February 28, 2024
Interested in working for Instacart? This step-by-step guide covers everything from signing up to maximizing your earnings. Learn from current and former Instacart shoppers and discover how this gig work compares to other options.


Are you looking for a flexible side gig that’s perfect for grocery lovers? You might want to consider becoming an Instacart Shopper! With this app-based platform, you can use your own vehicle to shop for and deliver groceries to customers.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of signing up to be an Instacart Shopper. We’ll also offer tips and tricks for being a successful shopper, provide comparisons with other gig economy work, and discuss how to maximize your earnings. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of everything involved in becoming an Instacart Shopper and how to make the most of it.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Sign Up as an Instacart Shopper

Before we dive into the application process, let’s take a look at the basic requirements for becoming an Instacart Shopper:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be eligible to work in the United States
  • You must have access to a reliable vehicle (car, scooter, bicycle, or on-foot)
  • You must have a valid driver’s license and insurance, if applicable
  • You must be able to lift up to 50 pounds and handle grocery bags and carts
  • You must have a smartphone (iPhone 5 / Android 4.4 or newer) to use the Instacart Shopper App

If you meet all these requirements, you’re ready to apply as an Instacart Shopper. Here’s the step-by-step guide:

1. Visit the Instacart Shopper Website

The first step is to visit the Instacart Shopper website (www.instacart.com/shopper) and click “Get Started” at the top of the page. From there, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information, including your name, email address, and city of residence.

2. Complete the Application

Once you complete the basic information, you’ll be taken to the application. Here, you’ll answer questions about your background, driving history, and availability. You’ll also be asked to provide your date of birth, social security number, and consent to a background check.

3. Pass the Background Check

Instacart will review your application and run a background check. This will typically take a few days, and you’ll be notified of the results by email. Once your background check is complete and approved, you’ll be able to move on to the next steps.

4. Set up your Profile

After passing the background check, you’ll use the Instacart Shopper App to complete your profile. Here, you’ll be able to choose your hours and update your vehicle information. Before you can start shopping for customers, you’ll need to attend an orientation session, either in-person or online.

Tips and Tricks for Being a Successful Instacart Shopper

Now that you’re an official Instacart Shopper, it’s time to start shopping! Here are some tips and tricks to help you be successful:

Time Management

Managing your time is key to being a successful Instacart Shopper. When shopping for customers, you’ll need to keep track of your hours, which are broken down into “batches.” Batches are groups of shopping orders that customers have placed. You can accept or reject offers to shop for batches based on their contents and pay. If you accept an offer, you’ll need to complete the batch within a certain amount of time.

To maximize your earnings and efficiency as an Instacart Shopper, it’s essential to plan your routes carefully. Try to choose batches that are close to each other and have similar items to save time and reduce travel.

Communication with Customers

When you’re shopping for customers, communication is key. You’ll be responsible for selecting the right items and making substitutions when necessary. If you have questions about a customer’s order, don’t be afraid to text or call them for clarification. The more you communicate with customers, the better your shopping experience will be.

It’s also important to be courteous and professional when communicating with customers. Always greet them politely and thank them for their business. If you encounter any issues with their order, be upfront and offer solutions to fix the problem.

Best Practices for Grocery Shopping

As an Instacart Shopper, you’ll need to be efficient and knowledgeable when it comes to grocery shopping. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Shop during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and long lines
  • Bring reusable bags to save time and reduce waste
  • Organize your cart by grouping items together
  • If an item is out of stock, find a suitable substitute and communicate with the customer
  • Double-check all items for accuracy before checking out

Interview with Current or Former Instacart Shoppers

Now that we’ve covered some tips and tricks for being an Instacart Shopper, let’s hear from some current or former shoppers about their personal experiences. We asked a few questions about their time working for Instacart:

What are some pros and cons of working for Instacart?

“One of the pros is the flexibility to work whenever you want. You can turn on the app and start shopping at any time, which is great if you have other commitments. Another pro is the potential to earn a decent income, especially during busy times. As for cons, one major issue I’ve encountered is the inconsistency of work. Some weeks I’ll be getting lots of offers, while other weeks I’ll barely get any. It can be a little frustrating, but overall I’m still happy with the job.”

What are some tips for getting the most out of your work with Instacart?

“My main tip is to be selective with your batches. Don’t accept just any offer that comes your way – choose ones that are worth your time and effort. Also, don’t be afraid to communicate with customers if you have questions or need clarification on their order. Finally, be efficient with your time and plan your routes carefully.”

Comparison of Instacart with Other Gig Economy Work

Instacart is just one option in the ever-growing gig economy. Here’s how it compares to some other popular work-from-home apps:

Pay Rates

Instacart Shoppers typically earn an average of $15-20 per hour, although this can vary based on location and demand. By comparison, Uber and Lyft drivers typically earn $10-15 per hour, while Uber Eats drivers earn around $8-12 per hour. Freelance writers and designers can earn anywhere from $20-50 per hour, depending on experience.


Instacart is known for its flexibility, with Shoppers able to set their own hours and work as little or as much as they want. Uber and Lyft drivers also have some flexibility, but must follow certain guidelines and are required to work during peak times to earn the most money. Freelancers have the most flexibility, as they can choose their own clients and set their own rates.


One major downside of working for Instacart or other gig economy apps is the lack of benefits. Shoppers are considered independent contractors, meaning they are not entitled to health insurance, sick leave, or other benefits. Freelancers and independent writers/designers also typically do not receive benefits, while Uber and Lyft drivers may be eligible for some benefits depending on their location and work status.

Maximizing Earnings as an Instacart Shopper

To earn more money as an Instacart Shopper, there are a few things you can do:

Peak Shopping Times

Try to choose batches during peak shopping times, such as weekends and holidays. During these times, demand for Instacart services is high, meaning you can earn more money for your time.

Tips for Getting More Available Batches

One tip for getting more available batches is to keep your rating high. Customers can rate their shoppers, and those with higher ratings are more likely to receive offers for batches. Another tip is to refresh the app frequently and accept offers right away.

Strategies for Earning More Tips

Finally, if you want to earn more tips as an Instacart Shopper, make sure to communicate with customers and provide excellent service. If you’re happy to take heavy bags up the stairs, greet them with a smile, and follow their specific requests and substitutions, they are more likely to appreciate your work and tip you accordingly.

Instacart’s Demographics and Target Audience

Instacart’s target audience is anyone who needs groceries! According to data from Instacart, its user base skews slightly female, with most customers falling between the ages of 25-54. Demographically, Instacart users tend to be college-educated and earn above-average incomes. With the rise of mobile grocery apps, Instacart is fitting into the larger grocery industry by offering a more convenient and time-saving option for busy consumers.

Future of Gig Work and Instacart’s Role

As the gig economy continues to grow and evolve, it’s unclear what the future may hold for Instacart and other similar platforms. However, the company is working to adapt to changes and provide more opportunities for its Shoppers. In 2020, Instacart introduced new features such as “Fast and Flexible” delivery options, which allow customers to receive their orders in as little as one hour. The company also offers incidental health insurance to its Shoppers as a way to provide additional support.


Working as an Instacart Shopper can be a great way to earn extra money and enjoy the flexibility of a side gig. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an Instacart Shopper and maximizing your earnings. Remember to communicate with customers, plan your routes carefully, and be selective with your batches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *