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How much does Instacart pay for grocery shoppers

How Much Does Instacart Pay? Find the New Instacart Pay Structure Here

Last updated: May 9, 2020
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Driving for Instacart — the on-demand grocery delivery service — affords you the ability to have flexible hours, work on your own terms, and make extra cash on the side grocery shopping. While this is more than enough to lure new drivers in, at the end of the day we all want to know how much money we’ll be making.

What Instacart pays its independent contractors has long been kept under wraps, and for good reason. There was a time when Instacart bragged that shoppers can make $25 an hour. This lasted for a bit but was then hastily taken off of their website after many drivers cried out that this figure was quite inflated and misleading.

So now we’re left wondering, “How much DO Instacart shoppers make?” In this article, we’re going to talk about what Instacart shoppers make on average, the ever-changing payment structure of Instacart, and what Instacart shoppers can expect to be paid moving forward.

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Average Pay for Instacart Shoppers

Since exact salary information and payment figures are hard to come by, the average pay for Instacart shoppers is quite elusive. Depending on which source you reference, the average pay is anywhere from $10 to $17 per hour.

According to — one of the world’s largest job and recruiting websites — full-service Instacart shoppers make $10 per hour on average. This figure is at or around the minimum wage level in many places.

Screen Shot 2019 03 15 at 12.30.04 PM

So why would you even want to sign up for a gig that’s paying you around the minimum wage level? For starters, even though this may seem like a low wage, you still have the ability to set your own schedule and work as much as you want. Also, this figure is just an estimate.

Take for instance, Indeed — another leading job site — projects that Instacart full-service shoppers make around $15 per hour. As you can tell by the snapshot below, there are a few different job titles where workers have self-reported their Instacart salaries.

Screen Shot 2019 03 15 at 12.29.41 PM

For personal shoppers, the pay is around $17 per hour. For the store shopper — which could be implying the In-Store Shoppers who don’t drive out to make deliveries — the average wage comes in at about $13.50. Lastly, the delivery driver is said to make around $15 per hour. These figures are about right, as shoppers for competing grocery delivery service Shipt are reported to earn an average of $22 per hour while shopping.

Now, it’s important to realize that these figures can always fall outside of this range. There may be days when you make less than $10 per hour — which would be an absolute nightmare — and then there might be days when you surpass these figures and make upwards of $25 to $30 an hour.

It really all depends on how busy it is, the region you’re driving in, and how many tips you’re able to rake in. Also, the more you drive, the more you’ll be able to make. Some treat working for Instacart as a part-time job, while others consider it a full-time position.

To better explain how much you’ll be paid, let’s take a look at the payment structure to figure out how your pay is calculated.

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Payment Structure for Instacart Shoppers

The Instacart pay structure seems to be an ever-changing calculation but is now comprised of several factors that total each batch payment. Included in this calculation are variables like how many items are in each batch, how difficult each item is to shop for (think of heavy items), how far away the drop-off destination is, batch incentives, quality bonuses, peak boosts, and customer tips.

While the algorithm behind Instacart’s batch payment calculation is kept out of the public’s reach, we do know that Instacart is factoring in details like paying more for heavy items — like bulky cases of water — and the number of items in each order. At one point, Instacart paid a flat delivery fee for each unique item in the order. Instacart now uses a “Batch Incentive” instead, which is a base pay calculation of each order based on the factors mentioned above.

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The distance shoppers must drive is also factored into a batch fare. Looking at the batch summary snapshot above, you can see that for this batch, the shopper is compensated $0.60 per mile driven from the local grocery store to the drop-off location. This figure is not the same in every market, as each city has its own unique mile rate.

Shoppers will also be awarded a few different bonuses as well as 100 percent of customer tips they earn.

Minimum Batch Payment

Instacart shoppers now get paid a minimum of $7 to $10 for every batch they complete. This is a hefty uptick from the $3 minimum that was given before.

After another PR fumble in the media, Instacart has recently taken to the web to explain its — once again — new payment structure. You have to at least give them a little credit as they constantly evolve and respond to the negative sentiment disgruntled shoppers are throwing their way.

The newest grievance shoppers aired out came after Instacart changed up its payment structure last year to make delivery fares more consistent across the board. While it seems as though these changes came with the best intentions, they had some negative implications for drivers, specifically that their pay was once again unjustly decreased.

With the newest pay model, Instacart now awards its drivers with a much higher minimum batch total. The following minimum batch totals are now broken out as so.

  • Full-service batches: Between $7 and $10 per batch
  • Delivery-only batches: $5 per batch

Before this most recent change, Instacart shoppers were annoyed that the total that made up this minimum batch payment also included customer tips. So if the minimum batch payment was set at $10 and the shopper was paid only $1 by Instacart, but then received a $9 tip, the shopper hit this minimum threshold.

This is no longer the case. Tips will no longer be included in the minimum batch payment. Therefore, with the scenario just described, the shopper would receive additional compensation of $9 from Instacart to meet the $10 minimum.

Along with this change, there are a few more things shoppers have to look forward to with Instacart’s new approach.

Shopper Bonuses

Instacart shoppers are occasionally rewarded for getting five-star reviews and being on the clock during periods of high demand. These incentives come in the form of a Quality Bonus and a Peak Boost.

To further clarify, let’s go over each of these incentives.

  • Quality Bonus: This is a bonus for every five-star review you receive
    • Example: Earn $2 for every five-star review that you earn
  • Peak Boost: This is a bonus drivers receive when they drive during periods of high demand
    • Example: On your batch summary page, you’ll see a line item that has a Peak Boost for $3

When it comes to Peak Boosts, you’ll always be able to preview the bonus total as well as the order details on the shopper app before taking the order.

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Now, what about any customer tips you might receive?


Instacart’s approach to shopper tips has had a checkered past but finally is on the right track. Instacart shoppers get to keep 100 percent of the tips they receive.

In regard to Instacart’s rocky past with its shoppers’ tips, there was a point in time when shoppers were compensated quite nicely through customer tips, which was clearly an option on a customer’s checkout screen.

Then at some point, the option to tip was veiled behind a murky service fee. In the eyes of Instacart’s customers, this service fee that they paid was mistaken by many as a shopper tip. This was definitely not the case, angering most Instacart shoppers.

It was explained by Instacart that its shoppers were too reliant on tips and that it would be better for the company to capture some of those earnings and then pay the drivers directly. Take that for what you will, but the shoppers were outraged since their pay was cut drastically.

Instacart eventually backtracked and put shopper tipping front and center. This satisfied shoppers, at least for the time being until another problem popped up that had to do with minimum batch payments.

What to Expect Moving Forward

Besides the fact that tips will no longer be pooled into Instacart’s minimum compensation to its shoppers, they’ll also be proactively reaching out to any shoppers that may have been paid unfairly.

This means that from the start of these new minimum payment levels, Instacart will be reaching out to any shoppers that have been slighted by unfair batch payments — like $0.80 for completing a batch delivery. Any batch payments that fall under the $10 threshold will be supplemented with additional payment from Instacart to meet this minimum.

So after all this time, things seem to be looking up for all Instacart employees out there who have felt as though they were treated and compensated unfairly.

Higher Wages Equal Happy Shoppers

Instacart is owning up to the many complaints and shade thrown their way. After years of frustrating their shopper base — the foundational support behind the entire Instacart service — they’re finally taking steps in the right direction. Time will tell if these new changes will pay off, but we sure hope so — especially if that means higher wages for all you Instacart workers out there.

View All Comments (35) Add A Comment

  1. Tracy Says:

    I am an instacart full time shopper and this is almost bogus.

    1. Kevin Says:

      Do you like working for Instacart ?

      1. Branch Says:

        Yeah man, me an my homie do it

    2. Shannon G Says:

      Why? Jw but.. What about it is different for You?

    3. Wendy Says:

      In what area?

    4. Traci Says:

      So the pay sucks?

  2. Ronald Says:

    I’m an Instacart shopper and I make really good money.

    1. John F. Says:

      So am I the money is excellent, I am in the Austin TX region, big city, so more people means more orders/batches to accept. take all you can handle keep going, hustle and you will make that money, my 1200, last week alone, came out to with the 55 hours of active time came to 21.81 an hour for my active hours, GREAT MONEY!!!!!

  3. Jasmine Says:

    I’ve been a full service shopper for Instacart and I’m open to showing what I have made with them. I get up each morning, take a shower, and make sure I’m well groomed to start my day with this company. Im going to do a collage which will demonstrate how much work I have done for Instacart, and how much I have actually earned. I want to show the world how little we actually earn. The pizza delivery man earns more than me and he doesn’t make the pizza; he only delivers it. IC treats contractors like high school children and when they don’t like what you have to say, they (Instacart)will not send you a batch for days on end. IC is nothing more than modern day slavery company who steals from the very people who make them who they are. They are disloyal and disingenuous and not to be trusted. If you don’t have to do not work with them. And customers should ALWAYS tip at the door because your tip is being used to pay us and we’re not receiving the tip you intended for us shoppers. I’m always a month behind my bills and always a day away from homelessness.

    1. LaLa Says:

      Jasmine, I 100% agree with everything you said. It’s ridiculous that I work 12 hours every day and can’t survive on it. And the lies! Like that 60 cents per mile lie…I have hundreds of screenshots that prove that I am not getting paid per mile. A 6 mile delivery pays the same batch payment as one across the street from the store!

      1. Omar Says:

        I agree 100 percent. Sometimes I drive over 10 miles and still get my 7 instacart pay . Sometimes even doing 3 batches at a time . I still get 7-11 plus tip. But that’s like 2 hours worth. Even 3 by the time you get back to store 12 hours go quick and I still haven’t made 100 dollars. And we are in a pandemic where instacart is the busiest of all times. I can’t even see my payout receipt. Why not?

    2. adr Says:

      i do well for instacart bc i’m efficient. i shop quickly, select the best quality, and deliver quickly. being fast is how u increase your hourly pay rate.

    3. Elena S Says:

      Hello I use instacart, are you saying they don’t always give you guys tips that are on the app? If so that is ridiculous and I will make sure to tip cash from now on!

    4. James Crafti Says:

      Go deliver pizzas?

    5. Theresa M Johnson Says:

      I couldn’t agree more..I just started this a month ago and I am just appalled at the amount of work that the shoppers have to do with the very little minimal hey I don’t think the customers realize what they’re tipping I think that instacart should make it aware and what their tip actually is I think it’s gross I think it’s disgusting and I think it’s actually embarrassing on instacart I think that it’s a weird needs to get out.

    6. Stephanie Says:

      So get a new job. I have never understood people. You do not have to do anything. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Be grateful that you have been Blessed with the privilege of living in a free country. I am going out on a limb and assuming this was written pre-pandemic so I am sure there was/is entry level jobs where you are. Even now with the whole world on lock down there is still an abundance of jobs suited for working college students. Regardless you will find something to be upset about anywhere. There is no such thing as a “perfect job”. Even if you were to find a position that paid you a great livable wadge you would be on here crying about the hours or about being required to smile or wear a hat. My point being that you have to look at the whole picture and decide if the things you like are worth enough to make the things you dont something you would be willing to live with.

  4. Jessica Z. Says:

    I’ve been a shopper for 3 years and the pay keeps getting lower! Where do you get $17.00 an hour??!! That’s not true, I make less than $7.00 per hour and I stay on shift for 12 hours a day! It used to be great pay when we had the hourly guarantee but in order to get the $10.00 per hour you had to have a BAR (batch acceptance rate) of at LEAST 80% by the end of the week and that meant taking every single order even if it were 30 miles away for a gallon of milk or you don’t get paid for the whole 84 hours you put in that week which is what I did! I eventually got tired of sitting in my car for hours on end 2 hours away from home so after they took the hourly guarantee away I started only accepting batches near home so I could stay home and save on gas. Unless it was worth more than $20 that is. Why do I continue to shop? Because I have kids that need things to live and bills to pay. This is on top of 5 other jobs I do as often as I can to bring in money and I still don’t make enough! This is in Buckeye AZ btw.

    1. Janice Daughters Says:

      I am a customer. Used instacart just a few times. Ive always been happy. I dont live far from store. I usually by $100-200 for a months grocers as that’s how I get paid. This time since COVID-19, I have ordered $355. I ordered on Mar. 25th. This is the 30th and still no food. It has been a hassle to call the store. 2hr wait times. That’s ridiculous. Previously when I ordered I had direct contact with the shopper. Not this time. On the sight the times and dates have changed at least 10 times. There is not an option anywhere to cancel and pick up myself. I have MS and have enjoyed delivery because I have such a hard time shopping. I don’t know if it would be better if I split my order. Now, I’m out of for. For pets and myself. I’ve been feeding them some of my food. I have no one to help. Due to several health conditions I am at high risk for the virus. I am a retired RN and understand the risks and know I would not survive. I was depending on you. Disappointing!

      1. Laura Says:

        I see this was awhile ago. Just wondering if you are okay and have been helped with food? If not, and if you need help, I’d love to help you somehow. Please respond and let me know. (Not a shopper)

    2. Stephen C Henline Says:

      Life is what you make of it. If you don’t make enough it’s on you and no one else. You hot 5 kids get child support through ORS. When you have a business it’s the end that counts not the per hr. Choosing when to get up and if you want to not work. It’s a trade off for garanteed money. Nothing is garanteed or owed to us we make it.

  5. Lance Says:

    I always tip 10% wh gets that money? Today my delivery will be over $300…

  6. Tootsie Roll Says:

    I feel sorry for all of you shoppers. I just placed an instacart order for Aldi. $340.00 for groceries with a $3.99 delivery fee, (which btw Aldi has a free delivery coupon for first three deliveries, but when I entered it in promo space, it tells me it’s only good for first time customers, which I am) a$17.01 service fee, (which I of course dumbly thought went to the shopper) then a $17.01 tip which I changed because I think these hard working shoppers deserve way more than a 5% tip. I mean you work way harder than wait staff! I know for a fact, I’ve been a waitress and I’ve grocery shopped a million times and I’d take a waitress job over shopping any day of the week. The only reason I’m using instacart is because of this damn virus. Otherwise, what a rip-off! Someone’s making a butt-load of money and as usual it certainly isn’t the grunts doing all the heavy lifting!
    Instacart, do better!!!

  7. John F. Says:

    I currently hold a Full Service Shoppers position with Instacart, which means I shop for and deliver groceries. Last week, March 30 – April 5, I made a total of 1188.47, that is just 1 week, 7 days, I worked 37 batches, which was a total of 48 deliveries. It is a great platform for those who want to be there own so called Boss. It has unlimited pay potential depending on how fast and hard you want to hustle.

  8. Chris Says:

    I’ve been doing this for a long time. I made money when I started, I thought I found my dream job. February 2019 it all changed. They don’t pay mileage. Most batches now are $8.00 for any amount of items and most of the time it is for 2 orders at onetime. There isn’t any money in this. The $8.00 includes the batch and mileage, sometimes mileage is outrageous. Tips, well that’s another story. Most don’t tip hardly anything and a large percentage don’t tip. I won’t refer anyone to this, no money, in fact sometimes it costs money. And yes someone is making money and it isn’t the ones that do all the hard work. We are the ones that put them on the map and they treat us horribly, slave labor is what comes to mind.

  9. cheryl Says:

    I work InstaCart as a part-time supplement to my full time job, being a single mom. I pick up a few batches through the week and run about 4/5 on Saturday and Sunday. I’m averaging $25+/hr. I totally agree, the payment for miles is bogus and the addresses are constantly incorrect and I end up driving twice as far.

    However, in this world and this economy, there are not many opportunities where you can just decide to make some money and can go do it immediately. What you make is dependent on you…picking the right batches (not too far on map), picking good tip batches and doing the work. Of course I want to make more money! But right now, $300 – $400 a week for my spare time is worth it. And I get to pick when I work.

  10. Iris M Ostenson Says:

    Do you get paid daily as a shopper or how does compensation work?

  11. Sara Says:

    I just started with Instacart and I love it! I think it’s a great way to earn extra cash fast.

  12. Shannon Says:

    I have a question. I have been using Instacart and would like to know that my driver is well compensated. I have noticed that I can change the tip and the delivery fee. Are there 2 people working on my order? Do you get more money with the delivery fee or the shopping?

    1. Cin Says:

      let me explain how this works which is really sad and probably will shock you. So what happens is the customer will apply a tip to the order believing the shopper will get it RIGHT? Well this is not always true. So let’s say you order 10 items and the store was out of 3 of your items, Instacart will take money from our tip to compensate their loss of profiting off those items not being purchased. So right now with limitations on items and out of stock items our $20.00 can go down to $1.00 and there isn’t anything we can do about it but yet we are still putting in the hard work regardless if we get 1 gallon milk or 2 gallons milk.

      So that is one part, another part is say a customer wants to add 5 additional items to their order, well Instacart does not adjust our pay then and add more money to our batch even though they are now benefiting from the change. So it’s horrible how they are real quick to take from us but then when it’s the other way around there is no action in place at all!!

      So best thing to do is always set a flat tip amount or give your shopper cash!!

  13. Carmichael Says:

    I’ve been an instacart contractor for the past 3 months. I can say with 1p0% certainty that in order to make over $5.00 an hour (that’s no typo … five dollars an hour) you have got to accept the 3 batches a day that at a glance pay over $1 per item in the batch. This means you will be working 3 to 5 hours a day and therefore suffering from financial shortfalls at the end of each month.

    I would like to add that the solution is NOT to accept these batches that offer 0.50 or less per item. For Petes sake who are you people that do that. By accepting those batches you send the wrong message to instacart. If no one ever accepted a batch for less than $1 per item and 0.75 per mile driven then instacart would be forced to provide batches matching these 2 metrics to stay in business.

  14. Mike Says:

    As a New IC work for the last three weeks has averaged $20.14 per active hour 88hrs and $1772 earned I can complain. I am glad there is no shifts anymore. Also working through the Covid19 virus so demand is very high

  15. James H Says:

    I use instacart and I never give less than an 18 dollar tip unless it’s just 2 or 3 things and then I give 13. My first instacart order was 300 dollar big order and they put in a 13 tip for the shopper. It pissed me off. I changed it to 20 which is where it should be. This business can really be a good gig and people WILL pay 15 to 20 an hour tip for good service and not having to leave house. All I want is good back and forth text communication. Do that and I will give you 20 bucks everytime.

    1. Melissa Says:


  16. James Corona Says:

    It’s just mindboggling to me how many people are commenting they don’t make good money. Last week was my worst in months because instacart had just hired a ton of new shoppers in my area (Albuquerque). That disappointing week brought in 678.58 for a little under 40 hours (I put in a few shorter days because no new batches were showing up). As someone else above pointed out, it’s a matter of efficiency. Do I drive half an hour across town for a $15 batch or stay close and do a $10 in the time it would take me to just drive to the other. Be smart about your time, and you get paid for it. Waste your time, and the converse is true. In comparison, I make more money and keep more of it (because of way less gas usage) than I ever did on doordash working 6 day weeks.

  17. S. Says:

    I have been an instacart shopper for 4 weeks and my average pay is $7-10 an hour. Each batch takes a minimum of two hours – an hour shopping (replacing, adding, looking for items) and driving… the most disappointing thing is customer tips- which are $2 to $5– it’s embarrassingly low for the personal quick service. The burden of this service is on the worker – we go through the trouble of finding the items – not always where they are supposed to be … walking up and down …I have notified instacart that they need to make the customer aware of time and effort involved so their tip accounts for at least minimum wage which is $13.50 an hour. For a batch that takes 2-3 hours, minimum tip should be $20 to pay partly for the time.

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