Spark enlists freelance drivers to shop for and deliver groceries to Walmart and Sam’s Club customers
Expected pay: $9 – $20 per hour
Commissions & fees: NA
Requirements: 18 or older; car; driver’s license; insurance; smart phone; pass a background check
Spark Driver review
Spark enlists freelancers for its shopping and delivery service that’s all about serving Walmart and Sam’s Club customers.
How it works
Potential drivers need to be at least 18 years old, have a car, auto insurance, a smart phone and pass a background check. If you meet those requirements, you can sign up. The site is nationwide, but doesn’t need drivers in a handful of areas. So approval is not assured.
However, assuming you’re approved, the site will start sending “offers” for you to pick up. These can involve picking up and delivering orders; shopping for and delivering groceries; picking up pharmacy orders; or returning merchandise.
Pay and payments
Each “offer” has an estimated pay. This estimated payment is based on the distance between the store and where the items need to be delivered, the size of the order, and the customer’s “pre-order” tip, if any. The site also offers some incentive payments for completing a set number of orders and working during high traffic hours.
However, it’s important to note that “estimated payments” are not always accurate. Not only is the tip portion is not guaranteed (see “tip-baiting” below), customers can cancel an order after you’ve reached the store. That gets you “a compensatory payment” instead of the estimated payment that you accepted when you took the order. Although sites like Glassdoor and Salary.com estimate that the app pays between $10 and $20 per hour, that’s before expenses.
Freelancers are paid once weekly through a digital wallet called Branch that can connect to an Apple or Google wallet or a bank account.
The biggest shortcoming we see with this app is that it allows tip-baiting. What is tip-baiting? It’s offering a tip before the order is delivered to entice freelancers to take the gig. But taking the tip away once the order is delivered.
Importantly this “pre-tip” is included in Spark’s estimated delivery fee, which freelancers use to determine whether to accept or reject a job. Thus, if the app allows customers to take away the promised tip, it’s facilitating a bait-and-switch scam
However, Spark gives customers 24 hours after the delivery to “adjust” the promised tip. Theoretically, drivers could earn more because the customer can add to the tip, as well as subtract. But it also gives dishonest customers the ability to rip tips away.
Notably, the better delivery apps, such as GrubHub and DoorDash, do not allow customers to take away tips after the fact. They do, however, allow customers to add a tip. Instacart, which had a similar issue with tip baiting, changed its policies last year to provide drivers with a $10 tip, when a customer removed a tip without reporting a delivery problem.
Freelancers also say that Spark’s app can be glitchy, sending drivers to bad addresses and having them walk circles around a store to pick up ordered groceries. This can also mess with the site’s estimate of how long a job will take.
With this and all freelance delivery jobs, drivers are responsible for paying the cost of gas, maintenance, insurance, tolls and other expenses. As a result, delivery jobs rarely pay minimum wage when tips are excluded. Thus, we think Spark’s policy to allow tip-baiting is inexcusable.
Moreover, where freelancer reviews of the site were once fairly positive, the site has apparently lowered payments to drivers and shoppers over the past year. However, reviews remain mixed and often vary by geography. If you live very close to a Walmart location, Spark may be worth a try. But don’t accept jobs on the basis of a promised tip because you may not get it.
And if you’re not around the corner from a Walmart or Sam’s Club, we think you’ve got better options.
GrubHub and DoorDash both offer better income, mainly because these apps encourage fairly generous tips — and do not allow tip-baiting. A site called Dumpling is a better option for people who want to shop for and deliver groceries.
What their users say (from Google Play)
They have reduced payouts. Now a 20 mile trip pays me $9..one star company
Each update seems to make the wait times even longer. For the love of God please get rid of the wait until it’s closer to X:45 to pickup your order! Every order I get now I end up having to sit in the parking lot for at least 20 minutes to even be able to start the order then another 15 minutes to get the employees to finally load it. I’m making less than half of the money now cause of that from when I started.
The decrease in pay 2023. I am just floored with how much offers are now. It really makes it hard for someone to make a living. Prior to 2023 I could make decent pay per week. Now.. nope! A batch of 2 drops and a $9 base pay is ridiculous. Considering you can only get 1 order per hour. There needs to be a huge consideration on how much drivers are getting paid. Such a let down. I truly hope this changes real soon. I like spark but this….
When I started it was kinda hard to understand but the employees help me through it and now it’s going well. I love this job but you have to compete with a lot of driver’s for a gig.
Love this platform. Regarding some low stars I feel like people don’t understand how they can work the app. Always punch in your address by hand and you’ll never deliver to the wrong address. Also I see some say they can’t go back and change the item when shopping.. just click the completed tab and click edit on the item and you can fix it. Also those say they can’t figure out what order goes where.. separate them in your car by rear trunk and back seat and you’ll do just fine. Hope this helps
App is great, functionality can be a little laggy but it’s to be expected. My main source of income right now, and allows me to keep food on the table.
I’ve been delivering for spark( Walmart) since they started offering delivery. It’s given me the opportunity to get into the work force. I’ve had nothing but a positive experience while getting to make some income to help provide for my family in these hard times.
Can easily make 16/hour in my area, which is above other entry level jobs in Port Arthur, Tx.
The app runs smooth most of the time, but occasionally has hiccups and will say that I am not at the delivery location and won’t let me complete the delivery as a result.
Overall the app is ok, it does glitch a lot. With multiple orders you have to uninstall the app and install it after every order. Very time consuming and frustrating.
The way the app had me shopping for items in store made no sense whatsoever. It had me going back & forth all throughout the store, which wasted so much time.
Too many step to complete a delivery, not accurate with Google map
Terrible app the app lowers my acceptance rate on my days off when I’m not even working
Not a fan
The app is buggy and the payout per order has gotten smaller and smaller. Not to mention they might randomly deactivate your account and will refuse to even give a reason as to why they did it.
The app should allow you to pick what store you want to work at or a combination of stores. It is highly unfair to keep docking drivers points if they don’t want to drive 10 miles to the next closest store as in my case!!! The app should also allow drivers the ability to deliver general merchandise orders in the smartest order.
App milage is not always accurate and they don’t always compensate you for it…not right, not fair
At first it was good money but i notice everyday they lower their rates. Now am making less than minimum wage
So many people bait with tips. I have literally gotten large batch orders where they batch 12-17 orders together with absolutely no tip and count it as one trip even though you’re out of the rotation for multiple hours. It’s ok when you’re scrounging but no one can make a living like this.
If gas was cheaper or my car used less of it, I might try to make this work. It’s too much of a gamble. Customers are allowed to take back tip, so they add a $10 or more tip to the order, so you will accept it, then change the tip after delivery. It’s a known issue and to my knowledge, Spark has not addressed it. I prefer to do DoorDash or UberEats.
Offers are erratic…sometimes expects you to drive 30 minutes across town for a $6.50 delivery with no town (and if you reject it, your acceptance rate takes a hit).
Litany of complaints
Low base pay. Not enough orders, but many drivers. Tip are not guaranteed, they can be taken away easily. Can’t check in early. Employees often put the wrong order size description. Most orders are much larger than described. Often required to wait long time at the pick up. Return order pay only covers the gas and most of the time not even that. No extra pay for helping the clients carry the heavy items up to the top floor.
Rejected offers come back to you. Incentives are impossible to achieve. Overall frustrating compared to other delivery apps.
Massively lowered pay, from 1k a week to 200 a week….. They do not give you credit for your positive work done on your acceptance rating, but always punish if you slip up. They blackmail you into taking many orders that take a very long time to complete for less money than it costs you in gasoline…. Driver support is trash, the company WILL gaslight the crap out of you on everything that is wrong. Not worth it, find a different job….
Pay doesn’t add up to gas spent driving around and the damage done to your car. You sit there all day hoping to get an order.
Batch orders are a bit annoying as you may only get $20 for 6 trips. Gas is expensive now days batch orders should pay more.
Only feels worth it during bonuses Not very forgiving of factors outside your control (ex. send you an order that needs to be delivered 30 min prior to it being offered, lowers your metrics for being late) Many locations are unorganized and get in the way of your delivering Wastes a lot of time if you don’t work during busy days