How to make an extra $300 or more a week as an Instacart shopper?

Tips that will help you maximize your earning potential!

· Business and Finance,Side Hustle Ideas,Career and Employ

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Why Instacart?

3. What makes a good Instacart shopper?

4. 10 Tips to maximize your earning potential

5. Final thoughts


If you have been thinking about adding a side hustle to you regular full-time job, then becoming an Instacart shopper might be the right fit for you. In this post, we will walk you through what it takes to make $ 300 or more per week as an Instacart Shopper. These tips will help you understand why Instacart is one of the most popular side hustles in 2024. What makes a good Instacart shopper? What are the perks and rewards of being a shopper? Tips and tricks to maximize your time as a shopper and make more money.

Why Instacart?

Okay, if you don't know anything about Instacart or you have just heard the name but don't really know anything about them, here goes: Instacart is a grocery delivery service where individuals order groceries and everyday people shop and deliver it to them. They have been around for over 10 years but became really popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just for customers but they became a popular source of income for shoppers as well. For people looking to make extra money. So why Instacart? Why are they a popular way for shoppers to earn extra money? Here are the top 3 reasons:

1. Flexibility

Instacart allows shoppers the flexibility to work when they want to and to stop when they don't want to without any sort of penalty. Take Ann for example, she shops around her kids schedule and her other part-time job. She drops her kids off at school and shops around her schedule and her time. She is able to do a batch(this is what Instacart calls shopping jobs) here and there and make extra money.

2. No penalty

Instacart does not penalize its shoppers for not taking a batch. Meaning, they will continue to show you batches even if you don't pick any. Unlike some other companies.

3. Independent contractor

As an Instacart shopper, you are not an employee but rather an independent contractor. This goes hand in hand with the flexibility allowing you to pick and choose when and how much you want to work and earn.

What makes a good Instacart shopper?

In order to get good batches and have more opportunity to earn $300 or more per week as an Instacart shopper, there are certain characteristics that a good Instacart shopper must have. Here they are:

1. Customer driven

You have to have a good grasp on customer service and bring that to your shopping experience. Being able to communicate and relate to the customer well is a very important aspect of this side hustle. Customers will talk to you on the Instacart app while you are shopping and you should navigate that with respect and understanding at all times. Don't get us wrong, there will be customers with very entitled and over bearing expectations. But, you can't lose your cool. Sometimes, they will send you from one end of the store to another, without any mindfulness of your time or your goals for the batch. Again- you are looking to make $300 or more per week, so you have to learn to smile and keep moving. They have to feel like they are always right, even if you do not think so.

2. Goal oriented

With anything in life, having goals to strive for is very important. It is no different here. Identify right away, some realistic goals for yourself as a shopper. Goals should always follow the SMART Goals model- they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Here is a template you can use for creating SMART goals. Figure out what makes sense to you as a shopper. Do you want to do 2 or 3 batches per day? Or do you want to make a certain amount per day? If you are aiming to make at least $300 per week, that would mean making $60 per day(based on shopping 5 days per week) or $43 a day(based on shopping 7 days per week). One big warning to future shoppers, batches do not pay big amounts of money at a time, batches are based on number of customers, number of items, delivery kilometers, heavy items and customer tip. But, they do add up. Take a look at this spreadsheet here with a breakdown of an actual shopper and NLG Guru who made over $400 in one week shopping 6 days per week.

Exclusive insights with a spreadsheet on how to earn on Instacart


Being an Instacart shopper, takes resilience. It can be hard work and hard on the body at times. You have to be able to dust off any negative shopping experience from a previous batch and keep going. The batches are far from perfect! You will get some that will make you question why you are doing this. But, if you follow # 2 and remember your goals, it will give you the resilience that you need to keep going and accepting batches on a daily basis.

Shopping tips to help you reach your goals

There are several things you should be doing as an Instacart shopper to help you reach your goal of making $300 per week or more. Now, every shopper will create their own rhythm and way of shopping that makes sense for them.

10 Tips to maximize your earning potential!

Tip # 1: Choose carefully

When you go online to accept shopping batches, it is important for you to start with a batch that makes sense for you. One that you think is worthwhile and that you have the time to do it. For example, if you see a batch has 3 orders, you will most likely be spending more time in the store from beginning to end. Which means if you don't have at least 1 hour to devote to that kind of batch then don't select it. Here are some things you should ask yourself quickly( before someone else takes that batch you are considering)

Does it match my daily financial goals?

Is the pay amount something that you can accept and help you to reach your overall goal for the day. Some batches do not pay well as we have indicated before. But, can you take a low pay order because it will add up overall to help you reach your financial goals?

Is the batch within the geographical shopping and delivery zone that I want?

When selecting a batch, ensure the following: Is the store in your desired geographical shopping area? How far away from the store is the delivery to the customer? A good strategy to save on gas is to take batches that are within a defined area. Batches that are close to where you live makes sense especially if you are working around your kids' school schedules. You would not want to start a batch and end up missing an appointment or school pickup.

Will I have enough time to complete the batch from beginning to delivery to the customer?

This one goes hand in hand with the above, a rule of thumb is this: the more customers and items in a batch, the longer it will take you. For example, a batch with 3 orders(3 different customers to deliver to) having 60-70 items will take you well over an hour to do. This is due to the volume of the batch and also the time it will take you to checkout each order and then deliver to the customers.

Am I experienced enough to handle multiple orders in one batch?

This question is vital, especially when starting out. Having multiple orders in a batch takes great organization because you have to be able to keep all the items separated properly. Instacart names each customer A, B or C. You have to have a good system to keep all of these customer orders together. We will touch more on a good system below. What we recommend if you are just starting out is to do a batch that has 1 order- maybe 2 depending on the number of items just to fuel your learning curve. Then build your way up to handling more.

Tip # 2: Create a system

Handling multiple orders in a batch takes having a good system. A batch with 3 orders will have an A, B and C attached to them as mentioned before. Use your cart wisely to separate each letter customer when you are shopping. For example, use such things as boxes or bags with different colors to separate each order. The system that you create should also extend to what you do at checkout and how you load them in the car. This will also ensure that you don't mix up items for the delivery.

How to organize multiple batches as an Instacart shopper

Tip # 3: Shop as you would for yourself

This tip is very crucial to being a great Instacart shopper. If you shop for each job as if you are shopping for yourself, then you will put more care and effort into it. That means, if the fruit is rotten, then put it back. Or if the standard you have for your own grocery shopping does not match what you are picking up for the customer, then put it back. There are times when an item will be in stock at the store, but because it is rotten or compromised, it is better to tell the customer this or tell them it is not in stock than add it to their order. Like yourself, customers do not want to pay for things they can't use or consume.

Tip # 4: Good manners matters

Start your connection with the customer with good manners. A short greeting works best. Something as simple as "good morning" or "good afternoon" is all you need. Instacart will alert the customer when you start shopping but your greeting lets them know that you are mindful of the job and the connection with them.

Tip # 5: Communicate with the customer

Sometimes, it will be obvious what you should replace an out of stock item with but there will be times, you will have to reach out to the customer and elicit their input. Afterall, they are the ones paying and consuming what you are buying. It is also important to communicate any changes that affect religious or cultural norms. For example, when someone chooses a Halal item, it is pretty rare that they will want a non Halal replacement. The app will warn you against this kind of replacement but check with the customer if you ever decide that you want to create a replacement that might affect them fundamentally.

Tip # 6: Use colors and pictures

Finding a particular item, especially if they all appear to look the same can slow you down as a shopper. But using your senses wisely can make a huge difference, especially if the item you are picking up for the customer is unfamiliar to you. The Instacart app will show you a picture of the item you are picking up, use the color on the picture to help you rule out other items that might not be correct. If the picture or the box is purple, scan the shelves for purple as a way to confirm the item faster. Also, use pictures shown on the box from the app to help you narrow things down faster. For example, if you are buying hair color products, usually there is a picture of a particular model on the front of the box to help you narrow down what you are looking for faster. But don't worry, the app will warn you if you pick up and scan the wrong item. Scanning it right the first time speeds up your time.

Tip # 7: Try and level up

There are three shopper levels on Instacart: Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Each level comes with additional perks such as savings on oil changes and backup care for loved ones. The Diamond level however allows you to get priority batches and gives you two times more access to batches per hour. Which eventually will help you to increase your earning power. All three levels require you to have a minimum customer rating of 4.7 or above( Which is doable if you follow our tips).

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Tip # 8: Shop during peak earning times

To maximize your earning potential, try to shop during peak earning times. These are times where Instacart will pay a shopper more to shop. For example, on Sunday's you can earn between 21 to 25 percent more. Especially during the hours of 5pm and 9pm.

Tip # 9: Maximize promotional opportunities

There are times when Instacart will have promotions around the number of batches you complete in a day. They will guarantee you a certain amount of pay plus your tips for shopping a number of batches. For example, shop 6 batches(not orders) and you will receive $79 plus your customer tips. Whenever they offer you a promotion, try and go for it. The promotions usually give your weekly pay a boost. A key trick during promotional days is to be strategic when choosing batches. If possible, choose smaller batches on promotion day because you should be more focused on the number of batches and not on what they are worth. Getting the guarantee plus your tips will usually be more than what you normally make shopping the same number of batches on a non promotional day.

Tip # 10: Complete the Instacart training

The Instacart app has a series of training on the app that we recommend that you complete as soon as you are accepted as a shopper. They have lessons around helpful chat, how to find items, how to pick quality items and how to find good replacements. Their training is great but you will learn the most when you actually start shopping or connect with another experienced Instacart shopper.

Final thoughts

Being an Instacart shopper is a great side hustle but in order to maximize your earning potential, you have to be customer driven, resilient and goal oriented. It is not the perfect side hustle but each batch you complete will add up to help you to reach your financial goal of making an extra $300 per week. It is a flexible side hustle that can work well around your schedule. You get to pick and choose when you work, allowing you to control how much you make. Another big key final point is don't be afraid to ask for help from the employees at the store you are shopping at. Most of the time, they will give you a helping hand.

How to become an Instacart shopper? Click the appropriate link below.

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