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8 min read

    8 min read

    It seems like Instacart is hiring as many Full-Service shoppers as possible, now that they have a bigger stake in the game than ever before. Working for Instacart can be lucrative, but it helps to have a strategy and to know what’s at stake. Below, senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins breaks down Instacart’s hiring spree and what it means for delivery drivers.

    With regular rideshare passenger requests dwindling, the need for shoppers and delivery drivers has gone way up.

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    Instacart is expanding rapidly, already adding 300,000 to their fleet last month and with a goal of adding at least 250,000 more over the next 2 months.

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    What Does This Mean for Drivers?

    If you are interested in driving for delivery, this could be a great opportunity for you to hit the road with Instacart.

    When we interviewed Instacart driver Chris about working for Instacart, he shared how he earned $2,000 a week driving for Instacart.

    Once Chris realized driving for Uber and Lyft wouldn’t pay off right now, he switched gears and began to drive for Instacart.

    Need to pivot from driving? Check out the best options for food delivery or gig jobs.

    He estimates that he’s averaging at least $25/hr working with Instacart as a shopper and driver, or what they call “Full Service”. Chris is loving the fact that he’s not putting nearly as many miles on his car and has become very familiar with local stores, increasing his ability to shop and therefore earn more money.

    Chris has also found that the customers are a bit more appreciative than the average rider. Granted, part of that could be because of the fact he’s getting people groceries during a very questionable time.

    In one week of working for Instacart, he earned over $2,000. In the Minneapolis market, that’s a pretty big deal, and on other platforms only really achievable if you’re willing to work nights and weekends.

    Earnings from the week of March 30-April 5, 2020

    Chris is crushing it with Instacart! Earnings from the week of March 30-April 5, 2020

    Our Top Tips for Driving for Instacart

    During his experience with Instacart, Chris has learned a few things about what works for Instacart and what doesn’t work for Instacart. You can read all of Chris’ top tips for working for Instacart here, but here’s a summary of what he recommends:

    • Don’t drive too far – driving far (either for a grocery store or for a delivery) cuts into your hourly earnings. Make a call depending on the size of your city, but Chris says he doesn’t take deliveries more than 8 miles away.
    • Get to know your local grocery stores – Chris recommends you pick a few grocery stores nearby and get to know their layout really well. This will make the difference between you hunting for an item (and losing money) vs. grabbing it quickly.
    • Play to your strengths – Chris recommends timing yourself and getting to know your ‘pick speed’. This is how Instacart will time you, too, so if you know 30 items will take you around 30 minutes, you can determine if the amount Instacart quotes you will be worth it – this will keep your hourly earnings high!
    Example of his “Pick Speed”

    Example of his “Pick Speed”

     

    • Find a network of drivers for support – Instacart isn’t known for having great customer support, but search for Reddit or Facebook groups for Instacart groups in your city. These drivers can help you out if you run into a problem or are looking for tips.

    Other Gig Work Opportunities

    If Instacart isn’t for you (and we know not everyone can drive for delivery right now!), there are other options to help you earn money right now.

    If you’re looking for more delivery opportunities, you can always deliver vices like alcohol or marijuana (if available in your state):

    Postmates is another delivery option, with gigs like Walmart grocery delivery, restaurant orders, and Best Buy and Walgreens orders.

    DoorDash, which offers restaurant delivery options, is also booming right now. We spoke to one brand new DoorDash driver who is already earning $25/hour in Colorado – and she admits she’s not even employing any strategies to earn that much, that’s just how busy it is.

    Whether you’re new to DoorDash or a delivery veteran, DoorDash drivers suggest you do the following to maximize your earnings:

    • Learn your city – DoorDash will suggest ‘hot spots’ for you, but you know your city the best. Which restaurants are popular in your city? Head there!
    • Message your customer through the app to let them know delivery status – this leads to higher tips
    • Take advantage of bonus opportunities offered by DoorDash to earn more while driving and delivering

    Looking for more work at home or freelance-type jobs? The app Steady connects you to all kinds of local and national jobs, depending on what you’re looking for.

    In the image below, I found over 178 results looking for part-time work.

    steady app jobs

    You can check out Steady for your city here.

    Is It Safe to Deliver with Instacart?

    On one of the recent RSG YouTube Lives, one question people asked was whether or not it’s safe to drive for delivery right now. As Harry stated on the YouTube Live, we’re not saying one way or the other whether or not you should drive for delivery.

     

    If you choose not to drive at all right now, that’s understandable! If you do decide to drive for delivery or other companies, that’s also understandable.

    Here are our top recommendations for staying safe while driving for delivery, whether it’s for Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates or any other company:

    • Take advantage of any protective gear Instacart or other companies send you – Chris said Instacart is beginning to send safety kits to drivers, including masks, hand sanitizers and even a thermometer. DoorDash also offered hand sanitizer to drivers – if you’re not sure, contact support and see what they have to offer.
    • In grocery stores, many have implemented one way directional arrows, helping to limit your chance of contact with another person. Make sure to follow those signs or, if not offered at your store, try to limit going down a crowded aisle as much as possible.
    • Utilize wet wipes. Whether you bring your own or use the ones that most, if not all, grocery stores are providing, wipe down your cart before using it for your shopping.
    • Make sure to use hand sanitizer after you’ve left the grocery store and once you return from making a drop off.
    • Consider doing “no contact” drop offs that many delivery services are offering. This is where you bring the food or items to the customer’s door, knock, step back to a safe distance, wait to make sure they open the door to receive their order, then leave and be on your way.

    Instacart is Hiring Like Crazy – Demand is High for Supermarket Shoppers!

    No matter how you slice it, Instacart and other delivery services are on FIRE right now, making these services a great option for drivers who need money.

    If you’re interested in driving during this time, sign up for one or many of the apps mentioned above. The restaurant delivery apps are likely to have spikes throughout the day, while the grocery delivery will likely be more of a steady stream throughout your day.

    Fill in any gaps you come across with another service. With a busy market and a sound strategy, you can start earning $25/hr like our drivers mentioned throughout the article!

    If you’re not ready to get back out there (or try delivery for the first time), that’s OK! It is an unprecedented time and it’s understandable to be nervous about catching COVID-19. As a driver, you will be increasing your risk of exposure.

    You just need to play it as safe as possible if you do decide to drive right now. Wipe down your cart, use hand sanitizer, wear a mask…these are all things you can do to help yourself (and your customers)!

    If you do want to deliver/drive during this pandemic, remember to schedule some “me” time. Don’t forget to give yourself a break. If you wake up one morning and just can’t face the idea of driving, then don’t! There’s always tomorrow.

    And, if you ever start to notice you have some of the symptoms of COVID-19, please, please, please stay at home and stop delivering. Many of the delivery services are offering paid time off if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, and with the CARES Act, states are working on implementing the unemployment opportunities for gig workers like us.

    In the meantime, try out delivery if you’ve never tried it before. It might be your new favorite gig work to do. It’s a great time to jump on board.

    Are you currently driving delivery? If so, which app have you signed up with?

    -Paula @ RSG

    Earn up to $20 an Hour with Postmates!

    postmates-iconPostmates is growing like crazy right now and offers plenty of no-contact delivery options, from convenience store items, restaurant delivery and more. Sign up here.

    Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
    - Is driving for Doordash worth it?
    - Postmates Driver Pay
    - Instacart Shopper Pay
    - Uber Eats Driver Review
    - Best food delivery service to work for

    Resources:

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins

    Paula Gibbins, a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, is a part-time rideshare driver and a full-time proofreader. She is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In her free time, Paula enjoys reading, playing board games and participating in trivia nights.