Instacart is a company that makes it easy for people to get their groceries delivered from their favorite stores for a fee. They also provide an opportunity for people to sign up as shoppers and drivers to make money as independent contractors.
The question is does this side hustle really generate any income or is it one of those waste of time type of gigs?
I was curious so I set out to do a review to find out if you could actually make money as a Instacart driver/shopper and what is the potential with this opportunity?
What Instacart Is About
Started back in 2012 the company started promoting it service as a way for consumers to order their groceries online or through an app and get them delivered in an hour.
They claim to be a technology company similar to how Uber operates.
This is one of the reasons why I was interested in reviewing this opportunity. Originally when the rideshares companies started up they claimed that their drivers were making up to $25 to $50 per hour.
As time went on drivers slowly started to realize that they weren’t making that kind of money. So is it possible that Instacart is also hyping their numbers to get drivers and can drivers really make money with this opportunity?
Well I found some good information that should shine some light on the subject so if you were considering signing up you’ll find it interesting.
How Does The Process Work
A customer can log onto instacart.com or use the app on their phone to order items from a store in their area that Instacart services..
Some of the big-name retailers include Whole Foods, Costco, Petco and Kroger just to name a few.
For a customer to get their groceries delivered it will cost them a minimum of $5.99 but they have the option to pay a yearly fee of $149 which will give them free delivery for any order that is $35 or more.
Now once the customer places the order you as the driver/shopper would receive their order telling you which store to go to to start shopping.
All the items will be listed on your shoppers app and it helps to be familiar with the store that you’re shopping at so that you can get the items and check-out in a reasonable amount of time.
For example if a customer requested that their order be delivered within 1 hour that leaves very little time because not only do you have to do the shopping but you also have to deliver the groceries.
It is important to note that there is a scoring system and any driver / shopper gets rated on each delivery.
So if you’re late on a delivery or you chose the wrong items that weren’t on the customers list you may receive a low or negative rating that would lower your overall score.
A low score can result in smaller orders or less shifts impacting the amount of money you can make.
What Does Instacart Pay
As I started to research how much shoppers get paid I found that there was a wide discrepancy between what different driver’s / shoppers were claiming they were making.
The company said the drivers make a minimum of $10 per hour and as high as $25 an hour.
This is similar to what I was seeing when it came to trying to figure out pay for Uber drivers because each market is different so a driver in one market may not make as much money as a driver in another market.
Below is a video I found from a news station doing a story about Instacart drivers that plan on striking in Buffalo New York.
[ insert youtube video]
Apparently the short time that the company has been in Buffalo NY servicing the different stores they have cut the pay of shoppers to a point where many are claiming only to be making $4.75 an hour plus tips.
What’s worse is that this doesn’t even take into account expenses that will include gas, maintenance on the cars and miles accumulated.
So when you factor in the expenses the drivers could be breaking even or possibly losing money.
Pros and Cons Of This Opportunity
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that you may want to sign up or you may want to stay clear of this opportunity.
Pros ( the good stuff )
- Easy to get started
- Work is not hard
- Pick your own hours
Cons ( the not so good stuff )
- Low pay
- Wear and tear on your car
- The company changes things without advance notice
- No guarantee of how many orders you can per day
From what I could see most of the driver/shoppers didn’t mind the actual work and they also enjoyed the ability to to work when they needed or had some extra time.
The majority of the complaints seemed to be based on the actions of the company as shown below.
Instacart is unethical and steals contractors tips along with dropping rates. Rates currently are so low a living wage isn’t possible.
Another driver writes:
over the months they have steadily reduced the delivery commission, stolen tips from independent contractors, and penalized workers for not taking orders that will cost the worker more to complete than they’ll get compensated
Another driver writes:
I once had to drive over an hour to a destination and received 2.35$ as compensation.
All of these complaints I had found from the BBB website.
Part of the problem is that the company isn’t making money itself so they continually change things trying to squeeze profit out from wherever than can.
This usually means that the driver/shoppers are the ones that are going to feel the pinch resulting in more complaints as time goes on.
This was seen a couple years ago when the the company removed the option for customers to tip the driver/shoppers. Thanks to a backlash from the media and workers the company reinstated the option so driver/shoppers could once again receive tips.
I don’t believe you can make money as an Instacart driver/shopper in the long run.
With most of these types of side hustles eventually you reach a point where it is just saturated with drivers and nobody will be making any money.
This is what happened in the rideshare industry because anybody with a car can sign up and start driving.
That is why it makes more sense to start a business where you would have control over all the aspects. Starting an online business can be done on a shoestring budget.
The advantage of working from home is that you won’t be driving your car into the ground. Plus there is the opportunity to make as much money as you want depending on the amount of effort you put into it.
I have been working from home the last couple of years and I owe it all to the training program I like to call my #1 pick for making money online.
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