How Much Can You Earn as an Instacart Shopper in 2024? The Ultimate Guide

The gig economy and side hustles are thriving lately, especially in domains like grocery delivery. Instacart is often at the top of the list for those considering signing up to shop and deliver. However, the big question is always – how much can you realistically make as an Instacart full-service shopper?

I‘ve done extensive research into Instacart driver pay in 2024 and put together this in-depth guide on expected earnings potential, tips, bonuses and more. My goal is to provide clarity and advice to help you maximize success on the Instacart platform.

Key Takeaways

  • Full-time Instacart shoppers average $18-25 per hour in earnings, which is over $35k annually if sustained.
  • Top shoppers utilize optimization strategies to earn $30 per hour or more
  • 100% of tips go directly to the shopper, averaging $3-10 extra per order
  • Vehicle/mileage costs take an estimated 15% cut into earnings

Average Hourly Earnings

Recent Instacart shopper surveys and reports indicate that average nationwide hourly earnings currently stand at $18 per hour, assuming part-time work. Full-time shoppers are able to optimize routes and store familiarity to achieve upwards of $25 per hour or more.

For context, if you worked around 35 hours per week at $20 per hour, you would be making over $35k annually before taxes and expenses.

However, hourly earnings do see significant variation across individuals and metro areas. If willing to work 40+ hours per week, top shoppers utilizeoptimization strategies to maximize efficiency, earnings, and customer tips. I will detail exactly how to optimize your shopping later in this guide.

Average Hourly Earnings By Metro

To showcase the earning potential difference across regions, here are current approximate earnings averages for some major metro areas:

CityAvg Hourly Earnings
San Francisco$25
New York$20
Dallas / Houston$18

As you can see, crowded cities like SF and NYC tend to have higher earnings potential for Instacart shoppers…

Pay Per Delivery

First, let‘s cover how the Instacart pay structure works. As an Instacart full-service shopper, you earn money in two key ways:

Batch Payment

This is the baseline pay that Instacart provides per delivery batch. A batch consists of:

  1. Driving to the grocery store
  2. Shopping for all items on a customer‘s list
  3. Delivering everything to them

On average, Instacart pays $10-15 per batch depending on the estimated effort required. For example, larger orders with heavier items included will be paid at the higher end.

You can expect to be able to shop for and deliver roughly 2 batches per hour in many locations if you work efficiently.


100% of tips from appreciative customers go straight into your pocket as an Instacart shopper. Most shoppers earn $5-15 extra per batch on average from tips. Occasionally a very generous customer will tip as much as $20 or more.

But similar to servers who rely a lot on tips – results will come down to providing amazing service. More details later on exactly how to maximize tips through customer service.

All in all, if you tally up the average per batch base pay ($12) plus tips ($10), you would make around $22 per batch. Complete 2 batches per hour and you are looking at potential earnings of over $40 per hour.

Costs & Expenses

However, it‘s important to be aware that there are costs associated with full-service Instacart work, primarily:

  • Vehicle Costs – gas, insurance, maintenance like oil changes or new tires
  • Self-employment taxes

Since you are an independent contractor with Instacart rather than an employee, they do not cover any work-related expenses. Nor do they withhold any taxes.

Most seasoned Instacart shoppers set aside ~15% of earnings to allocate towards costs directly associated with delivering – i.e. gas and vehicle wear and tear. This of course fluctuates based on things like fuel prices and your car‘s MPG.

How to Maximize Your Earnings

While earning $18-25 per hour on average is great, it is possible to optimize your processes as a shopper to increase your Instacart earnings potential even higher:

Efficiency is key

  • Memosize your most common stores – expert navigation gets you in and out faster
  • Carefully review orders before shopping – strategize the optimal route through the store
  • Drive safely but quickly during deliveries – speed equals more $ per hour

Analyze data

  • Track all earnings and costs data – identify most profitable times and locations
  • Accept larger batches with bigger tips whenever possible
  • Avoid excessive unpaid drive times from distant store locations

Deliver outstanding service

  • Communicate proactively with customers
  • Check produce, expiration dates diligently
  • Drive safely and deliver orders intact, on time

Maintaining an excellent 5 star rating means you get first pick of the most profitable batches before lower rated shoppers.

Put these tips into practice while being smart about managing taxes and expenses. Instacart offers impressive flexibility and earnings potential to those able to optimize their efficiency.

I hope this guide helps provide clarity on Instacart driver pay rates and how to maximize your success. Let me know if any other questions come up!

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