Update — this has changed a lot from when it was originally posted 2017. Michelle comments: “Maybe someone can update this. I shop in DeKalb and this is not at all how it works in our area. In the Chicago area you have to do shopping and delivery. You are not paid until you have a job. Some days I’ll have a 4-hour shift but no jobs come in, so no pay.”
Welcome back to Work at Home Saturday, featuring your stories of working at home and various ways to bring in income on the side!
This week, Janet shares her Instacart story with us. You can sign up to drive for Instacart here.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery shopping and delivery service where customers can place orders online for delivery from local stores. When you work with Instacart, you can choose to do both shopping and delivery, shopping only, or delivery only. I do the shopping and delivery, because (in my opinion) the money is better.
All work is done through a smartphone app. Once I receive an order, I must acknowledge it within 12 minutes. Then I head to the store chosen, hit the start shopping button, and get the customer’s list. I mark off items as I find them, and weigh items if needed. At your interview you are given an Instacart MasterCard to use for all buying, so you are not out any of your own money in store. If an item is unavailable in store, Instacart offers suggestions if the customer has not — and they have the option to at any time while you are in store. (Also, you can choose a substitution based on your own judgement and enter that.)
Participating stores in my area are Schnucks, Shop ‘n Save, and Petco. Stores are chosen by the person ordering, and the delivery and shopping are designated to specific zones. I do two zones, Alton and Edwardsville, but never both on the same day — and I do believe the zones are set up for maximizing the shopping/delivery times. If you do get an order that is more than 14 miles away, you are given extra compensation.
Why did you choose Instacart?
I liked that you can select your own hours to work around your schedule. Instacart is new to our area, so I downloaded the app, had an in-store interview, and just started driving for them roughly four weeks ago. Shoppers only have the option to set a schedule for availability. As a shopper/deliverer, I choose hours that are available through the app when they open up.
If you work so many weekday/weekend hours you get early access to hours, but new hours become available at all times as people change their hours or as Instacart expects more demand during certain hours. I do check the app often to see if I can pick up any hours. The top shoppers/deliverers are given priority first from what I can tell so far.
There are no requirements for the type of car you need to use, but you must provide insurance info, are required to have a cooler, and must do alcohol training and receive 100%.
What’s your favorite part of the business? What is your least favorite part?
My favorite parts of the business are the hours and being a personal shopper/delivery person. So far I am totally enjoying every minute.
However, as a personal shopper and delivery driver you are an independent contractor and thus handle taking care of your own taxes. One potential pitfall is that if you do not take care of your taxes (so far I have set aside a percentage of my pay for taxes and truck expenses), you will owe at the end of the year.
How much do you make with Instacart? What income potential do you see?
My current hourly rate with Instacart depends on the day:
- Regular pay (Weds., Thurs., Fri.) is $8.75 per hour
- Peak days (Tues., Sat.) pay $9.00 per hour
- Double Peak days (Sunday/Monday) pay $9.25 per hour
You are paid hourly until you receive an order, and then you get delivery comp, which is the hourly rate for the day. I get paid from the moment I go on call/begin my shift. For example: This morning I was on call from 8AM-12PM with no orders, so my pay for those four hours will be $9.00 an hour. When there are no orders, I am getting paid to wait at home and can spend that time getting some of my own stuff done. I am hourly til I acknowledge an order, then the delivery comp/item comp and tips start. When I complete the delivery, it’s back to hourly — and as you improve your time, you earn more per hour.
The item commission is $.40 per item, and you also receive tips, which can be done either through the app or in cash. Most people do tend to tip — The Edwardsville Zone had excellent tippers, lol! You also receive large order bumps: $5 for orders over $200, $10 for orders over $300, etc.
The potential income per month really depends on how many hours you are willing to work. In roughly my best week thus far I managed 56 hours — plus your per item comp/delivery comp, plus tips, for a total of $830. This is supplemental income for our family.
What advice would you have for others looking to get started doing something similar?
Go for it!
You can sign up as an Instacart shopper/driver here, if inspired after reading Janet’s story.
More work at home/side income ideas?
Thanks so much to Janet for sharing her story! Browse all the Work at Home Saturday posts here.
And don’t miss: 50 legit ways to make money on the side.