How to Work for Instacart: What You Need to Know

Brandi Glass
January 17, 20225 min read
How to be an Instacart Shopper

Instacart is a service that allows people to order grocery items online or through an app by partnering with local stores. Customers can choose the delivery option to receive their orders from an Instacart shopper or pick them up manually in-store.

Instacart shoppers are the backbone of the company. They perform multiple tasks and are intermediaries between the business and the client. If you want to know how to work for Instacart, we're here to help. We'll go over the basics – including answering the question "how much do Instacart shoppers make?" to help you kick off the process.

What is an Instacart Shopper?

Instacart Shoppers prepare orders for customers and deliver them. There are two types of shoppers: Full-service and in-store.

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who choose their hours. After receiving the order, they shop for the customer's groceries and deliver them to their door.

In-store shoppers only prepare orders and don't deliver. They are not independent contractors but are part-time Instacart employees, working at least 15 hours a week. The role is less flexible time-wise but more accessible to those who don't meet the criteria for a full-service position.

How Does Being an Instacart Shopper Work?

First, determine what type of shopper you want to be and download the Shopper App. After submitting your information and location details, the company asks for your consent to perform a background check. Once it clears, the remaining steps depend on the employment type you choose.

To start working as an in-store Instacart shopper, you must schedule and attend an onsite orientation. You can do this through the app. You must also submit a W-4 form and sign an employment contract.

While you may not think you need to attend a meeting to prepare orders, it is a part of the onboarding process. Orientation also helps you understand Instacart's packaging and selection expectations. The session also allows you to ask role-specific questions.

If you opt for a Full-Service Shopper role, you must submit paperwork such as a W9. You also need to sign an independent contractor agreement before starting. Instacart does not pay your taxes for you – so always make sure to take care of the payments once tax season arrives.

Do I Need a Car or Special Equipment to Work As a Shopper?

Once you receive approval, you need to obtain and register an Instacart payment card. The payment card allows you to shop for the customer without using your own money. It takes about a week to receive the card by mail.

If you're a Full-Service Shopper, regular access to a vehicle is mandatory. You must also purchase thermal insulated bags with the capacity to hold a minimum of four shopping bags. Instacart requires non-toxic and chemical-free material since the bags contact food. Finally, the bags must completely seal when closed.

What Are the Advantages of Working As an Instacart Shopper?

Being an Instacart shopper comes with the following perks:

  • You can enjoy convenience and flexibility. After approval, you start earning quickly and choose a schedule that suits your lifestyle
  • Being a shopper is ideal if you're a stay-at-home parent or already work as a driver for companies like Doordash, Uber, Lyft and Grubhub
  • Since it's not a full-time office job, being a shopper is an excellent source of side income and isn't a particularly strenuous job
  • Now that the pandemic forces more people to stay at home, Instacart Shoppers are in high demand
  • You get to keep 100% of the tips on every order

Depending on the season, you can make a good income stream, such as during the holidays or major sporting events

Are There Special Requirements to Start?

Instacart's requirements are not particularly extensive, and the job at its core is straightforward. You do not need a bachelor’s degree or have special certifications or skill sets. However, you must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Be above 18 years old
  • Pass the background screening
  • Have the authorization to work in the United States
  • Have a checking or savings account to withdraw your wages
  • Have a vehicle and valid driver's license (only full-service shoppers)
  • Use a recent smartphone that can effortlessly run the app
  • The ability to lift at least 50 pounds with or without accommodation
  • Purchase approved thermal-insulated bags (only full-service shoppers)

Besides these basic requirements, anyone can apply to be an Instacart Shopper.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make?

This depends on your location and what type of shopper you are. Shoppers get paid by the batch, and the app gives them an estimate of their earnings per order.
In-store shoppers receive a fixed hourly rate that depends on their state of residence. Usually, they make a minimum of $5.00 for every shopping order or roughly $13.00 an hour.

Full-service shoppers earn between $7.00-$10.00 per run, depending on the number and type of items, how long it took to drive to the customer's location, and the delivery difficulty. You keep the entire tip a customer gives per order. The company also offers promotions on some Instacart runs, which give you the option to make more money. If you are willing to take on these extra perks, you can earn a good amount of money every week shopping and delivering.

How Long Does an Instacart Background Check Take?

A standard background check takes about ten business days. In some cases, it takes less time. However, due to the pandemic's havoc on court system schedules and other services, it may take a little longer in the present. One thing that sets Instacart apart is that it considers previous convictions on your record (if they exist) and their relevance to your role as a shopper. Even if you don't have a completely spotless record, that does not automatically disqualify you for the position.

Are There Downsides to Working As an Instacart Shopper?

One of the downsides to working as an Instacart shopper is that you have limited hours if you are an in-store shopper. As a part-time employee, you may need to take on another job if you need extra income.

A more serious downside to working for Instacart is the potential for negative publicity. With the availability of ring cams and monitoring devices, any mistake or incident can become national news if a disgruntled customer releases footage. Before you start, we recommend evaluating the pros and cons of the position to determine if it's suitable for your lifestyle and personal circumstances.

Get Started Today With Rocket Resume

Now that you know how to be an Instacart Shopper, it's time to determine whether this position is a fit for you.

Being an Instacart Shopper is a reliable source of income that lets you customize your schedule based on your time. But to get started, you need a resume that highlights your skills and increases your chances of getting hired. That's where we come in handy.

With Rocket Resume, you can access millions of resume templates perfectly readable by Applicant Tracking Systems.

You can build a unique Instacart Shopper resume by answering a few simple questions that take care of tedious formatting work.

Are you looking for a custom Instacart Shopper resume? Rocket Resume offers career-specific templates that take the guesswork out of building a solid CV.