Pros and Cons of Shopping For Instacart (Veteran Shopper Explains).

I started shopping with Instacart over a year ago. I've kept it as a side hustle and at times made some pretty good money, but it also has it's downsides. A lot of people sign up to shop with Instacart not really knowing what they're getting into. In this post I'll give an honest review of all of the benefits of shopping with Instacart along with some of the downsides. I'll also give some actionable advice for new Instacart shoppers.


  • High Volume of Batches

    There aren't a ton of Shopping gigs to choose from, and Instacart is certainly the most popular. If you're looking to keep busy, it's tough to overlook Instacart as an option. How many batches you receive is heavily dependent on your location, and there will definitely be slow times no matter where you shop.

  • Customer Tips

    Instacart allows shoppers to keep 100% of customer tips. Tip money goes a long way to boosting your earnings as a shopper. If you shop in the right areas (I usually focus on wealthy suburbs just outside of the city) you can earn great tip money.

  • Flexibility of scheule

    With Instacart you can go online and start accepting batches whenever you want, although it's usually best to shop during Satrudays, Sundays and Mondays. You can also schedule shifts on the app. This flexibility makes it easy to work part time or full time, for a side hustle, as a student or even during retirement!

  • Instant Cash Out

    For a small fee of $.50 you can cash your earnings instantly. This makes Instacart a great source of income for anyone that needs to earn money quick! You will get paid weekly (no fee) via direct deposit each Wednesday if you don't choose instant pay.

  • Shopper Incentives

    Instacart offers a lot of incentives to encourage shoppers to deliver more groceries. These include peak pay bonuses (earn extra during busy hours) as well as sign up bonuses and bonuses for heavy batches.

  • Tax Incentives

    The standard deduction per mile in 2020 is $.58. That means that you can write of $.58 for every mile driven with Instacart. A new shopper might look at this and think that their expenses will be high as a shopper, but experienced shoppers know that a reliable fuel efficient vehicle that is a bit older and cheaper will end up costing them much less than $.58 per mile to drive. Essentially this lowers a shoppers tax burden at the end of the year and in some cases it could actually mean paying less tax than a W2 employer. * This is not tax advice, speak with a tax accountant

  • No Boss

    As a shopper your responsibilities are relatively little, making this a relaxing gig. You don't have to interact with a ton of people and you don't have a boss looking over your shoulder. However, a physical boss is now replaced with an algorithm, and you will be required to keep your metrics up.

  • Get Started Quick

    If you are looking to find a gig to generate income quickly Instacart is a great option. The application process is simple, if you are 18 years old, have a vehicle, drivers license, and insurance you can apply to Instacart and potentially start shopping within a week (approval time vary by city and require you to pass a background check).


We recommend checking out the following apps to run between blocks when you're delivering with Instacart:


  • Batch Consistency

    Instacart is one of the most consistent shopping apps out there in terms of getting batches. With that said, there will still be slow times. There will be days with fewer orders and times of day that aren't busy. You'll also have times when you feel like a lot of your batches are low pay and not worth it (you can decline these because as a shopper you are an independent contractor and do not have to maintain a high acceptance rate). You also can't control how many other shoppers Instacart hires in your area, if they go on a hiring spree you could see fewer batches for a while.

  • No Benefits

    Full time jobs often come with health insurance, paid time off, unemployment benefits if you are laid off and more. With Instacart you are an independent contractor, which means you're not entitled to benefits. Things are always changing in the gig economy and there is pressure on gig companies to provide more benefits to workers. Some apps have been adding partial benefits for gig workers, we'll see if Instacart follows the trend.

  • App Updates

    Instacart will constantly change the app around and it won't always feel like it is to your benefit as a shopper. They'll test different features that create incentive for you to accept more batches, and it can be frustrating at times.

  • Deactivation

    With Instacart you are always a few mistakes away from potential deactivation. Your metrics and customer reviews will decide your fate on the app. If you take pride in your job and contact customer support when issues arise you likely wont have any issues, but there are plenty of deactivation horror stories out there. If you're worried about potentially getting deactivated I would recommend signing up for other shopping apps as well to diversify your income.

  • Customer Support

    Customer support on Instacart has come a long ways, and some shoppers would argue that it's more of a pro these days. Even though Instacart support won't always be able to solve your problems, I recommend reaching out to them in the app if anything comes up!

  • Taxes

    With Instacart you are an independent contractor. That means Instacart is not required to give you benefits and you must set aside money to pay taxes at the end of the year. It's a good idea to download a mileage tracking app as mileage will be your largest expense to deduct as a shopper. You're responsible for tracking mileage along with any other expenses (cell phone, etc.) and filing taxes at the end of the year. It requires you to keep track of things you may not have had to worry about when working full time.


Gas is one of your biggest expenses when shopping with Shipt. Use the GetUpside app to get cash back every time you fill up your tank!

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