Instacart shoppers earnings vary wildly: You might earn $1,000 one week only to strike out the following week with a string of low-paid batches.
One way to boost your earnings is to take advantage of earnings promotions like a guaranteed earnings offer or a bonus after each batch.
Great promos can make or break your week, so read on to learn more about how promotions work and how to get more.
What you need to know
- The most common promotions for shoppers are Guaranteed earnings, a bonus for completing batches, and the referral bonus
- Instacart offers promos when they need more shoppers to fulfill orders
- There isn’t anything you can directly do to get more promo offers
- For guaranteed earnings and batch bonuses, target fast, low-item orders
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- How promotions work on Instacart
- Not getting promos? Why, and how to get more
- Guaranteed earnings
- Bonus for completing batches
- The referral bonus
- Promo strategies & troubleshooting
How earnings promotions work for Instacart shoppers
There are 3 types of earnings promotions that shoppers can get: Guaranteed earnings, a bonus for completing batches, and a referral bonus.
You can find promotions in the earnings area of the app, and Instacart will also send emails and text messages about upcoming promotions.
Different shoppers in the same area can get different promotions, and Instacart doesn’t say exactly how they determine which shopper gets which promotion.
The shopper app tracks your progress on the home screen when you are working toward a promotion.
How to see the promotions that are available to you
In the Shopper app, tap on the $ in the bottom menu, then scroll to find Promotions at the bottom of the page. That’s where you’ll find current and past promotions.
Instacart may also send you a text message or email about upcoming promotions.
Not getting any promotions? Is there a way to get more?
If you aren’t getting any promotion offers from Instacart, the most common reason is that Instacart doesn’t need to add any extra incentives to get shoppers out on the road.
Generally speaking, Instacart offers promotions to incentivize more shoppers to accept batches. That could mean that Instacart predicts increased order demand or a big drop-off in the supply of available shoppers.
The exact promotions you get can be determined by the number of batches you’ve done recently. Instacart might send you a promotion to bring you back into the app if you haven’t shopped for a while.
And to add to the uncertainty, different shoppers in the same area often receive different promotions. Not all shoppers get the same promos!
But is there anything you can do to get more promo offers?
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything shoppers can actively do to get more promotions. Instacart doesn’t share how they decide to offer promotions.
Modifying how you shop in hopes of getting more promotions isn’t likely to be a successful strategy. It’s better to shop as you usually do and hope that promotions come your way.
Guaranteed earnings promotions guarantee that you will earn a guaranteed minimum amount by completing a number of batches within a period of time.
If your batch earnings don’t meet the guaranteed minimum, Instacart will send you a bonus to make up the difference. Tip earnings do not count toward the guaranteed earnings amount, only batch earnings and Peak Boosts.
An example guarantee: “Get $150 guaranteed for 6 batches”
From the example above, if you completed 6 batches and your batch earnings from Instacart were $80, you would receive a $70 bonus so that your total earnings reach the $150 guarantee.
You don’t receive any extra promotional money if you earn more than the guarantee.
Another rule is that double and triple batches don’t count as multiple batches for earnings guarantees. If you need to do 5 batches for a guarantee, a double batch only counts as 1 batch toward the guarantee, not 2.
The Shopper app will track your progress toward the guaranteed earnings reward, and you will get a notification when you successfully complete it.
The notification will let you know how much you earned from the batch pay and what you received as a ‘top up’ to meet the guaranteed earnings amount.
Here’s how it looks when Instacart gives you a bonus for an earnings guarantee.
The shopper below took a $450 guarantee for 30 batches. Their batch earnings were $230.74, so they got a $219.26 top up to match the $450 guarantee.
In the photo below, the shopper was on a $190 guarantee. Their batch earnings were only $68.05, so Instacart sent a $121.95 bonus to meet the $190 guarantee.
Here’s an example of a great guaranteed earnings promotion. $120 for 6 batches means you’ll get at least $20 for each batch, which is much higher than normal batch pay.
Here’s a not-s0-great promotion. $30 for 3 batches is only $10 per batch. That’s barely above base pay, which is around $7.
Another bad guarantee: Just $50 for 6 batches. That only guarantees that you’ll make $8.33 per batch!
Extra bonus for completing batches
For this bonus, Instacart pays you a flat bonus for completing a certain number of batches.
For example, “Complete 7 batches, get $50 extra,” or “Complete 6 batches, get $16 extra.“
Sometimes Instacart will offer a bonus for each batch completed batches during a short time frame.
Example: “Earn $5 extra per batch between 10 am and 3 pm”
These bonuses are typically less common than guaranteed earnings promotions.
One smart way to evaluate these promotions is to do the match and see how much additional pay you will get for each batch.
$16 for 6 batches is only an extra $2.66 per batch. You might not want to go out of your way for that.
$50 for 7 batches is an extra $7.14 per batch. That’s a solid bonus that is worth chasing.
Referral bonus for inviting new shoppers
Instacart will pay you a referral bonus if you refer a friend to the app using your invite code.
An example: “Make $300 when your referral signs up as a Full Service Shopper and completes 30 batches in their first 30 days.”
To invite a friend, go to the earnings area ($) of the app and tap on the “Invite friends, make up to $x” section. You can copy your code and manually send it to your referral, or use the Share Invite feature for more sharing options.
You and your referral must comply with several rules to earn the bonus. Your shopper account must be in good standing, and you need to have completed at least 40 hours of active work on Instacart in the last 6 months.
Your referral must complete the bonus requirements within the time frame stated on the invitation, and they must complete the batches in the region that they signed up in.
If you know someone interested in shopping, this can be easy money.
Promotions are becoming less and less common
Many shoppers have noticed that Instacart offers fewer and fewer promos as the years go by. And when they do offer promos, they aren’t very lucrative.
Here’s what shoppers have to say about promo availability:
“On a rare occasion I’ll get one. Maybe a month ago”
“I haven’t had one for a year since I started”
“I have seen about 3 in the past couple of weeks. None of them worth going out of my way to do them”
“As of recently I believe the last promo I’ve seen was a month and a half ago”
“Is it just me or are the ‘promos’ getting worse?”
It’s best to treat promotions as a surprise extra on top of what you ordinarily earn. You might end up worse off if you specifically craft your strategy around gaming promotions.
Let’s say you’re on a guaranteed earnings promotion, so you intentionally take smaller, lower-paying batches to quickly do the required number of batches without having to do as much work.
That might work out, but if you can’t complete the promotion you’ll earn less than if you had just done your batches as usual.
But if it’s the end of the day and you only have one batch to go on your promotion, it’s smarter to take any batch you can get so you don’t miss out.
Do the math to determine whether the bonus is worth it. An extra dollar or two per batch may not be worth chasing if it forces you to change your shopping strategy significantly.
Why aren’t you getting any batches while you’re on a promotion?
Some shoppers notice that the availability of new batches seems to slow down when you’re on a promotion. Is Instacart throttling batches just to avoid paying you a bonus?
The more likely answer is that other shoppers nearby are also going for a similar promotion, resulting in too many shoppers online and not enough batches to go around.
You have to remember that Instacart doesn’t offer promotions just because they feel like paying shoppers more money. Promotions are designed to get shoppers to go online when there is high order demand.
If too many shoppers go online or the predicted increased demand doesn’t happen, you may have a slow day and miss the promotion.
Instacart didn’t pay your bonus? What to do
If you didn’t receive a payout and you believe you should have, contact Instacart shopper support. The Help section of the app will link you to chat with Instacart Care, where you can describe your issue.
Generally, the Instacart system accurately tracks your promotions, so it’s unusual not to be paid for one. You may need to support your case with screenshots and additional written details.
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