13 min read

    13 min read

    In this final installment on working for Instacart, we’ve provided some updates for delivering with Instacart in 2019, and of course kept the information on how much Dash Bridges made while driving for Instacart!

    Earlier this year, I tried to work for Instacart to see how it compared to my DoorDash experience. I wrote about my onboarding experience here. In summary, the app and attention to detail impressed me. The $12.50/hr guarantee did not.

    New Lyft Driver - Earn 1500:week

    My next article described my first shift, including shopping for food, pre-shopped pickups, challenges and other observations. In my first 4.5 hour shift, I averaged $15.53/hr. Not great, but hey, just my first time. Reminds me of when I went shopping with the Ibotta promo code app.

    So now, finally, please allow me to wrap up the loose ends of my Instacart story. As with all of my articles, the ONLY payment I’ll receive for this writing is from the Rideshare Guy. I’m not a corporate shill and I don’t have any conflicts of interest. Without further ado…

    Ready to sign up for Instacart? You can sign up here using our affiliate link.

    Work for instacart

    Work for instacart

    How to Get Your Instacart Driver Sign Up Bonus

    The criteria for becoming an Instacart driver is pretty straightforward. Depending on which state you’re driving in, you’ll need to be 18 to 21 years old minimum, have access to a reliable vehicle and access to a smartphone. It is also required that you be able to carry at least 30 pounds worth of groceries.

    There are a few options for working for Instacart. One option is to be a ‘full service shopper’, which means you shop for and deliver orders.

    The second option is an ‘in-store shopper’ which means you shop for the person in the store, but you don’t deliver for them (that’s another Instacart person’s job). You can tell Instacart which option you prefer (especially handy if you don’t have a car or don’t want to deliver groceries by car).

    Want to give working for Instacart a try? You can sign up for it here using our referral link!

    image of instacart delivery options

    Which type of Instacart shopper do you want to be?

    Highlights of Working for Instacart

    In addition to Instacart’s excellent app layout, there were several aspects to the work for Instacart experience I enjoyed. First of all, I’m driving a lot less. Because I’m shopping for groceries instead of simply picking up meals, I spent far less time driving. I averaged 1.0 Instacart deliveries per hour vs. 1.8/hr with DoorDash.

    Although my driving distance is a bit farther per order, I’m completing half the deliveries. On an hourly basis, it’s only 8.5 miles/hr at IC vs. 14.4/hr at DoorDash. Instacart places less strain on my car. It’s something to consider when you drive a less-efficient vehicle or you have a financial situation that doesn’t take full advantage of the $0.58/mile federal tax deduction.

    Get started and sign up with Instacart here!

    As we all know, lists and rankings are designed to stir discussion and interest. Instacart stirs this competitive nature with stats of my own shopping performance.

    Here are a couple of IC-generated speed reports following each of my shifts, followed by a regional leaderboard. Unfortunately, compared to the rest of the shoppers in the greater San Jose area, I’m average-to-below average. Still, it’s motivating! I looked at my ranking every week.

    It seems as though getting a sign up bonus with Instacart depends on the time of year in which they’re hiring. Some seasons they offer sign up bonuses, whereas others (like the summer, when college students are getting out of school) have no sign up bonus offers.

    We still recommend you sign up with Instacart using a referral code, just in case you live in a city that is still offering sign up bonuses.

    What is it Like Delivering with Instacart?

    The short answer is it’s like doing your grocery shopping and dropping it off at someone else’s house. The long answer is a bit more involved, of course, because as with anything, things can go wrong. And what do you do when something that someone wants is not available? When shopping for yourself, you can instantly change your plans to include a different ingredient or focus on an alternate that will work in an item’s place. When you’re shopping for someone else, your options are much more limited.

    The onboarding process with Instacart helps you out a little bit, allowing you to get some practice in before you jump right into the job. You’ll go through tutorials and videos and you’ll have all the tools and materials you need to get started sent to your door with the exception of insulated bags. Those you’ll have to provide on your own. In the mail, you’ll receive the card you’ll use to make purchases up front before dropping off the groceries to the customer.

    Once you’re ready to go, you can go online and start earning. Much like Uber and Lyft, you’ll see hot zones if there are busy patches throughout your city that should steer you toward some prime earning spots. Like with any service, you’ll learn with experience when the hottest times are for you to be out and about doing your Instacart thing.

    Before going online officially, you can schedule shifts that you’re willing to go online for. You’ll be notified within the app where you need to go for your first order. Your training guides you through the rest — what to buy, how to make swaps for items that are unavailable, and more.

    Want to give working for Instacart a try? You can sign up for it here using our referral link!

    How Much Does Instacart Pay?

    What you get paid through Instacart partially depends on your ability to work efficiently. This may depend on the area you live in, what stores are part of the system and how far away you’ll have to go to make the deliveries.

    But you should be able to figure out generally how much you can expect to make. It’s highly likely the majority of your time will be spent actively shopping within the store versus driving to the location for dropping off the groceries. This means it’s critical for you to be efficient once within the store. I also use apps like the Fetch Rewards referral code to make some extra money while on the job.

    It might even be worthwhile, before doing any official trips, to become familiarized with the stores available within the app so that you have a general idea of the layout. This will make it easier for you to get your shopping done in a timely manner, boding well for your earnings as well as higher ratings from your customers who will appreciate getting their food in a timely manner.

    Long story short, here are my numbers for both Instacart and DoorDash:

    Service Month Hours Deliveries Delivery Tips Bonus Mileage
    Instacart Feb 26.9 26 $254.40 $108 $0.00 228
    DoorDash Feb 55.9 99 $954.16 n/a $12.00 805


    Service Gross Total Gross/Hr Deliveries/ Hr Tip/ Delivery Gross/ Delivery miles/ hour miles/ delivery
    Instacart $362 $13.48 1.0 $4.16 $13.95 8.5 8.8
    DoorDash $966 $17.28 1.8 n/a $9.76 14.4 8.1

    From February 17-26, I worked nearly 27 hours at Instacart, ranging from 3.0-4.5 hours at a time. I shopped during Instacart-designated prime hours (weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons). I had some good days and some really terrible days.

    However, I never earned more than $17.50/hr on a shift, and a couple of shifts earned below $9.00/hr. As you can see above, the average hourly earnings were $13.48/hr, which is significantly below my DoorDash average for that month. AND…my $17.28/hr DoorDash earnings represents one of the worst months of my DoorDashing career.

    Want to give working for Instacart a try? You can sign up for it here using our referral link!

    Browsing through some forums about driving for Instacart, it becomes evident that like many other delivery-type services, it’s not the most gratifying job, but if you do it well, you’ll hear praise from your customers. From several screenshots I came across, the tips are going to make up a good chunk of your earnings, so delivery quality service to help your earnings.

    Also similar to Uber and Lyft, you have the option of getting paid on a weekly basis as a direct deposit into your bank account or you can choose the instant pay option by linking a debit card.

    Instacart Sign Up Bonus

    Above are three versions of referral bonuses: Instacart in February, Instacart today and DoorDash today.

    To be honest, all three are tall orders. Both of the work for Instacart bonuses must be earned in 30 days. In the first example, someone needs to commit to 10 hours per week to qualify. If you’re doing this as a side job, that’s a solid commitment.

    In the second example, Instacart calls out batches, not hours. Batches are the pre-shopped pickups that you scan and pack into your car. Shoppers don’t necessarily get batches. They’re mixed in with other shopping orders. You might get one or two per 4 hour shift. So if you need 30 batches in 30 days, you’re going to work a lot more than the 40 required hours in example #1. Obviously the incentive is higher, but again, you may need to work twice as long to qualify.

    The DoorDash referral bonus is clearly the worst. At around 2 orders per hour, a driver would need to work at least 75 hours (in two months) to earn $300. The lack of incentive is understandable. As we begin summer, orders will decrease as customers go on vacation and a ton of students will Dash as a summer job, flooding the Dasher pool. DoorDash doesn’t particularly need drivers for the next few months.

    Make sure to sign up with a referral code to deliver with Instacart. You can sign up for it here using our referral link!

    Can I Drive for Instacart While Working for Other Companies?

    Much like driving for Uber and Lyft somewhat simultaneously, you can do the same with Instacart and other delivery services. While you’re actively running around for Instacart, it isn’t advisable to be active on any other app, but as soon as you finish your delivery, if you don’t have another order waiting, feel free to supplement with using DoorDash, Postmates or any other delivery service you can think of.

    You could also go the intense route and try juggling multiple apps at once, but keep in mind, this can get tricky and confusing. It also involves rejecting a lot of jobs to find the best ones for you.

    What Are the Best Gadgets for Delivery and Instacart Drivers?

    While you really just need your phone and a car to delivery for Instacart, there’s more to it than that overall and some extra gadgets can help you get through your day easier.

    The first thing that will help you with efficiency, especially since you’ll be using your phone for the shopping, delivery and confirmation, is a magnetic phone mount. This way you can just snap your phone on the mount and take it off with ease.

    If you don’t have a way to rig up a charger in your car, you can keep a battery bank in your car for use when you’re out and about. This way your phone is always ready to go when you need it most.

    Another handy item would be Bluetooth headphones so you can listen to the directions as you go while remaining hands-free — several states have hands-free laws for cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle.


    Something that not everyone thinks of is an air freshener for your car. Whether you’re delivering hot foods from restaurants through DoorDash or you’re delivering groceries, they can sometimes have a funky smell to them and that will get all over your car. The last thing you want is to sit in a smelly car for the rest of the day or subject your passengers to a stinky car if you decide to switch gears and go online for Uber or Lyft after a food delivery.

    You’ll also want to keep paper towels and/or wet wipes around for any spills that may happen. You never know when milk is going to tip over and spill in your trunk or backseat, or meat juices escape. You’ll be grateful to have a quick and easy way to clean up.

    Depending on the size of the order, it might be handy to keep a foldable cart on hand. Some places you’ll need to carry the food upstairs for the customer or other obstacles. Make it easier on yourself with a cart so you don’t have to make 20 trips.

    For more tips for gadgets that could help you, take a look at this video:

    What if I Don’t Have a Car to Drive for Instacart?

    If you don’t have a car to drive for Instacart, you may be able to sign up to just do in-store shopping. It wasn’t immediately clear when signing up for the app if this was something you could specify being interested in, so keep that in mind before moving forward.

    If you want a mode of transportation there are options for renting cars for delivery driving. One such company is HyreCar where you rent a car from an individual as opposed to renting from a company. You can rent the car on an as-needed basis. For more car options, check our our marketplace link.

    Want to give working for Instacart a try? You can sign up for it here using our referral link!

    There are also other delivery options, such as for Postmates, where you can use a bicycle instead of a car since it’s typically for smaller deliveries instead of a full grocery order.

    Make Sure to Drive for Instacart Using a Driver Sign Up Bonus!

    To sign up, you can click on our link, go to or create a login through the Instacart Shopper app. Follow the sign-up process and wait for your materials to arrive in the mail and you’ll be ready to get started.

    Just remember to keep a few things in mind:

    • knowing the stores and different kinds of foods can be beneficial
    • shopping efficiently can lead to earning more
    • If you’re quick, you’ll likely earn a decent chunk in tips

    Overall, adding Instacart to your delivery apps is a great way to add extra cash to your pocket. Have you signed up to drive for Instacart yet?

    Never pay full price for gas again.

    ddlgoGetUpside is an app that saves you up to 25¢/gal on gas, plus discounts on food, too! See why millions of people are using this app. Download the GetUpside app and get an additional 15¢/gal signup bonus today.

    -Dash @ RSG

    Dash Bridges

    Dash Bridges

    Hey! I'm an independent contractor in Silicon Valley working Door Dash as a side hustle to my day job. I sincerely enjoy my work as a Dasher, but let there be no doubt, I am here to maximize earnings!

    Share Post