July 19, 2024
Instacart can be an excellent gig job for those seeking flexible schedules. In this article, we explore how much you can make on Instacart, including breakdowns of the pay structure, strategies shared by experienced shoppers, and tips for improving earnings.


Instacart is a grocery delivery and pick-up service, that has become more popular with the pandemic. Instacart itself is not a grocery store or supermarket, but they partner with many grocery stores and supermarkets. The users (customers) select grocery items online or via a mobile app, and then Instacart personal shoppers shop, sort, and deliver the items to the user’s location.

Instacart offers job opportunities for shoppers to make money with flexible schedules. In this article, we will explore how much you can make on Instacart, including my personal experience, a comprehensive analysis of Instacart pay rates, success stories of high earners, and tips and tricks for maximizing earnings. We will also compare Instacart pay rates to other gig jobs like Uber and DoorDash.

Up Close and Personal: My Experience Working for Instacart and How Much I Made

I began working for Instacart as a personal shopper in August 2020. I was looking for a flexible part-time job that I could work around my schedule, and the opportunity to work as a personal shopper for Instacart was perfect. My experience with Instacart has been great, and I’ve been happy with how much I have been able to earn.

To become an Instacart shopper, I downloaded the app and applied via the app. The application process was straightforward, and I was quickly accepted after passing a background check. I completed a short training course on how to shop for groceries, communicate with customers, and use the Instacart app.

As a shopper, I was responsible for choosing batches or orders that needed to be fulfilled and shopped for. The batches had an estimated pay range, which included the base pay, tips from the customers, and batch incentives. I earned more when the order required more items, involved longer distances, and had a higher tip. Additionally, I used a mileage tracker to report miles driven for taxes.

Over the course of a year, I worked part-time, working around 10 hours per week. On average, I earned about $25 per hour, including tips.

Breaking Down the Numbers: A Comprehensive Analysis of Instacart Pay Rates

Instacart pay rates vary depending on several factors, including geographic location, demand, time, and batch’s complexity. On average, Instacart personal shoppers earn between $10 and $20 per hour, excluding tips. However, earning potentials can vary widely, and some shoppers earn much more.

Instacart’s pay structure includes several components:

Base Pay

Instacart’s base pay is the minimum amount that shoppers earn for each completed batch or order. The base pay varies depending on the complexity of the order: how far away the customer is from the store and whether the order is a pick-up and delivery order or a delivery-only order. Typically, the base pay ranges from $3 to $5 per order.

Batch Incentives

Batch incentives are additional payments given to shoppers as a reward for accepting and completing large batches or orders. Batch incentives vary depending on different factors such as the total item count, distance, and time needed to complete the order. Batch incentives can range from $0.50 to $10 per order.


Instacart also allows customers to provide tips to their shoppers as a way to show their appreciation for a job well done. Tips often range from $5 to $10 but can be much higher for larger orders or complex orders. It’s important to note that 100% of the tips go directly to the shoppers.

Meet the Instacart Millionaires: Stories of Success and Strategies for Making Big Bucks

There are many Instacart shoppers who have made over $100,000 per year. These high-earning shoppers have shared some strategies for how they were able to maximize their earnings. Here are some of the most successful strategies:

Accept High-Paying Batches

Instacart shoppers who earn the most money often accept batches or orders with higher average pay rates. These types of batches typically involve larger orders or require more complex shopping and delivery processes. Experienced shoppers also know that some batches are more profitable than others, so they work to identify and accept these batches quickly.

Shop During Peak Hours

Peak hours and times are known as when demand is high and shoppers are more likely to make higher earnings. Experienced shoppers also try to schedule their shopping shifts during peak times when more batches are available, increasing their chances of finding high-paying batches.

Build a Regular Customer Base

Many experienced shoppers have been able to build a loyal customer base that regularly orders from Instacart. By building relationships and providing excellent customer service, these shoppers earn more tips and can count on more reliable earnings.

Instacart vs. Other Gig Jobs: Which Pays the Most?

In comparison to other popular gig jobs such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, Instacart’s pay rates are quite competitive. On average, Instacart shoppers generally earn more than their peers. The exact pay rates depend on each gig, but Instacart shoppers tend to make anywhere from $3 to $10 more per hour than workers in other popular gig jobs.

However, there are also other important factors to consider when comparing gig jobs. For example, Uber and Lyft drivers may have more consistent earnings, so they know the exact amount they will earn per hour in advance. On the other hand, Instacart shoppers often experience more variability in earnings, influenced by things such as order type, tips, and batch compensation.

The Inside Scoop on Instacart’s Pay Structure: Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Your Earnings

Maximizing earnings on Instacart involves some strategy and attention to detail. Here are some top tips for earning more as an Instacart shopper:

Track Your Mileage

One of the most important tips for maximizing earnings as an Instacart shopper is to track your mileage and other work expenses. By doing this, you will be able to calculate your actual pay rate and take advantage of tax deductions

Communicate with Customers

Excellent communication skills can help Instacart shoppers to earn more tips, as consumers appreciate good communication. Be responsive, polite, and communicative in all of your interactions with customers.

Shop Efficiently

Maximizing earnings on Instacart requires efficient shopping techniques. Experienced shoppers suggest following the most efficient route through grocery stores, using the available technology, and shopping for multiple batches simultaneously.

Address Concerns or Complaints

Finally, it is essential to address any concerns or complaints from customers efficiently. Demonstrating problem-solving skills and positive customer service when issues arise can help boost your earnings potential.


In conclusion, Instacart can be an excellent gig job for those seeking flexible schedules and the ability to work on their own time. While earnings can be variable, the strategies shared by experienced shoppers can help improve your likelihood of earning more money as a personal shopper. Additionally, Instacart’s pay rates are often higher than those of other popular gig jobs, making it a competitive choice for those seeking to make extra money.

Don’t hesitate to try it out for yourself and share your experience with us.

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