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Instacart Waitlist Length & Options For Avoiding It

  • Instacart’s waitlist manages applicant overflow when driver supply exceeds demand.
  • Waitlist duration varies, influenced by local demand and applicant volume.
  • No direct method exists to skip the waitlist or check status.
  • Changing application zip code may help secure shifts in less busy areas.

Did you apply to Instacart only to make the Instacart waitlist instead of getting approved to shop? I’ll show you what it means and options to get off.

What is the Instacart Waitlist?

The Instacart waitlist is a system used by Instacart to manage the influx of applicants wishing to become shoppers.

When the demand for shoppers is met in certain areas, new applicants are placed on a waitlist until positions become available.

a screenshot of the Instacart waitlist

This ensures that the platform maintains a balanced number of active shoppers relative to the market demand, optimizing both service efficiency and shopper earnings.

Applicants on the waitlist are typically notified when they can start shopping as opportunities arise.

How Long is the Instacart Waitlist?

The length of the Instacart waitlist can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the specific geographic location, the current demand for shoppers, and the number of existing shoppers in the area.

Instacart does not typically disclose specific wait times, as they fluctuate based on market conditions. Some applicants may experience only a short wait, while others could be on the waitlist for an extended period.

I live in Nebraska and I applied for Instacart roughly 6 years ago. At the time, the service was fairly new to our state, so I got approved right away.

However, in 2024 (at the time of the writing), I have had friends who have recently applied and they’ve indicated that they were waitlisted for around 2 months.

Is it Possible to Get Off the Instacart Waitlist?

Yes, it is possible to get off the Instacart waitlist. Typically, applicants move off the waitlist and become active shoppers when positions open up in their area.

This can happen if the demand for deliveries increases, or if there are fewer active shoppers available. Instacart might also occasionally reassess their staffing needs and open more positions.

Screenshot showing a notification of getting off the Instacart waitlist and getting approved to shop

To increase the chances of being activated, applicants can ensure their application details are up to date and check regularly for any changes or additional requirements from Instacart.

Brett’s Take

Getting waitlisted is not the end of the world. While I understand how frustrating getting waitlisted can be, just remain patient and hold the line, you’ll eventually get approved.

If you’re really hoping to shop, but haven’t gotten approved for Instacart yet, I also recommend checking out some other alternatives.

There are many delivery jobs currently available to gig workers, but the closest alternative to Instacart would probably be the role of a Shipt Shopper.

I actually like shopping with Shipt a bit better than shopping for Instacart. The people are friendly and the system is very easy to use.

Either way, just hang in there. Once you’re waitlisted, there’s not a lot that you can do anyways, so you might as well sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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