Instacart Driver Pay: Know Your Earnings as Full-Service Shoppers

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Location, order volume, and customer tips are just a few of the many variables that might affect the earnings of an Instacart driver.
  • Instacart drivers should familiarize themselves with their local labor laws and regulations, to understand their rights and protections.
  • In order to claim deductions on their taxes and lessen their tax burden, Instacart drivers need to keep accurate records of their mileage and expenses.
  • Instacart drivers can increase their earnings, by working during periods of high demand, taking orders with higher pay rates, and offering exceptional customer service.

The world is shifting towards a more digital economy where Instacart services are booming. Instacart is an online platform that makes it easier for customers to get online groceries with the help of personal shoppers. These Instacart shoppers collect and deliver the ordered groceries to a customer’s doorstep. 

It is evident that the number of Instacart shoppers is growing after being recorded at 600,000 as of 2021. So, if you have been wondering whether it is the right time to become an Instacart shopper, you must know how much you will earn. This blog will provide you clarity about the Instacart driver pay and help you make an informed decision to be a full-service shopper.


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What is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery business that offers great offers to customers and instant deliveries. The company provides multiple options to the delivery drivers compared to other delivery service companies with its wide range of functions on the service end.

Instacart drivers broadly have two roles: In-Store Shoppers and Full-Service Shoppers. 

Full-Service Shoppers

The full-service shoppers complete the complete service process for the company and get paid a minimum wage as per the policies. From receiving the order to picking it up from the grocery stores, from following the company guidelines to delivering the items to the customers, full-service shoppers perform it all.

They have the flexibility of working based on different orders, accepting or declining as they wish, and other great delivery driver options.

In-Store Shoppers

The in-store shoppers simplify the process for drivers or customers who want to pick up their order curbside. Many customers don’t want the delivery drivers to visit their residences and want to stop at the store to pick up their orders. 

The in-store shoppers make the order pickups available for the drivers and customers and streamline the delivery flow for the customers.

In-store shoppers spend their working hours at the grocery store and have a different scheduling process than full-service shoppers. They don’t get paid based on an order-by-order rate and have hourly shifts at the Instacart stores across different cities.

The hiring situation is also different for the in-house shoppers, who are technically part time employees. They get different employee benefits which include the 401(k) packages.

How Does Instacart Work?

Instacart pays a worthwhile amount to shoppers and works in a pretty simple way. As per the chosen store, customers order items online at the agreed delivery charge and customer tips. To get started, you can go through the straightforward signup process as an Instacart shopper and then buy items for the customer by driving to the store. Basically you are an Instacart employee who earns money by delivering products after picking them.

How Does Instacart Pay?

Both full-service and in-store shoppers are paid weekly through direct deposit to a savings or checking account. Instacart pays its shoppers through this convenient method.

The full-service shoppers can also use Instant Cashout, which is an immediate transfer to the driver’s debit card for accessing the earnings more quickly and effectively. Instacart payment card comes in handy for this purpose.

The Instant Cashout option is available after the driver completes the first five batches. Instacart enables delivery drivers to cash out up to five times a day for at least $5 in earnings. The daily cash-out limit is $3,000.  

Being an independent contractor at Instacart, you must ensure that your taxes are managed because the company doesn’t withhold taxes from earnings for full-time shoppers. However, in-store shoppers earn an hourly wage and taxes are typically withheld from their earnings.

The situation changes for the in-store shoppers as they don’t need to worry about the tax filing being a part-time employee of Instacart.

Also, the full-service shoppers can get extra tips from happy customers that can add to the overall earnings of the independent contractors. Your tips can be processed through the Instant Cashout portal, removing the hiccups of delayed withdrawals. The instacart payment card makes managing your earnings even more convenient.

Instacart Pay Structure for Delivery Drivers 

The hourly wage information and the pay structure for different delivery platforms is hard to analyze. The total amount drivers are capable of making depends on the hours of work they put in, the location of the grocery store, and the operational timings.

Delivery companies avoid quoting a specific amount an independent contractor can make from the platform. A few years back, Instacart advertised that Instacart shoppers pay close to $25 per hour, and it backfired. 

Multiple shoppers expressed displeasure across the social and web platforms. The overall structure that Instacart uses involves different moving parts. Instacart pay drivers based on multiple factors. Hence, That’s why the payment fluctuates.

The Highest Paying Cities 

The average earning of an Instacart driver in the United States is $13.88 per hour, and the range may vary from $7.25 to $25.59 depending on the area and city of delivery operations. This means for an 8-hour shift, you can expect to earn a minimum of $111 per day shopping for Instacart.

Some top paying cities for Instacart delivery drivers are

New York, NY. $25.59 per hour
Queens, NY. $23.12 per hour
Brooklyn, NY. $23.07 per hour

Apart from the United States, Instacart shoppers can earn a decent amount in Canada. The average income for Instacart full-service shoppers is CAD 15.75 per hour. The income may vary from location to location. 

How to Become an Instacart Shopper?

The process of becoming a shopper at Instacart’s grocery delivery service is quite simple. You must follow the basic requirements, fill up the sign-up form, and pass the background check. 

You can follow the below steps to do this:

1. Download the Instacart Shopper app.

2. Select whether you wish to sign-up as an in-store or full-service shopper. 

3. Proceed further with the onboarding sign-up process.

Instacart driver’s requirements

Instacart works with both in-store and full-service shoppers, so before becoming any of them you must first fulfill the below instacart shopper requirements:

  • Your minimum age should be 18
  • You must have regular access to a vehicle
  • You should be eligible to work in the US
  • Smartphone that can run the Instacart app (either an iPhone iOS 6s or newer or an Android 5.0)
  • You must be able to lift at least 50 lbs with or without help

How to Sign-up for Instacart?

Once you have decided to be one of the Instacart employees, you can proceed further. To sign-up and become a full-service Instacart shopper, follow the below steps:

1. Go to and select ‘Become a Shopper’ or download the Instacart shopper app. 

2. Once you reach the sign-up page, you will be asked to create an account by adding your email address, other details and setting a password. You will also be asked to agree to the terms and conditions.

3. After you create your account, you will need to complete the application process by filling out your personal details and other information. 

4. Instacart also conducts a background check as part of its hiring procedure and analyzes whether you meet its eligibility criteria. 

5. Once you have been approved for instacart shopping, you can start shopping and be one of the Instacart pay shoppers. 

Deliver Instacart Orders in Minutes with Perfectly Planned Routes on Upper 

Being a driver at Instacart, you will have to look after a lot of stuff, including route planning and customer requests. That’s where Upper Route Planner comes as a savior for your delivery scheduling tasks. You can save a lot of your time instead of manually searching for routes in a day. Here’s how Upper Route Planner minimizes your hassle. 

1. Import multiple addresses in seconds

Now you don’t need to type addresses manually, as you can import them all at once through Upper’s “Excel Import” feature. Once done, you can also archive recurring routes in case you have repeated customer stops in a month. This will help you refer to those archived routes in the future and avoid last-minute stress.

2. Get Optimized routes for deliveries 

The distance and time-based sequencing algorithm of Upper works smartly to give the best routes. It considers weather, traffic, and avoidance zones so that you can reach your customers on time. Thus, you can optimize routes in seconds and save hours of manual work.

3. Schedule routes for multi-stop deliveries

With the advanced route scheduling capability, you don’t need to worry about your daily Instacart deliveries. You can schedule multiple routes and boost productivity in a day. As a result, you get to lower your burden and reach your destinations on time.

4. Leave a delivery stop with proof

As an Instacart delivery driver, you want customers to remain happy and also improve your own reputation. Proof of delivery lets you take photos and e-signatures once you fulfill your job. You can also add notes if required and provide assurance of successful task completion to the company. 

Try the 7 days free trial now and enhance your shopper services with Instacart.


Instacart offers great earning opportunities for full-service shoppers as the average earning in the United States is around $13.88 per hour. The payouts are based on the service location and the number of hours put in by the delivery driver. You can likewise earn tips from satisfied clients, which can essentially boost your overall earnings.

Yes. The company uses an IRS mileage rate of 58¢/mile to calculate the total costs of driving, including repairs, gas, and depreciation.

Yes. Driving for Instacart can be great for a delivery driver, if you can spot the hotspots to increase your payouts and make the most of the opportunity provided by the platform. Moreover, the ability to get payments through direct depost guarantees that you get your profit expeditiously and safely into your bank account.


Becoming an Instacart full-service shopper has great potential to help you earn sound income while enjoying flexible hours. While the pay can differ based on various factors such as customer demand, location, and customer tips, it is surely a profitable gig, given that you make an effort. By becoming an Instacart shopper and making the best use of the available resources, you can prepare yourself for success.

Adding to that, you can reduce your workload with the help of smarter software like Upper so that you don’t need to go through tedious tasks every day.  With the help of our route planning solution, you can save a lot of time over extra work and deliver customer orders timely. Get your 7 days FREE trial to know how Upper can be your ideal partner for multi-stop deliveries.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.