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Instacart is becoming one of the most popular app-based gigs in the on-demand economy. For every Instacart customer who places an order in the app, there is an Instacart shopper to pick out the items and deliver the order.
In-store shopper update: The in-store shopper role is no longer available. All new shoppers will be full-service shoppers.
This article covers the type of work that full-service shoppers do, and how you can decide if a gig with Instacart is right for you.
What Instacart Full-Service Shoppers Do
Full-service shoppers travel to local stores to shop for items and deliver orders to customers. As independent contractors, they get paid for each batch completed and set their own schedule.
There used to be a role called the in-store shopper. That role is not longer available. Instacart is only accepting full-service shoppers at this time.
Full-Service Shopper Overview & Requirements
Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who use their own vehicle to travel to stores, shop for orders, then deliver the order to customers. Full-service shoppers are what most people think of when they think of Instacart shoppers.
Full-service shopper earnings & pay: Full-service shoppers are paid for each completed order—called a ‘batch.’ Full-service shoppers can expect to make around $15 per hour, but there are no guaranteed minimum earnings or an hourly wage (except in California).
A full-service shopper can do as many or as few batches as they want to, so on a long day with many batches earnings can climb high. But if there aren’t many lucrative offers for the day, it’s possible for earnings to dip low.
The payout for each batch is displayed up front in the list of available batches, so you will know how much you will make for an order before they accept it. In-app tips are displayed up front on the batch request screen, so you’ll know if an order comes with a big tip or not. Be warned that customers can alter the tip after the order is complete.
Full-service shoppers must meet these requirements
- 18 years old or older
- Have access to a registered vehicle
- Vehicle insurance – Name must be on policy
- Must be able to lift 30 or more pounds
- Have a smartphone with Android 5.0 or higher, iOS 9 or higher
- Apply online or in the Shopper app
Application process for full-service shoppers: Full-service shoppers complete the entire application process online or within the Shopper app. Apply online, provide documents, and wait to hear a decision. Once you are accepted, you will receive onboarding instructions and you will be able to begin shopping.
You should be a full-service shopper if…
Being a full-service shopper may be the right Instacart role for you if you have a vehicle, are willing to travel to complete orders, and if you can accept a somewhat unpredictable income. Earnings can be strong when orders are plentiful, but it’s possible for earnings to dip low if customer demand slows.
- How to Become an Instacart Shopper
- Instacart: Are Double Batches Worth it for Shoppers?
- Not Getting Any Batches On Instacart? What to Do
- Deactivated by Instacart? How to Get Your Account Back
In-Store Shopper Overview & Requirements [Role Retired in 2021]
Note: Instacart is not currently accepting in-store shoppers.
In-store shoppers were part-time W-2 employees who shopped for orders inside one store. Shifts were scheduled in advance, with a maximum of 29 hours per week. In-store shoppers did not need a vehicle to do the job. The hourly wage was around $11 – $16 per hour.
All Instacart Shoppers are Now Full-Service Shoppers
Most shoppers seem like the flexibility and earnings potential of full-service shopping. In 2021, Instacart retired the in-store shopper role. Stores began to fulfill Instacart orders with their own employees, and the in-store role was reduced until Instacart finally cancelled it altogether.
While shopping for Instacart might not be intended to be a full-time job, many full-service shoppers are able to earn close to full-time money by choosing batches wisely and working as many batches as possible. It’s a grind, but hard workers in the right market can make it work.