In today’s time with the social distancing in place along with the stay at home mandates for many states, an alternative way to get your groceries is through a service called InstaCart.
For people who want groceries delivered to their homes or people looking for a gig to make extra cash that helps them pay their bills, InstaCart might be a gig that fits your needs.
In this article, I’m going to cover both ends of InstaCart.
Why I’m questioning the Win-Win situation, how their delivery service works, and how this gig job might be a good fit for you.
So with that getting said, let us get to it.
Specs About InstaCart
Product Name: InstaCart
Free Access: Yes
Website URL: instacart.com
BeginAtZero.com Overall Rating: 6/10
Note: The specs at the top are for people who want to become shoppers and not for people shopping. I also would have given a higher overall rating, but the complaints I read online for people shopping is inexcusable.
When I tried InstaCart during COVID-19 in my area, I didn’t have a problem. I got my groceries; a lot of items got substituted, of course, because of the situation we are facing during this pandemic, and I expected that.
But, I did some digging and found out people are having problems. We will cover that further in this review. But in the meantime, let us go over what is InstaCart.
What Is InstaCart?
InstaCart is a delivery service that’s offered in the US and Canada. It is for any person who wants groceries delivered to their home.
It’s an easy at-home process of selecting groceries that anyone can do on their computers or mobile devices from your local grocery stores.
Once you select the needed products, you pay for your groceries via debit, credit, or PayPal and have your groceries delivered to your home at whatever time or date you choose.
I Got Groceries Delivered To My Home
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to give InstaCart a try.
As some of you know, if you read any of my articles, I have an autistic son. Since school got closed for a while, I felt it InstaCart was a perfect option for me to have groceries delivered to my home.
The way I tried InstaCart was on my computer.
I signed up, confirmed my email address, then created a password, and from there, I was able to select the participating grocery stores available through InstaCart and order food to stock my home.
I then added the app on my cell phone because, as you know, with COVID-19, you are NOT going to get all the desired groceries you want or need.
With the InstCart app, the personal shopper who is getting my groceries will inform me if the items I selected are not available.
The way it works is that the personal shopper will replace items with a similar item.
You can accept the replaced item or decline it. It is entirely your choice.
Once the personal shopper finish shopping, you get your groceries delivered to your home.
From my experience, I feel it’s a pretty convenient way to stock my home with food, especially during this pandemic.
What Are The Available Groceries Stores?
It all depends on your demographics. Some grocery stores that I know of are not listed. But the major ones are there.
For me, I had the options to shop at
- Smart & Final
- CVS Pharmacy
- Smart Food Service
- Save Mart
- Food 4 Less
- Food Max
How Much Did It Cost?
Of course, I’d spend less money if I went out and did everything myself.
However, you are paying for convenience, so it is going to cost a little more than when you are doing it yourself.
- Delivery Fee
- Service Fee
- Alcohol Fee
For me, the fees I accrued for their service was around $30. About half of the cost went toward tipping the personal shopper, which I don’t mind.
Now that you got the gist about how InstaCart works, It is time to get into people who want to make money from InstaCart gigs.
Delivery Opportunities Full-Service Shopper
Of course, InstaCart needs people to shop for items. Full-Service Shoppers is another gig that people can do, especially if they are unemployed at the moment.
Who Should Become A Shopper
InstaCart shoppers aren’t for people who don’t like to grocery shop.
If you hate to grocery shop, your going to hate this gig.
This gig is for people who enjoy shopping and helping people out.
- Live in the US or Canada
- Must be 18 years or older
- Lift 50-plus pounds without accommodations
- Consistent access to a vehicle
- Recent cell phone iPhone 5/ Android 4.4 or newer
- Installation food delivery bag
How To Become An Instacart Shopper
You are an independent contractor if you sign up to be a shopper.
To apply, you’d go to shopper.instacart.com to fill out the needed info to get your application started.
They do a 72-hour background check before you’re accepted.
If you’re accepted there is an on-site orientation that you’d attend and download their app that keeps track of all the details like,
- gigs available
- customer service
How Much Does It Pay?
On average InstaCart shoppers make around $10 per hour. It does depend on the area and customer demand.
Most of the pay comes through tips, but there are other bonuses within the app if you were to select the gig.
Some people don’t make as much. There are days where there probably won’t have a gig and other days where you are busy.
To make a bang for your time, usually, people order items during the evenings and weekends.
The Way The Gig Works
If you were accepted, you would select time slots on their app. Their time slots usually start from 9 am to 12 am.
Once you select your hours, you should see gigs available. You have the option to choose or reject a gig.
If you select a gig, you will go to the participating grocery store the customer selected and begin shopping.
As you are shopping for the items selected by the customer, you will scan the item on the app from your cellphone.
What you would do is click on the item in the app that you found, scan the item, and the app will indicate if the correct item was selected.
If there isn’t an item available, you can find a replaced item or contact and grocery store clerk to find out if they have the item in stock.
If they don’t, you might have to replace the item with a larger or smaller item.
Sometimes the items the customer wanted aren’t available, so the customer should get refunded for that item.
Once you’ve got all the items, all you need to do is checkout using the prepaid card that InstaCart supplies.
Once you have all the items in your car, you can swipe the app to start delivery.
The address of the customer will show up on and that is when you will deliver the items to the customer’s home.
After delivering the groceries, on the app, your next step is to swipe complete delivery.
Note: The customer can track the shopper as they are shopping through the app they downloaded. InstaCart alerts the customer and can see the items that were selected replaced or refunded. Just like with Uber, the customer can track the time it will take for the shopper to arrive at the customer’s home.
Other Opportunities In-Store Shopper
Depending on your demographics, In-Store shoppers make around 16 dollars per hour. These are great for shoppers who don’t want to drive or don’t have a car.
The hours you can work as an In-Store shopper is 29 hours a week.
The minimum hours InstaCart wants you to work as an In-Store shopper is up to 16 hours per week.
You can select the hours that you are available to work.
Some of the tasks that you do as In-Store Shopper is a little different. Instead of delivering the groceries to a location, you mainly stay in the store and shop.
You store the customer’s groceries inside the store. The store has refrigerators, freezers, and shelves for the driver or customers to pick up once their order is ready.
Does InstaCart Pay Your Gas And Millage?
No, InstaCart doesn’t pay for your gas or millages. On rare occasions, glitches do happen.
These incidents are rare, but sometimes InstaCart will reimburse you if you drive 20 miles outside of your area.
They will give you an additional up to 10 dollar reimbursement if that does happen.
You can keep track of your millages for tax purposes since you are an independent contractor.
Tips That Can Help
Speed is everything. That doesn’t mean to drive crazy, trying to deliver groceries to people. However, shopping efficiently can save you a lot of time.
The app will let you know what isle some of the items are, which is very helpful, but that doesn’t apply all the time.
Communicate is important. The customers are the ones purchasing items. If an item isn’t available, it’s better to ask the customer if the replacement is okay.
If you’re delivering groceries, it’s essential to have insolated bags for hot or cold items.
If you live near a hot spot, waiting at home is pretty cool!
This Is Scary, The Complaints On The Web
This incident didn’t happen to me, but I read in the USA Today’s website, how InstaCart drivers were stealing customer’s groceries.
Stealing is not a win-win situation for customers and shoppers.
Incidents like these probably increased based on the fact that COVID-19 is happening. From the article I read, a lot of people were on Twitter, letting InstaCart know that their drive stole their groceries.
These people upload an old image they got from Google maps and try to get paid for groceries delivered yet, the customer didn’t get it.
Also, another complaint about drivers is that a lot of times there isn’t enough work to make a decent amount of money.
You have to have a high rating to get good hours, and sometimes that can hinder drivers from selecting hours.
The main complaint about drivers and customers is that it’s hard to speak to customer service.
Pros And Cons
- Pay is good if work is available
- Enjoyable work if you like to shop
- Flexible hours
- Helping people in need out
- In-Store Shoppers love the easy work
- Room for advancements
- Sometimes shoppers get cash tips
- Not a lot of work is available
- Customer Service is hard to get a hold of
- Can end up driving out of your area
- App glitches
All In All
InstaCart is a legit company.
It’s not a win-win situation when shoppers are up to some deceptive tactic and InstaCart customer service isn’t assisting their customers.
It is unacceptable when customers have to go on Twitter to get answers. It is also intolerable when shoppers have a difficult time reaching customer service when they are trying to get their job done.
It is a win-win situation when shoppers are helping people in need out. Just like myself, when I couldn’t shop, InstaCart was there to help me stock my home with needed food.
I’m sure there are lots of other people in need of a service like InstaCart.
If you’re one who likes to shop or need to earn extra money, InstaCart might be the right fit for you.
I want people to know if they do want to become shoppers, is that you are helping people out. You can start the process right here.
If you have any questions or comments about InstaCart, feel free to let me know below. Thanks!