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Instacart Shopper Review: How to Make Money as a Full-Service Shopper

Instacart Shopper Review: How to Make Money as a Full-Service Shopper

In 2021, it seems as though almost everyone you meet has a side hustle of some sort. And it’s not surprising, with the cost of living shooting through the roof. Thankfully, advances in technology over the past decade have made it easier than ever to make extra money on the side of your full-time job.

One of the more intriguing side hustles to hit the economy has been grocery shopping and delivery. In Canada and the United States, one of the leading companies in this space is Instacart. In this Instacart Review, I’ll let you know how it works, who it’s best suited for, and whether you can make money at this side hustle – interested in finding out more? Let’s go!

What Is Instacart?

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that is available in cities across Canada and the US. From a customer standpoint, you can arrange to have your online grocery order filled and delivered to your door for a small fee, without having to lift a finger – it’s next-level convenience. In fact, grocery delivery has exploded over the past year due to COVID-19-related quarantines and lockdowns.

For this review, we will look at the other side of Instacart – the shopper side. Full-service Instacart shoppers are the people who make money by receiving and filling grocery orders at the store before delivering them to their intended destination. Similar to Uber and Skip The Dishes, Instacart is an excellent way to make extra money around a school schedule or full-time job.

Signing Up as an Instacart Shopper

It’s relatively easy to become an Instacart Shopper. Simply download the app and enter your name and email address to create a password. You will need to provide a copy of a valid driver’s license and agree to a background check, which takes 1-2 weeks to complete. Once Instacart has approved your background check, you’ll be onboarded and ready to start accepting jobs based on your availability via the mobile app.

Is Instacart Shopper Suitable For Me?

Much like jobs at Uber and Skip The Dishes, Instacart Shopper is suitable for those who enjoy making money in the gig economy. There are several benefits to these types of jobs. For starters, they’re flexible. With Instacart, you choose when you are available to shop. Instacart lets you fit your working hours around your life, and not the other way around.

With many side hustles, it takes time before you can make any money, and some never pay all that much (here’s looking at you, paid survey websites) ;). With Instacart, you can start making decent money as soon as you begin working. I’ll share more details on the ‘make money’ aspect a bit later.

Instacart Shopper Requirements

According to Instacart, all full-service shoppers must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum 18 years of age
  • Able to work in Canada
  • Regular access to a vehicle
  • Access to a mobile phone
  • Ability to lift 25kg

Canadian Instacart Shopper Locations

Below is a list of the major Canadian cities where Instacart is available and a link to participating retailers in each location. For a complete list of Instacart Canada locations, check out the Instacart Jobs page.

Summary of Instacart Benefits

There are several benefits to working with Instacart, and a couple of potential drawbacks, which I cover below:

  • Available in most large and medium-sized Canadian cities
  • You can make money fast
  • Be your own boss
  • Easy to learn
  • Allows for a flexible schedule
  • Ideal if you enjoy being around people

What Are the Drawbacks of Instacart Shopping?

There isn’t much not to like about Instacart, but I can think of two potential drawbacks. First, while you can make decent money, it’s not a business that you can scale. Because you are trading your time for money, there is a limit to how much you can make. Other side hustles are more scalable, like affiliate marketing or selling products or courses online.

Instacart shoppers are at a slight disadvantage vs. other gig economy jobs, like Uber, Lyft, or Skip The Dishes. You can only work when grocery stores are open, and most grocery stores close by 9 PM. Even if they’re open later, not many people are having groceries delivered late at night. With a gig like Uber, you can make money 24/7 if you’re up for it. And restaurant delivery jobs, like Skip The Dishes, often run late into the night.

How Does Instacart Make a Profit?

You may be wondering how Instacart makes a profit. After all, they have to pay you for doing the shopping and delivering all that food. They make money in four different ways; by charging delivery fees, offering membership service via an annual or monthly subscription, partnering with grocery stores, and brand advertising.

Why Are Instacart Shoppers Called Full-Service Shoppers?

Instacart used to split up the shopper and delivery driver roles. You filled orders and bagged them, or you worked as a delivery driver. They are now combined, and full-service shoppers look after the entire cycle, from receiving and filling orders to bagging groceries and delivering food to homes. The in-store shopper role still exists, but they are considered part-time employees, and not contractors.

How Much Money Can I Make?

It’s the million-dollar question. How much can you make with Instacart? There are so many factors that it’s difficult to put a dollar amount on this job. Based on an hourly basis, I’ve heard several reports that $15 to $18 is not out of the question, and for short periods, you may make more than that.

The more you’re available to work, and the bigger the city you live in, the more money you can make. If you could average 25 hours/week @ $15.00 per hour, you’d be looking at $750 every two weeks. Not too shabby, especially if it’s extra money over and above your day job.

Instacart Shopper Referral Code

In addition to making money by shopping, Instacart will pay you a bonus when you refer your friends to the app. To qualify for your referral bonus, they will need to complete a certain number of trips within the first month of signing up.

Final Thoughts on Instacart Shoppers

I’m a big fan of jobs like the ones offered by Instacart and Uber. They enable you to work as a contractor according to your schedule, and while it won’t replace your full-time job, the money is decent. If you like the idea of helping people by combining the role of food delivery driver with shopping for groceries and household items, I recommend that you look into Instacart.


  1. VM

    The often overlooked risk in these delivery jobs is you must inform your vehicle insurance company of your intent to use your personal vehicle for revenue. This will result in higher premiums which may not be worth the pay pack. Failure to inform the insurance company may result in a void contract or a long legal dispute.

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