Shipt vs. Instacart: Which is Better for Drivers? [2020]

If you’re looking to deliver groceries for extra cash, here’s what you need to know about Shipt and Instacart.
Last updated Aug 13, 2020 | By Lindsay Frankel
Man delivering groceries

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Delivering groceries is a great way to help busy families get what they need while earning extra income. 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, it might not even feel like work.

If you want to earn cash delivering groceries, a service like Shipt or Instacart could be a great way to get started. 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 grocery delivery service is best for you? Let’s dig into the details.

Jump to:

What is Shipt?

Shipt is a grocery shopping service that connects members with local shoppers for their grocery delivery needs. Launched in 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt is now in more than 260 cities across the country.

Shipt shoppers fulfill orders at local stores that vary by city. Typically, these include stores like Target, Petco, Walmart, and CVS, along with local grocery stores. Shipt users can pay a $99 annual or $14 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 a great way for busy families to get the groceries they need fast and for shoppers to earn extra cash part time.

Shipt Benefits

  • Earn money shopping and delivering groceries
  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Apply in under 10 minutes
  • Get paid weekly

What is Instacart?

Instacart was founded in 2012 as a way for people to order groceries on-demand via the Instacart app. It allows users to get same-day grocery delivery or schedule a delivery window for later in the week. Instacart users can choose to pay a delivery fee and 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.

Instacart partners with more than 300 retailers and local grocers to bring customers the goods they need from stores like Aldi, Costco, Sprouts, and more.

Instacart had about 142,000 shoppers back in February, 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.

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

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

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. They deliver to thousands of cities, whereas Shipt is only available in about 260 cities, with more on the way.

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 in which they’re willing to deliver. This can help you learn your way around a select few stores, which will make you more efficient. You also won’t need to drive all around town picking up orders, which will reduce 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, drivers get paid an amount per order, not per hour. Shipt advertises that experienced shoppers make 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 perks through Benefitfocus, which include subsidized auto insurance and discounted prescription plans. Instacart offers discounts through Perkspot, 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.

People who enjoy more variety, on the other hand, 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.

FAQs about Instacart vs. Shipt

Which pays more, Shipt or Instacart?

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 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 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 40 pounds

To become an Instacart in-store shopper, you'll need:

  • To be at least 18 years old
  • To be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • A reliable Android or iPhone
  • The ability to lift at least 50 pounds

The bottom line

Don’t lose sleep over money. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, shopping for a delivery service like Shipt or Instacart can 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.

Whether you choose Shipt, Instacart, or both will depend on where you live, what stores you like best, and what your personality is like. You may even decide that neither service is right for you and explore some other legit ways to make extra cash. Whatever your next venture may be, we hope it helps you weather any financial setbacks you may be facing right now. 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.

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