Instacart Shop Only Pay: How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Get Paid?

Grocery delivery services like Instacart have become increasingly popular over the past few years. With Instacart, customers can get their groceries delivered in as little as one hour by placing an order through the Instacart app or website.

One of the most frequently asked questions about Instacart is: how much do Instacart shoppers get paid for shopping orders?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Instacart shoppers get paid between $7-10 per ordered batch before tips. The exact pay rate depends on the number of items, type of store, driving distance, and other factors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Instacart shop only pay, including the pay structure, factors that affect earnings, tips, and more.

Instacart Shopper Pay Structure

When it comes to earning potential, Instacart shoppers have a unique pay structure that consists of various components. Understanding how Instacart shoppers get paid is crucial for those considering this gig, so let’s dive into the details.

Per-batch payment

The primary form of payment for Instacart shoppers is the per-batch payment. This means that shoppers are paid a fixed amount for each batch of orders they complete. The batch payment amount can vary depending on factors such as the number of items in the order, the distance traveled, and the complexity of the order.

Instacart determines the per-batch payment based on a variety of factors, including the time and effort required to complete the order. Therefore, larger and more complex orders generally pay more than smaller ones.

Additionally, certain high-demand delivery areas may offer higher per-batch payment rates to incentivize shoppers.

Item commissions

In addition to the per-batch payment, Instacart shoppers can also earn item commissions. Item commissions are a percentage of the total cost of the items being purchased. This means that shoppers can earn extra money for shopping for more expensive items or larger orders.

The item commission rate can vary, and it is often based on the type of items being purchased. For example, shoppers may earn a higher commission rate for certain specialty or high-demand items. It’s important to note that item commissions are separate from the per-batch payment and are added on top of it.

Peak boosts

During peak hours or busy times, Instacart offers peak boosts to shoppers. These peak boosts are additional incentives or bonuses that are added to the per-batch payment. They are designed to encourage shoppers to take on more orders during high-demand periods.

The peak boosts can vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, and overall demand for Instacart deliveries. Shoppers who are available during these peak times can earn extra money on top of their regular per-batch payment and item commissions.

Mileage reimbursement

Instacart also provides mileage reimbursement to shoppers. This reimbursement is meant to cover the costs associated with driving to and from the grocery stores and customers’ homes. The reimbursement rate is typically based on the IRS standard mileage rate.

It’s important for shoppers to track their mileage accurately to ensure they receive proper reimbursement. Instacart may require documentation such as mileage logs or GPS records to verify the distance traveled.

Factors That Affect Shop Only Pay

When it comes to determining how much Instacart shoppers get paid for shop only orders, there are several factors that come into play. Here are some of the key factors that can affect the shop only pay:

Number of items

The number of items in an order is one of the main factors that determine the pay for an Instacart shopper. Generally, the more items there are, the higher the pay. This makes sense, as it takes more time and effort to shop for a larger number of items.

Store type

The type of store where the shopper is required to shop also affects the pay. Some stores may offer higher pay rates compared to others. For example, shopping at a high-end grocery store may come with a higher pay rate compared to a regular supermarket.

Order complexity

The complexity of the order can also impact the pay. If an order involves finding specific items in different aisles or requires the shopper to make substitutions for out-of-stock items, it can take more time and effort.

In such cases, the pay may be higher to compensate for the additional work involved.

Driving distance

The distance between the store and the customer’s location is another factor that affects the pay. Instacart shoppers may receive additional compensation for longer driving distances. This helps cover the cost of gas and time spent on the road.

Heavy order pay

Instacart shoppers may also receive additional compensation for orders that include heavy items. Carrying heavy groceries can be physically demanding, so shoppers are compensated accordingly. This ensures that shoppers are fairly rewarded for the extra effort required to handle heavier loads.

Fuel assistance

In some cases, Instacart provides fuel assistance to shoppers to help cover the cost of gas. This can be especially beneficial for shoppers who have to travel long distances or shop for multiple orders in a single trip.

Fuel assistance helps alleviate some of the financial burden associated with transportation.

Promotions and peak boosts

Instacart often runs promotions and offers peak boosts to shoppers during busy times. These incentives can significantly increase the pay for shop only orders. For example, during weekends or holidays when demand is high, shoppers may receive higher pay rates or earn extra bonuses.

It is important to note that the pay structure for Instacart shoppers can vary based on different regions and specific circumstances. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information about pay rates, shoppers can refer to the official Instacart website or consult the shopper support team.

How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make in Tips?

Instacart shoppers have the opportunity to earn additional income through tips from customers. Tips play a significant role in the overall earnings of Instacart shoppers and can greatly impact their take-home pay. Here are some important factors to consider regarding tips:

Default 5% tip

By default, Instacart suggests a 5% tip for shoppers based on the total order amount. This default tip is automatically applied to the customer’s order unless they choose to adjust it. While a 5% tip is the suggested amount, customers have the flexibility to increase or decrease the tip based on their satisfaction with the service provided.

Tip baiting

Unfortunately, there have been instances of customers engaging in a practice known as “tip baiting.” Tip baiting occurs when a customer initially offers a generous tip to entice a shopper to accept their order, only to reduce or remove the tip after the delivery is completed.

This unfair practice can significantly impact an Instacart shopper’s earnings. However, Instacart has taken steps to combat tip baiting and protect shoppers from this unethical behavior.

Increasing tips

Instacart shoppers have the opportunity to earn higher tips by providing exceptional service and ensuring a smooth and efficient shopping experience for customers. Prompt communication, accurate order fulfillment, and timely delivery can all contribute to a positive customer experience and, in turn, lead to higher tips.

Shoppers can also increase their chances of receiving higher tips by going above and beyond, such as helping customers find specific items or offering helpful suggestions.

Cash tips

While Instacart primarily operates as a cashless platform, customers do have the option to provide cash tips directly to shoppers at the time of delivery. Cash tips can be a welcome surprise for shoppers and provide them with immediate additional income.

However, it’s important to note that the majority of tips on Instacart are typically provided through the app, so cash tips may not be as common.

Please note: The exact amount of tips earned by Instacart shoppers can vary based on various factors, such as the size of the order, the complexity of the shopping list, and the location. It’s always recommended for shoppers to provide excellent service to maximize their chances of receiving higher tips.

For more information about Instacart’s tipping policies, you can visit their official website here.

Maximizing Your Instacart Shop Only Earnings

As an Instacart shopper, there are several strategies you can employ to maximize your earnings. By following these tips, you can make the most out of your time and effort while shopping for Instacart orders.

Taking on more batches

One of the easiest ways to increase your earnings is to take on more batches. Instacart offers shoppers the option to accept multiple orders at once, allowing you to complete more deliveries in a single trip.

By efficiently organizing your shopping list and planning your route, you can save time and increase your overall earnings.

Shopping efficiently

Efficiency is key when it comes to maximizing your earnings as an Instacart shopper. By familiarizing yourself with the layout of the stores you frequently shop at, you can navigate through the aisles quickly and avoid wasting time searching for items.

Additionally, utilizing the Instacart app’s built-in features, such as sorting items by aisle or using the barcode scanner for quick item lookup, can help streamline your shopping process.

Providing excellent service

Providing excellent customer service can lead to higher tips and increased earnings. Communicate with customers throughout the shopping process, asking for replacements or substitutions when needed and ensuring their satisfaction with their order.

Going the extra mile by double-checking items for freshness or offering assistance with heavy items can leave a positive impression on customers, increasing the likelihood of receiving higher tips.

Driving at peak times

Driving during peak times can result in higher earnings due to increased demand for Instacart deliveries. By monitoring the app’s busy times and planning your shifts accordingly, you can take advantage of these high-demand periods.

Additionally, consider focusing your efforts in areas with a high concentration of Instacart customers to increase your chances of receiving more orders.


Multi-apping, or working for multiple delivery platforms simultaneously, can help you maximize your earnings. By signing up for other delivery apps, such as DoorDash or Postmates, you can keep yourself busy during slower periods on Instacart.

This allows you to maintain a steady stream of income and make the most out of your time as a shopper.

Remember, your earnings as an Instacart shopper depend on various factors, including the number of orders you complete, the tips you receive, and the efficiency with which you complete your deliveries.

By implementing these strategies and staying proactive, you can increase your overall earnings and make the most out of your time as an Instacart shopper.

Pros and Cons of Instacart Shop Only

Pros of being an Instacart shopper

Becoming an Instacart shopper comes with several advantages that make it an attractive option for many. Here are some of the pros of being an Instacart shopper:

  1. Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of being an Instacart shopper is the flexibility it offers. Shoppers have the freedom to choose their own working hours and can fit their work around their personal schedules.

    This is especially beneficial for individuals who have other commitments or responsibilities.

  2. Earn Extra Income: Instacart shoppers have the opportunity to earn extra income by completing grocery shopping orders. This can be particularly useful for those who are looking for a side job or need to supplement their existing income.
  3. Work-Life Balance: Since Instacart shoppers have the flexibility to choose when and how much they want to work, it can help them achieve a better work-life balance. They can spend more time with their families or pursue other interests while still earning money.
  4. Convenience: As an Instacart shopper, you can enjoy the convenience of shopping for groceries without having to leave your home. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who may have difficulty physically going to the store or for those who simply prefer the convenience of having groceries delivered to their doorstep.

Cons of being an Instacart shopper

While there are several advantages to being an Instacart shopper, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. Here are some of the cons of being an Instacart shopper:

  1. Uncertain Income: The income of an Instacart shopper can vary from week to week, depending on the number of orders they receive and the tips they receive from customers. This uncertainty can make it difficult to rely solely on Instacart shopping as a source of income.
  2. Wear and Tear on Vehicle: Instacart shoppers are responsible for using their own vehicles to deliver groceries. This can result in additional wear and tear on their vehicles, including increased mileage and potential maintenance costs.
  3. Customer Service Challenges: As an Instacart shopper, you may encounter challenging customer service situations, such as dealing with unhappy customers or resolving issues with missing or incorrect items.

    It requires good communication and problem-solving skills to handle these situations effectively.

  4. Physical Demands: Being an Instacart shopper can be physically demanding, as it involves walking, lifting, and carrying groceries. This can be challenging for individuals who may have physical limitations or health conditions.


Instacart shopping offers flexible work opportunities for those looking to earn extra income on their own schedule. While pay rates vary based on batch details, shoppers can expect to make $7-10 per batch before tips.

The most significant factors in determining Instacart shop only pay are the number of items, store type, order complexity, driving distance, and any peak boosts or promotions. Shoppers can maximize earnings by shopping efficiently, providing excellent service to boost tips, driving during peak hours, and taking on more batches.

While Instacart shopping has its benefits like flexibility, there are also cons like reliance on tips and physically demanding work. Overall, Instacart can be a good side earning option but may be challenging as a full-time job.

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