Instacart vs Doordash – Which App Do Gig Workers Prefer?

Pedro is here with us today to talk about his experience with both DoorDash and Instacart. He’ll go over which app he prefers and why based on his experience in the St. Louis market. 

DoorDash vs Instacart, Which app is better? What are the pros and cons? I’ve done both. If you’re interested in my opinion, keep reading. Everything is market dependent, so you’ll want to go out there and do your own market research and find out what works best for you.

Now, I’ve done a lot more DoorDash than I’ve done Instacart. I’ve only done about 20 Instacart jobs.

DoorDash Pros and Cons

For me, DoorDash is a very easy app to work. As you do anything enough, it becomes very, very easy.

Now, DoorDash does hide tips, they do play some games. But in the end, if you know your makete, your merchant, if you stick to a plan and you adapt when needed, it’s a very easy app to work.

I think DoorDash has the most market share. When things are at its best with DoorDash, it’s the best app, in my opinion, all things considered. Pick up, drop off, very easy.

There are some Shop and Pay opportunities through DoorDash and those tend to be low item counts.

One thing with DoorDash, you’re going to see the mileage. The mileage is the mileage. They are really transparent with that. There’s really no issues with that.

Instacart Pros and Cons

With Instacart, you can have some low item orders, but sometimes, Instacart will have you shop for 100 items. On average, in my market, what I see is 40-75 items. Plus, Instacart will batch them. They’ll have two, and now even up to three, Shop and Pays. Three different customers on one particular order. And it’s typically not a great batch.

With Instacart, they are only going to show you the distance from the store to the customer (see below).

So, if you’re 20 miles away, it might only say a couple miles, but you have to take into consideration and really look at what store it is. It might not be the one that’s up the street. It might be one that’s way further away.

Another thing with Instacart is the requests will go away real quick. So, you might see a really high paying order, and it might go away in a snap before you can even dissect it. Your eyes have got to be real quick in order to snatch that batch.

Doordash vs Instacart Pay: Earnings Potential

When it comes to pay, one caveat is it will always be market dependent, but the biggest thing is, what is your profitability? Most of the Instacart orders are going to be more mileage to get that particular dollar.

While the amount might be good. You might see a $30 order, or something like that—very rare you’re going to see that on DoorDash—the amount of time and the miles you’re going to take and spend to make that $30, will be way, way, way more.

So, you might have a lot of $6, $7, $8 orders, you’ll even have $2 or $3 orders on DoorDash, but if you can do three $7 orders on DoorDash in, let’s say an hour, that’s $21.

You might see a $21 order on Instacart, but it could take you over an hour to do it and drive more miles and have more frustrations that are possible.

Working for DoorDash and Instacart

At RSG, we always encourage working for multiple apps whenever possible. This is the best way to maximize your earnings. You can do this with DoorDash and Instacart. If you’re not getting requests on one, you might get them on the other, so have them both open to start your day, or to fill in slow gaps throughout the day.

It’s easy to sign up for both, plus with having both available at all times, you’ll be able to learn which is hotter during certain times of the day, making your work day more predictable and therefore more productive.

Requirements for DoorDash and Instacart

DoorDash Requirements

Before you sign up for DoorDash, you’ll want to make sure you meet the basic requirements for the job. Those are as follows:

  • 18 or older
  • Any car, scooter, or bicycle (in select cities)
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social security number (only in United States
  • Final step: consent to a background check

Of course, you’ll need to pass the background check in order to start working for DoorDash, but the above are the basics you’ll need to get started.

The DoorDash signup process is simple. After clicking on the link, fill in the basic information, starting with your zip code. If it’s available in your area, you’ll get to move on in the application process, providing your email address and phone number to get started.

Then you’ll fill in their application with your legal name and create a password. You’ll also need to have your driver’s license (if you plan on delivering in a vehicle), and your social security number handy. Once you’re signed up and consent to the background check, you should get notification within a few days of next steps.

Instacart Requirements

To become a full-service shopper (where you shop for the items as well as deliver them), you’ll need to meet the following basic requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Eligible to work in the United States
  • Consistent access to a vehicle
  • Consistent access to and be able to effectively use a recent smartphone (iPhone 6s/Android 5.0 or newer)
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs with or without accommodation

You’ll also need to pass a background check to start working for Instacart.

Sign up for Instacart here. Simply fill out the application with your name, email address, cell phone number and zip code to get started. Be prepared to also consent to a background check to complete the application process.

Where Can I Dash or Shop? 

DoorDash is available in over 300 cities and areas across the U.S., including Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Hawaii; Las Vegas, NV; Washington, D.C. and more. Find if DoorDash is in your area by entering your delivery address here.

Instacart is available in partnership with several grocery and retail chains including ALDI, Costco, Coborn’s, Cub, Walgreens, Target, Lowe’s, Michael’s and more. Find delivery or pickup locations near you by entering your zip code in their location search.

Tips from Seasoned Shoppers

One piece of advice that many seasoned shoppers will share with you, you want to know what area to be in. So, go to that particular store in your area. Be in that parking lot, so that the miles it shows you will be a true indicator. Because if you do it from home or you do it somewhere else, or even if you’re at a store here, it might actually send you to the same store somewhere else.

With produce you have to be really careful. You want to be sure to pick good produce, things that you would want. Super important on Instacart because that can lead to bad ratings, people can take tips back, and things like that.

One of the biggest issues is out of stock stuff. Keep your customer in the loop on replacements and try to replace if possible instead of just taking the items off the order. Removing items from the order can affect your tip, especially if the customer tipped a percentage of the order total.

So, Which is Better—DoorDash or Instacart? 

Overall for me in my experience. DoorDash is a better app for me in my market. I think you could make good money with Instacart if it’s good in your market. 

The simplicity of DoorDash (go to a restaurant, maybe wait a little bit, pick up the food and then drop it off) is way simpler than Instacart. For me.

Some people might enjoy shopping, don’t mind waiting in a long line, don’t mind communicating with customers…that’s all good. But there’s a lot more steps for less or similar money than with DoorDash.

What about you? In DoorDash vs Instacart, which one do you prefer?

-Pedro @ RSG