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Get Paid to Shop: Driver Requirements for Instacart

Get Paid to Shop: Driver Requirements for Instacart

Last updated: September 24, 2020
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In the gig economy, everything is on-demand and nothing is out of reach. Whether it’s transportation, tacos, or groceries, nothing is more than a few taps away. Similar to how Uber and Lyft disrupted transportation, Instacart is disrupting grocery delivery.

If driving strangers from point A to point B as a rideshare driver isn’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the gig economy. Instacart pays independent contractors to pick up and deliver groceries from local grocery stores.

That’s right, you can make a full-time income as a grocery delivery service for local stores. But first, you must meet the requirements for an Instacart shopper, apply online, and complete an orientation. We’ll break down all of this so you know exactly what to expect from a job with Instacart.

There are two types of people in the world of Instacart — Full-Service Shoppers and In-Store Shoppers. In this section we will review the requirements for each type of Instacart shopper.

Full-Service Shopper Requirements

A Full-Service Shopper fills customers’ orders by shopping at the grocery store and delivering groceries to their door. If you’d like to sign up as a Full-Service Shopper you must meet these requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age or older
  • Must be able to lift 30–40 pounds, on average, several times per day
  • Must be able to legally work in the United States
  • Must have access to a vehicle at all times
  • Must have car insurance
  • Must have a smartphone capable of running the Instacart app (iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 or newer)

Since not everyone has access to a vehicle all day, Instacart also allows you to sign up as an In-Store Shopper.

In-Store Shopper Requirements

An In-Store Shopper shops for and bags items at the grocery store from a customer’s list and then hands off the delivery to someone else, or the customer picks up their groceries at the store. The requirements for an In-Store Shopper are similar but slightly less strict, since you don’t need access to a vehicle:

  • Must be at least 17 years of age or older
  • Must be able to legally work in the United States
  • Must have a smartphone capable of running the Instacart app (iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 or newer)
  • Must be able to lift 30–40 lbs, on average, several times per day

You can sign up to be an In-Store Shopper here.

Now that you know exactly what type of shopper you’d like to be, let’s review the application process at Instacart, so you can start getting paid to shop.

Instacart Application Process Step-by-Step

Applying to become an Instacart Shopper is a simple three-step process. You should have your driver’s license and smartphone nearby when you apply. Expect the whole thing to take about 10–15 minutes. Let’s get started.

Step One: Fill Out a Contact Form

The landing page form asks for basic contact information including your name, email, and phone number. This should be your primary cell phone number since that’s what you’ll use to receive and complete orders.

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Step Two: Complete a Brief Survey

The three-question survey reinforces the requirements to become an Instacart shopper. You’ll be asked about your age, work status, smartphone, ability to lift 30–40 pounds, and access to a car. Prior to finishing the survey you must confirm your phone number.

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Step Three: Download and Install the Instacart App

Once you enter your phone number and click “Send Link,” you’ll receive a text link that takes you to the download page for the Instacart app. You must have an iOS or Android device in order to download the app.

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If you’re having trouble finding the Instacart Shopper app, it’s not listed in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Instead, you’ll be prompted to enter your phone number after completing the survey, and you will be sent a text link to download the app. Instacart provides detailed instructions here, for downloading the app on iOS and Android.

With the app downloaded, you will now be asked to verify your phone number and driver’s license, plus upload a profile picture. fgd5yAFgG9jZkD25Y4w hkvBqG9oJ58NP5rY5Q3OCJ227A6AzR0gPjGezMeuzwMalqGB9yqZOUEKeiEP9NCQd 4YC8gFijvSDJnRSHjnoLHi5bOuySFqLnLIrcj4uebXLUpX2RWs

After you finish these last steps, Instacart will send you three things to sign:

  • Contractor agreement
  • W-9
  • Privacy policy

Once everything is signed, and you’ve passed the background check, Instacart will contact you to set up a one-on-one, in-person onboarding session.

Instacart Onboarding and FAQs

Due to the number of new shoppers, the demand for time slots is very high. If you see an opening, you should take it as soon as possible. If you have any trouble scheduling your onboarding session, Instacart has some suggestions for the best way to go about it in their help documentation. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about onboarding.

Why is in-person onboarding even necessary?

The two-hour onboarding session is necessary to train you to be an effective Instacart Shopper. You’ll learn what to do if an item is out of stock or how to pay for orders at the grocery store.

You will also receive a prepaid credit card that’s required before you can start shopping. Unless you want to put stranger’s groceries on your own tab, you must attend an onboarding session.

Why don’t I see any in-person sessions available?

The increased number of shoppers has made demand for onboarding sessions abnormally high in recent months. New sessions are added every Monday or Tuesday by Instacart’s local Ops Team. You should get an email notification as soon as they’re up.

I haven’t received an email to schedule my onboarding, how do I check where I’m at in the process?

You’ll need to log into your Instacart account to check where you’re at in the process. If you login on the sign up page and see a status of “awaiting approval” it means that the local team has yet to review your application.

For additional questions regarding the onboarding process, you can easily call Instacart customer service or email a community support member at [email protected]. It’s always best to check out the help center to see if your question has already been answered.

You’ve Got This in the Bag

In the last 12 months Instacart has signed deals with some of the largest grocery chains in America, including Aldi, Kroger, Sam’s Club, and more. As their footprint expands, so does the demand for reliable Instacart shoppers. With the recent announcement of more than $600 million in venture-capital funding, the on-demand grocery delivery service shows no sign of slowing down.

Thanks to the increase in demand, side hustlers and gig workers that meet the minimum requirements are signing up in scores. Due to a relatively smooth sign-up experience and the low barrier to entry (you don’t even need a car), Instacart is quickly becoming a profitable replacement to ridesharing.

View All Comments (1) Add A Comment

  1. Frank A. Garofalo Jr. Says:

    Do you have to have memberships at these stores, such as Costco, in order to shop for customers?

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