Shopping for Instacart is one of the most popular delivery gigs. If so many people are doing it, why is it so hard to find out how much shoppers actually make?
Your friend may have told you they make $30 an hour on a great day.
But then an article online will say that gig workers frequently make less than minimum wage, and new laws are needed to protect them.
Who can you believe? What does the data actually say about average shopper pay?
We pulled data from big-name job sites, the top bloggers, and other sources for driver data to give you a general sense of how much Instacart actually pays shoppers.
Read on to see the earnings data we found, how pay works for shoppers, and if it’s really worth it to be a shopper.
What you need to know
- Instacart shoppers can expect to make around $10–$30 per hour on average
- It’s possible to earn $1000 per week, but most shoppers won’t consistently earn that much
- Many variables affect earnings: The city you shop in, local order volume, and more
- Vehicle expenses can significantly reduce your average earnings
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- Table: How Much Instacart Shoppers Make
- The Basics of Shopper Pay
- Can You Make $100/Day? $1000/Week?
- Earnings Data from Indeed and Glassdoor
- What Top Bloggers Say about Shopper Pay
- Crowdsourced Data and Government Statistics
- How Driver Costs Change the Equation
- Instacart Shopper Pay FAQ
- Is Shopping for Instacart Worth it?
How much Instacart shoppers make on average, according to top sources
|Data Source||Instacart Shopper Pay|
|Indeed||$16 per hour|
|Glassdoor||$29 per hour|
|The Rideshare Guy||$20–$45 per hour|
|GigWorker.com||$10–$17 per hour|
|Gridwise||$10–$17 per hour|
|Bureau of Labor Statistics||$16 per hour|
The basics of Instacart shopper pay
Instacart offers two different types of shopper opportunities: Full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers. Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who shop for orders and deliver them to customers.
In-store shoppers are W-2 employees who only work in one store fulfilling orders. In-store shoppers are paid a set hourly wage, typically between $14 and $17 per hour.
This article covers average pay for full-service shoppers.
Full-service shoppers select from available orders—called ‘batches.’ Each batch offers an estimated payout, the store location, the number of items, and the delivery distance.
Batch payment includes Base pay, $0.60 per mile between the first store’s location and the customer’s delivery address, heavy pay, and peak boost.
A full-service shopper’s total pay depends on the number of batches completed. Some shoppers will do Instacart part-time as a side hustle, while others choose to shop full-time.
Sometimes batches only include one customer’s order at a time, but other times orders are batched together in double or triple batches.
Orders from multiple stores can also be bundled together in one batch, meaning that shoppers must visit two stores and deliver to more than one customer.
Can you make $100 per day? Or $1000 per week?
It is possible to earn $100 per day shopping for Instacart, according to the earnings data in our study,
It’s also possible to earn $1,000 per week, but you shouldn’t expect to be able to make that amount every week that you work.
If you earn $10–$30 per hour, it will take anywhere from 3–10 hours to make $100 in a day.
Some of the data we found shows that shoppers can earn $1,000 per week. $1,000 per week is a salary of around $50,000 per year, an amount that some of the top job sites report as being possible on Instacart.
The shopper below earned over $1100 from 42 hours of shopping. Results not typical!
Is Instacart a reliable source of income?
Instacart is a reliable source of part-time income, but isn’t as reliable for full-time income.
Instacart is a great option if your goal is to earn $100–$300 per week working part-time hours. But if you need a full-time income that pays $500+ per week, Instacart isn’t as reliable.
Instacart is usually the most profitable as a side hustle, when you have the flexibility to work the best hours and log off on a slow day.
Instacart earnings data from job & career sites
Large job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor have pages for Instacart shoppers that can give you a general sense of how much shoppers can earn.
Indeed and Glassdoor report user-submitted data, so which can reassure you that they aren’t pulling their numbers out of thin air.
But the issue with Indeed and Glassdoor is that their sites usually cover salaried or hourly positions, and shopping for Instacart doesn’t fit into that model.
Instacart doesn’t pay shoppers an hourly wage or yearly salary, but the pages you’ll find for Instacart on Indeed and Glassdoor describe Instacart pay as a salary.
The big-name career sites don’t go into much detail about how shopper pay works. They don’t describe how the earnings formula works, and they don’t describe the important nuances of gig work, like earnings per batch and the expenses that factor into your true net earnings.
Indeed: $16 per hour, $24,000–$64,000
Indeed’s page for Instacart shoppers shows a wide range of pay for various roles at the company.
Indeed says “delivery drivers” can earn up to $62k. “Personal shoppers” can earn up to $31k, and “store shoppers” can earn $24k.
You might be confused by the wide range of the data and the unclear terminology. That’s one downside of Indeed’s data.
The “delivery driver” job closely matches full-service shoppers, and the “store shopper” job matches in-store shoppers.
When it comes to hourly earnings, Indeed says, “Average Instacart hourly pay ranges from approximately $16.43 per hour for Delivery Driver to $19.36 per hour for Store Shopper.”
If a delivery driver earnings $16.42 per hour, how can the average salary be $62,000? That’s a big inconsistency. A shopper earning $16 per hour would have to work over 70 hours per week to hit $62k.
Glassdoor: $29/hour average, $4–$49 per hour
If you search Glassdoor for Instacart delivery drivers, you’ll find a page that says the typical salary is $29 per hour, with a range of $4–$49 per hour.
That’s a huge range! And the average salary is slightly higher than other sources, but not unreasonably higher. Other sources also get into the $20 per hour range.
Why is the range of hourly pay so wide at Glassdoor?
Glassdoor uses over 1200 user-submitted data points. Because of the unpredictable nature of gig work, it’s possible that the lowest paid shoppers actually only make $4 per hour, and the highest-paid ones really did hit $49 per hour.
What top Instacart bloggers say about Instacart pay
If you search for info about shopper pay, you’re probably going to land on a highly-ranked blog or a page written by an Instacart shopper.
The Rideshare Guy: $20/hour, up to $45/hour
The Rideshare Guy is a top blog in the gig economy space, and their page covering Instacart shopper pay goes into a ton of detail.
They say that shoppers typically make $20 per hour and up to $45 per hour. They also say an average batch is between $15 and $20.
The Rideshare Guy’s author says that their number is higher than other sources in the space because “We take into all factors that affect an Instacart Shopper’s pay rate, such as tips, mileage deductions, and more.”
“Our hourly estimate is higher than other blogs you might read, and that’s because we take into all factors that affect an Instacart Shopper’s pay rate, such as tips, mileage deductions, and more.”
Unlike other sources like Indeed or Glassdoor, The Rideshare Guy drills down into lots of details about how pay for shoppers works, and how to earn more.
Gigworker: $10–$17 per hour
Gigworker is another top blog that covers Instacart, and they arrive at lower numbers than The Rideshare Guy.
Gigworkers page for Instacart shopper earnings says that average pay is anywhere from $10–$17 per hour.
The page goes into many of the nuances of Instacart, like the pay structure, bonus opportunities, and the fact that you need to account for expenses to get an accurate picture of shopper pay.
Crowdsourced data and government statistics
Many sources that cover Instacart shopper pay are a collection of anecdotes from a few drivers. These sources use real data from thousands of drivers and US taxpayers.
Gridwise: $10–$17 per hour
Gridwise is an app that uses real driver data to give detailed earnings information for gig economy workers.
Gridwise users can choose to share their earnings data with the app, so all Gridwise numbers come directly from real drivers all over the US.
Gridwise uses its data to tell you when to drive, where to drive, and how much you can expect to earn.
According to Gridwise, Instacart shoppers in 2020 and 2021 earned $10.88 per hour to $17.08 per hour.
That may be lower than some of the rosier outlooks from other sources, but Gridwise is trustworthy because of all the nationwide data they receive directly from drivers.
Gridwise also shares how much shoppers earn per trip, which is a helpful metric to figure out how many orders it will take to meet a certain earnings goal.
Government statistics: Similar drivers make $16 per hour
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a US federal agency, doesn’t currently publish any statistics specifically about Instacart shoppers or other similar on-demand gigs.
The BLS does have a page about gig workers, but it only has general information about the nature of gig work. It doesn’t go into detail about earnings.
However, there is a BLS job category that may closely match Instacart.
The job category is “Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers.” It includes workers who “pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area.”
That’s a pretty close match to what Instacart shoppers do.
The BLS reports that workers in this category have a median pay of $16.51 per hour. Median means that half earn more, and half earn less.
The BLS numbers for this job category match up with other sources, so it’s safe to say that this is a good outside resource that can help confirm other earnings figures specifically about Instacart.
How vehicle costs change the equation
If you look at a source like Indeed or Glassdoor, there is no mention of the expenses that all Instacart shoppers have to pay.
And without expenses, you can’t get a true picture of the actual profit that shoppers take home.
Income – Expenses = Net Profit!
Sites like The Rideshare Guy and GigWorker go into detail about expenses, which helps you get a much clearer picture of actual shopper profits.
Typical expenses for Instacart shoppers:
- Maintenance and repairs
- Vehicle depreciation
Subtract those expenses from your gross earnings, and your actual net profit may look much lower than your gross income.
Nearly all shopper expenses are related to vehicles. AAA says that a smaller vehicle costs around 40 cents per mile to operate.
If you drive 20,000 miles per year for Instacart, you could spend upwards of $8,000 on your car! That’s a big chunk to take out of your profits that you likely wouldn’t be spending on a typical W-2 job.
That’s where a special tax deduction comes in. It can help to offset your vehicle expenses and increase your profits.
The standard mileage deduction: A big tax benefit
Instacart shoppers can claim a tax deduction called the standard mileage deduction. It compensates drivers for vehicle expenses by lowering taxable income.
For 2023, the standard mileage deduction is 65.5 cents per mile.
If you drive 20,000 miles for Instacart, your standard mileage deduction would be $13,100. That means that your taxable income is lowered by that amount. You won’t owe taxes on $13,100 of your income.
What’s great about the standard mileage deduction is that most drivers don’t actually spend 65.5 centers per mile, so it’s a generous deduction that can account for most of your vehicle expenses.
Carefully track all of your miles while you drive for Instacart. You can use an app or your own logbook.
Instacart shopper pay FAQ
How are shoppers paid? What’s the earnings equation?
Instacart shoppers are paid for each order, or ‘batch,’ that they complete.
Shoppers can select from batch offers that show the number of items, the store, an estimated payout, including tip, and the delivery distance.
The earnings equation for a batch is: Batch payment + tips
Batch payment includes Base pay, peak boost, $0.60 per mile between the first store’s location and the customer’s delivery address, and heavy pay.
Like most other gig economy apps, the batch payment calculation is a private algorithm that Instacart doesn’t share with shoppers. So ultimately you may not know exactly how Instacart came up with a batch payment amount.
Batch payment can also increase based on the amount of time that the order has been available to other shoppers.
When other shoppers don’t accept an order, Instacart may increase batch pay to make the order more desirable.
How much is base pay on Instacart?
The minimum payout for a shop-and-deliver batch is $4. Base pay for more complex batches can be as high as $10.
When does Instacart pay shoppers?
Instacart pays shoppers via direct deposit once per week between Wednesday and Friday.
Many shoppers say that direct deposits arrive in their accounts on Wednesday mornings.
Shoppers can also use Instant Cashout to withdraw earnings whenever they want, up to 5 times per day. The fee is $0.50 per cashout.
Any earnings not cashed out after Sunday 11:59 PM are processed with the following direct deposit, so many shoppers choose to do one instant cashout on Sunday to get all of their week’s pay before the Wednesday direct deposit.
Can you show examples of batch payments and weekly payouts?
Does Instacart offer any earnings promotions?
Instacart occasionally offers promotions that can help shoppers increase earnings.
Guaranteed earnings: Earn a guaranteed minimum amount by completing a certain number of batches within a set time frame.
For example: “Earn a guaranteed $100 by completing 5 batches on 3/28”
If your batch earnings don’t meet the guaranteed minimum, Instacart will send you a bonus to make up the difference.
Bonus for completing batches: Earn a bonus on top of regular batch earnings for completing a certain number of batches.
For example, “Complete 6 batches, get $40 extra”
Referral bonus: Share a referral code with a friend and earn a bonus if they sign up and complete the required number of batches
How does the rating system for shoppers work?
Customers can rate shoppers on a scale of 1–5 stars. A shopper’s rating is the average of their last 100 rated orders. Shoppers with an average rating of 4.7 or higher receive batch priority over shoppers with lower ratings.
- How the Instacart Rating System Works
- The Instacart Deactivation Policy
- Cart Star: Is Diamond cart worth it?
Does Instacart pay for gas and other expenses?
Instacart does not pay for gas or other expenses. As 1099 independent contractors, shoppers are responsible for their own expenses.
Is shopping for Instacart worth your time?
If you take one thing from this article, it might be that it’s hard to say precisely how much an Instacart shopper makes.
So how can you tell if the gig is worth it or not?
From the data we’ve gathered, you can be fairly confident that you’ll earn anywhere from $10–$30 per hour shopping with Instacart.
That’s a wide range, and your earnings will probably fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes higher and sometimes lower.
You’ll be able to make $100 in a day and sometimes even $1,000 in a week.
But the biggest thing that keeps shoppers coming back is the flexibility. You set your own schedule. You decide how many batches you want to do and how many hours to work in a day.
If total flexibility and ~$15 per hour sounds good to you, then give Instacart a try.
More reading for Instacart shoppers