We’ve very excited about Instacart’s expanded Guaranteed Earnings program! So all this week and next we’re publishing our best tips and tricks for making money with Instacart.
This post is sponsored by Instacart but, as always, opinions are our own.
7 Myths About Instacart Shopping [Why It’s Actually a Great Gig]
Myth #1: Shopping Doesn’t Pay as Well as Rideshare
In our experience, grocery shopping pays as well if not better than rideshare. With grocery shopping, you can accept requests ahead of time, know exactly where you’re going (the store!), what you’re doing, and roughly what you’re paid for doing that task.
You also only work the hours you want to work – no needing to drive at 2 AM for the bar crowd because those were the only hours you could get. Most grocery stores have daytime hours, which allows you to plan your schedule and make a plan for earnings, putting you in control of your earning and time.
Instacart shoppers we’ve spoken to can regularly earn $20+, and they often can earn more once they learn more about local shops and store layouts.
Myth #2: Grocery Shopping Isn’t a Job for Guys
There’s an old but stubborn myth that guys “aren’t good” at shopping for groceries because they never stick to lists. This is definitely not true when it comes to Instacart shoppers we’ve spoken to!
While Instacart is a female-friendly job, plenty of men are making good money shopping with Instacart. Just ask Robert, a driver we recently interviewed, who regularly earns $25+ an hour only shopping at warehouses for Instacart.
Or ask Chris, a shopper in Minneapolis who averages at least $25+ an hour in his market by shopping close to his house, focusing on only a few stores to ‘specialize’ in, and playing to his strengths (i.e. avoiding orders with lots of spices, as he doesn’t know that aisle well!)
Myth #3: Speed is everything
Let’s start with the Instacart myth that you have to be the fastest shopper in the world to make any money. Don’t get me wrong, speed does matter, but it’s not the only factor.
Plus, a lot of things contribute to increasing your speed if you do want to improve. Consider sticking with just a handful of stores and getting to know them really, really well. You’ll automatically become a faster shopper if you’re in a store where you know where 90% of the items are without batting an eye.
Myth #4: Accuracy doesn’t matter as much as getting the order done
As an Instacart customer myself, there’s nothing worse than hearing from a shopper that they ‘found all my items’, only to open the grocery bags to find a different flavor than I asked for, a different size, or an entirely different brand.
For example, if the customer wants the store-brand wheat bread. Don’t replace it with white because there could be a reason they specified wheat. In these cases, communication is key! If you can’t find an item, find a store employee and ask. If they’re truly out of stock, message the customer via your Instacart app and see if they want to switch for something else.
Make sure to always check in with your Instacart app, especially if you can’t find an item. Savvy Instacart customers will often put replacement instructions in the app, like ‘any size toothpaste is fine’ or ‘pick any Gatorade flavor, no preference.’
Myth #5: The customer is going to get charged the same no matter what
This is blatantly wrong. The customer’s final bill will reflect exactly what you ring up. If they order two steaks that are wrapped separately, ring each one up separately. You might be over or undercharging the customer without even realizing it.
The amount they are quoted is just Instacart’s best guess as to what the bill will be if all items are in stock and weighed to be the exact weight specified. Some things will fluctuate and you’ll want to make sure what they are being charged reflects what they actually receive from you.
Myth #6: Hotspots mean nothing
Occasionally, you will open your Instacart app and see ‘hotspots’ for various stores at various times. This typically means that, around those particular hours, that store (or those stores) are ‘hotter’ – i.e. busier and therefore you’re more likely to get a request!
Opinions on hotspots are mixed – many people recommend not chasing hotspots down, but rather learning where hotspots are and being there before they get hot.
If you’ve ever driven rideshare, it’s the same theory as rideshare hotspots – you don’t want to be driving to a hotspot because when you get there, you’re likely to have missed it. You’ll learn about Instacart and specific store hotspots as you get more proficient shopping and delivering for Instacart.
One Instacart shopper on Reddit noted that there is one particular Costco nearby that is often in a “hot” zone, so they will park in that lot at the start of their shift to be even more likely to pick up a batch with higher pay. Plus, that plays back into the previous suggestion of being closer to the store and being more likely to get a batch offer.
Myth #7: If you have a bad experience with a store you should stick with it anyway
If you have multiple bad experiences shopping at one store—whether it’s items out of stock or a rude checkout cashier—note it and avoid that store. If you’re having a bad experience with it, that will likely trickle down to your customers and they won’t know that it’s the store to blame and not you. Do what’s best for you and your earnings and stick to stores that treat you well and are reliable to work in.
The biggest takeaways to be a great Instacart driver – and make the most money – is
- to communicate
- check in on your app
- take advantage of hot spots and
- provide excellent customer service all around.
Instacart is a great gig: it’s perfect for people looking for daytime flexible earnings opportunities who would prefer not to have passengers in their car!
Ready to sign up for Instacart? Get started here!
-Paula @ RSG