Instacart is one of the most popular grocery delivery platforms out there, operating in over 5,000 cities across the United States and Canada.
And, in terms of gig economy jobs, Instacart also lets shoppers earn upwards of $25 per hour (or even more, if you get lucky) for delivering groceries to people in their city.
But, if you’re currently working as an Instacart shopper and find that you aren’t getting enough batches, you might feel somewhat frustrated.
So, why is it that some Instacart shoppers can make over $1,000 a week, whereas others struggle to get consistent batches?
Well, part of it has to do with picking the best Instacart shopper hours so there’s a higher chance you get regular batches.
So, if you want to know the best times to do Instacart, this is the post for you!
Let’s get to it.
Looking for other lucrative gig jobs in your area? Checkout:
- DoorDash – Make money delivering food via bike, scooter, or car in your city with DoorDash!
- Steady – Find local, high-paying gig jobs with the free Steady app!
The Best Times To Do Instacart
The best time to Instacart for Shoppers is typically all-day throughout the weekends and in the evenings after work during the week. This is because these are the main times when people are actually home and are ready to receive their groceries.
This is different from the best times to DoorDash which are centered around meal times like lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks.
One way to find good times to do Instacart is to also check your Instacart Shopper app for the “best times to shop” button under the available batches:
If you tap this button, it actually shows you location-specific data for the best times to deliver for Instacart in your area.
This can be a bit buggy once in a while and not display data, but normally, it should outline some suggestions for when Instacart is the busiest.
And, again, if the app sounds like it’s giving bogus recommendations, like to do all of your deliveries at 9pm, take it with a grain of salt.
The Best Times To Shop Instacart According To Shoppers
Typically, the best Instacart Shopper times and days include:
- Weekdays: From around 4:00pm to 9:00pm as people order groceries when they get home from work and don’t want to go shop themselves
- Weekends: Essentially any time on the weekend since this is when people traditionally shop for groceries themselves and are home to accept orders
Now, on weekends, a lot of batches get claimed early in the morning, so I’d suggest trying to work earlier on the weekend if that’s when you have time.
It’s also worth noting that with more people working remotely now, you can probably get some earlier grocery orders during the week.
However, from what shoppers say, it looks like early on the weekend and later during the week are the best times to do Instacart:
As you can see, one shopper still does 9am to 3pm during the week, five days a week, but most shoppers stick to around 2pm to 10pm for their weekday window.
If we look at other Instacart shopper reviews on Indeed, you also see similar info:
However, as one shopper notes, it’s also important to test your market to see what works best.
Depending on the competitions with other shoppers, it might be optimal to work slightly off-peak hours just so you have more access to batches.
This video from YouTuber The Rideshare Hub also covers some of the best Instacart times where you can get more batches.
In his video, this Instacart Shopper explains how it’s best to work mornings to get the morning grocery batches and to then switch to other food delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats throughout the day as Instacart slows down.
In short, Instacart can be worth it, but you really need to work the prime-time hours to get the most batches possible.
Extra Reading – How Much Money Can You Make With Instacart A Week?
Why Picking The Best Instacart Times Matters
For a lot of gig jobs, you can start working whenever you want.
Instacart used to be different. In the past, you had to schedule shifts you wanted to work, and Instacart did this to help manage how many shoppers were out there at a given time.
Now, things are different.
Instacart shoppers can now open the app and begin working whenever they want. Furthermore, batch requests go to the highest-rated shoppers first.
According to Instacart: “In several regions across the country, batches will be offered to shoppers directly rather than selecting from the list view, and they will be given time to review without other shoppers being able to accept the batch.”
So, this ultimately means you’re competing with more shoppers and your shopper rating matters a ton!
You can learn more about how to improve your shopper rating in our post on Instacart tips and tricks, but the point stands: delivering at the right time is important to increase the chances you get orders.
What Are The Best Days To Work For Instacart?
Sunday and Mondya seem to be the best days for Instacart. This is because these are traditional grocery shopping days for many people, so anyone who uses grocery delivery services would want groceries delivered to them at a similar time.
This makes perfect sense; people come back from out-of-town trips on Sunday and need groceries. Similarly, Monday is a catch-up day for people if they put off errands on the weekend.
According to shoppers on Reddit, it also seems like the weekend and Monday are the best for getting regular batches:
However, it’s still important to test what works in your market and to just use these times and days as a rough starting point.
When Do Instacart Hours Become Available?
If you want to work at off-peak hours, you might be thinking: hey, I’ll just work at 7am or midnight to score some easy batches. But, Instacart actually only lets customers schedule deliveries depending on partner store schedules.
According to Instacart: “Delivery windows start as early as 9am and run as late as midnight. Check local store hours. Delivery hours are subject to store operating hours, which includes holidays.”
Extra Reading – The Best Apps That Pay You To Drive.
Other Tips For Making More Money With Instacart
Now that you know the best times to shop Instacart, here are a few more tips you can use to make more money with this gig job!
1. Choose Batches Carefully
Driving at busy Instacart times is key to ensuring you get more batches.
However, you still need to accept batches that are actually worth your time so you make a decent hourly wage.
This means considering:
- The total pay plus your tip
- How many items are in the batch
- Total delivery distance
As you can see in the batch example above, it’s very high-paying and only requires 4.2 miles of driving, which is great.
It’s definitely worth taking, even with the 58 items which will take a while to shop, because it’s almost $50.
However, use your judgement and don’t take low-paying batches just for the sake of it.
2. Use Other Delivery Gig Apps
Another important tip for delivery drivers is to use multiple apps, especially if Instacart is being slow or if you’re delivering at slow hours.
Some popular delivery apps you can use include:
- DoorDash: Make money delivering for the leading food delivery app in North America.
- Uber Eats: Deliver food to people with your bike, scooter, or car.
- Amazon Flex: Make $18 to $25 per hour delivering packages for Amazon.
- Roadie: Deliver packages to people and businesses in your city.
- GoShare: GoShare lets you make money with a truck, large sedan, box truck, or cargo van.
So, drive at busy times for Instacart and snag as many batches as you can.
But when things slow down, switch to other delivery apps to keep the orders coming in!
Extra Reading – How To DoorDash For The First Time.
3. Save Money On Gas
One final tip Instacart Shoppers should know is how to save a bit more money on gas.
So for starters, use a gas rewards credit card or cash-back credit card if possible when refueling so you earn some rewards at the pump.
Popular gas reward apps include:
- GetUpside: Save up to $0.25 per gallon with the leading gas rewards app.
- Receipt Hog: Upload everyday shopping and gas receipts to earn PayPal money and Amazon gift cards.
- ReceiptPal: Like Receipt Hog, ReceiptPal lets you earn cash for uploading your receipts.
Using these tactics won’t make a huge difference, but every little bit counts when it comes to side hustling!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Time Does Instacart Open?
Instacart opens whenever stores open in your area. Typically, this means you can start shopping for Instacart around 7:00am to 11:00pm in many markets. However, Instacart also has 24/7 partners from partners like 7-Eleven, CVS, SafeWay, and Walgreens where you can accept batches and shop at any time.
What Are Some Instacart Busy Hours?
As mentioned, busy Instacart hours include weekend mornings and throughout the weekend as well as from around 4:00pm to 9:00pm on weekdays when people come home from work. Saturday and Sunday usually have the most steady batches since people are home to accept deliveries.
What Time Do Instacart Batches Start In The Morning?
Instacart batches start whenever stores open in your market. So if grocery stores open at 8:00am in your market, this is when many of the first batches become available. On the weekend, make sure you wake up early to get as many weekend deliveries as possible.
Extra Reading – 14 Ways To Make $400 Fast.
How Do You Find The Best Instacart Zones?
The best Instacart zones are ones where there’s a large number of major grocery stores that are on Instacart. If you wait near these areas, you have a higher chance of finding more batches, which means making more money.
Your Shopper app actually has a hot spot feature that highlights some of the best zones you can wait in.
You should still test out a few zones in your market to find the stores that have the highest-paying batches. But if you’re stuck, use hot spots to your advantage.
Ultimately, it’s tough to pin down Instacart’s best hours to work because, as we see from a bunch of shoppers, every market is different.
However, I think a common trend is that weekends are your friend and that you shouldn’t be afraid of completing later deliveries during the week.
As long as you learn to shop fast and keep testing your market, you can use Instacart to boost your monthly income.
Just remember to have patience, track your earnings and expenses, and you can find success in the gig economy!
If you know the best Instacart shopper hours for your market, definitely leave a comment down below with your advice!
Catch you guys in the next one.
Not making money with Instacart yet? Sign up to become an Instacart Shopper today!
Looking for other ways to make money on the side? Checkout:
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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