How Instacart grocery delivery works and what it costs?

What is Instacart?

Instacart is a American grocery , pickup and delivery service , which operates in U.S.A and Canada. The delivery company offers it’s services via their website and mobile app. Instacart allows customers to order groceries from participating retailors and they then use a personal shopper to do the shopping. The company was founded in the year 2012 by Apoorva Mehta who’s family migrated from India to Canada in the year 2000 and as of October 2020, Instacart has been estimated to be worth 13.7 billion U.S.D. When Apoorva and his fellow co-founders were founding Instacart their goal was to create a effective and efficient online, grocery delivery system as other companies have tried and failed in the past (click here if you would like to learn how to earn using apps). We will be explaining how Instacart grocery delivery works and what it costs?

Customer Behaviour

How does Instacart grocery delivery work and what it costs?
Instacart’s personal shoppers

While doing research the founders of Instacart realized that most consumers were getting poor service from the other grocery delivery services because alot of these services were not able to deliver the customer’s groceries until a day after the customers had made an order. Instacart’s founders also realized that customers were very loyal to their chosen retailers and stores and so the choices of the customers made a large impact in the way Instacart carries out its daily operations. They based their system on the basis of the supply chain where they take the orders and provide a way for brands to reach the consumers.

Expansion of instacart into the grocery delivery giants they are today!

Since being founded in 2012 Instacart has raised alot of money to fund its expansion across America and Canada. Instacart has worked very closely with its retailer and store partners. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues the demand for more creative ways to deliver goods to the homes of customers has grown and so Instacart has maid it their priority to expand their brand in order to reach a wider variety of customers.

How does instacart work?

Instacart lets you shop from local grocery stores online, then sends a “personal shopper” to fulfill and deliver your order to you the same day. Unlike other grocery delivery services, the company doesn’t stockpile fresh produce in a massive warehouse. Instead, their shoppers shop at major grocery stores in your area like Kroger, Shaw’s, and Costco through its website, and then sends your order to one of its part-time employees. This personal shopper goes to the store, picks up everything on your list, and then drives it to you in their own car. Think of it as the Uber of grocery

Where is Instacart Available?

Instacart serves zip codes all around the country. It’s up there as one of the most widely available grocery delivery options in the USA and Canada.

What Stores Can You Shop Via Instacart?

Instacart works with grocery stores (and even local wine shops, gourmet stores, and places like CVS) in your area. So the shops that are available to you will depend on what’s within driving distance. Fun fact: If there’s a Costco in your area, chances are, you can shop Costco through Instacart, even if you’re not a member. Fun fact number two: You can not shop Trader Joe’s through Instacart. (We’ve heard that the two companies had a falling out, and Instacart’s “personal shoppers” are now banned from TJ’s stores.)

How Much Does it Cost to Have Instacart Deliver Groceries?

Delivery costs:Delivery is free for your first order. You do not need to be a member to shop with Instacart. However, if you sign up for Instacart Express (starting at $99 for the year or $9.99 if you do it by the month) you’ll get free delivery for orders that are more than $35. Same-day delivery for non-Express members starts at $3.99 for orders more than $35.

Grocery costs: Instacart has nothing to do with how the prices are set. That means, it’s up to the individual stores (you can look at each store’s Instacart home page to learn more about their pricing policy). Typically, you might have to pay a little more for most items through Instacart than if you were shopping in real life. Additionally, you won’t always get to take advantage of all the in-store sales. That said, there are still sales available to you on Instacart (buy one pack of English muffins, get two free!) and your store-of-choice might also have a special section of coupons, which you can easily browse and shop.

Tipping costs: Tips are strongly encouraged. We usually say $5 or 20 percent of the total bill (whichever is higher), but with everything going on right now, we’d suggest even more, if you are in the position to do so. Most people don’t want to leave their houses right now and your Instacart shopper might be taking this job because the money is desperately needed. Please, do what you can to support them.

Instacart During the Coronavirus

Because Instacart doesn’t have its own warehouse of groceries, its shoppers are shopping at the same stores as the rest of the American public. Which means, right now, lots of products may not be available. The app and website usually does a good job to warn you if something is low or out of stock, but know that you might not receive everything you request in your order. (Your total price will be corrected to accurately reflect what you did receive.) We just checked and there were shoppers available in our area who were willing to complete a shop.

Instacart has added a no-contact, “Leave at My Door Delivery,” which allows customers to have an order left by their door during a designated time frame instead of having an in-person hand-off. Handy if you or anyone in your home is feeling ill.

If you need help, the website currently states: “We are currently experiencing higher chat and call volumes. To avoid longer wait times, please try searching our help center.” Which is to be expected.

Also, it’s worth noting that Instacart said  it would provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave for couriers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are quarantined by public health authorities.

The Pros and Cons of Ordering through Instacart


  • Very convenient, particularly if you’re sick and can’t shop, or have little kids and can’t get out of the house
  • Thorough online selection, close to what you’d find in-store
  • Ability to order from stores beyond supermarkets
  • Access to Costco even without a membership
  • Friendly personal shoppers and an easy ordering experience; shoppers are communicative if there are any issues or substitutions
How does Instacart grocery delivery work and what it costs?


  • Can’t be choosy about the produce
  • Prices vary from actual in-store prices, which means you could pay a premium (but not always). The markup varies from store to store, and it’s not clear why some items are more expensive and others less
  • Doesn’t take store sales, coupons, or rewards into account

What Stores are on Instacart

shop your favorite markets

Instacart partners with the most popular national and regional retailers such as Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam’s Club, Sprouts, and Wegmans, among others. The Instacart marketplace offers more than 300 retailers and trusted local grocers that customers love. Shop from your favorite national and regional grocers with your computer or mobile device.

Schedule delivery

Schedule delivery for as fast as an hour, or for later in the day or week to fit your schedule.  Delivery windows start as early as 9am and run as late as midnight. Check local store hours. Delivery hours are subject to store operating hours, which includes holidays.

Get your groceries

Meet your Shopper at your door to get your groceries. The Instacart platform also offers a pickup option. You simply shop on Instacart’s website or app, select a pickup time, then pick up your groceries at the store. Available at select locations.

How to Make Money as an Instacart Shopper

nstacart shoppers make money by buying groceries at local stores that the company has partnered with and delivering those items to customers’ homes.

Demand for Instacart shoppers skyrocketed as people stayed home during the pandemic. Those picking and delivering groceries face risks to their health, too. Be sure to weigh the risks along with the benefits extra cash and flexible hours before signing up.

Here’s what you need to know to get started as an Instacart shopper and what to expect.

What exactly is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that partners with local stores to deliver items directly to customers’ homes. The service relies on independent contractors and part-time workers to fulfill and transport orders.

The hours are flexible and the orders come through the Instacart Shopper app. The key details, like job responsibilities and the way you earn money, depend on whether you’re a full-service or in-store shopper.

Full-service Instacart shopper:

  • Independent contractor.
  • Shop for and deliver groceries.
  • Able to work whenever is convenient for you.
  • Role is available wherever Instacart operates.

In-store shopper:

  • Part-time employee of Instacart.
  • In-store shopping only (no delivery, so a car isn’t required).
  • Work at least 15 to 20 hours per week, including Sundays or Mondays.
  • Get benefits, including 401(k) savings.
  • Temporary in-store shopper jobs are available in many areas to help meet increased demand. These positions are expected to last 90 days.

Where you can work for Instacart

Instacart operates in more than 5,500 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Locations range from large urban areas such as San Francisco and New York to smaller communities such as Spring Creek, Nevada, and Lannon, Wisconsin.

To see whether there are full-service or in-store shopper openings in your area, download the Shopper app and enter your ZIP code.

What you need

There are a handful of basic requirements you have to meet if you want to make money with Instacart:

  • Be at least 18 years old. If you want to deliver alcohol, which often results in larger tips, you have to be at least 21 in some states.
  • Be able to lift 30-plus pounds. Workers should be able to lift at least 30 pounds, and as much as 50 pounds, “with or without accommodation.”
  • Have a smartphone. Your smartphone must be an iPhone (with iOS 9 or later) or Android (5.0 or later).
  • Pass a background check. Instacart says most shoppers are cleared within 10 business days, but this varies by location.
  • Have a checking or savings account. Instacart shoppers are paid via direct deposit, so you’ll need a bank account to collect your earnings.

Full-service shoppers also must have the following:

  • A valid driver’s license and access to a car. You also need insurance coverage that meets state requirements.
  • A set of insulated bags. You’ll need enough thermal-insulated bags to hold four standard-sized paper grocery bags. Your insulated bags must close completely and be safe for food contact (no harmful chemicals). Instacart sells preapproved options that cost $25.99 for four bags. You can also use coolers to transport groceries.

How to sign up for Instacart

Getting started on Instacart is a simple process:

  • Download the Shopper app. You’ll provide basic information, like your name and location, and give the company permission to perform the background check. Later, you’ll use the app to set your availability, pick up gigs, track your earnings and communicate with Instacart’s help team if you encounter any issues.
  • Attend an in-person orientation (in-store shoppers only). Choose a session in the app. This is part of the onboarding process.
  • Fill out the paperwork. Independent contractors have to sign a contractor agreement and W-9 tax form. Part-time employees sign an offer letter and W-4 tax form.
  • Register your Instacart payment card. Instacart shoppers use a preloaded payment card when they check out with a customer’s order. New shoppers can expect to receive their card within 5 to 7 business days. Shoppers may have the option to pick up a card, depending on their location.

Start taking Instacart jobs

In-store shoppers are assigned shifts each week. Manage your shifts via the Shopper app. An in-store shopper can expect to work up to 29 hours per week.

Full-service shoppers dictate their own schedule. Look for orders up for grabs in the app or set your app to notify you whenever an order is available in your area. Factors such as your average customer star rating and delivery time can influence which orders you see. You can review the details — store location, number of items and estimated payment — and accept the order.

In-store and full-service shoppers are required to update their progress, noting any changes or refunded items, through the shopper app so that customers can track their orders. When shoppers are done filling the order, they check out with a preloaded debit card provided by Instacart. Full-service shoppers might also be responsible for delivering the order to a customer’s home.

How much do Instacart shoppers make?

How does Instacart grocery delivery work and what it costs?

The way you earn money is determined by the work you do. In-store shoppers are paid a fixed, hourly wage that varies by location. Full-service shoppers’ pay depends on the order. Instacart provides an estimate of potential earnings for every order and guarantees shoppers will earn at least $5 for each delivery-only batch and $7 to $10 for each full-service (shop and deliver) batch.

What you are paid for a given batch or orders depends on “the number of items, type of items, driving distance, and effort involved in shopping and delivering,” according to Instacart’s Shopper app.

A larger order, which tends to be heavier, will likely result in more compensation than a small shopping job. And the earning potential is usually higher when customer demand spikes, so working on Sundays and during popular events, like the Super Bowl, can mean more money.

Full-service shoppers can also earn tips when making deliveries.

How do Instacart shoppers get paid?

In-store and full-service shoppers are paid weekly via direct deposit to a checking or savings account.

Full-service shoppers can use Instant Cashout, an immediate transfer to a debit card, to access their earnings more quickly. You can use Instant Cashout for the first time after completing five batches. After that, you can cash out at any time, as often as five times per day, as long as you have at least $5 in earnings. There’s a $3,000 daily limit.

Since full-service shoppers are considered independent contractors, they may have to make estimated quarterly tax payments. That’s because Instacart doesn’t withhold taxes from earnings like it does for part-time employees.

Conclusion on Instacart !

Instacart is a big player in the online and grocery delivery industry and they have managed to revolutionize how Americans and Canadians shop for groceries and get their groceries delivered over the past 8 years. As a company Instacart’s rise to the top continues and they have managed to be pioneers in their niche since their inception.

Written by odanemorgan


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