There’s a myriad of food delivery jobs out there these days.
However, many food delivery jobs focus on delivering fast food orders to hungry patrons.
While this is a lucrative side hustle, today, I want to focus on two leading companies in the grocery delivery game: Instacart and Shipt.
After all, about 50% of consumers already buy at least some of their groceries online, and there’s no denying that this trend is going to continue.
Let’s get to it!
Size & Available Markets
Normally, most leading delivery platforms are available throughout the United States and Canada.
However, Shipt and Instacart vary slightly here, and this is probably the first factor to help determine which company you work for.
Currently, Instacart is available in more than 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada.
In contrast, Shipt offers nationwide delivery in the United States across roughly 5,000 cities. So, if you live in Canada, your options are pretty clear.
Outside of this difference, you’ll find that Instacart and Shipt largely serve the same markets in the United States.
Winner: Instacart has a slight advantage since they operate in Canada.
On The Job – A Day In The Life For Each Company
It’s hard to give either company an advantage when it comes to availability.
However, where Instacart and Shipt begin to differ substantially is in the job possibilities.
At their core, Instacart and Shipt let you make money by delivering groceries to their patrons. However, Shipt is certainly more one-dimensional than Instacart in this regard.
How Does Shipt Work?
In a nutshell, working for Shipt is fairly simple, and you’re responsible for making same-day deliveries to Shipt members in exchange for payment.
Now, while Shipt focuses on grocery delivery, they also offer same-day Target.com orders. Additionally, Shipt partners with stores like:
- Office Depot.
As a Shipt shopper, you schedule yourself into a delivery zone up to a week in advance. This essentially locks you in to a specific metro and delivery window.
Once orders come in for that zone, the Shipt shopper with the highest rating gets to accept or decline the order. If they decline, it passes on to the next shopper in line.
This system is designed to encourage strong customer service since the better your rating, the more jobs you can get. Thankfully, as a new shopper, you’re placed near the top of the queue so you have a chance.
Once you accept an order, you head to the designated store and begin shopping.
Customers often make special requests, and they can even list item substitutions if something is out of stock.
It’s important to accommodate requests so you get positive reviews. If you have a question, you can contact the Shipt member through the app to clarify something.
Once you’re finished, simply checkout with your prepaid Shipt card and deliver it to the customer’s address. That’s all there is to it!
How Does Instacart Work?
Working for Instacart is similar to Shipt, although there is one massive difference between the two compaines: Instacart has 2 possible jobs for shoppers.
You can work as a full-service Instacart shopper, and this is basically identical to being a Shipt shopper.
As a full-service shopper, you schedule your shifts, accept orders, shop at a variety of stores, and deliver orders to customers to get paid.
However, you can also work as an in-store Instacart shopper, and this role is quite different.
As an in-store shopper, you’re only responsible for working inside Instacart-partner grocery stores and assembling grocery orders before handing them off to full-service shoppers.
This role is much less volatile than being a full-service shopper, but the main difference is you’re actually a W2 employee, not an independent contractor.
Instacart only allows you to work 29 hours per week since at 30 hours, the Affordable Care Act makes you too expensive to keep as a full-time employee.
This is a downside, and while you’re entitled to at least minimum wage, it’s less lucrative than being a full-service shopper.
However, the main advantage is that you don’t need a car to work as an in-store shopper. On the flip side, if you have a vehicle, you can be a full-service shopper.
Winner: This job flexibility ultimately gives Instacart the edge in the Instacart vs Shipt debate!
Before we get into the pay for each company, it’s time to quickly review the hiring requirements for each company.
As mentioned, Shipt is only available in the United States, so that’s really your first requirement.
Aside from that, to become a Shipt shopper, you must:
- Be 18 or older.
- Be capable of lifting 40 pounds.
- Have a 1997 or newer vehicle.
- Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance.
- Have an iPhone 10 or later or an Android 5.1 or later to use the Shipt app.
The hiring process is also simple. Once you complete an application, Shipt invites you to a virtual interview for the second stage.
This interview involves answering questions about previous customer service work and how you would manage different situations you might encounter when on the job. This also requires a mixture of written and video responses.
Shipt also submits a background check and you have to sign a shopper agreement and W-9 form.
If everything checks out, you can start making money with Shipt!
Just note, Shipt may delay your ability to schedule shifts if your city has a surplus of workers.
Since Instacart has 2 possible jobs, there requirements are slightly different.
Both roles require that you:
- Are 18 or older.
- Are eligible to work in the United States (or Canada, if applying there).
- Are able to life 50 pounds without help.
- Have an iPhone 5/ Android 4.4 or newer.
Now, if you work as a full-service shopper, you also need a vehicle and insurance.
However, Instacart doesn’t state anything about vehicle age, which is another win for this platform.
As long as you can get from point A to point B, you’re good to go!
Winner: A lack of vehicle age and more lenient phone requirements makes Instacart the winner once more.
Instacart Vs Shipt Pay
It might seem like Instacart is better than Shipt based on the last few sections, but Shipt isn’t out of the running yet.
When you consider how much money you can make by shopping for either company, it’s clear why people still choose to work for Shipt.
How Much Does Shipt Pay?
According to Shipt, you can earn up to $22 per hour by working as a shopper:
Now, here’s the annoying thing about Shipt: they’ve changed their payment model.
There used to be a transparent calculation, but Shipt now shows a delivery fee per order that’s based on how long they expect the order to take.
When you factor in the possibility of tips, which you keep 100% of, and the variability in order time, it’s hard to pin down a set hourly rate.
Now, according to more than 80,000 Indeed Shipt reviews, the pay is still $22 per hour on average, which is reassuring.
Of course, your efficiency and specific metro influence your hourly wage.
Plus, like any other side job, you have to factor in vehicle depreciation and gas consumption into your profits.
Regardless, with some practice, $22 per hour seems to be a realistic goal to aim for, which is still above minimum wage in pretty much any state if you factor in your expenses.
Extra Reading – GetUpside Review – How To Save Money On Gas Each Month.
How Much Does Instacart Pay?
Once again, the two distinct job roles have pretty serious implications for how much money you make working for Instacart.
Unlike Shipt, Instacart is more transparent about what full-service shoppers make. In fact, here are some of the factors that determine how earnings breakdown per trip:
- Batch Price. Instacart makes it clear what’s involved in each order and what the pay is.
- Pay Per Mile. Instacart also considers driving distance and pays per mile.
- Quality Bonus. You get a bonus for each 5-star rating.
- Tips. Like Shipt, you keep 100% of what you get in tips.
- Peak Pay. Like DoorDash or Uber Eats, you can earn peak pay for delivering during busy order times. This is variable and not guaranteed.
Now, Instacart doesn’t make any earning claims unlike Shipt.
According to a range of Glassdoor salary reviews, it also seems like the average for full-service shoppers is about $11 to $13 per hour:
The potential is there to match or surpass Shipt; you can see the highest hourly range reaches $26 per hour.
However, on average, it seems like both full-service and in-store shoppers earn $13 per hour or so.
I honestly think Shipt is overshooting a tad as well with the $22 per hour average, and again, your metro and luck also play into this.
Either way, it’s clear that in terms of Instacart vs Shipt pay, Shipt is the winner on average.
Extra Reading – Instacart Shopper Tips & Tricks.
As usual, I like to wrap-up these review posts by seeing what other people are saying online about each company.
From what I’ve read across multiple Reddit threads, the consensus is that Instacart is busier but Shipt pays more:
This actually makes sense when you consider that Instacart is more popular, but Shipt seems to report higher hourly earnings on average.
Of course, there are exceptions, and I thought this Quora response was also worth mentioning:
I think if there’s a lesson here, it’s that you’re truly best signing up for both companies to test what’s best.
If you only have one choice and Shipt is in your area, I’d go with them because of the hourly pay potential.
In contrast, if you don’t have a car, I’d recommend looking into being an in-store Instacart shopper or finding a job with Amazon or something similar.
However, like many other gig economy jobs, doubling-up on similar apps is the best way to ensure you have a steady stream of work and income.
Extra Reading – Best Delivery Jobs Like Instacart.
At the end of the day, I think both of these companies highlight why I love the gig economy.
Instacart and Shipt both offer flexibility, above minimum wage pay, and the chance to create a different source of income for yourself.
As long as you also track your expenses and take time to test the viability of each gig in your specific city, I don’t think there’s any harm in trying either company.
I hope that this Instacart vs Shipt showdown has helped clarify a few questions and helps you set realistic expectations!
If you’ve worked for either company, I’d love to hear about your experiences down below.
Catch you guys in the next one!
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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