Instacart is the leading grocery delivery service in North America and is available in over 5,000 cities.
And, as a side gig, making money with Instacart is both flexible and quite lucrative.
However, in order to make good money with this delivery gig, you need to get enough Instacart batches.
That’s why learning what time Instacart batches start at is important so you can snag the best batches before other shoppers.
So, let’s dive into when Instacart starts delivering and how you can maximize your income.
Looking for other great side hustles? Checkout:
- DoorDash: Get paid $23 per hour delivering fast food and restaurant meals.
- Steady: Use the free Steady app to find new side hustles in your city!
What Time Do Instacart Batches Start In The Morning?
Instacart batches start at around 8am in most markets since grocery stores open around 8 or 9 in the morning. However, Instacart is rolling out 24/7 deliveries in some markets, in which case batches are always available for shoppers to claim.
The best way to tell when Instacart starts delivering in your market is to check when your local grocery stores open and close. In many cities, grocery stores open around 8. This means the best way to get more Instacart batches is to wake up around 7:30am, login to the shopper app, and claim batches before other shoppers.
What Time Does Instacart Open?
Instacart is technically open 24/7, and you can always open the Instacart Shopper app or customer-facing app. However, if all grocery stores are closed, you won’t see any available batches. And for customers, you won’t be able to request a grocery delivery in the hours when stores are all closed.
Does Instacart Deliver 24/7?
In 2021, Instacart started rolling out 24/7 deliveries in some major cities. This is available for select partners that are already open 24/7 like certain CVS, Walgreens, Safeway, and 7-Eleven locations.
This means Instacart 24/7 delivery isn’t really for major grocery items, but rather smaller convenience items.
So, the best hours for Instacart are still in the morning, after work, and on weekends when you can deliver large grocery batches.
The 24/7 orders can still pay alright, but if you’re only delivering a few items from a 7-Eleven, you’re probably not making much or getting a large tip.
Is Going For Early Batches Worth It?
So, is Instacart worth it if you wake up early to get the first batches?
Well, one of the best ways to determine this is to see what other Instacart Shoppers have to say about their morning deliveries.
Here’s what some Instacart Shoppers are saying on Reddit about accepting the first batches on Instacart in the morning:
- Buckman211983 says: “If I get the chance I sign up for 8 am, I’ve never seen the opportunity for 7 am. Either it’s just not supposed to be filled, or someone already grabbed it. And usually I get orders right away at 8.”
- Lovehatepassionpain says: “8am hours are great! You almost always a batch right away, because people place orders the night before.”
- One users says: “8am is usually awesome for me. Typically large, week’s worth of groceries for a family, orders.”
- turkeylegsprinter says: “If I take a 7am shift I almost always immediately get a batch. Don’t know why anyone would want stuff so early. Meat and seafood’s not even out yet and workers are still stocking shelves. Plus who wants to be called at 7ish in the morning for replacements and returns?”
- NachoPepper says: “Most days I get a batch within the first 5-10 minutes when I start at 8am. On slow days it can be an hour or more. 7am used to appear as available, but a prompt would pop up stating outside of business hours.”
As you can see, most of these shoppers get Instacart batches as early as 7am or 8am in their markets. They also state these early batches pay quite well and are worth taking.
If Instacart is slow, you might still wait a while for your first batch. But it’s worth waking up around 7am or 7:30am to test out if the early batches pay well in your market.
Tips For Getting More Early Instacart Batches
Now that you know when batches start on Instacart, here are a few extra tips you can keep in mind to make as much money as possible with this gig app.
1. Improve Your Shopper Rating
One of the most important Instacart Shopper hacks is to improve your shopper rating.
When you complete a batch, the customer gives you a rating between 1 and 5 stars. Your Instacart Shopper rating is the average of these ratings for your previous 100 deliveries.
Shopper ratings are also a factor Instacart uses to determine who can claim batches first.
So, in competitive markets, the shoppers with the highest ratings get batches first and claim all the highest-paying ones.
This means having a high rating helps you snag the earliest Instacart batches and make more money.
Some tips for improving your rating include:
- Being friendly when delivering
- Being responsive and texting your customer with updates
- Being on time
- Delivering products carefully and not breaking anything
Even getting to a 4.8 to 5 star rating from a 4 to 4.5 star rating can make a massive difference for how many batches you get.
2. Wait Nearby Stores
Instacart starts delivering around 7am or 8am in many markets. But this doesn’t mean you should wait in bed while looking for early batches.
Your location to stores also plays a role in the batches you can accept. So if you live far away from grocery stores, try driving in and waiting in the parking lot for the first Instacart batches.
3. Deliver On Busy Days
The busiest Instacart days are the weekend since this is when people normally want to shop for groceries and are home to accept orders.
So, try to wake up early and get the first Instacart batches on Saturday and Sunday if possible.
These batches are more likely to be large, so the base pay is higher. And you might get larger tips for delivering larger orders.
4. Mix In Other Delivery Apps
As mentioned, many shoppers double-app and use other delivery gigs to make money while waiting for Instacart batches.
This is a useful strategy since it lets you pick higher-paying orders across a few delivery apps.
And the great news is that there are plenty of jobs like Instacart you can try, even in the early hours of the morning.
Some of the best apps like Instacart you can use include:
- DoorDash: The leading food delivery app that lets you deliver via bike, car, or scooter.
- Uber Eats: Another popular food delivery app that’s basically always busy in most markets.
- Cornershop: A newer grocery delivery service from Uber that’s very similar to Instacart.
- Amazon Flex: Lets you earn $18 to $25 per hour for delivering Amazon packages and groceries.
- Grubhub: Another food delivery gig you can use to make extra cash.
But the other delivery gigs are also effective ways to make quick money, and this includes early mornings when people are ordering breakfast or receiving Amazon packages.
Extra Reading – How To Make $800 Fast.
So, when do batches start on Instacart?
Well, in most markets, the batches that are worth it start at 8am or 9am when major grocery stores open. But in larger cities, you might have 24/7 deliveries from convenience stores and pharmacies.
Ultimately, you should test your market to see if early Instacart batches are available and also worth the pay.
Best of luck!
Looking for even more gig economy guides? Checkout:
- How To Start DoorDashing For The First Time.
- Does Instacart Track Mileage?
- How To Make The Most Money With DoorDash?
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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