Shipt vs. Instacart [2024]: Which is Better to Work for?

MAKE MONEY - SIDE HUSTLES
If you’re looking to deliver groceries for extra cash, here’s what you need to know about Shipt and Instacart.
Updated April 9, 2024
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black male shopping groceries in supermarket

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The gig economy has given us a lot of new ways to earn money. Delivering groceries can be a great way to help busy families get what they need while earning some extra income. 

Signing up for a food delivery service like Shipt or Instacart could be a great way to get started in this side hustle. Aside from having access to a vehicle, there are few eligibility requirements, and you don’t need any experience, education, or training to sign up.

But which of these two grocery delivery services is best for you? Let’s dig into the details and compare them side by side.

In this article

Quick look: Shipt vs. Instacart

Shipt Instacart
Shopping positions Delivery Delivery or in-store shoppers
# of cities 5,000s 5,500s
Background check required? Yes Yes
Features
  • Choose the areas where you shop
  • Exclusive events and meetups for shoppers
  • Pay via direct deposit
  • $10 referral bonus
  • Occasional promos and discounts for users
  • Discounts on auto insurance, tax services, and more
  • Decline orders if they’re too far away
  • Perks, including subsidized auto insurance and discounted prescription plans
  • Pay via direct deposit
  • $10 referral bonus
  • Occasional promos and discounts for users
Requirements
  • To be at least 18 years old
  • A valid mailing address
  • A valid U.S. driver's license and auto insurance
  • A reliable car, 1997 or newer
  • Some knowledge of produce
  • A newer Android or iPhone smartphone
  • The ability to lift at least 45 pounds
  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • A reliable newer Android or iPhone
  • Consistent access to a vehicle
  • The ability to lift at least 40 pounds
Visit Shipt Visit Instacart

What is Instacart?

Instacart was founded in 2012 as a way for people to order groceries on-demand via the Instacart app. Users have access to same-day delivery options or can schedule a delivery window later in the week. Same day delivery starts at $3.99 for orders over $35. The price may increase during busy times of the day.

 Instacart users can choose to pay these delivery fees and a 5% service fee for individual orders, or sign up for an Instacart Express annual membership for $99 and get free delivery on orders over $35 and reduced service fees. An Instacart Express membership may help you save money if you plan on making regular orders.

Instacart had about 142,000 shoppers back in February 2020, and the company announced that it would hire 300,000 more workers as a result of the pandemic. In the first two weeks of April alone, Instacart users purchased almost $700 million in goods. Instacart has partnerships with more than 300 retailers and local grocers to bring customers the goods they need from stores like Aldi, Costco, Sprouts, and more. The Instacart app is available for both Android and iOS devices. 

Unlike Shipt, Instacart is not accredited with the BBB. However, it is a legitimate business that serves many U.S. residents in thousands of cities, and workers have good things to say about their experiences on Glassdoor.

Check out our Instacart review for more details.

Instacart Benefits

  • Make your own schedule and work when you want
  • Get paid within an hour through instant cash out
  • Choose between just shopping or shopping and delivering

What is Shipt?

Shipt is a grocery shopping service that connects members with local shoppers for grocery delivery needs. Launched in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt is now in more than 5,000 cities across the country. The Shipt app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Shipt shoppers fulfill orders at local stores that vary by city. Typically, these include stores like Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Costco, Petco, Walmart, and CVS, along with local grocery stores. Shipt users can pay a $99 annual or $10.99 monthly membership fee to get free delivery on orders over $35, and there’s a $7 delivery fee on orders under $35. Members use the Shipt app to shop for the items they need, and that order is made available for local shoppers to accept and fulfill. Once a shopper handpicks the items on the shopping list, they deliver the goods to the member’s home.

Shipt has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and workers have positive things to say about the gig on Glassdoor. This legitimate delivery service is an excellent way for busy families to get the groceries they need fast and for shoppers to earn extra money part time.

Check out our Shipt review for more details.

Working for Shipt vs. Instacart

Where Instacart comes out on top:

  • Instacart has options for shoppers without a car. To be a Shipt shopper, you need reliable access to a car from 1997 or newer. Instacart full-service shoppers need access to a vehicle as well. But Instacart also employs in-store shoppers who fulfill orders for customers in-store. You’ll be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor, but you’ll still have the flexibility to choose your own schedule.
  • Instacart is available in more cities. Chances are, Instacart is available in your area. Shipt has grown significantly in the last few years, but Instacart is still available in about 500 more cities than Shipt.

Where Shipt comes out on top:

  • Shipt allows you to choose where you’ll shop. Both Instacart and Shipt allow you to decline orders if they’re too far outside your location, but Shipt takes the extra step of allowing shoppers to select the areas they’re willing to pick up and deliver. This can help you learn your way around a select few stores, making you more efficient. You also won’t need to drive around town picking up orders, reducing the wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Shipt creates a community for shoppers. Shipt shoppers have the opportunity to share tips at exclusive events and meetups. There’s even an annual conference with food and activities.

Where they’re similar:

  • Pay is comparable between the two services. For both Instacart and Shipt, delivery drivers get paid an amount per order, not per hour. Shipt pays experienced shoppers anywhere from $16 to $22 an hour. Although Instacart doesn’t publish its estimated hourly rates, drivers report making up to $17 per hour on Glassdoor. The amount you’ll make will depend on where you live and how many orders you shop. Both Shipt and Instacart shoppers keep 100% of their tips.
  • Shipt and Instacart come with different perks for shoppers. Shipt offers discounts and perks, including subsidized auto insurance and discounted prescription plans. Instacart also offers some perks, which include savings at local stores and assistance with financial wellness products.

Shipt vs. Instacart: Which is best for you?

People who like being social are more likely to enjoy working for Shipt. That’s because Shipt works to create a community for shoppers, and working in a particular area gives you the opportunity to become friendly with other workers. And if you particularly adore browsing at Target stores, Shipt is the gig for you.

On the other hand, people who enjoy more variety may find Instacart to be more fun. Instacart tends to work with more retailers and serve more areas. If you don’t have a vehicle or Shipt isn’t available in your area, Instacart will be your only option. For the most part, the process is very similar to working for Shipt, and you may be able to earn comparable pay.

You may even decide that neither service is right for you and explore some other ways to make money. Working with a service like DoorDash or Uber Eats might be a better fit for some people. If you’re lucky, you might find a side hustle that you enjoy and that could lead to a full-time opportunity in the future.

FAQs about Instacart vs. Shipt

Does Shipt or Instacart pay more?

Shipt estimates that experienced drivers can make anywhere from $16 to $22 per hour. Instacart doesn’t publish estimates, but shoppers report earning up to $17 per hour on Glassdoor. Ultimately, the amount you can earn will depend on where you live, how often you work, and how efficient you are at shopping.

Are Shipt and Instacart the same?

Shipt and Instacart are two separate, on-demand grocery delivery platforms that allow users to shop at their favorite stores remotely and give personal shoppers the opportunity to earn extra cash making deliveries. Although they operate similarly, they are not the same company.

Can you do both Shipt and Instacart?

Yes. You can shop for both Shipt and Instacart. You’re more likely to be able to get full-time hours if you work for both companies, and you’ll reap the perks and benefits of both.

What stores does Instacart deliver from?

Instacart partners with more than 300 retailers and local grocery stores. The stores offering delivery vary by location but often include retailers like Albertsons, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Publix, Sam’s Club, and Sprouts.

What stores does Shipt deliver from?

Shipt is owned by Target. In addition to offering deliveries from Target stores, Shipt also delivers from stores such as Petco, CVS, H-E-B, Meijer, and Costco, in addition to local grocery stores.

Who can deliver groceries with Shipt and Instacart?

To become a Shipt shopper, you'll need:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • A valid mailing address
  • A valid U.S. driver's license and auto insurance
  • A reliable car
  • Some knowledge of produce
  • A newer Android or iPhone smartphone
  • The ability to lift at least 45 pounds

To become an Instacart shopper, you'll need:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • A reliable newer Android or iPhone
  • The ability to lift at least 40 pounds

The bottom line

If you’re struggling to figure out how to make money, shopping for a delivery app like Shipt or Instacart could help you pay your bills without interfering with your regular job. The flexibility is awesome and the pay is decent enough to help you reach your financial goals.

Like all the best side hustles, it’s a gig that can be done on your own schedule, and you can work as often or as little as you like. And if you enjoy browsing the aisles of your local grocery store, then earning cash for delivering groceries could be totally worth it and might not even feel like work. Whether you choose Shipt, Instacart, or both will depend on where you live, what stores you like best, and what your personality is like.

Instacart Benefits

  • Make your own schedule and work when you want
  • Get paid within an hour through instant cash out
  • Choose between just shopping or shopping and delivering

Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.

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