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Sometimes you just need to make extra money.
Maybe your bills have piled up, your debt is getting paid off at a snail’s pace, but you’re honestly doing the best you can with the income you do have.
There’s only so much you can do when you’re living on a limited income or trying to raise a family when one partner stays home. You can’t cut expenses to the point of making a huge impact on your big picture unless you’re just plain awful at wasting money.
That’s why we believe the best way to pay off debt and save more is to make extra money.
One of our favorite ways to make extra money, Instacart, is perfect for just about anyone—especially stay at home parents, busy professionals, retirees, and students.
Let’s take a look at how you can start bringing in extra cash as an Instacart Shopper.
What is an Instacart Shopper?
First, Instacart is a grocery service that connects customers with shoppers who deliver fresh groceries straight to their door. Believe it or not, the company has been in existence since 2012—which means they’ve had plenty of time to develop a quality business model that is loved by their customers.
Second, an Instacart shopper is an independent contractor or part-time employee (more on that later) who shops and delivers groceries directly to the homes of Instacart customers. Instacart shoppers have the freedom to set their own hours, accept or reject jobs quickly and easily using an app, and can cash out their earnings on a weekly basis.
How Does Instacart Work?
The shopping process for both customers and shoppers is very simple.
First, a customer creates their custom shopping order with Instacart and requests a delivery time window. Most deliveries are requested between 9:00 AM and 12:00 midnight, though this could vary by location.
Second, when there is a delivery available, an Instacart shopper receives a notification through the app. Shoppers then have 30 minutes to accept or reject the delivery; if they reject it, it is passed on to another shopper.
Third, once a shopper accepts an order, she heads to the designated store selected by the shopper and completes the order as requested. During the shopping trip, a shopper is required to update progress, note any changes or refunded items so a customer can track their order.
Fourth, when the shopper is finished with the order, she checks out and pays for the order using a pre-loaded debit card supplied by Instacart.
Finally, if the shopper is an independent contractor and not a part-time employee, she delivers the grocery order directly to the customers home.
It’s really that simple.
How Can I Become an Instacart Shopper?
If becoming an Instacart shopper interests you, getting started is quick and simple:
- First, you must be at least 18 years old, possess a working smartphone (iPhone 4s or Android 4.0 and newer), be able to lift 40 pounds, and pass a background check. No problem, right?
- Second, you’ll need to start the application process here. You’ll be asked for your name, email address, phone number, and zip code. Instacart will also ask for permission to run a background check.
- Third, if you opt to work with Instacart as a part-time hourly employee (instead of an independent contractor), you’ll need to attend a short training session.
- Fourth, there is a bit of paperwork to complete. Independent contractors have to fill out a standard independent contractor agreement and W-9 tax form, while part-time employees will need to sign an employment agreement and complete a W-4 tax form.
- Finally, once you’re approved, you need to download the app. Remember, this is where you’ll accept jobs, track orders, set your hours and availability, and monitor your earnings. As an independent contractor, you’ll get paid on a per delivery basis, plus earn pay for each individual item. Note: You’ll always be able to see current pay rates in the app before you accept or reject a job.
Do I Need Any Special Supplies, Type of Car, Etc.?
In short, yes—you will need a few things to get started as an Instacart shopper. But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.
First, Instacart requires all shoppers to carry insulated bags to ensure groceries retain their proper temperature during delivery. At the time of publication of this article, these bags only cost around $20.
Second, the good news is Instacart doesn’t care what kind of car you drive. Unlike Uber or Lyft, you can drive a two-door vehicle. As long as you have a clean driving record and at least a 2 year driving history, you’re good to go.
Why We Recommend the Instacart Shopper Experience
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of ways to make extra money out there today. But we think Instacart shopping stands out as one of the ultimate flexible side hustles for a few reasons.
- First, you have total freedom to select your own hours and make as much money as want. As long as shopping jobs are frequently requested in your area, earning potential is really strong.
- Second, Instacart shopping is one of the only side gigs we know of that isn’t strictly time bound. The opportunities to work are heavier during some times of the day, but opportunities exist during the off-peak hours, too.
- Third, Instacart is one of the rare gig economy jobs that actually allows people to earn bonuses. That’s huge.
- Fourth, on top of potential bonuses, you also have the opportunity to earn tips from customers. Hint: This is where some of the biggest earning potential can be found, especially if you gain some repeat customers.
- Fifth, Instacart shoppers are paid on a weekly basis via direct deposit. This can be a huge boost to your motivation if you’re trying to get out of debt fast or save money for something special.
Get Started Today
If you’re looking for a simple, low pressure way to make extra money, Instacart is it. Give it a try, take a few jobs, and see for yourself.