If you’re thinking about starting a side gig, you might consider delivering groceries. It’s much more peaceful than driving people around, and if you enjoy shopping, it can be fun.
When looking at options, you’ll likely compare Shipt vs. Instacart, as they are the main grocery delivery services.
Here’s a review of Shipt and Instacart and how they compare.
Comparing Shipt vs. Instacart
When choosing where to spend your time to make more money, you should know how each business model works to choose the right option.
Shipt and Instacart are shopping services that bring together buyers and shoppers, but the similarities end there. Here’s what you should know about Shipt and Instacart.
How Does Shipt Work?
Shipt is a shopping service with options for buyers to shop at local grocery stores, large chains like Target and Walmart, and smaller stores like CVS and Office Depot. Shipt also works with Costco, allowing buyers to warehouse shop without dealing with crowds.
Before becoming a Shipt shopper, consider the following:
Shipt Shopper Requirements
To be a Shipt Shopper, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a current driver’s license and insurance
- Drive a car that’s at least 1997 or newer
- Be able to lift up to 45 pounds
- Understand produce and have basic grocery knowledge
- Have a smartphone with iOS 10 or newer or Android 5.1 or newer
Unlike most gig-sharing apps, Shipt is a little stricter with its hiring process. First, you’ll complete an application online that takes only a few minutes, but then you must undergo an interview. It’s usually 30 minutes or less and is not a traditional interview.
The Shipt interview has two parts. First, you’ll complete a written assessment, then answer questions via video, submitting them to Shipt HR for approval. If you pass the interview, a recruiter will call you with the job offer and set up your orientation so you can start earning money.
After you’re approved, you can accept Shipt orders in the app based on the store, location, and pay. If you accept an order, you head to the store to shop the list. If there are issues with the order, you can contact the customer through the app to determine the next steps.
You don’t have to use your money to pay for the order when you check out. Instead, Shipt supplies you with a payment card to cover the cost. You then deliver the order to the customer, who may then tip you depending on your customer service.
You can cash out your earnings once per day, or Shipt pays via direct deposit every Friday for orders completed the previous week.
Shipt Shopper Pay
The average Shipt shopper (driver) makes $17 an hour in base pay plus an additional $1 an hour in tips. This number is derived by the total pay earned in a day divided by the number of hours worked. It doesn’t mean shoppers only earn $1 tips, fortunately.
Like most gig-sharing apps, Shipt pays a flat fee per shop, plus you keep 100% of the customer tips.
Before you accept an order, you’ll see the order details, including the store, the number of items needed and estimated pay for the order. This is the amount the Shipt customer paid for the order; it’s a percentage of the order, as Shipt keeps a portion too.
The amount displayed also doesn’t include tips. However, customers can tip when they place the order, in cash when you deliver, or after delivery.
To increase your chances of higher pay, always provide excellent customer service and communication to keep customers happy.
Owned by Target and available in 5,000+ cities nationwide, Shipt lets you accept and shop for multiple orders simultaneously, meaning you make more money in less time.
How Does Instacart Work?
Instacart is a leader in home grocery delivery, making it easy for customers to get their grocery deliveries when they need them and shoppers to make money on their own schedules. Like Shipt, Instacart shoppers create their schedules and choose which orders they’ll accept.
Instacart orders are mainly from big grocery stores, including Walmart, Costco, Sprouts, Meijer, Aldi, and Kroger. They also deliver from Petsmart, so buyers can get their pets’ supplies brought to their homes as well.
When you accept an Instacart order, you go to the intended store and pick up the items on the list. Then, if there are questions or concerns, you can converse with the customer via the Instacart app. In fact, this is a great way to offer quality customer service and increase your chances of earning higher tips.
After completing the order, you check out with your Instacart payment card and deliver the order. You can cash out your earnings as soon as two hours post-delivery.
If you don’t have a car, Instacart offers the option to be an in-store shopper. Rather than delivering groceries to a customer’s home, you stage them in the designated pickup area at the store for customers to retrieve them.
Other than not driving the order to the customer, the only difference is that you are an Instacart employee and will have a set schedule, usually up to 29 hours per week.
Instacart Shopper Requirements
To be an Instacart shopper, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a reliable vehicle
- Have a current driver’s license and insurance
- Be able to lift up to 50 pounds
- Have access to an iPhone 6s or Android 5.0 or later
Instacart Shopper Pay
Like Shipt, the average hourly pay for Instacart shoppers is $17 an hour, plus tips. Instacart, like Shipt, pays a flat fee per shop based on location, order size, and other factors. In addition, drivers keep 100% of the tips earned.
Like Shipt, you can see the order size, including the number of items, the store, and where it’s being delivered before accepting an order. You’ll also see how much Instacart will pay for the order, which is a percentage of the total fee charged to the shopper for the order.
You might earn tips on top of the fee displayed, so keep that in mind when choosing orders.
Since you shop and deliver orders, each order will take longer – but this also means you’ll earn more per order! Plus, you may be able to take advantage of Instacart's guaranteed earnings promotions that rotates through regions.
Shipt vs. Instacart as a Shopper
Shipt and Instacart offer similar services, so how do you decide which is best? Here are some factors to consider.
Pros of Working for Shipt
- Free Shipt delivery – Shipt drivers with at least one shop in the last 90 days get a free Shipt membership which means free grocery delivery to your doorstep by another Shipt shopper.
- Exclusive benefits – Shipt offers its drivers exclusive deals on auto insurance, health benefits, identity theft protection, legal resources, and lifestyle benefits.
- You can narrow your zones – When you apply to Shipt, you choose the metro area where you live, but you can narrow it down by choosing the specific zones you’ll deliver to reduce the gas usage and wear/tear on your car.
- Shipt has a nationwide community – Working for yourself can get lonely, but Shipt offers a nationwide community that allows shoppers to connect, share tips, and even attend events together to meet up.
Cons of Working for Shipt
- Confusion with the Target app – Target owns Shipt, but they don’t make it well-known that Shipt shoppers deliver orders from Target when placing an order on the app. Because most shoppers assume it’s a Target employee, many don’t tip, leaving Shipt shoppers with less than they thought they’d earn.
- The payment calculations aren’t transparent – In 2022, Shipt changed their payment structure from $5 plus 7.5% of the total to an algorithm only they see, but they claim that it makes drivers at least $17 an hour. However, many shoppers say they don’t make that much.
- The interview process is intense – You can’t get set up and shop instantly with Shipt. You must undergo an intense HR process that can take a few weeks to get you up and running.
Pros of Working for Instacart
- You can work without a car – If you don’t have a car, you can be an in-store shopper. While you are an employee of Instacart and may have less flexibility in your schedule, you still have the opportunity to make a side income.
- Available in more cities – Instacart is available in 5,500+ cities, which is much more than Shipt, giving you more chances to make money.
- Flexible dress code – Instacart shoppers don’t have a specific dress code or uniform. You’re following the rules as long as you look professional in your casual attire and have closed-toe shoes.
- Many store offerings – Instacart works with more stores than Shipt, giving you more options to make money.
- Around-the-clock support – Instacart offers driver support 24/7 by calling 1-888-246-7822. You can also email email@example.com, but the turnaround time might be slower.
- Shoppers have access to exclusive deals – Instacart offers a program called Perkspot, a discount program for many services and products.
Cons of Working for Instacart
- You must deal with customers – When you work with the public, there’s always the risk of dealing with angry or unruly customers. You must be able to put a smile on your face and try to make customers happy.
- There’s no guarantee of work – Since Instacart is an on-demand app, there’s no guarantee there will be orders available when you are available.
- You need high ratings for batch prioritization – If you want to have your pick of orders, you’ll need a rating of 4.7 stars or higher. This puts you at the mercy of your customers, leaving you good reviews.
The Similarities Between Shipt and Instacart
Shipt and Instacart have many similarities starting with the job you perform. With both platforms, you accept a buyer’s order, shop for it at the desired store, communicate any issues, and deliver the item to them.
Both platforms also pay a flat fee, plus they let you keep 100% of the tips. The pay structure may differ slightly between platforms, but on average, shoppers earn $17 an hour on both platforms.
Shipt and Instacart both have benefits for shoppers. Even though you’re an independent contractor responsible for your expenses and taxes, they reward you with various benefits, including discounts on major services.
Choosing Shipt vs. Instacart
So how do you decide which food delivery service is better when considering Shipt vs. Instacart? Here are the top factors to consider.
1. Availability of Jobs
Instacart has a much larger presence than Shipt. That’s not to say Shipt isn’t big, but if you live in a competitive area, you’ll likely find more opportunities with Instacart than with Shipt.
2. Revenue and Getting Paid
When comparing Shipt vs. Instacart, the pay is about the same. While the pay may vary based on the customer and the type of service you provide, most shoppers make around $17 an hour with Shipt and Instacart.
Both Shipt and Instacart offer an option to immediately access earned funds for a small fee, or you can wait for your weekly direct deposit for no fee.
3. Shopping and Delivery Requirements
Instacart and Shipt have the same shopping and delivery requirements, except that Shipt shoppers must wear the provided Shipt shirt when picking up and delivering orders. Instacart just asks that shoppers dress casually.
Instacart also has fewer requirements regarding the type of vehicle you drive. For example, you can deliver using a scooter or bike if you can handle it. Shipt, on the other hand, only allows cars that must be at least 1997 or newer.
4. Support for Shoppers
Both Instacart and Shipt offer customer service options 24/7. Shoppers can call or email support for fast answers. However, Shipt has a live chat option on their website that shoppers can use when they can’t sit on the phone but don’t want to wait for an answer via email.
Comparison of Shipt and Instacart
|Type of Shoppers||Delivery only||Delivery or in-store|
|Coverage||5,000+ cities||5,500+ cities|
|Payment||Direct deposit or instant transfer||Direct deposit or instant transfer|
|Perks||Access to exclusive discounts and benefits, including healthcare discounts||Perkspot discounts|
|Car Requirements||1997 or newer||A reliable car|
|Lifting Requirements||Up to 40 pounds||Up to 50 pounds|
|Special Requirements||Must have a working knowledge of produce||N/A|
|Age Requirements||At least 18 years old||At least 18 years old|
|Option to Shop In-Store||No||Yes|
Frequently Asked Questions
When comparing Shipt vs. Instacart, there are many factors to consider. Evaluate both services before choosing one.
Can you work for Instacart and Shipt at the same time?
There aren’t any rules stating you can’t work for Instacart and Shipt simultaneously. However, if you do, maximizing your earnings will be much easier. Just make sure you only have one app open when you accept orders, so you don’t get confused.
Where can you apply to be a Shipt Shopper?
Click here to sign up to be a Shipt shopper.
Where can you apply to be an Instacart Shopper?
Click here to sign up to be an Instacart shopper.
Will shoppers bring groceries inside?
Neither Instacart nor Shipt requires shoppers to bring the groceries indoors, even if the customer asks. Shoppers always have the right to decline, and Instacart and Shipt would prefer that shoppers leave the groceries on the doorstep.
Is it worth it to work for Shipt?
Working for Shipt can be worth it if you know the best shopping times. Try taking orders at different times to determine when there is the most demand and how to make the most of your time.
Is it worth it to work for Instacart?
Working for Instacart can be worth it, too, especially with its larger coverage area, or if you don’t have a car, you can shop in-store and stage the groceries for pickup. In addition, because you can pick your own hours and even which orders you’ll accept, it can be a great gig.
Which company has better worker reviews?
According to Glassdoor, Shipt, and Instacart have even reviews, both receiving around 3.7 and 3.8 stars out of 5. However, the ratings have slightly decreased recently, possibly due to the higher price of groceries and more difficult customers, leading to lower tips.
Do Shipt and Instacart offer employee incentive programs?
On occasion, Instacart and Shipt offer employee incentive programs to fulfill the larger need for shoppers. Both companies take care of their shoppers and do what they can to ensure they have a successful and safe time delivering groceries.
Shipt vs. Instacart: Which Should You Deliver For?
You’ll find many similarities when comparing Shipt vs. Instacart, but there are some differences to consider.
First, decide which fits your situation best. Consider whether you want to deliver groceries to customers’ homes or shop and drop them off at the store pick-up spot. Do you plan on delivering in a vehicle or using your bike? Then, see which service is most popular in your area. Once you have that information, apply and start shopping to earn money!