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  6. Instacart Jobs Explained: Difference Between Shoppers & Drivers

Instacart Jobs Explained: Difference Between Shoppers & Drivers

  • Instacart offers two main roles: Full-Service Shopper and In-Store Shopper.
  • Full-Service Shoppers are independent contractors who shop and deliver groceries.
  • In-Store Shoppers are part-time employees who pack orders at grocery stores.
  • Full-Service Shoppers can earn more, but In-Store Shoppers enjoy wage stability.

The rise in gig economy apps like DoorDash has fueled a surge in grocery delivery services. Many are turning to Instacart to simplify their shopping. This suggests more opportunities for Instacart jobs.

Since its 2012 launch in San Francisco, Instacart has led the grocery delivery market, supported by a vast network of part-time workers, known as Instacart Shoppers.

This guide will compare the two primary Instacart roles for potential earners.

2 Types of Instacart Jobs

When considering a job working with Instacart, you’ll encounter two primary roles: Full-Service Shopper and In-Store Shopper.

Each role has its distinct responsibilities and advantages.

Full-Service Shoppers

A Full-Service Shopper, often referred to as an “Instacart driver” or “delivery driver,” functions as an independent contractor.

This provides them the flexibility to either accept or decline orders based on the estimated payout.

In this role, they are responsible for the entire shopping process, starting from picking up groceries in the store to delivering them directly to the customer’s doorstep.

At times, to maximize efficiency, they might manage multiple orders from a single store simultaneously, handling up to three orders.

All the necessary details, from shopping lists to drop-off locations, are readily available in the Instacart Shopper app.

This role requires them to engage frequently with store employees and customers, ensuring a smooth process.

Their earnings are variable, influenced by factors such as delivery distance and mileage reimbursement, but additional incentives can boost their pay.

In-Store Shoppers

On the other hand, In-Store Shoppers are W2 employees dedicated to specific grocery stores within Instacart’s network.

Their primary responsibility is to gather and pack orders that are received via the app.

Once these orders are packed, they are placed in a designated pick-up area, ready for collection by Instacart drivers.

Unlike Full-Service Shoppers, In-Store Shoppers do not make deliveries. Instead, they typically focus on understanding the intricacies of their designated store, such as its layout and inventory.

The Instacart Shopper app is their main tool for accessing details on incoming orders, though their role is more behind-the-scenes.

As salaried employees, they receive a guaranteed minimum wage, but this can be supplemented, especially during peak shopping hours.

Quick Take

Ultimately, the decision between the two roles hinges on individual preferences regarding task flexibility, interaction levels, and job responsibilities

Earnings for Instacart Shoppers: Full-Service vs. In-Store

When exploring roles at Instacart, understanding the potential earnings and payment structure for both Full-Service and In-Store Shoppers is crucial.

On average, Full-Service Shoppers earn about $14 per hour before tips, whereas In-Store Shoppers make around $13 per hour. However, there’s more to these numbers than meets the eye.

Earnings for Full-Service Shoppers

Full-Service Shoppers operate as independent contractors. This means their earnings aren’t based on a guaranteed hourly wage.

Their pay can fluctuate above or below the $14 average, determined by an algorithm that factors in distance traveled, order size, effort, and other aspects.

An essential addition to their income is customer tips. Instacart doesn’t take a cut from these gratuities, and the default tip on the Instacart app is 5%.

However, as tips aren’t mandatory, final earnings can hinge on service quality and customer generosity.

Essentially, the earning potential for Full-Service Shoppers can be unpredictable, but it has the potential to be lucrative, especially if they provide excellent service.

Earnings for In-Store Shoppers

In contrast, In-Store Shoppers, as part-time Instacart employees, enjoy a more consistent hourly wage. Even though they aren’t typically tipped, they benefit from provisions like sick leave and severance pay.

They also receive guaranteed pay, irrespective of the number of orders they handle.

During the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., there has been a push from Instacart Shoppers for hazard pay, advocating for an additional $5 per order due to the risky conditions.

However, as of now, Instacart only occasionally offers bonuses during periods of high demand.

Comparatively, while Full-Service Shoppers can potentially earn more due to tips and flexible hours, In-Store Shoppers benefit from wage stability and job security.

It’s also worth noting that while Full-Service Shoppers can work unlimited hours, In-Store Shoppers are capped at 29 hours per week.

Instacart’s Payment Schedule

On the payment schedule, Instacart pays its shoppers weekly. Earnings from Monday through Sunday are consolidated and paid out the following Wednesday, without an option for instant cashout.

For those curious about how Instacart’s pay scales against competitors, it might be useful to compare Instacart Shopper earnings with platforms like Shipt.

Scheduling Differences: Full-Service vs. In-Store Shoppers

Instacart offers distinct scheduling systems for its two types of shoppers.

This distinction arises mainly from their unique working arrangements with the company.

Full-Service Shoppers function as independent contractors, implying they work on behalf of Instacart rather than being direct employees. This status affords them unparalleled flexibility.

They have the freedom to select orders, also referred to as “batches”, that align with their available time while passing on others that don’t.

There are no constraints regarding how many hours they should work. They can determine the pace of their work, whether that means taking on just a few batches weekly or working hours equivalent to a full-time job.

However, the catch is there’s no certainty of batch availability. While they have the advantage of selecting when to work and when to take a break, it’s crucial that they commit once they accept a shopping trip, ensuring it’s seen through to completion.

In contrast, In-Store Shoppers have more structure in their working hours. Although they can craft a schedule that considers their personal commitments, they must adhere to predetermined shifts.

Their availability is dictated by the operating hours of their designated grocery store. While they do enjoy some flexibility in forming their schedules, they’re obligated to honor the shifts they choose.

For reference, Full-Service Shoppers might find work opportunities between 9 a.m. and midnight, which corresponds with the delivery window options provided to customers.

This span is broader than the typical In-Store Shopper’s working hours, restricted to their specific grocery store’s operational timings.

To delve deeper into the working dynamics of the platform, one might consider exploring topics like “How does Instacart work for Shoppers?” to get a comprehensive understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Instacart have office jobs that I can apply for?

You can definitely get an Instacart job that doesn’t require any shopping or driving.

The company hires engineers, marketers, legal talent, and more skilled workers for its offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto, New York, Chicago, and more major cities.

These are typically full-time positions that come with salaries and benefits like health care and life insurance. You can browse through current openings to figure out if anything matches your skills and interests.

2. Are full-service and in-store Instacart jobs available in every market?

The jobs are available in most markets, though Instacart may not be actively accepting drivers if the local demand isn’t high enough. You’ll be put on a wait list if shoppers are not needed when you apply.

You can browse through Instacart markets on this locations page to see if you live in a place where the grocery delivery service operates.

3. Can I work as an In-Store Shopper and a Full-Service Shopper?

If you want to sign up for both Instacart jobs, there’s nothing stopping you. You can definitely take advantage of both types of gigs if you want to get a mix of stability and flexibility.

However, keep in mind that the In-Store Shopper role does require consistent commitment, since you will be a part-time employee.

Get the Gig That Works for You

No matter what type of Instacart job you take on, you’ll have the chance to become a household hero for many busy families throughout the United States.

Instacart Shoppers are constantly helping customers get easy access to food, cleaning supplies, and more essentials from local grocery stores when they need it most.

Whether you’re just shopping or shopping and driving, you’ll be making money by performing a service that’s in high demand — all on a flexible schedule.

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