Get Paid to be a Personal Grocery Shopper

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Are you the kind of person who loves grocery shopping? If so, nobody has to ask you twice to hop in the car and head to your local grocery store. All you have to hear are the words we need food, and you’re already en route.

Here’s some great news: Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be just a hobby. You can actually get paid to roam the freezer aisles and indulge in the cool mist of the broccoli section. This is all possible by working as a personal grocery shopper — which you may even be able to do full-time if you dedicate yourself to the cause. 

With that in mind, here’s how to make this dream a reality and become a full-service shopper. 

How to get paid for grocery shopping

  1. Use Instacart or Shipt
  2. Check out TaskRabbit
  3. Deliver for Postmates, Saucey, or Uber Eats
  4. Help community members directly
  5. Deliver for local grocery stores

1. Use Instacart or Shipt

One of the fastest and easiest ways to become a grocery store shopper is to sign up for a concierge service like Instacart or Shipt. 

These apps enable you to create a profile and connect with other shoppers. People place orders through the app and provide instructions, and you hustle to the nearest grocery store and handpick the items. 

Instacart even gives you an option to chat with customers in real-time as you pull loaves of bread and fresh apples from store shelves. This is important, because the more care you put into shopping, the better people tend to tip. 

These apps essentially enable you to be your own boss, shopping whenever you want on your own time. Shipt also offers a nice community feature where you can exchange tips with other shoppers, attend parties, and get perks like free memberships. 

The main difference between Instacart and Shipt is that you have to apply for Shipt. On the other hand, just about anyone can shop for Instacart as long as you meet their basic requirements.

2. Check out TaskRabbit

Another platform that you should familiarize yourself with is TaskRabbit, which is a site where Taskers can perform odd jobs for members of their community. 

Unlike Shipt and InstaCart, TaskRabbit provides access to a much broader range of jobs. For example, you can get paid to help people move, complete yard work, assemble furniture, and mount televisions, among other things.

When shopping for groceries on TaskRabbit, you simply review various tasks that need to be completed, apply for a job, and connect with the individual if they accept your proposal. You can chat with the person to confirm details before agreeing to take on a project. 

After you’ve got the scope of the task down, it’s time to shop for groceries, deliver the items, and get paid through the app. Do the best job you can because people can also write reviews. Good ones could get you more gigs, while bad ones could make it harder to get work. 

Check out TaskRabbit

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3. Deliver for Postmates, Saucey, or Uber Eats

Three other apps that you should check out are Postmates, Saucey, and Uber Eats.

These are on-demand delivery apps for groceries and everyday items, alcohol, and food, respectively. When working for these apps, you don’t actually have to shop and pull items off of store shelves. Upon arrival at a store, you’ll receive a notification as to whether the order is ready or not. Then you’ll pick up the items and transport them to their destination. 

This approach comes with a lot less hassle. However, the tradeoff is that customers don’t tend to tip quite as much because you’re doing less work. 

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4. Help community members directly

Keep in mind that you don’t have to work exclusively through concierge apps to deliver groceries. Another approach is to form direct connections with community members and become their personal grocery shopping solution.

For example, you may have an elderly neighbor or friend of the family who may appreciate a personal shopper. You can even create social media posts advertising your services. Chances are someone may know an individual or family who requires assistance picking up items once in a while or on a steady basis. 

Yet another approach that you can take is to advertise your services on Craigslist. Just keep in mind that there are many scams. As such, you should be very careful about connecting with strangers, clicking on any links, or exchanging personal information. 

If you work with someone on Craigslist, use a secure payment app like PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo or make a cash transaction.

The nice part about working independently instead of for a concierge app is you won’t have to pay a service fee. You’ll get the full commission on any job that you do. If you shop frequently, this could result in big savings — supercharging your journey to financial independence.

5. Deliver for local grocery stores

Local independent retailers are doing everything possible to compete with larger supermarket chains — giving you a great opportunity to help them provide a delivery service. 

Consider approaching local stores and offer your delivery services. You may be able to land a part-time gig driving items around to local customers. You may even be able to secure a dedicated route, bringing loyal customers their items on a weekly basis. 

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What you need to work as a personal grocery shopper

A standard driver’s license

Most delivery services don’t require you to have a commercial license to deliver groceries. However, you do need an active driver’s license and most likely a clean driving record. If you’re interested in becoming a delivery driver, be prepared to pass a background check. 

A smartphone 

If you want to use apps like Instacart and TaskRabbit to make deliveries, you’re going to need a functioning smartphone. Either iPhone or Android will suffice. 

Just make sure the phone is up to date and in good condition so that it remains functional when driving around and making deliveries. The last thing you want is a phone that’s prone to breaking or acting up.

A reliable car

Most delivery services require you to have a functioning car that’s in decent condition. It’s also a good idea to consider extra auto insurance. 

Talk to your insurance company to make sure you have protection before getting started. 

A savings and investment plan

If you get serious about delivering groceries and start working a lot, the money is going to pile up. When this happens, make sure to form a budget with a solid savings and investment plan. That way, you can save money and build a secure future for yourself. 

If you play your cards right, you may be able to put enough money aside so that you can pay someone else to shop for your groceries someday.

Tips for grocery shopping

Put extra care into the process

The trick when performing any kind of labor job like grocery shopping is going above and beyond to make the customer happy.

Make sure to chat with the customer in advance and send them some messages while shopping. Let them see that you’re not just reaching for the first apples that you see. Rather, you’re sorting through the McIntoshes and handpicking the best ones that don’t have any dents or bruises. 

If you do this, you’ll get better tips, better reviews, and more money. You may even hit it off with someone and become their personal shopper.

Pick up passengers for extra money 

While you’re out and about shopping for groceries, consider downloading the Uber or Lyft apps. These rideshare services can connect you with local community members who need rides to and from various destinations.

For example, Mary may need a lift to Bank of America. Or, Tony may need to take a trip to the Home Depot. You can help them get there and make some extra money in the process. 

Try working in a large city

If you’re out in the country or suburbs, you may have trouble finding consistent grocery shopping gigs. It may be worth heading into your local city, be it Los Angeles, San Diego, Omaha, Austin, or anywhere in between. 

Large metropolitan regions with more people will have more consumers who need groceries delivered to their doorsteps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hy-Vee?

Hy-Vee is a supermarket chain across the Midwestern U.S. The company is known for offering high-quality products with friendly customer policies and low prices. 

Do Instacart shoppers have to pay for groceries?

Instacart shoppers pay for items using prepaid credit cards. This means you don’t have to use your own payment card to pay for grocery items. The company handles this process for you and ships you a card in the mail.

Is delivering groceries good part-time work?

Delivering groceries can be hard work. If you want to make real money, you’ll need to put in long hours and spend a lot of time interacting with customers. 

That said, driving has its share of benefits. You’ll be out and about in your community instead of being stuck behind a desk all day. Plus, you’ll have flexibility over your schedule while bringing in extra money to put toward monthly expenses. 

Like with most jobs, delivering groceries depends on your perspective. You may find that it’s an excellent job that you enjoy doing. Or, you may find that it’s not for you. Give it a shot and see for yourself. 

Are grocery shoppers independent contractors?

Some grocery shoppers are independent contractors while others have part-time jobs with local store owners. There are also shoppers that work under the table, taking jobs online through sites like Craigslist.

Just keep in mind that if you work as a 1099 contractor, you’ll need to take money out of every paycheck to pay taxes. If you don’t, you could run into trouble with the IRS.

For the best results, consider working with a tax advisor to help you prepare your taxes and figure out how much money to set aside.

The Bottom Line

Even though you might not think so, driving for a grocery delivery service and picking up grocery orders can be a healthy source of income. 

Many apps and companies let you set your own schedule, enabling you to essentially start your own shopping business and be your own boss.

To be fair, grocery shopper jobs aren’t always easy. But if you enjoy shopping and want a job that gives you a flexible schedule, this may be the perfect opportunity.

Just remember to save the money you make, pay off your debt, or invest it in growth opportunities. With the right work ethic and investment approach, you’ll be on the path to financial freedom.

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