What’s the Best Grocery Delivery Service to Work For?

Content provided for general information. Always talk to your tax advisor before making important decisions.

I may receive a referral fee if you use linked products or services.

If you want to work for the best grocery delivery service, is it a question of Shipt vs. Instacart or something else?

Why Choose a Grocery Delivery Service

There are several reasons you might want to choose to work for a grocery delivery service over another kind of food delivery service like Uber Eats. (But if you do want to compare options, check out the Best Food Delivery Services.)

Better Pay

You’ll actually see conflicting numbers on this, but you can often get paid more as a grocery delivery driver compared to a restaurant delivery driver or rideshare driver.

The reasons are fairly simple:

  • You have more responsibility since you have to be able to select the best meat and produce
  • You have to interact more with customers
  • The grocery delivery apps have interviews and don’t just take anyone
  • Since your orders are larger, your tips are usually larger

So why do rideshare or other food delivery services sometimes come out ahead? It really depends on what times you work and customer preferences in your area. That’s why I always say to try more than one side hustle.

Lower Expenses

Another reason grocery apps usually win is that you usually have lower expenses. Rideshare and restaurant delivery drivers are always on the move burning gas.

When you do grocery deliveries, you’re spending a good chunk of every hour inside of a store. Your shopping time is still paid, but you’re not using your gas while you’re shopping.

Better Customers

This is another area where your mileage may vary, but grocery delivery apps will usually tend to have better customers at least in terms of tipping.

Many rideshare customers use rideshare because they can’t afford a car and don’t have money to tip. People who order fast food delivery are usually in the same situation.

On the other hand, since grocery delivery markups are pretty high, you’re more likely to get customers who are able and willing to leave a good tip.

Best Grocery Delivery Services

When you’re looking at grocery delivery services, you have four main options.

Amazon Flex

If you didn’t know, Amazon Flex does both Whole Foods deliveries and Amazon package deliveries. We can eliminate Amazon Flex pretty quickly.

From warehouses to delivery drivers, Amazon has a reputation for treating its workers terribly. According to this Amazon Flex review, you won’t even make minimum wage after you consider your expenses.

Local Grocery Delivery Services

Local grocery delivery services might include smaller apps that aren’t available nationally or working directly for individual stores. These can be either the worst or best grocery delivery services to work for.

Some local delivery services pay better to get better workers. Others don’t pay well or place unreasonable expectations on their workers.

Ask around at local stores or in online community groups, because the best services could be a hidden gem without a huge online presence.

Instacart vs. Shipt

If anyone tells you that Instacart is better than Shipt or Shipt is better than Instacart, they’re probably getting paid to refer shoppers or are trying to get more clicks.

The truth is that which one is better varies based on where you are and even from one day to the next. Here are some of the things to watch for.

Areas Where Target is Popular

If you live in an area where Target is popular for grocery shopping, Shipt will usually win. That’s because Target owns Shipt.

While Shipt and Instacart usually mark up in-store prices, there is no markup on Target Shipt orders. Customers pay the in-store prices. That increases the number of Target orders.

Target order tips can also be higher since customers don’t feel like they already paid for delivery and aren’t stretching their budget as much.

Areas Where Publix is Popular

While there are rumors that Publix is dropping Instacart, they’re still pretty big partners. Publix heavily promotes ordering through Instacart, so if you live near a lot of Publix shoppers, you can expect more orders on Instacart.

Unlike Shipt and Target, Instacart charges its usual markups and fees on Publix orders. However, since Publix has become the most expensive grocery store, you shouldn’t see a drop in customer tips since Publix customers aren’t very sensitive to prices.

Shipt vs. Instacart Pay

Again, there are too many variables to say that Shipt or Instacart pays better per hour. Work both apps and see where the better orders are at any given time. It will change.

There are some differences in how they calculate pay that might affect you.

Shipt pays $5 per order plus 7.5% of your customer’s total.

Instacart pays $0.60 per mile from the store to the customer plus a batch incentive. The batch incentive is a hidden algorithm that takes into account things like how difficult the order is to shop and the number of available shoppers compared to customer orders.

Shipt’s pay structure is usually good for the average grocery trip, but it can be bad if an order has a lot of small items (like cans) or heavy items that don’t cost a lot (like bottled water). Instacart is much less predictable, and you’ll never know what you can make until you open the app.

Shipt vs. Instacart Bonuses and Incentives

Shipt doesn’t have a regular bonus schedule. Instead, it adds bonuses when orders aren’t getting picked up.

Instacart schedules peak pay a week ahead of time. The days and hours for peak pay depend on when your local area is busiest.

If you want to plan ahead, this is one area where Instacart is the clear winner. If you’re hopping apps or decide to work at the last minute, Shipt might have a better offer at any given time.

Shipt vs. Instacart Tip Baiting

Tip baiting is when customers enter large tips when they place their orders to get shoppers to pick them up then remove the tip after delivery so they don’t have to actually pay it.

Instacart has a pretty good tip-baiting policy. They’ll cover removed tips up to $10. They also require customers to leave feedback when they lower a tip and deactivate customers who repeatedly abuse the system.

Shipt’s system eliminates tip baiting altogether. Shipt shoppers don’t see the tip until at least two hours after delivery. Of course, that can make it harder to predict your pay since you won’t know your total earnings before you take an order.

The Winner

If you have a great local grocery delivery service to work for, that will almost always be number one.

Shipt and Instacart are in a tight race for the next best grocery delivery app to work for. At any given hour, one could be in front of the other, so join both apps.

While Amazon Flex has bad reviews, it’s at least easy to sign up for. You might as well try it out and see if you get lucky.

Thanks for reading.

If you found this post useful, please help others find it by sharing on social or linking from your blog.

Get monthly tips and tax reminders in your inbox.

Leave a Comment

You can leave an anonymous question or comment below. All comments are public, so please don't include any sensitive information. If you need personalized advice, please talk to a tax advisor or other appropriate professional.