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How much does the average person make a week on Instacart?

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service that allows customers to shop for groceries from local stores and have them delivered directly to their door. Instacart shoppers are independent contractors who work as personal shoppers for Instacart customers. They get paid per order they fulfill, along with tips from customers.

Key Takeaways

  • The average weekly earnings for Instacart shoppers range from $156 to $525 per week according to various self-reported surveys and data.
  • Earnings vary greatly and depend on factors like location, number of hours worked, efficiency, customer tips, and more.
  • Full-time Instacart shoppers tend to make around $15-25 per hour before expenses like gas and taxes.
  • Part-time shoppers average $11-18 per hour typically.
  • Top earners report making $25-35 per hour during busy times.

Average Earnings Per Week

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much Instacart shoppers make per week on average as earnings can vary drastically depending on many factors. However, here is a look at some of the average earnings estimates based on different sources:

  • Instacart Claims: According to Instacart, full-service shoppers earn an average of $15-25 per hour depending on speed and tip amounts. For part-time work, they estimate earnings of $11-18 per hour.
  • Third Party Surveys: Anonymous surveys and reports of earnings from Instacart shoppers themselves reveal averages ranging from $156 per week for under 10 hours worked to $525 per week for over 40 hours.
  • Glassdoor: Instacart shoppers self-reporting on Glassdoor indicate median earnings of $16 per hour or about $480 per week assuming 30 hours of work.
  • Indeed: On Indeed, the average reported earnings by Instacart full-service shoppers is $204 per week or approximately $17 per hour.

While it’s difficult to determine an exact average, most full-time Instacart shoppers report earning between $400-$800 per week based on gig job forums and blogs. Part-time shoppers generally earn $100-$500 per week depending on their hours and efficiency.

Factors That Impact Earnings

There are many variables that impact how much an Instacart shopper can expect to earn each week:

  • Hours worked – More hours on the app equals more orders and earnings potential. Full-time shoppers work 25-50 hours per week typically.
  • Location – Busy metro areas tend to have more orders and peak boosts. Suburban and rural areas often have fewer orders.
  • Efficiency – Shoppers who work quickly and provide good service can complete more orders per hour.
  • Customer tips – Tips make up a significant portion of earnings. Higher tips equal higher pay.
  • Ratings – Shoppers with higher star ratings tend to get offered the most and best orders.
  • Peak boosts – Periods with boosted pay incentives (like weekends or holidays) provide earnings opportunity.
  • Fuel costs – More miles driven eats into earnings through gasoline expenses.
  • Order size – Larger orders take longer but tend to pay out more money.

Because so many variables are involved, it’s impossible to predict exactly what any one shopper will make consistently week to week. However, those who fine tune their process and work during peak times tend to earn the highest incomes on Instacart.

Earnings Per Hour

Looking at average earnings per hour worked can provide a helpful benchmark for expected Instacart pay. However, keep in mind that gross hourly earnings do not account for expenses like gas, taxes and vehicle wear-and-tear that shoppers are responsible for as independent contractors.

Hours Per Week Average Earnings Per Hour
Under 10 hours $11 – $15
10-20 hours $12 – $18
20-30 hours $15 – $22
30-40 hours $16 – $25
Over 40 hours $18 – $28

As shown, those who work more hours per week via Instacart tend to earn higher hourly wages on average. This is likely because they gain more experience to become efficient shoppers and also take advantage of peak pay periods. However, earning potential caps out around $25-35 per hour during the busiest times according to top shoppers.

How Instacart Pay Works

To understand how Instacart shoppers make money, it helps to know how the Instacart pay structure works:

  • Per order fee – Each order has a base pay rate based on estimated time/effort to complete it. This usually ranges between $7-15 per batch.
  • Mileage – Shoppers get paid a per mile rate for driving to the store and to the customer’s delivery address. This ranges from $0.30-0.60 per mile.
  • Boosts – During busy times, Instacart offers boosted pay rates by a few dollars per order.
  • Tips – 100% of customer tips go directly to the shopper. Tips often make up over half of earnings.
  • Bonuses – Occasional bonuses reward things like referrals, peak hours, and number of orders per week.

The combination of the base pay, mileage, tips and bonuses is how a shopper’s earnings per order and per week are calculated. More orders and larger tip amounts lead to higher weekly payouts.

Costs and Expenses

While Instacart shoppers don’t have many of the expenses that come with traditional employment, there are still costs associated with contract gig work. Main expenses to factor in include:

  • Gas – Driving to the store and customer’s address can add up, especially with current high gas prices.
  • Vehicle wear and tear – More miles driven puts more wear on the vehicle.
  • Taxes – As independent contractors, shoppers must save for federal and self-employment taxes.
  • Supplies – Insulated bags, coolers, and other tools help maximize efficiency.
  • Phone plan – Shoppers need a quality data plan to use the app.

One rule of thumb suggests taking 20-30% from earnings off the top to account for taxes and expenses. However, each shopper’s costs vary quite a bit. Tracking all business expenses helps maximize tax deductions at the end of the year.

How to Maximize Earnings

There are several strategies Instacart shoppers use to try to boost their earnings potential:

  • Work during peak hours like weekends and holidays when order volume and boosts are higher.
  • Aim for at least 25 hours per week to take advantage of bonus opportunities.
  • Maintain above average speed and quality when shopping to get high ratings.
  • Focus on large, high-tipping orders even if they take more effort.
  • Double and triple batch orders to maximize trips.
  • Learn store layouts efficiently.
  • Provide excellent communication and service to encourage tips.

It also helps to track metrics like hourly pay, miles driven, gas expense, orders per hour, and tips. Reviewing this data can reveal ways to boost efficiency and earnings over time through continual improvement.

Income Potential Comparison

Compared to an hourly wage job, Instacart provides the opportunity to surpass minimum wage earnings through tips, efficiency, and boost incentives. However, it lacks benefits like healthcare, paid time off and reimbursements that employees receive.

The income potential also exceeds most other popular gig jobs if you work full-time hours. However, you have to factor in costs like gas and taxes that don’t apply to gig jobs like rideshare driving with services like Uber and Lyft.

Job Type Average Weekly Earnings
Minimum wage ($15/hour) $600
Instacart (30 hours) $450-$750
Uber (30 hours) $300-$600
Lyft (30 hours) $275-$550
Doordash (30 hours) $375-$625

For those looking for flexible work, Instacart provides an opportunity to out-earn many gig jobs if you put in full-time hours and work strategically during peak times. However, it requires more effort than passive side gigs like rideshare driving.

Issues and Considerations

While Instacart can be lucrative for full-time gig workers, there are some drawbacks and issues to consider:

  • No benefits like healthcare, retirement accounts, or paid time off
  • Need to pay estimated quarterly taxes as a contractor
  • Earnings vary week-to-week based on order volume
  • Need to provide your own insulated bags and equipment
  • Can involve heavy lifting and lots of walking/driving
  • No guaranteed wages or reimbursements for expenses
  • Direct competition against other shoppers for orders
  • Deactivation risk for low ratings, lateness, or complaints

As with any gig platform, Instacart requires discipline and strategy to earn consistently good full-time income as an independent contractor. Maximizing earnings often requires long hours and strategic planning to work peak productive hours.


Estimating average earnings for Instacart shoppers is challenging due to the many variables involved. However, full-time shoppers report earning an average of $400-$800 per week depending on their location, efficiency, and optimal use of peak boost times.

While Instacart provides the opportunity to out-earn standard gig jobs, it comes with the cost of greater effort, expenses, and driving time. For those willing to work 25-50 hours per week as a shopper, it can serve as a lucrative full-time income source in many metro areas.

Overall, Instacart represents an intriguing option for supplemental or full-time income in the growing gig economy. But predicting long-term earnings requires accounting for fluctuating order volume, boosts, tips, competition, ratings, and expenses in your specific region to determine if it can work with your schedule and financial goals.