the shopping list. Sounds pretty easy right?

There will be times where something on the grocery list isn’t available. And when this happens you have the option to pick up a substitute the customer chose. If you have any questions you can always shoot the customer a call or text in regards to the item right through the app. 

After that, you’ll pay with the Instacart debit card and be on your way to deliver the groceries. Then voila, you’re done! You can mark your order complete and wait for another batch to appear.

How to start making money as an instacart shopper

Before you start making money as an Instacart shopper you have to sign up through an easy step by step process.

There are two types of shoppers; a full-service shopper and an in-store shopper. An instore shopper prepares instacart orders and stays in the grocery store. But as an experienced full-service shopper, this is the one I will be focusing on for the rest of this post.

To become a full-service shopper you need:

  1. To be 18 years old
  2. Have your own car
  3. Pass a background check

The signup process can is through the shopper app for drivers, a separate app from the app used by customers.

A Day as an instacart driver

As a driver, you’ll get to choose the hours you want to work the following week, when they become available. If you are a new shopper the schedule opens up Wednesday morning at 9:00 AM. And if you are an experienced shopper the schedule opens up Sunday at 9:00 AM.

You have to be quick though because these hours will get snatched up. Especially the good hours. *cough cough Sunday mornings.

I don’t know why, but I was nervous to start my first batch. I didn’t know what to expect and the process was so easy it made things happen fast. So if this is you don’t worry. You’ll get a reminder 30 minutes before your shift starts to get yourself ready.

Now it’s a matter of waiting for those batches to come in. Once a batch becomes available in your area, a prompt will appear on your phone. It will ask if you want to accept or decline the batch. 

But before you make a decision, you’ll be able to see where the customer lives, the grocery store you’ll l need to go to, and the grocery list.

A quick tip: you can only skip three grocery trips a day, or you will get a ding for a reliability incident.

From here, you’ll head to the grocery store. Start scanning the groceries on the list, pay with the debit card, and head the customers home. Sometimes you’ll notice customers come out and help you, but sometimes they won’t.

Before leaving the customer home, make sure you hit “complete” in the app. This way, you can become available to pick up new batches.

How Much does instacart pay?

Is the money as an Instacart shopper worth it?

You’ll get paid through direct deposit, and as a full-service shopper, you’ll get paid weekly.

Note that as an independent contractor, you will not get taxes taken out of your check. It is your job and vital that you set aside 30% of your check for when tax season comes around.

So how much did I make as an Instacart shopper?

In total, I made $339.29. While this doesn’t sound like much, each week, I only completed 2 – 4 batches. Except for the day I made $154.41, that day, I completed eight batches. And also only working on Sundays and Mondays around and hour and a half to four hours and my longest day six hours.

You can see that the flexibility to make money as an Instacart shopper is there. At the time, this was quick and enough money to help me pay my credit card bills.

Instacart shopper hours

Hours start from 9:00 AM down to midnight, all depending on your local store hours. There is also no limit to the number of hours you can work. So if you have a ton of free time to spare, why not right?

My Instacart Review

After driving as an Instacart shopper for about a month here is what I thought about it:


  • The flexibility to choose the hours you world
  • The app is easy to use
  • You get paid through direct deposit every week


  • If you are in an area close to different zones you are asked to complete a batch far from you for low pay. This was my biggest deal-breaker
  • There are long wait time between orders sometimes
  • It’s hard to get good hours if you take off days or aren’t a fulltime shopper
  • There is wear and tear on your car over time
  • You do not get reimbursed for gas

What You Need to Know Before Starting

Here are a couple of things that’ll make your shift run smoother:

  1. Make sure you have a cell phone charger because the app will kill your battery life fast
  2. Have lunch or a snack packed
  3. Make sure you have water for yourself
  4. Clean the back of your trunk or wherever you are placing the groceries
  5. Get closer to the red zoned areas on the map – this is the busiest area
  6. You can make more money buying alcohol


Wondering if making money is worth it as an instacart shopper, here are a couple of things into consideration.

If you are looking to make a full-time income as an instacart shopper, you could. But you’d have to complete a lot of batches, and you don’t always know if you’ll have a busy or slow day. The signup process is easy, and you can make money fast if you need to.

If you’re someone who is between jobs, has extra time to make money, or needs fast cash, then give this a try.

Have you thought about trying instacart?


How to Start Making Money as an Instacart Shopper

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