What: Instacart is a service that hires workers to shop for and deliver groceries to consumers all over the country

Expected pay: $5 – $15 per hour

Husl $core: $$

Where: National


  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have a car, auto insurance and 2 years driving experience
  • Have a smart phone with a good data plan
  • Be able to lift 30 to 40 pound packages without assistance
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S. 


If you take this job, you’ll get a shopping list and a pre-paid debit card. You’ll shop for the customer’s groceries and either deliver them or set them aside for later delivery. Shoppers are paid based on commissions for each completed order, plus commissions on each item purchased, plus bonuses for “great ratings,” plus “extras” for large orders and long drives.

If you noticed that nowhere in their pay structure is there a minimum pay per hour, you get another bonus for being observant. The driver/shopper reviews on Indeed.com are overwhelmingly negative, with most complaining that the commission structure leaves them at risk of earning far less than minimum wage, while using their car and gas to get to this opportunity. 

We give this opportunity two stars out of five mainly because the site recently struck a deal with Costco, which is likely to boost the size of orders and the relevant commissions. Although some drivers say they already earn a decent income.  Instacart also does offer some basic wage guarantees, so we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt. But there’s a lot of doubt. This may only be a good option for people who really love to shop.

Also check out shopping/delivery jobs with Shipt and Saucey; and straight delivery positions with Caviar, Grub Hub, Favor Delivery or Deliv.

What their drivers say: From Glassdoor:

Cons: Large orders with cases of water and customers with stairs; Poor tips – company doesn’t automatically add gratuity; Pay is less than minimum wage and decreasing in all areas daily; Car mileage, damage and maintenance; Poor support from Shopper Help; Poor Logistics; Company got rid of guarantee pay; If a customer is MIA you must return all non perishables to the store; Poor ratings if a customer reports missing items for the sake of refunds; Items are purchased in “units” so you get 40 cents for 24 items when you’re actually purchasing 48-items (duplicates don’t count)

Here is a typical day at Instacart:
1. Show up to work at 7 am on a Sunday.2. Get a text message that you have a batch at 7:00 am on the dot. 3. Try to retrieve batch in current orders. 4. When you try and pull up your app in current orders, get a pop up message that the app isn’t working, they are aware and are trying to fix the problem. 5. Get a string of text messages that you haven’t acknowledged your batch and aren’t going to get hours in the future because you are failing. 6. Get kicked off the schedule at 7:04 am. No longer being paid. 7. Try to call “shopper happiness”. Get a message that they are receiving a high volume of calls and can’t help you. (BTW, Shopper Happiness always says this and can never help you. It’s non-existent) 8. Try to text your supervisor. Get no response. 9. Get not one, but two reliability incidents for not acknowledging your batch. By the time you get a third, you get fired. 10. Go home after 4 minutes of work. 

(These comments from Reddit are edited solely for grammar, clarity and space.)

The new pay model essentially eliminated tips (60% of my earnings). I worked long hours during October of last year and made around $20/hr factoring gas into the equation. The new pay model knocked me down to less than $10/hr and I only put up with that for a few days before finding a better delivery service.

“The hourly guarantee is calculated by the WEEK, not the day. For example, my zone has a $12/hr guarantee until I hit 50 batches. (It doesn’t tell you that. I had to call shopper happiness to find out the number of batches before I lose my guarantee.)

Let’s say I work the following hours and make the following earnings:

Mon – 10 hours : $90

Tues – 6 hours : $30

Wed – 8 hours : $120

Thur – 8 hours : $40

Fri – 8 hours : $144

Sat – 12 hours : $180

Sun – 8 hours : $160.

That’s 60 hours for the week and $764 in earnings, meaning I made a total of $12.73/hr, exceeding the guarantee and getting no extra money, even though I had single days that made far less than the guarantee. If we changed that a little and said that the Friday wasn’t nearly so good, I made $100 less ($44). So my hours were still 60 but my earnings were $664, meaning I only made $11.07/hr. Since I made less than $12/hr for the week, they would give me money until I hit the $12/hr for the 60 hours I worked, adding $56 to my account to bring my weekly earnings to $720.”

“Fun? Hahahaha. Yeah, right.”

[In response to a question from a Houston newbie, who asked about making decent earnings when working very part-time:] 

“I’m not in Houston, but my best guess would be they’re doing the same thing in every city in the whole country…If you don’t work 30 hours during the week you’re not on the early schedule….there’s a good chance that you’re not gonna get any hours unless you constantly look at the app to check to see if people dropped any. It’s total bullshit that they make people work 30 hours a week to get on the schedule and the way they do weekends is bullshit too…some people can’t work weekends. It’s very un-flexible…I cannot for the life of me figure out why they want to do it that way. Seems like a lot of people would like to do this job as a side gig for extra money. They pretty much want full-time employees….Instacart pretty much dangles the carrot out in front of you and you just constantly chasing the little carrot logo like a jackass.”

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