So, you’re trying to boost your monthly income, you apply to become an Instacart Shopper, and bam: you encounter the Instacart waitlist.
If this sounds like your scenario, you’re not alone.
Instacart has been on a hiring spree for the past few years, but now, many markets are saturated. This results in new shoppers encountering an Instacart waiting list when trying to apply!
But, don’t fret: there’s still a lot of potential for this side hustle idea, even if you’re currently on Instacart’s waitlist and can’t make money delivering groceries quite yet.
Time to cover everything you need to know about the Instacart Shopper waitlist and how long you should expect to wait!
Looking for other side hustle ideas to boost your income? Checkout:
- Fundrise – Start investing in real estate with Fundrise with just $10!
- Uber Eats – Start making money by delivering with Uber Eats!
What Is The Instacart Waitlist?
The Instacart waitlist is a list new Instacart Shopper applicants get placed on if there are too many other shoppers in their market.
In other words, if Instacart has too many shoppers in your area and no one is getting Instacart batches, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up on the waitlist.
You can also get placed on the Instacart waitlist if the platform isn’t available in your postal or Zip code.
This is what’s happening to me right now since Instacart isn’t available in my city, so the only thing I can do is wait!
How Long Is The Waitlist For Instacart?
According to Instacart, timelines vary from region to region for the Instacart waitlist, so how long you wait depends on your market. For many Shoppers, it takes months to get off of the waitlist, although you might only wait a few days or week if you get lucky.
This is information the official Instacart Twitter account has tweeted before, and there isn’t an official policy for how long the waitlist is.
So, you might be on Instacart’s waitlist for several weeks. Alternatively, you could end up waiting for several months before you can make money with Instacart.
But, what are real Instacart Shoppers saying about how long Instacart’s waitlist is?
Well, this Reddit thread on r/InstacartShopper has some very insightful stories from new Instacart Shopper.
Here’s what they’re saying about waitlist times:
- candipie79 says: “Most waitlists lately seem to be dragging into the months territory.”
- sydroch says: “I joined in April (in MO) with no delay, but I didn’t start shopping until 2 weeks ago. My husband signed up 3 weeks ago and was put on the waitlist. I don’t believe he’s heard back.”
- lizzzo23 says: “I applied last year towards the end of the year just hoping for some extra money was put on a waitlist and didn’t hear back from them until May of this year. I’m in the Los Angeles area.”
- lil_layne says: “I joined Instacart 2 months ago in my city with no waitlist at all.”
So, as you can see, some of these Instacart Shoppers are on the waitlist for 2 to 3 months before being able to shop.
One Shopper was on the waitlist for about 5 or 6 months, and there were only a few shoppers in the thread who could join without being put on Instacart’s waitlist at all.
So, in short, it seems like the average Instacart waitlist time is around 2 to 6 months.
How To Get Off Instacart’s Waitlist
The only way to get off of Instacart’s waitlist is to wait for a spot to open up in your market.
Unfortunately, tricks to game the system or contacting Instacart Shopper support to request getting off the waitlist don’t work these days.
There used to be a trick where you could sign up for Instacart using different Zip codes and then email customer support to change your Zip code to your market, but this probably doesn’t work anymore.
Alternatives While You’re On The Instacart Waitlist
If you’re stuck on the Instacart waiting list but want to make more money this month, you’re not out of luck!
There are numerous jobs like Instacart and other side hustle ideas you can turn to while you’re waiting for Instacart to become available or open up shopper positions.
1. Try Other Food Delivery Apps
There are plenty of apps that pay you for driving, not just Instacart.
Additionally, many of these driving gigs involve delivering food and groceries, so the work isn’t even that different from being an Instacart Shopper.
Some popular food delivery apps include:
- DoorDash – Get paid $23 per hour while out delivering food. Read our post on driving for DoorDash for the first time for more info!
- Uber Eats – Delivering with Uber Eats lets you make money delivering food to people in your city.
- Shipt – Shop and deliver groceries to people in your city, just like Instacart!
- Grubhub – Deliver fast food in your city and make money on your own schedule. Read our post on Grubhub vs DoorDash for more info!
- Cornershop – Like Instacart, this app pays you to shop for people’s groceries and then deliver them to their doors.
You can sign up for several food delivery apps to test what’s best in your market.
Additionally, other apps can take a while to sign up for or might have waitlists like Instacart, so it’s wise to try several companies.
But overall, food delivery apps are a great way to make quick money, and they can help tide you over until Instacart spots become available.
Extra Reading – Is DoorDash Worth It?
2. Try Other Gig Apps
If you’re stuck on Instacart’s waitlist and don’t find success with other food delivery apps, you can always try other gig apps to make money.
Some examples of gig apps you can use include:
- Steady – A free app that helps you find local gig jobs and income opportunities.
- Handy – Make money completing handyman tasks for people in your area.
- TaskRabbit – Complete odd jobs in your city like cleaning or tech help with TaskRabbit.
- Rover – Walk dogs or offer pet sitting services through Rover to make extra cash.
- Roadie – Deliver packages to people and businesses in your city as a Roadie driver.
- GoShare – Complete short and long-distance deliveries as a GoShare driver.
- Amazon Flex – Earn $18 to $25 per hour as an Amazon delivery driver.
And, you can always turn to gig apps like Steady or marketplaces like TaskRabbit or Handy if you want to stay in your area.
3. Try Other Zip Codes
If you’re still wondering how to get off the Instacart waitlist, you can try entering several Zip codes in your shopper application to see if nearby cities have open spots.
I tried this during my application, and unfortunately, it didn’t work. However, there’s a slight chance a nearby city doesn’t have an Instacart waitlist, so it’s worth trying.
If you travel very often for work or to see friends and family, you can also try applying in that specific city just for good measure.
Just ensure the city is within driving distance and that you’re there regularly since there’s no point in applying for a market you’re never in.
Extra Reading – Instacart Shopper Tips & Tricks.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re still wondering how to manage the Instacart Shopper waitlist or what options you have if you’re stuck waiting, this FAQ section should help clarify all your options.
1. Why Does Instacart Have A Waitlist?
Instacart hired a lot of shoppers to help with demand during 2020, so it now has a shopper waitlist since many markets have too many shoppers and not enough orders.
2. Is Instacart Hiring In My Area?
The fastest way to check if Instacart is hiring in your area is to enter your Zip code on its website to see if spots are open in your area.
Instacart is available in all 50 states and thousands of cities, so hopefully you can sign up as a shopper without any issues!
3. How Long Does It Take To Get Started With Instacart?
If you’re on Instacart’s waitlist, it might take several months before you can actually make money with Instacart.
However, if you can start working in your market immediately, it typically takes one to two weeks for you to sign up, finish onboarding, and be eligible to shop in your area.
4. How Can I Check My Instacart Waitlist Status?
Instacart emails you when you’re eligible to shop and off the waitlist, so the best way to check your status to regularly check the email you signed up to shop with.
This is very important, to make sure you sign up with an email address you actually use and know the password for.
Don’t call Instacart or email customer support to check your waitlist status; Instacart emails you when a spot opens up.
5. Can I Do Instacart In Another State?
According to Instacart shopper advice on Indeed, you can do Instacart in multiple states if you apply to drive in several markets and you get approved.
This is similar to applying with numerous Zip codes, but just make sure the second Zip code you’re applying for is driveable!
Extra Reading – How To Make $50 Extra Per Day.
6. What Does The Instacart No Spots Available Message Mean?
If you apply to become a shopper and see “no Instacart spots available” this means you are on the waitlist. You have to wait for more shopping spots to become available or hope other shoppers get deactivated so spots open up.
Extra Reading – The Best Ways To Get $5,000 Fast.
I hope this guide helps you understand how long the waitlist for Instacart is and some tips you can use in the meantime to still make extra money.
There are so many ways to make money in the gig economy, and it doesn’t matter if you’re delivering with DoorDash or Uber Eats or even trying lesser-known gigs, like GoPuff: you have a lot of options.
Whatever you decide, I hope you’re not stuck on the Instacart waitlist for too long!
Looking for other money-making ideas? Checkout:
DoorDash Disclaimer: Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.
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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