Instacart Waitlist: 2024 Guide for Shoppers

If you enjoy shopping and deal-spotting or just want a side hustle to bring in some cash, Instacart is a great option to consider. After all, you’re already at the supermarket shopping for your family. Why not pick up a load or two of groceries for other families and make a little bit of money while you’re at it?

For Instacart, generally, it’s a matter of just submitting your application. But sometimes you may encounter the dreaded waitlist.

This review article will explain what the Instacart waitlist is, what that means for your application, how long it takes to get off the waitlist, and what to do to earn money while you wait it out. We’ll also share some insider tips for how to sail through the application process as smoothly as possible.

What Is the Instacart Waitlist?

The Instacart waitlist is a list you may find yourself on after signing up to shop for Instacart if the delivery app has more than enough shoppers for your market area.

After signing up to work for Instacart, finding yourself on the waitlist is not uncommon. You’ll need to wait until an available position opens.

The Instacart shopper waitlist generally isn’t too long, and many drivers find ways to make extra cash in the meantime.

Why Does Instacart Have a Waitlist?

The Instacart waitlist is a way for the delivery company to manage the number of shoppers in a given area when there are more Instacart shoppers than available job openings. It is a matter of supply and demand based on local shopper markets. Different zip codes will have different shopper needs.

While this can be disheartening, being waitlisted does not mean that there’s a flag on your profile.

This happens frequently for other gig apps too. There are waitlists for DoorDash, GrubHub, Amazon Flex, and many other delivery driver positions.

Instacart will keep your shopper application on file and notify you when a spot opens.

How Long is the Instacart Waitlist On Average?

For many shoppers, the waitlist is only a few days. It all depends on the number of applicants for new shoppers in your area.

Some drivers may have to wait several months or longer. Instacart doesn’t know how long it will take you to become a shopper because it’s based on changing market needs or the turnover of existing drivers.

The COVID-19 Pandemic changed up the game quite a bit. It increased the demand for Instacart shoppers and also the number of people looking to make extra money through food delivery services. In many areas, the supply of shoppers far exceeded the demand. In these markets, it’s still a bit harder to estimate the length of time for Instacart’s waitlist.

Can You Check Your Place on the Instacart Waitlist?

There is no official way to check your exact place on the waitlist. Applicants are not given a waiting number. You just need to wait it out, making sure to check your email (don’t forget your spam) and log into the app every day.

Calling Instacart customer service is not helpful. They will have no information about your Instacart waitlist status. It is a first-come, first-serve queue though. Anyone who signs up after you cannot move ahead of you in line.

How to Get Off the Instacart Waitlist

You don’t need to take any action on your end. Once a position becomes available, Instacart will just remove you from the waitlist.

If you decide to take another gig economy job, like Shipt or UberEats instead, you can log in and cancel your application.

But there’s no harm in staying on the waitlist anyway. Even if you do take another delivery gig job, having an additional just-in-case side hustle is always a good idea. Just make sure that you meet the minimum shopper requirements to be considered an active worker with the other app.

What Drivers Are Saying About the Instacart Waitlist

In Reddit and other forums, drivers have shared their mixed experiences with the waitlist and general Instacart application process.

  • redflower5 suggests not dealing with the waitlist and just looking for a different job instead.
  • ocshopper23 says that in Southern California some shoppers have been on the list for eight (8) months.
  • Forex-box states they were on a waitlist for over six (6) months.

Shopping for Instacart is a solid gig. In many markets, there’s high customer demand and more than enough work for shoppers. However, the waitlist is a common occurrence in some markets, especially more rural areas. And COVID-19 has had a lingering impact on how people shop for groceries and the kind of contractor and gig work people want to take on. This can add to the unpredictability.

Still, the waitlist isn’t forever. A newly approved shopper may only spend a few days on it. And as you wait for an Instacart opening, you can pick up other delivery gigs or work on TaskRabbit, Indeed, Fiverr, or other freelance sites

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get approved for Instacart?

To be approved for Instacart, you need to meet some basic eligibility requirements. Instacart shoppers must reside in the U.S. with legal authorization to work in the country, be at least 18 years of age, and have the ability to lift up to 40 pounds (18 kg) without accommodations.

Full-service shoppers, who fill customer orders and then deliver them, must have access to a reliable car (not motorcycle or bicycle) and connection to a smartphone device that can run the Instacart shopper app.

How can I change my location on Instacart waitlist?

Contact Instacart support and let them know you would like to change your location. Let them know the other market where you’d like to work.

Are there gig apps that don’t have a waitlist?

Yes and no. If there are more gig workers than needed, a gig app will either have a waitlist or you’ll sign up and have to wait for a client to hire you.

With apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, Shipt, or Instacart, you will get waitlisted if the local market has too many drivers.

With other gig apps, like Rover, Wag!, or Fiverr, there is not an app-sponsored waitlist. But you sign up for the app to offer your services, like walking dogs or designing web pages, create a listing, and then wait for a buyer in the app to hire you.

It can take several days to weeks to book your first service, and it may take several months or more to get regular weekly work. Generally, driving and delivery gig apps offer a quicker path to earning regular part-time or full-time wages.