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Does Shipt or Instacart Pay More? (Comparison for Shoppers)

As grocery delivery services gain popularity among customers, the demand for shoppers is also increasing. Working for a delivery service like Shipt or Instacart is a great way to make extra money with a flexible schedule.

In this article, I’ll compare Shipt and Instacart to find out who pays more. I’ll also include additional earnings potentials, such as tips, sick pay, and referrals. So, who makes more money, Shipt or Instacart shoppers?

Excluding tips, Shipt shoppers make $5 per order plus a 7.5% commission on the total order. Instacart shoppers make between $7 and $10 per order plus a $3 quality bonus if they earn a 5-star rating. Based on these variable pays, Shipt shoppers typically make more money on orders over $75.

Pay structures are variable for both companies, but Shipt has a more straightforward calculation.

Shipt shoppers earn a $5 base pay per order, and a 7.5% commission is added. Instacart’s base pay calculation depends on multiple factors, such as the number of items, delivery distance, and requested delivery time. However, you should expect to get paid between $7 and $10 per order.

To give you an example, on a $100 order, a Shipt shopper would make $12.50 guaranteed ($5 + $7.50 commission). Instacart shoppers would make $10 on the high-end. Instacart shopper earns an additional $3 bonus for a 5-star rating, but the rating isn’t guaranteed.   

The good news is both Shipt and Instacart shoppers keep 100% of customer tips.  It’s hard to estimate tip amounts, but providing excellent service increases the chance of getting higher tips.

Next, let’s delve into the additional earnings for Shipt and Instacart shoppers.

Additional Earnings For Shipt and Instacart Shoppers

In addition to base pay and commission/bonus per order, Shipt and Instacart shoppers have other earnings. These earnings include tips, referrals, and sick pay.

In this section, we’ll explain them in more detail.

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning that Instacart has two types of shoppers:

1. Full-service shopper

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors delivering for Instacart. Full-service shoppers get paid for every completed order. As independent contractors, full-service shoppers make their own schedules, and they can work as many hours as they want.

2. In-store shopper

In-store shoppers are Instacart employees that work part-time at stores. They shop and package orders but don’t deliver to customers. In-store shoppers make an hourly wage, and they can work up to 29 hours per week.

We already covered how Instacart full-service shoppers get paid. In-store shoppers have a different pay structure and are paid by the hour.

Let’s look at the average hourly wage for Instacart In-store shoppers.

Hourly Wage For Instacart In-Store Shoppers

I researched the average hourly wage for Instacart In-store shoppers, and here’s what I found:

According to Glassdoor, the average hourly wage for Instacart In-store shoppers is $13. This data comes from a large group of shoppers across all States. Based on your location, the hourly wage may vary slightly.

Keep in mind that In-store shoppers don’t make any tips, so their earning potential is limited to hourly pay. Also, they max out at 29 hours per week.

If you don’t have a car or driver’s license, becoming an In-store shopper at Instacart would be a good option. Otherwise, you’d make more money if you become a full-service shopper at Instacart or Shipt.  


Both Shipt and Instacart shoppers keep 100% of their tips. It’s how shoppers make most of their money.

Shoppers can see the tip amount and estimated earnings before they accept an order. However, customers can change tips after delivery. It’s important to provide customers with excellent service to maximize tip potential.

Most customers will add tips on the apps, but they can also tip cash at delivery time. Both Shipt and Instacart pay shoppers weekly through direct deposit.

Referral Bonus

Both Shipt and Instacart offer shopper referral bonuses. It’s a good way to make extra money If you’re already a shopper and have friends interested in becoming one.

Shipt accepts referrals if there’s a need for shoppers in a specific area. If you refer your friends, you can make an extra $50 for each approved referral. Shipt requires new shoppers to complete ten orders in 30 days before they pay the referral bonus.

Instacart’s shopper referral bonus varies by location, but you can make up to $1,000 per referral. The referral bonus depends on the demand for new shoppers in a specific area. On average, you can expect to make $100 per approved referral.

Like Shipt, Instacart also requires new shoppers to complete a certain number of orders before paying out referral bonuses. The number of orders and delivery timeframe varies by location. To qualify for a referral bonus, you must have 40 hours of work time within the past six months.

Sick Pay

Both Shipt and Instacart implemented 14 days of sick pay for shoppers during the pandemic.

All shoppers, including In-store shoppers at Instacart, have access to this benefit. It can be used as paid time off if the shoppers are absent from work due to an illness.

It’s a great benefit to appreciate shoppers for their hard work and valuable service to customers.

Do Shipt and Instacart Reimburse Shoppers For Mileage or Gas?

No, unfortunately, neither Shipt nor Instacart reimburses shoppers for mileage or gas. However, as independent contractors, shoppers can deduct 57.5 cents per mile as transportation expenses on their tax returns.  

This standard deduction from IRS includes mileage, gas, and wear and tear on your car. You should track the number of miles driven during the calendar year and deduct them on your tax return as business travel.

We covered the additional earning potentials, and next, I’ll explain the requirements to become a Shipt or Instacart shopper.

How to Become a Shipt or Instacart Shopper

Both Shipt and Instacart have similar requirements to be a shopper. They also run background checks before hiring. It may take up to two weeks for background checks to be cleared. You can find the list of requirements for each company below:

Shipt requirements

  • Minimum of 18 years old.
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance.
  • Have a reliable car (1997 or newer)
  • Able to lift 40 pounds.
  • Have a mobile phone (iPhone iOS 10 or newer or Android 5.1 or newer)

Instacart requirements

  • Minimum of 18 years old.
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance (For full-service shoppers)
  • Have a reliable car (Instacart doesn’t specify what year)
  • Able to lift 40 pounds.
  • Have a mobile phone that runs the Instacart app (Instacart doesn’t specify the model or minimum OS requirement)

Can You Work For Shipt and Instacart at the Same Time?

Yes, as an independent contractor, you can work for Shipt and Instacart at the same time if they are available in your area.

This way, you can compare orders on both apps and choose orders with the highest earnings potential.  


Shipt shoppers make $5 per order plus a 7.5% commission, while Instacart full-service shoppers typically make $7-$10 per order. This means Shipt shoppers can earn more on larger orders.

The good news is both shoppers keep 100% of customer tips. Tips make up the majority of shoppers’ income regardless of where you work.

Instacart in-store shoppers make an hourly wage, and the average hourly wage is $13. In-store shoppers don’t make any tips, but it is a good option if you don’t have a driver’s license or a car to deliver orders.

Both Shipt and Instacart are great companies and offer an opportunity to make extra money with a flexible schedule.

If you’re undecided about which one to work for, you can try them both if they are available in your area. You can also work for both of them at the same time!

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About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of He has over a decade of experience in consumer goods and launched many products sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. Outside of work, you can find him on a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

June 5, 2023