Instacart — Make Money Grocery Shopping for Others

Updated on: by Leisa Good

Work a flexible job as a personal grocery shopper.Are you outgoing and friendly?

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Are you looking for a personal shopping or mystery shopping job?

Are you looking for a flexible schedule for a few hours a day?

Well, then check out Instacart and see if there isn’t something for you.

So, What Is Instacart?

Founded in 2013, Instacart  has been hailed as the “Uber of grocery shopping” by magazines such as Business Week, Washington Post, and Huffington Post.  Instacart claims to have 4,000 shoppers working as independent contractors in 15 major cities throughout the United States.

Potential grocery shoppers sign up and download the Instacart app so they can deliver groceries to their local customers.  Customers sometimes will even request their favorite Instacart grocery shopper.

While you could classify Instacart shopping as mystery shopping, you really aren’t there to “imitate” the customer and fill out any surveys or give any feedback or reviews.  You are there on behalf of the customer fulfilling his/her grocery order that was sent to you.  So, you are actually more of a personal shopper than a mystery shopper, but there may be an occasional opportunity to fill out a survey or contest.  However, that should be worked out with the customer.

How Does Instacart Work for Both the Customer and the Shopper?

As a personal grocery shopper, you will be there filling the customer’s order.  Instacart will send you a customer’s grocery order via your cell phone.  You can accept it or reject it.

Instacart will actually go ahead and bill the customer later.  This way you won’t have to handle any money on behalf of the customer.  All of this will be explained to the customer upon their joining Instacart.

Instacart also has access to a GPS-type tracking devise where the customer can be made aware of when the delivery will take place and where you are in-route.  Most customers will either request a same day delivery or a 2-hour delivery—or within that 2-hour framework.

You will deliver the order to the customer using either your own vehicle or public transportation if you live in the inner city.  You may also walk if you have close proximity to the customer, store, and your home.  However, most shoppers do use their own vehicle.

The customer will then receive the order and look it over.  The customer will still need to receive the grocery receipt for his/her records as sometimes substitutions have to be made if an item is out of stock.  So, there will be times when you may have to call the customer from the store to ask about a brand, a size or a substitution of some kind.

Then once the delivery is completed Instacart will pay you, the shopper, out of the groceries’ price markup paid by the customer.  Instacart claims to pay its shoppers up to $25 an hour.

The customer enjoys the convenience of not having to go to the grocery store and you, the shopper, can enjoy the extra cash.  You can even receive tips or gratuity.  You will be paid via PayPal in about a week.

What Other Benefits Can a Customer Enjoy?

There are many benefits for the customer using Instacart and your services.  Some of the benefits are:

  • They have the convenience of not having to go to the store and find a parking space.
  • They have the convenience of shopping online and finding what you want to add to the shopping list.
  • They have the ability to add multiple stores to an order.
  • They have the ability to shop at Costco without a membership.
  • They can have fun having a personal grocery shopper.

What Are Some of the Customer Disadvantages?

While Instacart is convenient for the customer, there are some drawbacks.  It is important sometimes to understand these and be prepared for these as you go into this new venture.  Some of these disadvantages are:

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  • Instacart charges a 20% markup on almost all items.
  • Instacart doesn’t offer a huge selection of produce.
  • Instacart doesn’t take coupons or reward cards.
  • Instacart is currently limited to only Costco, Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Costco, Kroger, and The Food Emporium.

Work a flexible schedule as a grocery shopping assistant.What Will You Need To Do Become a Shopper at Instacart?

To work at Instacart, you will need to first and foremost pass a background check and have an interview.  After that you will need to be:

  • located in one of the 15 major metropolitan areas where Instacart operates.
  • at least 21 years old.
  • the owner of an updated Smartphone.
  • able to lift up to 40 pounds.
  • friendly and courteous.

What Do Others Say About Instacart?

While some shoppers claim to like their jobs with its flexibility and pay, others complain about no gas mileage reimbursement and no guaranteed wage.  The size of the order is how you will be paid.  Some large orders might actually fetch $25 an hour while some smaller orders maybe only be $10.  There are also complaints about demanding customers that nit-pick every order.  There is a Glassdoor review that you can read for yourself.

How Can An Interested Individual Become a Shopper at Instacart?

Go to their website and start with filling out the application.  First, click on the Locations tab on the left hand side and put in your zip code.  This will let you know ahead of time if your area is one of the 15 current cities.  If it is not, then cheer up!  The company does want to expand, so maybe it will be in the near future.

Good luck if you decide to give Instacart a try.

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September 25, 2015 at 11:54 pm

This is amazing! It’s sort of a double edge sword that our society is making things so simple for us. I can certainly see a benefit of having this service. Especially if you are a busy mother juggling 1 million things. Thanks for the heads up!

Leisa Good

September 26, 2015 at 11:17 am

You are welcome.

Kerri Solomon

September 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I am waiting on my interview. Thanks!!!

Miranda Grimm

October 2, 2015 at 8:15 am

Congrats! Let us know how it goes if you have time.