Have you heard of Spark? It’s a delivery logistics app that’s giving Walmart a fighting chance at catching up with Amazon delivery.
Spark delivery drivers are independent contractors who pick up and deliver orders for Walmart, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, and other major national retailers.
If you’re interested in delivering for Spark, you can expect to make $20 per hour on average.
Just about anyone 18 or older with access to a car can try this gig, so if there are busy Walmart stores in your area, consider delivering for Spark!
What you need to know
- Spark drivers get paid to pick up and deliver orders for Walmart and other retailers
- To qualify you must be 18 or older, have access to a vehicle, and pass a background check
- Drivers are paid for each completed delivery. Average pay is around $15–$20 per hour
- Each delivery offer shows an upfront payout estimate that includes customer tips
- There are different order types: Pick up items curbside or go into the store to shop & deliver
- Pros & cons: Spark is a flexible gig, but overall pay can be low if you can’t get enough orders
In this article
- Spark Driver Requirements
- How Much Do Spark Walmart Drivers Make?
- The Application Process
- What Do Spark Drivers Do? Work Overview
- Driver Ratings & Metrics
- The Pros and Cons of Driving for Spark
Spark Driver Requirements
- Drivers must be 18 or older
- Have access to a reliable vehicle
- Show proof of auto insurance
- Pass a background screening
Apply for Spark here: drive4spark.walmart.com
Spark vehicle requirements
Spark accepts any car, SUV, truck, or van. There is no model year requirement and no vehicle inspection.
Minivans and larger vehicles may be eligible for deliveries with bulky items like televisions, furniture, and other large objects that wouldn’t fit in a sedan or coupe.
Scooters and bicycles are not accepted because they don’t have enough storage space for the typical Walmart order.
How much do Spark drivers make?
Spark drivers are paid for each delivered order. Spark does not have a set hourly wage, but you can expect Spark pay to be around $10–$20 per hour, on average.
It’s possible to earn $500/week on part-time hours, but your actual pay will depend on how busy your market is and how many orders you can get.
How Spark drivers get paid for deliveries
Every delivery offer shows an estimated payout, the delivery distance, and the order type.
You are free to accept or reject any offers. So if an order payout is too low, you can reject it and wait for a higher-paying one.
For example, the driver below got two offers. One pays $19.73 for a 7.6-mile delivery, and the other pays $19.42 for a 9-mile delivery. The driver will receive the payout estimate if they accept and complete the delivery.
How does Spark calculate the pay for orders?
Like many gig economy apps, the earnings calculation for Spark deliveries is based on an algorithm that isn’t fully explained to drivers.
Sparks only says “the earnings calculation takes into account distance traveled, order size, complexities of the drop-off, and more.”
That means that you won’t know exactly how the earnings are calculated for individual deliveries. What you see is what you get.
How tips work for Spark drivers
Spark drivers receive 100% of any tips left by customers. Customers can include a tip during checkout, and any tip left at checkout will be included in the estimated payout. Customers can also tip after the delivery is complete.
You can screen out non-tipping, low-paying orders—A low upfront estimate means that the customer didn’t tip during checkout, and customers are less likely to tip after the order is over.
Customers have 24 hours to adjust tips left at checkout, and 14 days to adjust a tip left after delivery.
Unfortunately, that means tip baiting is possible—a customer can lure you with a great tip and remove it afterward. It’s not very common, but it’s something that Spark drivers should be aware of.
Bonuses and incentives
Spark offers several different bonus incentives that can help you increase your earnings.
- Lump sum: Bonus for completing a number of trips. “Complete 5 trips to earn an extra $40”
- Tiered: A series of lump sum bonuses. “Complete 5 trips to earn $30, 7 to earn an extra $50”
- Earn per trip: A bonus for doing individual orders. “Earn an extra $4 for each trip completed today after 2pm”
- Guaranteed earnings: Get a bonus if you don’t meet the guaranteed earnings minimum.
There is no guarantee that you’ll receive bonus and incentive offers. Spark typically offers bonuses when they need extra drivers.
If you aren’t getting any incentive offers, there’s nothing you can directly do to get more.
Spark Rewards: Free Walmart+
Spark has a rewards program for drivers that offers one month of free Walmart+ and other rewards. To qualify, you must complete 20 deliveries in a month and maintain a rating of at least 4.7.
If you qualify, Spark will email you in the first week of each month to give you a code to access Walmart+ and any other perks.
How drivers get paid: Direct deposit, the Branch Wallet, and the One Wallet
Spark drivers are paid via direct deposit to a bank account or one of two digital wallets: The Branch Wallet or the One Wallet.
Branch and One are free digital banking accounts that you set up during the onboarding process. You will receive a debit card for whichever account you choose.
With the One account, earnings are automatically transferred to your One card after each trip. With Branch, your earnings are deposited once each week on Tuesday.
You can spend your funds with the Branch or One debit cards, or you can transfer your money to another account.
Transfers from Branch to a bank account are free if you choose the option that takes 3–5 business days, but there is a 2% fee if you need an instant transfer.
The One Wallet is the only way to get instant daily pay on Spark. The Branch wallet only offers weekly pay.
Spark now offers direct deposit to a bank account. You no longer need to sign up for One or Branch if you prefer to use your own bank account.
The application process to become a Spark driver
Begin the application process at drive4spark.walmart.com. Click ‘Sign up’ at the top of the page and select the zone that you want to work in.
Follow the instructions to complete the rest of the application, then consent to a background check and wait for the results.
After the background screening is completed, the next step is to wait for Spark to activate your driver account.
How long does it take to get accepted by Spark?
If your market is currently in need of new drivers, it can take as little as 3–7 days to get started.
But for many applicants it can take weeks or even months to get fully onboarded.
Many Spark applicants pass the background check but end up waiting months to start delivering.
The longer wait time are likely due to over saturation—There are too many drivers for the current delivery demand, so Spark won’t approve a new batch of drivers until the market needs them.
If you are stuck at the “screening” or “accepted” stage and there aren’t any issues with your background check, you can try contacting Spark for an update. But there’s not much more you can do to move things along.
You may be added to a waitlist, or you may only see a progress screen that gets stuck at one of the stages before ‘approval.’
Spark can reject your application if they find that you don’t meet their current standards.
Spark won’t say exactly why they rejected you, but usually it’s due to issues on your background check.
How to contact Spark about your application
Call driver support at 855-743-0457, or email [email protected].
What cities is Spark in?
Check this page to see which cities and states are accepting Spark drivers.
What do Spark drivers do? Work overview
Here’s what a day in the life of a Spark driver is like: First, you sign into the Spark driver app and mark yourself available by selecting Spark Now.
Then, you wait for order offers to come in.
When an order offer appears, it shows the estimated payout, store location, order type, and the number of orders.
After you accept an order, you will navigate to the store and follow instructions to pick up the order.
You will pick up some orders in the pickup area of the parking lot, and others will be inside the store.
Once your car is loaded with the order, navigate to the customer and drop it off according to the instructions in the app.
After you drop off the order, wait for your next order.
Receiving order requests: Round robin & first come, first serve
When you’re signed in and waiting for orders, new order requests come in two ways: Round robin offers and first come, first serve offers.
Round robin offers are exclusive offers sent to individual drivers. You have several minutes to accept or reject the order.
Typically round robin offers come once per hour at the same time each hour. Your acceptance rate metric is based on how many Round robins you accept or reject.
First come, first serve offers are available to other nearby drivers, and the first driver to accept the request gets the order. Declining a FCFS order does not affect your acceptance rate.
Order types on Spark
The order types on Spark are called delivery, shopping and delivery, and return to store.
Order requests will indicate where to pick up the delivery and may have tags with extra information about the delivery like ‘alcohol’ or ‘heavy item.’
For delivery orders, you pick up a delivery that has been prepared for you.
The delivery could be groceries, hardware, home goods, or anything else that Walmart sells that can fit into a typical vehicle.
For Shopping and delivery orders, you enter the store to shop for a list of items.
After collecting all the items, you pay for the order using a QR code in the app and deliver the order as normal. It’s similar to shopping for Instacart.
For return-to-store orders, you will pick up items from a customer and return them back to a Walmart store.
Store pickup: In-store vs curbside
Deliveries will be labeled as either in-store or curbside, which lets you know where you will be picking up the items.
For an in-store pickup, the app will direct you to a designated pickup location inside the store.
A store worker will ask for your driver code, then you will scan the customer label on each delivery.
For curbside orders, Walmart loaders will load items into your car in a designated loading area of the Walmart parking lot.
A store worker will ask for your driver code to confirm that you’re the right driver. Then you will scan the customer label on each order.
Getting paid for wait time
On curbside orders, you can be paid for your wait time if you arrive at the stated time and the order isn’t ready. Wait time compensation is around $2 for each additional 15 minutes of waiting.
Grocery orders have typical grocery items like produce and packaged food or drinks.
Dotcom orders are items purchased from Walmart.com, like cleaning supplies and other general items.
Customers don’t have the option to tip during checkout on Dotcom orders, so they aren’t always the preferred order type for many Spark drivers.
There is no ‘dotcom’ label for orders, but dotcoms typically are for in-store pickup and have more than 2 orders in the batch.
Grocery orders are typically curbside pickup with no more than 2 orders in the batch.
Spark also offers deliveries from other retailers through the Walmart GoLocal program.
You may see offers for deliveries from Home Depot, Advanced Auto Parts, Sams Club, and others.
Offer tags: More info about each order
Offers may have tags that give you more info about each order to help you decide if the order is right for you.
The Express tag indicates that the customer requested shipping within two hours or less. Most Express orders are shopping and delivery orders.
The Alcohol tag indicates that the order contains alcohol. You will have to ask for a driver’s license or government ride to verify that the person you are delivering to is 21 or older.
The heavy item tag indicates that there is at least one heavy item, and that extra earnings are included in the payout
The Apartment tag indicates that the delivery address is an apartment. This can help you skip apartment orders, or give you a heads up that the drop-off may be more difficult than a non-apartment order.
The Pharmacy tag indicates that you will be picking up prescriptions. You will have to get a signature from someone 18 or older to complete the delivery.
Can someone else ride with you while you deliver for Spark?
According to the Spark Driver FAQ you can bring a passenger along but they are not permitted to participate in any work. A passenger is not supposed to help you load, unload, or deliver orders.
You can bring a child along, but only if they are old enough to be left alone in a vehicle and only if they don’t help you with any of the work.
Ratings & Metrics: How Spark measures your performance
Spark keeps track of 5 different metrics for drivers: Acceptance rate, on-time arrival, drop order rate, customer rating, and items found.
Metrics are calculated based on your 50 most recent orders or the trips you’ve completed within the last 3 months.
Your acceptance rate is the number of offers you accepted out of the numbers you received when you were available. First come, first serve offers don’t count toward your acceptance rate.
On-time arrival measures the number of times you arrived at the store within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time.
Drop order rate counts how many orders you dropped (cancelled) less than 30 minutes before the pickup time.
Customer rating is a 5-star scale. It is calculated based on your 50 most recent customer ratings.
Items found measures the percentage of items that you find. When you can’t find an item and remove it from an order, your items found metric will decrease.
The Spark deactivation policy
Spark can deactivate drivers for violating the terms of service. Common reasons for deactivation are too many misdelivered orders, complaints from customers, and complaints from Walmart store workers.
Following a deactivation, you can attempt to get your account reactivated by contacting Spark driver support or by emailing [email protected].
Is it worth driving for Spark? Pros and cons
Spark is worth considering if your area has busy Walmart stores. In a good area, earnings can be strong and you can rely on Spark for a solid part-time income.
Another perk of Spark compared to other delivery gigs is that you only work out of the Walmart stores in your zone.
That’s in contrast to other delivery gigs that have you drive all over town to different restaurants and stores.
On the negative side, earnings for Spark can be low if your market isn’t very busy or if Spark onboards too many drivers.
Like other jobs in the gig economy, there’s no guarantee that you’ll hit your earnings goal every day or every week. Income on Spark is unpredictable.
Another complaint is that many deliveries can involve carrying several heavy items like cases of water. If the delivery is at an apartment, expect extra leg work.
Inconsistent order volume is another complaint. Sometimes you can go for long stretches without getting any orders.
Other delivery gigs to look into
If you’re interested in delivering for Spark, these other on-demand delivery gigs are worth considering.