Shipt vs. Instacart Review

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Most people love to eat. And a lot of people like to cook. But when it comes to going to the grocery store and buying food, that’s a different story.

More and more people are turning to online grocery delivery services like Shipt and Instacart to put food on the table without having to get in their car, shop for items, and stand in line at the grocery store. 

These services took off during the pandemic, when people needed at-home grocery delivery service and didn’t want to venture out into stores. But they’ve continued to be popular even as coronavirus worries have faded.

Shipt and Instacart are two leading grocery apps on the market. By shopping for these companies, you can help people get the groceries they need and put some money in your pocket at the same time.

If this sounds up your alley, it can be a fun, flexible, and convenient way to make money. 

Here’s a quick comparison summary:

ShiptInstacart
Availability260 cities🏆 Thousands of locations
SecurityNo-contact deliveries, phone number protectionContactless deliveries
Payout OptionsEvery Friday through direct deposit🏆 Instant cashouts
Customer ServicePhone supportPhone support

With all this in mind, let’s take a closer look at Shipt vs. Instacart, how they work, and compare the two services to see which makes the most sense for you. 

What Is Shipt? 

Target’s Shipt service is a leading same-day grocery delivery app that connects local community members with shoppers for a fee.

The service works with stores like Target, Winn Dixie, Costco, Lowes Foods, Piggly Wiggly, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Meijer, and H-E-B, to name just a few examples. 

How Shipt works for drivers 

Thinking about becoming a Shipt driver? Here’s how it works.

Shipt hires shoppers to work as independent contractors. When driving for Shipt, you’ll be in command of your schedule and have the opportunity to accept or decline orders as you like.

Here’s a breakdown of how the service works for shoppers.

1. Submit an application

After you’ve downloaded the Shipt app, go through the application process by submitting your personal information. 

The company also makes you answer a questionnaire to see if you’re a good fit. You’ll have to submit a short video response.

2. Wait for approval

After you submit your application, the next step is to wait for a recruiter to contact you. 

Shipt doesn’t accept everyone. The company is a bit selective about whom it hires. What’s more, opportunities depend on local demand. 

In other words, getting accepted to Shipt isn’t a given. It’s better to know this before applying to avoid disappointment in case it doesn’t work out. 

3. Accept the position 

If there’s an opportunity in your area, Shipt will eventually contact you if you’re a good fit. A representative will give you instructions on how to begin using the app and making money.

4. Download the Shipt app

Shipt works for both Android and iOS platforms. Whichever device you use, look for the Shipt Shopper app and download it to your device. Keep in mind that it’s a different app than the one that shoppers use.

5. Start driving and making money

After communicating with the representative and accepting the position, the company will onboard you and you can soon begin driving around and earning money. 

Top features for Shipt

Here are the top features for Shipt.

Early delivery option

Shipt has an early delivery option that customers can opt to use. This gives shoppers the option to drop off groceries any time after the store opens as long as it’s within the requested grocery delivery window.

No-contact grocery delivery 

Concerned about coming into contact with people and spreading germs? Shipt offers a contactless delivery option where you can leave groceries at a secure spot for pickup.

Shopper educational resources 

Shipt offers educational tools to make you a better and more informed shopper, including online courses. The more you learn, the better your service becomes. This, in turn, looks better for the company and potentially gets you more tips. 

Extra earning opportunities 

Shipt will reward you with more orders when you shop during preferred times and deliver strong customer service. If you’re looking to really hustle and make money, this option can help you increase your earnings.

Pros and cons of Shipt 

Here are the pros and cons of Shipt.

Pros

  • Flexible, on-demand grocery delivery service
  • Easy-to-use app
  • Online resources to improve your shopping game
  • Minimum order requirements; deliveries under $35 have a $7 delivery fee

Cons

  • Selective hiring
  • Must account for taxes 
  • Wear and tear on your vehicle 
  • Free delivery over $35 
  • Demand fluctuates 
  • Limited access in Canada

What Is Instacart?

The Instacart app is similar to Shipt, offering a same-day grocery delivery service that lets customers place orders through an app. The service also has a large partner base with leading stores like Loblaw, Publix, Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts, Wegmans, Aldi, and many others. 

Learn More:

How Instacart works for drivers

Instacart hires independent contractors to shop for items and deliver them to customers. The company also hires part-time workers for on-site shopping support. In other words, there are two ways you can work with Instacart.

Here is a breakdown of how Instacart works for shoppers. 

1. Get shopping approval

Instacart has a brief approval process that requires a background check. Go through the approval process, pass the background check, and once the company gives the green light, you’ll be ready to become an Instacart shopper. Generally speaking, it’s pretty easy to start using Instacart. 

2. Pick which orders you want

One of the nice aspects of Instacart is that you can choose when you want to work. It’s a bit like Uber, where you can see the items you need to pick up on the screen, and the destination.

For example, you may have some time to kill on a Saturday afternoon and want to make a few extra bucks. In such a scenario, you can turn on the app and take orders at your own pace. 

And if you see an order that looks too hard, you don’t have to take it. The app won’t punish you for passing over an opportunity. 

3. Shop for the items 

After accepting an order, head to the store and shop for the items. Items will be more expensive with a 24% markup when shopping through Instacart, but the customer ultimately foots the bill, so you don’t have to worry about that. 

4. Communicate with the customer 

It’s always a good idea to communicate with the customer while you’re shopping. 

For example, you might ask them if a certain tomato looks good or for clarification on a product. They’ll usually appreciate the support and may tip you better for going the extra mile. 

5. Drop off the items

Pay for the items, transport them safely (watching out for road bumps so you don’t break any eggs), and drop them off. Instacart pays directly through the app. You can cash out instantly, giving you fast access to cash. 

Instacart features

Here are the top Instacart features.

Contactless deliveries 

Just like Shipt, Instacart has a contactless delivery feature for a safer grocery delivery experience. There’s no need to worry about interacting with any customers or catching any of their germs. 

Flexible hours 

Instacart lets you work whenever you want. This service makes a great side hustle for people with busy schedules. If you’re busy with school and full-time work, you can fit Instacart in during your free time. 

If you live close to a grocery store, this could be a great way to earn some extra cash.

Use your own car

Instacart enables you to deliver groceries using your own vehicle. You don’t have to drive a van or company car, which may make the experience more comfortable. 

Part-time work option

Most Instacart drivers work as full-service shoppers, delivering groceries to customers throughout the week. The company also has part-time options available to help meet increased demand. 

Part-time shoppers do in-store shopping only and work fifteen to twenty hours per week. This option comes with medical, vision, and dental insurance and a 401(k) offering.

Pros and cons of Instacart 

Here are the pros and cons of working with Instacart.

Pros

  • Flexible contract work
  • Part-time opportunities available 
  • Select where you want to shop
  • Intuitive app
  • Use your own car 
  • Instant pay option
  • Works in Canada 
  • Excess delivery fee for heavy items 

Cons

  • New priority thirty-minute delivery feature can be stressful 
  • Shopping can take a long time 
  • Fluctuating demand 
  • Must account for taxes
  • Wear and tear on your vehicle 

Comparing Shipt vs. Instacart

Here are the top differences to understand between Shipt and Instacart.

Signing up and getting started 

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to start, Instacart is the better option. All you have to do is pass the background check and you’ll be up and running shortly. 

Instacart doesn’t make you submit any videos like Shipt and they are generally less selective about who they bring on board.

Security

Both options offer contactless delivery, so you can limit coming face to face with other people when shopping and dropping items off. 

Both companies also offer phone number masking and in-app communication, so you don’t have to worry about sharing your personal information when chatting with customers. This helps protect your identity.

Customer service 

Not all rideshare and grocery delivery apps offer live customer support. For example, Uber does not have a live phone number that you can call for support, which users find frustrating.

Both Shipt and Instacart shoppers receive phone support, so you can contact someone and speak with a live agent if you run into security, payment, or app-related issues.  

Pay

One of the biggest differences between the two services is the compensation model.

Shipt pays every Friday through direct deposit for orders completed and tips accrued during that week.

Instacart offers instant cashouts for orders and tips, meaning you don’t have to wait until the end of the week to receive your income. 

This is a big deal due to the time value of money principle, which basically says money is worth more today than it will be tomorrow. In this light, Instacart definitely has the edge over Shipt. 

Availability

This is another category where Instacart has a big edge. Shipt is available in only 260 cities, while Instacart has thousands of locations across the U.S. 

This is a bigger deal for shoppers in smaller communities, which may lack Shipt representation. Check out your local area and see which option is available. 

Keep in mind that you may be able to drive for both companies, increasing your earning potential along the way. 

Perks and promos

Shipt shoppers receive a variety of benefits, including COVID-19 financial assistance, tax preparation support, free Shipt deliveries, automobile and transportation discounts, lifestyle and entertainment benefits, healthcare and well-being bonuses, and security and insurance discounts.

Instacart offers perks through a partnership with PerkSpot. Drivers can access benefits like family fun nights, discounts on flights and hotels, local discounts at restaurants and gyms, and auto maintenance benefits.

Both Shipt and Instacart now offer a $10 referral reward. Instacart also offers a sign-on bonus with a $10 discount on your first order.

Alternative Delivery Apps to Explore 

There’s a whole world of delivery apps to explore and you can make decent money by spreading out your time among several different services. 

Here’s a look at some of the top delivery apps on the market for 2021. 

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is the on-demand food delivery arm for Uber. The company has widespread service across the country and an extensive list of partnering restaurants. 

Grubhub 

Grubhub is one of the oldest delivery providers on the market. The company no longer has the biggest market share, but it’s still turning a healthy profit. The service is very popular among customers, making it an excellent option for drivers looking to make extra money. 

DoorDash

DoorDash brought in 57% of U.S. consumers’ meal delivery sales in November, making it the leading provider on the market right now. 

Download DoorDash if you want to capitalize on surging demand and a popular service. 

Postmates

Postmates goes beyond food service, enabling drivers to pick up household items and office supplies from retailers like CVS, Petco, and Walmart. Drive for Postmates if you want to expand what you deliver to customers ashipt nd increase revenue opportunities. 

Saucey

As an on-demand alcohol delivery service, Saucey can make you a hero for any party or social event. Not only will you make money, you’ll also keep people off the road after they have had too much to drink. It’s a win-win! 

Amazon Flex 

Amazon Flex enables you to deliver packages for Amazon using your own car. Pick items up from distribution centers and drop them off to customers in your local area. 

It’s easy and straightforward, and with the way people shop on Amazon, there’s always something to deliver.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Shipt vs. Instacart.

How much do Shipt and Instacart pay?

Drivers for Shipt and Instacart can both make about $15 to $20 per hour. How much you make depends on your location, the size of the market that you’re serving, and how much time you put into shopping.

Keep in mind that the more you work, the more you’ll spend on gas. Plus, driving around puts wear and tear on your vehicle.

What is Instacart Express?

Instacart Express is an annual membership plan. The Instacart Express membership plan costs $99, and frequent users can benefit from free deliveries when spending at least $35. It’s a popular option for busy families who need to load up on groceries each week. 

The Bottom Line 

Grocery shopping for Instacart and Shipt can be a great way to make money. You’ll have to hustle to make ends meet with these iPhone and Android delivery apps, but if you live in a big city like New York or Chicago, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to serve a variety of customers.  

By working as a personal shopper for these popular grocery delivery services, you can take part in the growing gig economy. In fact, many young people today are exploring these types of side hustles and taking jobs as store shoppers to get ahead. 

To excel as a grocery delivery services driver, you have to be able to move quickly and turn around an hour or half-hour delivery. Delivery times can be very tight, especially during busy times. 

If you’re interested in the prospect of delivering food for a living, it can’t hurt to give these apps a whirl. If you like using them, figure out how to optimize your workflow so you can gradually take on more orders as you become more efficient.

Who knows? With the right approach, you might end up cruising up and down grocery store aisles with purpose, as you help customers keep their cupboards stocked and bring in some extra cash.

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