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How To Make $500 A Week With Instacart (2024 Guide)

Don't Work Another Day is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own.
  By Forrest McCall | Last Updated:  March 18, 2022

Instacart is one of the better conveniences to come out of the gig economy. People all across the country love the freedom to be able to order their groceries online, and either come to the store to pickup everything a lot faster, or even to get them delivered directly to their homes.

But, when it comes to Instacart shoppers, the truth is a little less rosy.

The honest reality is that a lot of shoppers struggle to find ways to make good money with the app.

It's not that Instacart is to blame. Instacart shoppers can earn good money, and the system is effective once you know what you're doing.

Instead, you need to know the tips and tricks of Instacart if you want to be a successful Instacart shopper.

In this post, I'll explore how to make $500 a week with Instacart, easy ways to earn money fast with Instacart, and much more. Let's get started!

Instacart Shoppers App

What Is Instacart

First, just in case you're here to know more about Instacart and aren't already familiar with the app, Instacart is a grocery shopping and delivery service.

Instacart shoppers put together your grocery order, load it up for delivery, and then take it to your front door.

They can be scheduled for a specific time, or you can just submit the order and whichever Instacart shopper is available will take it and deliver it as soon as possible.

For people looking to earn a little extra money on the side, Instacart is a great option. For customers who have packed days and don't want to worry about the hassle of grocery shopping, Instacart shoppers offer a valuable service.

It's a win win for everyone.

With Instacart you can work your own hours and get paid to deliver groceries!
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However, some people love the flexibility but claim the pay is lower than other gig jobs like Doordash. There are plenty of jobs like Instacart if you want to test out your options with apps that pay you to drive.

Instacart Honest Review

How Much Does Instacart Pay Shoppers?

If you're thinking about becoming an Instacart shopper this is one of the most important questions you can ask. It's also a little harder to answer than you might expect.

For instance, full service shoppers (the people who both shop and delivery batches) are usually the highest paid workers for Instacart. However, Instacart drivers might actually make more in busy areas where they can constantly go from one delivery to the next.

While some people can make a full time income with Instacart, it will depend on your city and how efficiently you work. 

That's because, even though delivery workers are usually paid less than full service shoppers, they can often complete more jobs in a day, which means they earn money from Instacart, and get more tips at the same time.

So, let's talk about Instacart earnings, and what you can realistically expect Instacart pay to be.

Hourly Instacart Pay

Instacart is one of the most popular gig jobs out there, but when you actually crunch the numbers that can be a little surprising because Instacart tends to pay less than some of other gig jobs.

The average hourly pay an Instacart shopper earns is about $16 to $20 an hour – but it's difficult to find factual info online, so I turned to Reddit.

Instacart Pay from Reddit User

Some users claim they can easily make $400 a week, while others say $100 a day is realistic. The consensus seems to be around $15 to $20 per hour in most locations.

That's pretty good money for some people, but it's not enough to be worth it in some other areas.

Why Some Shoppers Make Better Money

However, some Instacart shoppers can earn a lot more than the average Instacart hourly pay depending on your area and how effective you are as an in-store shopper.

For instance, busy areas often offer better hourly pay because there are just more orders and more demand for in-store shoppers in those areas.

Most Instacart shoppers also think they can maximize their earnings just by accepting as many orders as possible, but with the way Instacart pays there are actually a lot of tricks, including not accepting every order, to help maximize how much you can earn a week with Instacart.

You can check out these Instacart hacks to maximize your earnings!

How You Get Paid

It's also important to remember that how you get paid with Instacart is an important part of the process as well. Instacart pays by direct deposit, and you can get paid weekly most of the time.

If you're consistently busy and have a high shopper rating there are also ways to get paid instantly.

How to Make $500 a Week with Instacart

Tips For Instacart Shoppers To Earn $500 A Week

Here are some of the top tips to help you make more extra cash with the Instacart app. If you're an Instacart shopper you should think about which of these tips is likely to work for you, whether you're a full service shopper, a delivery driver, or willing to do whatever it takes to increase your extra income.

Look For Popular Locations

Your average Instacart shopper shops at the same grocery store they use for their own groceries.

On the one hand, that's a reasonable strategy because you're probably already familiar with that location, and you know where everything is. Plus, you're probably familiar with the surrounding streets and know how to get from place to place.

Why Location Matters

But if you want to maximize how many batches you get in a day, you might not want to shop at your home store. You might, instead, want to go to the more popular location a few miles away, or to a larger participating location in your area.

This works because people are more likely to order in that area, which means there's more demand for Instacart shoppers at that location.

Especially if you're a full service shopper you want to be somewhere popular where there isn't much downtime between orders, and where grocery orders tend to be larger so you're getting a better pay rate per batch.

Minimize Delivery Distance

If you want to maximize how much you make a week with Instacart, it's important to minimize your delivery distance.

The further you have to drive to deliver groceries the longer you're going to go between orders. Remember, you have to think about drive time, both for the delivery services and the time it takes you to drive back to the grocery store.

Instacart advertises a good per delivery rate for shoppers, but most Instacart workers say that you need to closely consider how much time you're spending per delivery to get that rate or better.

When you're delivering groceries you're committed to a single payment.

Real Instacart shoppers recommend looking for shorter deliveries on average, and only accepting long deliveries if they come with a substantial tip.

Consider Becoming A Full-Service Instacart Shopper

If you're currently only a delivery driver and want to start making $500 a week with Instacart, becoming a full-service shopper is one of the best ways to add a few hundred dollars to your weekly paycheck.

Why Full Service Workers Make Better Money

That's because full-service shoppers make better money on average, especially since you have a lot more control over your shopping speed than your delivery speed.

You can control how much time it takes to complete a batch, but when you're delivering food it's going to take as long as it takes. There isn't as much you can do to make that part faster.

Real Instacart shoppers report that they started making more money with Instacart when they learned how to optimize their shopping not their delivery.

You can also check out these jobs like Instacart if you want to diversify your income.

Maximize Your Hours

Instacart workers enjoy the freedom to set their own schedules. Of course, when you can set your own hours there's some temptation not to work too many hours, especially at first.

The problem is since Instacart also comes with driving costs, minimal hours will actually lower how much you're paid after the costs of being an Instacart shopper.

Even though you're working as an independent contractor, it's important to maximize the hours you can fit into your schedule per week.

Balancing Your Hours And Pay

Now, we're not saying you need to work every spare moment you have and be an efficient shopper to make money working for Instacart.

Instead, we're recommending trying to make sure you're getting at least 10 hours a week on Instacart.

If you can't make at least 10 hours a week with your own schedule, this might not be as effective and you might be making closer to minimum wage instead of the $500 per week most people are aiming for.

Work Weekdays Over Weekends

If you want to make solid money, especially if you're going for closer to $1000 a week instead of just $500, you'll want to work weekdays.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

For one thing, this is a gig job, which means that a lot of people are trying to make money on the weekends and more people will be working grocery delivery Saturday and Sunday than most other days of the week.

Why Working Weekdays Works

If you're working weekdays with Instacart, you're a lot more likely to earn cash and get more jobs than on the weekend because there are fewer shoppers competing for more orders.

That means that you'll potentially get more orders per hour, which means you can earn more money per hour.

Especially if you love shopping and are a fast shopper there's really no limit to how much money you can make per week.

Follow Instructions Closely

It's important if you want to maximize the money you make with Instacart, you need to follow instructions.

That means that if you have an order that they specifically ask you to use insulated bags, you need to do exactly that. Investing in some equipment early on can really help you make it as an Instacart shopper.

Why Instructions Are Important

Following instructions might not immediately impact how much you make with Instacart, but it does impact how much money you can make over time.

This is because following instructions is important for protecting your shopper rating, which is hugely determinative of how much you make with Instacart.

You want to have a high rating so that you get more batches, better tips, and so that Instacart is more likely to steer job opportunities toward you.

Communicate With Customers

A lot of customers are looking for shoppers who will go the extra mile and really communicate with them. Especially if you want to make this a full time job or see how much money you can make with Instacart, this is one of the top tips that will help you earn more.

The Instacart shopper app gives you the ability to see customer comments and requests, as well as to send them messages or ask questions about potential substitutions.

How Communicating Helps

Communicating with your customers quickly is one of the best ways to get a better tip, make sure your clients are as happy with your order as possible, and will improve how much you can make per hour.

Remember, this job isn't just grocery delivery, it's also about making sure you buy groceries exactly as directed, offering excellent service, and getting a good rating to improve your base pay.

Talk To Your Store's Associates

Especially if you're working because you want to put more money in your savings account or because you're saving for a big milestone, you want to make as much money as possible, right?

That means being prepared for changes in certain markets, taking advantage of the referral program, and knowing what to expect when your main store makes changes.

You can usually do all of those things by talking with your local grocery store associates.

This is important because they'll help you be faster when you're shopping, will be happier to see you if you're chatty and pleasant, and might even be interested in using your referral code to start making money with Instacart themselves!

Talking with them about the background check for Instacart, perks like Instant Cashout, and how much you can make during peak times is another great way to get money from your referral code.

Take Advantage Of Peak Hours

If you're looking to get instant cashout, want to make more money on average, or need an immediate transfer to cover your bills, taking advantage of peak pay is one of the best techniques.

Peak shopping times are times when there is more demand for Instacart shoppers than there are shoppers available to meet that demand. It's important because this is when your time is most highly rewarded, and you can make a lot more per hour if you're working peak times.

In fact, if you're looking to make $1000 a week, $500 per week, or just to pay your bills, or to see how much you can make doing your best, peak pay is your best opportunity to make that happen.

There's not a limit to how much can you make, just your drive and determination to make more per week.

Best Times to Instacart

Work Fast

This might seem like a simple tip, but if you want to maximize your per week pay, or are wondering how much can you make, this is the most important tip.

You won't know how much can you make per week unless you're giving the job your all. See how much you can make per hour through a day with Instacart, compare the numbers, see what time of day with Instacart is most profitable. Then, plan on working those hours, and working faster.

Remember, not only does Instacart offer mobile payments for workers, you can also use mobile payments instead of your Instacart debit card to make working faster easier.

Final Thoughts on Making $500 Weekly with Instacart

Making $500 a week with Instacart is certainly possible in many cities.

By using some of the tips above, you can increase your earnings when delivering groceries to reach your goals.

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing expert dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He has a Bachelor's degree in business and has been featured in many popular publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Bankrate, CNET Money, and many others. To learn more about Forrest, visit the About Us Page for more info.
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