Instacart Tipping Etiquette: How Much Am I Supposed to Tip? [Updated]

We asked a real Instacart Shopper how much you're supposed to tip on Instacart. So before you leave nothing, learn the truth about Instacart tipping.

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Need a tipping guide to figure out how much to tip Instacart delivery drivers? Or do they even get tipped?

The on-demand gig economy makes life easier — you can get groceries delivered in under an hour.

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Even tipping is made more convenient… no more fumbling around in your wallet for cash while the delivery driver is awkwardly staring at you.

But wait, do you even tip people on Instacart?

Let’s find out.

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What do Instacart Shoppers Do?

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Instacart shoppers make extra cash delivering groceries to people like you and me.

They get grocery orders and go shopping at local grocery stores and deliver those items to customers’ homes.

Much like other grocery delivery apps, they work flexible hours and all the orders come through the Instacart shopping app.

Do You Tip People on Instacart?

According to the Instacart help center, Instacart shoppers appreciate tips as a way of recognizing excellent service and 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper delivering your order.

By default, a 5% tip is suggested at checkout, with a minimum suggestion of $2 per individual store delivery.

Can Instacart Shoppers See the Tip?

No. So if you wanted to tip cash or want to tip after delivery, when a shopper receives your order, your order would seem like a low payout and they don’t know you intend to tip later.

Update: As of August 2020, before accepting a “batch” — Instacart Shoppers can see the items requested, store location, the payment Instacart is offering for the order, and the tip being offered.

However, Instacart allows customers to alter their tip up to 24 hours after receiving the order. If a customer alters the tip they are required to leave feedback and the company claims that any customer who continuously (and egregiously) alters tips will have their account deactivated.

The current way Instacart tips are handled was recently changed following the announcement of a congressional inquiry into the practice of tip-baiting where customers will promise big tips to only remove the tips after the order is dropped off.

How Much are Instacart Drivers Paid?

According to user-reported data on Glassdoor.com, full-service Instacart shoppers, make between $7 and $20 per hour, with $11 per hour being the average.

At present, there is no “hourly guarantee” like on-demand ridesharing and other delivery services offer.

What is Instacart Tipping Etiquette?

Well, we would have to learn from the shoppers themselves, right?

We asked a real Instacart Shopper how much you’re supposed to tip on Instacart. So before you leave nothing, learn the truth about Instacart tipping.

According to Alex McDaniel, an Instacart Shopper/Driver, he says:

I’ve been a shopper and driver in Florida since summer 2016. I wanted to clear things up — we are not paid hourly, we receive no help from Instacart for gas or tolls or parking. About half of our income comes from tips.

– Alex McDaniel, Instacart Shopper since 2016

The Bottom Line

While tipping isn’t technically required — if you received good service then you should definitely pay it forward. Instacart shoppers are paid much less than restaurant servers so tips are greatly appreciated by them.

So how much should you tip on Instacart?

Instacart recommends a 5% tip which is less than the 15% to 20% recommended tip in the restaurant industry. So if you paid $75 for your groceries, you should at least, leave the Instacart shopper a tip of $3.75. Leaving at least a 5% tip is considered good Instacart tipping etiquette. Your Instacart Shopper will see your tip before accepting the order and you have up to 24 hours after the order is delivered to alter your tip.

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140 COMMENTS

  1. Now instacart shoppers can see everything before they accept the batch. We see everything that is being ordered, the amount Instacart is paying and the amount that is being tipped. We see map view that shows the store and delivery route.
    I often don’t even consider accepting batches that have little or no tip.
    Also, the customer should be aware that if you place even a small order, the shopper needs to drive to the store, pick your order, wait in the checkout line, often bag the groceries ourselves, and deliver the items to you. In some cases, the stores are 20-30 miles away from the delivery location. So consider that when you’re just getting a few items.
    I’m not complaining because I would say that the majority of the customers are aware of these factors and tip fairly, if not generously. However, some customers seem oblivious to these factors.

    • In a restaurant, the customer decides the tip amount based on the service they received AFTER they’ve received it, not before. As a regular Instacart customer I use the same logic. I remove the tip when placing the order and adjust after receiving my groceries based on the service.
      You’re telling me that you don’t consider accepting batches that have little (the app defaults to $2) or no tip. Why? The only service that you’ve provided up to that point is looking at your app. You should get paid for this? I would ask you to consider that….

      • I completely see it from your POV, but over the last 3 years of doing this a very small amount of customers have adjusted or added the tip afterward. From my recollection, I can say it has happened maybe 10-15 times over 3 years. I do 20-30 orders a week. I have a 5.0 customer rating, so it is not for lack of service I provide. Imagine knowing that 95% of the time that no matter how good your service is the tip won’t be adjusted.
        I guess you can say I am jaded from my experience. You sound like you are one of the exceptions to most InstaCart customers. I think it all goes back to a lot of Instacart customers not being aware that the person delivering their food also shopped for it and had to use their personal vehicle to drive to the store and then to drop it off. Also, if the store you’ve selected to shop from is simply out of some of the items you selected, the shopper has no control over that. In other words, you shouldn’t necessarily hold it against the person delivering your food when considering how good the service was.

        The comparison to a restaurant waitress or waiter is flawed in this case because tipping etiquette for that service is well known by the majority of people. Whereas, this type of service is fairly new in comparison. There is also a level of anonymity because often times the shopper never even interacts with the customer.

        • You are so true! The other gentleman‘s comments or comparing apples to oranges. The service provided by Instacart Shoppers is one of delivery and selection of items already chosen by the shoppers. Unlike a waiter or waitress that interact with customers throughout the entire order very easily and almost always should be service related tips Instacart giving the option to tip upfront is making the customer aware that everything they have to do before they even receive the groceries needs to be considered. I always appreciate those that tip Above the minimum and they get extra service I provide information on the way to the store how to contact me, provide information while I’m at the store if items are unavailable. And I let him know once I’ve checked out and I’m in route to the residence to drop off their order. I always think them make sure they know where the receipt is if I didn’t hand it to them personally offer to help them take their bags anywhere they like and all those services I give before and after the order are not adjustable on the app Regarding tips

        • I actually pay the bulk of the tip in CASH to the driver upon delivery. I do the same with wait staff. First, I want to be sure the service is good. Second, I want to be sure they get it and last, it’s CASH….and CASH IS KING. Now that I’m reading the comments from the Shopper’s perspective, I will adjust to include in my order. Thanks for the insight!

      • I’ll answer,although I’m not the original responder, because I’ve been an instacart shopper for 2 years and NEVER take a job that doesn’t include a tip. The reason is, not one time has someone added a tip after the order was placed. I’ve had unreasonable customers delete my entire tip because the store didn’t have “all 12” of their 2-liters of coke, but I’ve never had someone add one after. I occasionally had people give cash at the door, but again, that’s not the norm. No tip=no thanks in my book.

        • I just shopped instacart the first time today and there was a 5% tip in the order automatically which seemed small to me but I didn’t know I could raise it before the order was completed. I tripled it when the evaluation form came and frankly am sorry I didn’t quadruple it and I will tip 20% next time. Valuable work and people should get paid decently.

          • Something to consider with that 5% tip is this, too. When you order, say a $25 bottle of nice shampoo and it’s not in stock? I went and looked for it. I made alternate suggestions to you. I spent the same time, sometimes more, than if it had been there. And my pay goes down as that 5% tip is off the total. At the same time, if you add a ton of items and I have to work extra hard for you to accommodate our joint search, yes, your tip goes up, but the IC payment doesn’t.

            There is no “win” here for the shopper to communicate well with the guest.

            If you get a great shopper, tip them well! If you don’t, leave it at that 5% as that’s what they valued your shop at. Only then is there a “win” for the good shoppers.

      • Why? That’s easy: when the tip is $0.00 in the app customers rarely, never happened to me, tip after delivery. Often the ones who claim to tip in cash never do. I have had a small percentage (15 shops out of 600) give some cash on top of tipping in the app and almost 95% tip the minimum. If I am going to the store to look for 35 items for you and bring home 75 units then I should get $20 at least. I have touched every item in the order 5 times (5x!) to get all of it to your house. That’s a lot of work on a $420 order (for example – average is about $175). I’ve had people remove a tip from the order yet give me a glowing review and five stars. Boooo! Yes, it’s made me bitter because I shop for my customers like I am shopping for my family: if I wouldn’t bring it home for them, then I am not going to bring it to you. I think that people follow IC’s lead and are fine with that. The only problem with that? 5% of far to low and doesn’t even cover the gas and insurance in my car.

        • I agree. As a customer, I’m appalled by what I’m reading. Why are people so CHEAP? Having been a waitress while I was in school, I really appreciate how important tips are so I’m much more sensitive to it. I think that Instacart should up the 5% to at the very least 10% in light of the facts.

      • I agree, I gave the default 5% tip with my very first Order had excellent service everything is packaged so that nothing but crushed. The second time I ordered I gave a larger tip Based on the great service the first time and everything with Miss matched in the bags, just the thrown. I had bread under canned goods! I was sad that this lady got a good layout for a terrible job! There was no way for me to take it back. I’d like to see the quality of service before deciding what they get extra from me.

      • The reason is because we have been stiffed on several orders. I did a no tip one time, I know I did good because I delivered every item on the list and within an hour of receiving the order. After delivery I looked at my pay outs and it was a no tip. I made $5 and spent probably more than that on gas and mileage. Shoppers want to know what you are willing to pay before hand. your service will be good!

        • I ordered instacart once so far and I figure if they’re risking their lives for my groceries, I should at least buy their groceries for the week, so I tipped $50. I think we should take the risk into account when we are tipping.

      • Huh? What you said doesn’t even make sense. We dont accept orders that have little or no tip because some of the people do not give a tip after delivery. They say they will but dont. So why accept a order with little or no tip and waste our time driving shopping it and delivering it. When if you do not like the service you have 3 days to adjust the tip. So NO I will not take a chance of wasting 1 hour and half of my time (most orders take from start to finish) for $7.00 and a hope and prayer you tip. So we dont expect anything for looking at your order but we’re not shopping it with little or no tip. Let a newby that has no clue give it a go.

      • No I NEVER take those orders anymore and the reason is because I have taken many no tip orders ….drove 15 miles to the store (we do t get paid for that), shop/wait in line/bag your order (we get paid between $1-$2 dollars to do this part), drive over 46 miles from the store to customers home (we get paid 60 cents per mile {as the crow flies not actual mileage driven!!}, had to carry several VERY heavy boxes up several flights of stairs and then drive the 46 miles back into my hometown (which we don’t get paid for!) and they never tipped!!! So NO, I NEVER take any batch that doesn’t leave a tip or a small tip.

      • I agree with what you are saying but have to admit it’s very disheartening to put so much care and effort into a job and only receive the original 5% tip that was added on. I spent 4 hours shopping not to mention the extra travel time made it a total of almost 5 hours. The order was all organic, dairy free and gluten free. I could have easily said items were not available when I could not find them but I searched and took pictures of all the options available. The total of the order was $357. The original tip was $12. I thought for sure she would have adjusted the tip after the fact but nothing. I actually came home and cried thinking how could someone be so cheap. Thankfully I am doing this job as something fun to do but to put that much effort into something to have someone do that made me very upset and also will make me think twice about picking an order like that again.

    • I’ve been using grocery delivery services for years b/c I no longer have a car, by choice. I’m older now and housebound due to the virus. I am extremely grateful for ALL grocery workers, no matter their jobs. Every one of them, whether by choice or requirement, faces a risk to their health that I have been able to avoid–because of them. For a long time I didn’t realize that the driver and the shopper were the same person, at least with Instacart. Once I discovered that, I increased my tips. Before the virus, I tipped $20 to $30 per delivery, depending on how large it was. Since March, my tips have been $30 to $40, mostly a flat $35, but I don’t think even that is enough during this period. My orders usually range from $75 to $125. I always expected my orders to be carried to my 2nd floor unit, but since the virus, it isn’t always. Also, b/c it’s rare now to get a full order with problems refilling stock, I order from 2 or 3 markets at a time in order to get all the ingredients I need for the dishes I’ve planned. I still have trouble figuring out if Instacart is passing on each tip to each shopper/driver as their website isn’t consistent. I have gone back to add to a tip and have been unable to do it. I have written to Instacart Customer Service asking for confirmation that each shopper/driver got his/her tip, but don’t always hear back. I would urge everyone who uses grocery delivery to tip as generously as you are able. Your life may be saved by someone making minimum wage–what is that worth to you?

    • I don’t find fair to leave 15 or 20% tip when Instacart is already charging me for 17 items $11 delivery + $13.56 service fee = that’s $ 24.56 and I addition you are saying that I should tip 10% of my purchase that’s is $275 So in the end I will spent $50 extra total plus my $275 . Sorry but I thinks that’s too much when I already paying delivery and service fee !!! So no way for me to tip $20 or $30 !!

      • Then risk your own life and get your own groceries! We do t get any of those fees as shoppers! Instacart keeps all that, we get paid mileage from the store to the customers house and that is it (if you don’t tip)!!! So we get normally $5 to drive to the store, shop, checkout, bag and deliver your items. Sorry not worth it and I would pick up your order!

      • Please shop for yourself. If you cannot appreciate our time and health, do it yourself. Low tips receive the service they deserve. Enjoy.

    • Hi i have been ordering from instacart for a few times now and i was just wondering when i place my order and it says what do you want to tip i always give above the 5% do i give the shopper what i put in when they deliver my groceries or do they get paid at the checkout. Thank you.

  2. In a restaurant, the customer decides the tip amount based on the service they received AFTER they’ve received it, not before. As a regular Instacart customer I use the same logic. I remove the tip when placing the order and adjust after receiving my groceries based on the service.
    You’re telling me that you don’t consider accepting batches that have little (the app defaults to $2) or no tip. Why? The only service that you’ve provided up to that point is looking at your app. You should get paid for this? I would ask you to consider that….

    • No, we want you to do your own shopping if being gracious to the person shopping for, bagging and lugging hundreds of pounds of food to your house is too much to ask. $250 is a LOT of groceries. We get about a $10 base pay per job, so without a tip, you’re asking your shopper to use their own car and approximately 2 hours of their time to do your errands for $5 an hour?? Tip or do it yourself, just like a restaurant.

      • There is a fee charged for delivery.
        That is a lot. Tipping is a gratuity. It is ONLY given, at my discretion, for exceptional service. At a restaurant when the server asks, “do you want any change back from this” if it is 14 cents or 14 dollars in change, they get no tip from me and I am an extremely generous tipper. A tip is a gift, NOT a requirement. The bill is a requirement, NOT a gift.

        • You just sound like a horrible cheapskate and person. THIS is a job for them, they are not your BFF or a family member, they do this to make money. Do you work…do you get paid for that work? That delivery charge is not just for them it also goes to the company they work for and the small amt. they probably get is no where near enough to pay for their time, gas money and effort. If you work I hope your boss says “well we docked you for every hour you didn’t give us exceptional service, just doing your job isn’t enough”. If you don’t want to be a fair and decent person and tip accordingly then get your lazy a$$ out there and do your own shopping. Oh and stay out of any full service restaurant too…you sound like a nightmare there also.

          • how about you get a real job. Then you can realize that workers do lose hours or get decreased wages if they are bad at their job. Your job is essentially to be a pair of hands. Zero skill, zero intelligence. You applied for this job KNOWING that it would be a gratuity, not a guarantee and you bitch and piss and moan because people don’t pay what YOU want them to? Choke on your own poverty, nightmare goon

        • I’m a customer and I ALWAYS tip GENEROUSLY for the very reason these shoppers have mentioned. I use this service because I am caring for an elderly mother and sick husband, and so appreciative to have a service like this available that the VERY LEAST I can do is recognize the person who helped me with a decent tip for their service. I am astounded at the insensitivity of some to not understand this is a SERVICE and like any other service, payment is expected.

      • Wow. The pandemic is certainly bringing out the best and worst in people….I’ll just say thanks to our grocery heroes and wish you all the best. Also sending love to the ones writing angry comments.

      • I hear what both of you are saying. I’m a single mom. I need the hours I would spend shopping to parent and work so I can … buy groceries. I can’t tip $50 every week because the kids eat $250 in groceries. It’s too much. I was also service industry back in the day. I understand what it’s like to live on tips and tip as much as I can.

        If anything this should be a call to everyone to fight for a fair minimum wage for EVERYONE. Service providers shouldn’t depend on tips to scrape together a living wage. You should be paid a fair wage and the cost of it should be wrapped into the businesses pricing model. Consumers should just pay for the service with tips being a compliment for outstanding not a wage. Don’t get mad at the wrong people; be angry with an industry that trims from your wages to make profits.

        • Restaurant servers here in Ohio only get ½ the minimum wage or $4.50 per hour by law. They work hard for their wages and that’s why I’ll leave 50% tip most of the time. With Instacart I’ll leave 20% on orders over $150 and more for orders under $150. Why? This is a 5 star service and they work hard for their money plus I truly appreciate people risking their lives to help feed my spouse and me so they can feed their families during this my first pandemic — I’m 75.

          • SPOT ON, sir. I’m with you! There will always be people in the world that will take advantage of the system because they are lazy ingrates. They believe the world owes them everything when in truth, it OWES THEM NOTHING.

    • Absolutely. 50 on 250 is what a waiter would expect. I don’t think these people are doing less work than a waiter, picking the stuff up, driving it however far, and dropping it off

      You know how much you should tip. You just don’t want to. And now you’re looking for someone here to validate that that it’s ok not to want to tip so you don’t have to feel guilty about it

    • Anonymous January 10, 2020 At 9:21 pm
      “15-20%? So on my $250 order you want me to tip $50?!”
      ==
      $250? it took my shopper 2 hours 30 minutes total.
      ONE HOUR just to put $200 of groceries in the cart. That’s how long it takes my mom to do it too.
      20 minutes WAIT in line
      10 MILES to my house. In these times I am happy to pay 20%.

    • Um let’s see.. for one you don’t leave the house to shop, a person actually leaves there’s to get into there personal vehicle to drive x so many miles to grab a cart to shop your 250 bucks worth of food (at least a full cart) so is in that place for awhile shopping then has to wait in line to bag your 250 bucks of food then has to load there vehicle with your 250 bucks of food then has to drive x amount of miles to your house and has to unload at your front door or elsewhere the customer prefers while (you ) the customer watches the driver carry with no help… So did I sum that up good… So yes a tip close to 50 dollars on a 250 order should be right! Thanks

    • Yes. I often tip $70. Think about it–if you have any contractor or worker come to your house for any reason they usually charge at least that much just to look at your problem (HVAC, plumber, interior designer, etc., unless it’s to give a “free estimate” for sales purposes.) The Instacart shopper is coming to your house, doing work, using and maintaining their car, their phone, and paying for insurance. They are considered independent contractors and are not entitled by law to the benefits given to employees. It’s a loophole that businesses use to save money.

  3. Holy entitlement! Taking a job at a company that expressly claims tips are optional and then complaining that it’s hard work and refusing to take work if you’re NOT pre-tipped? Just wow.

    • What kind of moral monster expects this kind of service at rock bottom prices and doesn’t compensate the worker adequately. Yeah it would be nice if the company provided health care, vacation ,sick leave etc and a good wage — but in a tipped service only a moral monster stiffs the worker. I just ordered for the first time today and 5% was built in for a tip which seemed tiny to me. I didn’t know I could adjust but found I could when the evaluation form did and so I tripled the tip and next time I will do better than that. This is valuable work during a difficult time and compensation clearly is primarily by tip; no one should be using the service who doesn’t tip well.

    • Most people don’t tip near that much, and any instacart shopper will see a tip above $10 as a really good tip, almost no matter the size of the order. most people don’t order $250 worth of groceries at once, so take that into consideration. I’d say the average over the past six months of orders has been closer to 50 dollars

    • “Ok Boomer” You don’t go out and eat at full service restaurants much do you? Or maybe you do and the servers all cringe when you walk in and get seated at one of their tables. Maybe you don’t get out much at all and live under a rock and don’t understand the concept of tipped employees making up a good part of their income that way. If you work do you consider your paycheck an entitlement? Why shouldn’t they feel the same way…..they are WORKING and have every right like anyone else doing a job to expect to be paid a decent wage. If you don’t want to pay it then do your own shopping.

    • You are so right. People have an option to work at a place or not. When you decide to take any job you consider the hourly pay or salary, if there is any commission or tips, does the company help with any part of your insurance, match any money in a 401k etc. It sucks having to depend on others generosity to pay your bills but that’s technically what you sign up for when you take a job in which the majority of what you bring home is based on a tip. I’ve always been generous when tipping because lord knows I have been there and waited tables and prayed that I got good people in my section so I could pay my rent. It sucked, but I did chose it so I couldn’t really complain when a table I busted my butt for told me that I’m the best waitress they had ever had but they only left me $2. They didn’t have to leave anything. Of course more would have been nice and would have been customary based on their bill. We are paying the company that pays the shopper/driver for the service. We pay a delivery fee and a service fee if you order something they consider heavy there is an extra fee for that as well. I believe it was about $20 at least in the delivery fee and the rest that Instacart alone charged. In the past what four months I’ve placed 10-15 orders maybe. I add more than what Instacart automatically recommends every time. I can tell you I have had one only one lady who deserved that and more (and yes I changed the tip as soon as she left and wrote to customer service about how happy I was with her tremendous service). Every single other person didn’t read the notes I wrote under each item about substitutions so they wouldn’t need to text me and waste their time if the specific thing I requested wasn’t in stock. That takes a lot of my time in order to save them time, but it’s my order I chose to use the service so I need to do my part. In all those deliveries there were multiple items that were just plain incorrect (for example I ordered Golden Grahams no substitution I got coco puffs I’ve never in my life ever even eaten those and they certainly wouldn’t be anywhere close to a similar item for substitution for what I ordered I could tell you more but this is the best example because it happened the same way with other items) I would get the incorrect amount or size not because the store was out of the item it was just the error of the shopper. I had one shopper get offended because I texted “Umm what did you replace it with?” Apparently to her Umm was disrespectful I was rude and needed to learn how to talk to people and I could just cancel my order if I had this kind of attitude. I tried explaining that I text how I talk (obviously) that I meant no disrespect I had no idea that umm was such an issue. She told me I could cancel my order or pay more to have it delivered l told her to cancel it I was certainly not going to pay extra for someone to treat me so rudely. This girl put the order in as she was “out for delivery” so she could charge my debit card she gave herself a tip and took the groceries home with her. The groceries that I had ordered four days before because that’s how backed up they were. So from my experience no matter how much tip I start with I can tell you it certainly doesn’t earn me any better service! I would have stopped using them but there isn’t an alternative in the sticks where I live if you need your groceries delivered. I say need because when you have to stay home to care for a loved one with dementia who can not be left alone for any amount of time it isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity. I order everything I need or want, I have to. Again though it’s about choices. I guess I don’t have to care for her. I could have abandoned her like the rest of the family did but I rearranged my life in order to do so. That’s why I put up with the crappy service and I still tip generously even when they are horrible except the one lady. I wish everyone got paid a fair wage but this isn’t a fairytale land (very obviously). If they did raise the minimum wage to $14-20 an hour we would all be paying a lot more for all our goods and services to make up for the extra money companies would have to pay the employees, that money has to come from somewhere they certainly aren’t going to take it out of their profits and the government can’t afford to subsidize it. What is that going to do to single moms or low income families. How many more people/families would require government assistance if they were having to pay more for their groceries, gas, and other necessities? I don’t know what the answer is, I wish I did, but saying someone shouldn’t use a service they pay money for because they don’t believe they should tip 15-20% (and they aren’t saying they don’t tip at all just not that much) is ludicrous. The complaint should be with the company signing your paycheck band together as employees, demand more, demand there be a minimum tip based on the total of the bill, or understand you have a choice wether or not you want to work there. Even if you don’t choose to take someone’s order who hasn’t tipped what you feel is enough, someone is going to. They are going to get the service that they paid for Instacart will be sure of that. They certainly aren’t going to call the customer and say “no one wants your order because you’re not tipping enough, sorry you need to go get your own groceries”. Do you know how quickly they would lose business then possibly be out of business and the Instacart employee out of a job. Then you’ll be wishing for the days when you could turn down a delivery.

  4. It’s not entitlement, it’s the way they make a living. If anything I’d say the person ordering $250 worth of groceries and not paying someone for their time to do you a favor is entitlement. I have 4 kids 5 and under and this has been the best thing for me. I tip based on the amount I order. But now seeing it from the other POV I will make sure to up the tip when it’s only a few items that I’m needing quickly. They are saving me time, patience, and money (impulse shopping). Thank you insta shoppers!!
    Side note: if you don’t want to tip well, you’re not going to get good people to do this and you’ll end up with people who don’t care about the quality and effort they’re spending your money on

  5. Sounds like entitlement to me
    It’s not a favor. It’s receiving the service that was paid for. Tips are for exceptional service, not for doing your job.

    • IN the US where many jobs are compensated by tip and those jobs rarely have benefits it is not for ‘exceptional service’ — it is for doing the job for which they are payed minimally otherwise. If you are not willing to tip well for service, don’t use tipped service.

      • If shoppers do not get a tip they cannot maintain their car, keep it clean, ensure they can keep working. If you choose not to tip, your groceries are less safe. Some shoppers with low ratings are living in their cars.

        Instacart pays $7 per order or sometimes more on large orders. Tip at least $13 or at least 10% to allow them $20 per hour. They handle your food; they know if you tipped. Be a cheapskate at your own peril.

    • You just sound like an awful person and cheapskate “Billy gooooat” You don’t go out and eat at full service restaurants much do you? Or maybe you do and the servers all cringe when you walk in and get seated at one of their tables. Maybe you don’t get out much at all and live under a rock and don’t understand the concept of tipped employees making up a good part of their income that way. If you work do you consider your paycheck an entitlement? Why shouldn’t they feel the same way, tips ARE part of their pay…..they are WORKING and have every right like anyone else doing a job to expect to be paid a decent wage. If you don’t want to pay it then do your own shopping.

  6. Wow. I’d be interested in seeing the actual pay scale. Are you paid a flat fee regardless of how much is ordered? Or does the size of the order increase payment? Are you paid less than minimum wage like wait staff that rely on tips for their actual income? I doubt it. The app clearly states tipping is optional. If your shoppers have a problem with this, then you should talk to your employer about raising their prices and increasing your wages. Do you put your tip on the table at a restaurant as soon as you sit down? No. Didn’t think so.

    • Waitstaff in a restaurant do not have to use thousands of dollars of insured vehicle, phone & service and gasoline expenses, upfront out of their pocket to exclusively cater to you for an hour or more. Instacart SHOPPERS (not Instacart) bear these costs, before they bring us our food, while they spare us Covid risk of the store visits. We pay Instacart for access to a web platform and little of this fee goes to the shoppers. Either we can be ungrateful cheap pricks or we can appreciate what they do for us!

      • Joe Schmoe the app may say that tipping is optional but tips (fair tips) are also essential and expected just like going out to a full service restaurant. If you had any kind of social graces and etiquette you would know this. And as Rick said they have expenses they are paying out to be able to get your order to you. Why should they do this before they know what they will make on your order? This is a job for them just like yours is for you. Looks like your last name fits the bill …..Schmoe – “a foolish, boring, or stupid person; a jerk”

  7. I guess I’m not really sure what some of the people that are complaining about having to tip beforehand what is the problem? Do any of you know what TIP stands for? It doesn’t mean “to ensure proper service” Otherwise why would you tip the wait staff person after your meal?
    It dates back to the stagecoach days when customers would leave a little extra To the vendor of the stage coach depot, for the lodging and services they received, so that they would be in their favor the next time they pass through. “To Insure Permanence” T.I.P
    So if you want someone to deliver your groceries and you want it done efficiently and you want it done correctly you, and would wish to insure that Service will continue for future orders as well as the current order you would do so by making sure upfront, That you’re contributing to their pay.
    It is a small flat fee that the app pays the shopper. You’re getting a discount on the groceries, you’re not having to leave your house, AND you have somebody deliver them to your door. I think that’s worth 15 to 20% without all the exclamation claims.

    • I don’t know what discount you think people are getting on groceries by using Instacart. The service actually charges the same or MORE than in-store prices. Plus a delivery and service fee is paid for the service, so not sure what lala land you’re living in.
      You etymology for the word TIP is a great example of misinformation propagation. Do your research if you’re going to defend an argument.

      As for tipping, it’s a bonus, not a right. Why would I bribe a shopper into doing good work?

      • Tipping is just good ettiquite for services received. Yes, there is a base pay, but when you look at getting $7 for driving 10 miles to the store, 20 miles to deliver and you are shopping for 50 or more items. Seven dollars isn’t much. The workers for Wal-Mart get $12 or more an hour just to bring the bags to the car. Just think about it as if this was your only income. We are out risking our health so you don’t have to get out. Don’t blame the shopper or driver if the store is out of your product. I keep in contact with my customers and try to find the replacements they want. When I accept a job I expect to get all of the pay I see. It’s a slap in the face to see the customer taking back some of the tip based on product availability. I always go above and beyond for my customers. Just remember to be thankful for these services.

      • Maybe because you want your groceries delivered to you properly. If we only got a base pay for all deliveries we wouldn’t even make minimum wage. Consider our time, gas, insurance. It adds up. Be a decent human being. Quit trying to get all you can for nothing. We are working so you can sit home.

      • Tips, fair tips, are essential and expected just like going out to a full service restaurant. If you had any kind of social graces and etiquette you would know this. They have expenses they are paying out to be able to get your order to you. They are spending their time, gas, and effort doing something for you so you can sit home safe. The delivery fee your paying is not much and I’m sure hardly any of it is actually going to them, not enough to make it worth them doing this job at all if that’s all they could expect to earn. I bet if you go to full service restaurants with that same attitude they all cringe when you walk in and no one wants you at any of their tables! You should do your own shopping cheapskate.

    • First experience with Insta cart tonight. Driver delivered my groceries to the wrong address. It was my neighbors house. I used this service because I hurt my neck and can’t carry groceries to my upstairs apartment. I gave specific instructions on how to find my place. She never responded when I told her I was behind the front house upstairs. I had to find another person to carry everything up my stairs. Should I remove the tip?

  8. Who cares if they don’t tip ! …nobody will take their batch and they can get crap service and groceries mwahahah aaaaaaand nobody is entitled here, anyone who works in customer service likes ANd deserves a tip !!! ?? we know who the good people are and we’ll take your batch and give you EXCELLENT service ?

  9. First experience with Instacart today (because of the virus and not wanting to do it myself). Great service and constant communication as to what was out and what options were available instead at Publix. I have to agree I don’t like tipping in advance, but upped the suggested 2 bucks to $5 and gave and extra $5 in cash for a small order since it was worth more than that to me not to have to go out in the hysteria this time around! Thanks instacart.

  10. I’m new to Instacart and had my first delivery last week. I did not know I could adjust the tip, so I think I underpaid him what I felt he was worth to do this job for me. I placed a second order and it was only for a few items so I increased the tip to 20% to compensate for the smaller job. Only now I have added to the order and now the tip is huge! Is there a way to adjust it before they begin shopping? I don’t see a place to do so. Only when initially making/placing the order did I see a place to adjust the tip. I understand it can be adjusted AFTER the delivery too. But that’s kinda sucky for the person doing the job thinking they are going to get this HUGE tip to have it reduced!! Agh!! Damned if I do and damned if I don’t. *sigh Shopper begins my order in an hour.

  11. My first time using instacart. There was no delivery times available. So I am picking my groceries up at Publix on a picked time slot. I never saw a place on my order at check out to place a tip. Is this only for delivery? I have sent 2 emails out to instacart but no responses. Will the person that brings the groceries to the car Sunday be the shopper? Or Publix employee? I would like to tip the shopper but not sure how I will know who that is if I am picking up. Any answers on this before Sunday would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • I just did my first pickup order from Publix using instacart.
      I did not see anywhere to add a tip when placing the order and thought I could add a tip afterwards but having just completed the review and looked at the receipt there is no way to add a tip!

    • I can’t figure out how to tip on a pickup order either besides handing cash to the person loading but I know that person is not the Instacart shopper. So who knows if it gets to them..I will always do pickup because I’m Too far out of the way for delivery

  12. Instacart is a great service but it does cost more than $9.95 plus a $7.00 tip. Since they don’t take manufacturers coupons and don’t recognize loyalty membership discounts it’s like adding an additional $10-$15 to each order. Still it is a necessary service right now. I would be happy to reward the shopper with a good tip. Unfortunately they are so busy that I can’t get delivery 6 -7 days!

  13. Waitstaff in a restaurant do not have to use thousands of dollars of insured vehicle, phone & service and gasoline expenses, upfront out of their pocket to exclusively cater to you for an hour or more. Instacart SHOPPERS (not Instacart) bear these costs, before they bring us our food, while they spare us Covid risk of the store visits. We pay Instacart for access to a web platform and little of this fee goes to the shoppers. Either we can be ungrateful cheap pricks or we can appreciate what they do for us!

    • Just curious, but do you car insurance rates or phone rates increase because you are an instacart employee. Wouldn’t you have those expenses regardless? I totally get fuel and other wear and tear to your vehicle.

      • Yes car insurance does increase. You have to purchase commercial insurance to be properly covered. I pay about $389 a month for this. That’s with a good driving record.

      • You have to purchase commercial insurance to be properly covered. When you do delivery services you are on the road more then the average person. I pay about $389 a month for this. That’s with a good driving record.

  14. Placed my first order today prior to seeing this article. Put down $20 for an $80 order. I clicked on send and someone else is doing EVERYTHING for me. How is that not worth at least $20? I’m actually feeling cheap now from reading half of these comments.

  15. I am giving my instacart delivery person $39.00 for shopping for me in this covid risk. I think we should all support them, because we all need them now. They are taking a risk doing this, so that you do not have to go out of your home to do it yourself. Be grateful we have instacart shoppers.

  16. Oh, dear…my first time with Instacart this morning and am also flummoxed by this tip thing. Am a senior with impaired vision and didn’t even notice the tip thingy on the order so I guess I did the minimum by default, intending to tip in cash when and if the delivery arrives? Order totalled about $200 so would $25 plus the tip already on the order be okay or way too cheap? I do not want to stiff the shopper. Guidance, please? Thanks.

  17. I’m new to instacart and put $0 tip because I intended to pay cash. I thought everyone liked cash more. But now my delivery time keeps changing. Is this because they saw I put no tip? I wrote in special notes will tip in cash and now I see no way to edit my tip. Feel like I’m not going to get my order now….

    • I don’t think people would prefer cash now during the time of Covid . That’s a vehicle for spreading disease and also keeps it from being a contactless delivery. But i could be wrong…

    • Instead of putting $0.00 as the tip, add a custom tip amount of $0.22. Yes, 22 cents! This is because a couple years back when Instacart was in the media spotlight for using tips towards base pay, there was a big cash tipping movement and .22 was code for “cash tip”. Because this happened a while back, newbie shoppers probably haven’t heard this and will pass up your order, thinking you are an asshole for tipping 22 cents. You will likely end up with a veteran shopper who knows what they are doing and can make great substitutes, for instance, if some items aren’t available.

  18. I’ve been using instacart since this whole quarantine began. I tip really good but I’m able to, not everyone has the means but they should definitely tip. The shoppers are out there potentially risking their health. Do you think they would be doing it if they didn’t have to??? Fortunately, I’m in position where I can give a good tip and I do for two reasons 1. Potentially risking their health and the health of their family and 2. Because I believe everyone should be helping others out and hopefully with the little bit of extra they get takes some stress off them. On the plus side, I’ve been getting my groceries really quick.

  19. I just started using instacart a few weeks ago.My husband and I are in the high risk group because of our age. I use the 20% tip as it adjusts if I should have to add anything to my order. I didn’t understand how it worked when I first started using the app, so I would add the tip $10.00-$20.00 or so based on what I had ordered but if I added groceries after I checked out, I could not adjust the tip. 🙁 Fortunately, I had some cash and could tip when the shopper delivered the groceries. Now that I am instacart savvy, I use 20% tip and it will adjust if I add groceries. I am so grateful for this service and the people who are are risking their own health to keep us old folks safe. They deserve to be tipped above and beyond. The service is keeping my husband and me safe. I would encourage everyone to tip on the high end and be grateful.

  20. I just started using instacart a few weeks ago.My husband and I are in the high risk group because of our age. I use the 20% tip as it adjusts if I should have to add anything to my order. I didn’t understand how it worked when I first started using the app, so I would add the tip $10.00-$20.00 or so based on what I had ordered but if I added groceries after I checked out, I could not adjust the tip. 🙁 Fortunately, I had some cash and could tip when the shopper delivered the groceries. Now that I am instacart savvy, I use 20% tip and it will adjust if I add groceries. I am so grateful for this service and the people who are are risking their own health to keep us old folks safe. They deserve to be tipped above and beyond. The service is keeping my husband and me safe. I would encourage everyone to tip on the high end and be grateful.

  21. Tipping is just good ettiquite for services received. Yes, there is a base pay, but when you look at getting $7 for driving 10 miles to the store, 20 miles to deliver and you are shopping for 50 or more items. Seven dollars isn’t much. The workers for Wal-Mart get $12 or more an hour just to bring the bags to the car. Just think about it as if this was your only income. We are out risking our health so you don’t have to get out. Don’t blame the shopper or driver if the store is out of your product. I keep in contact with my customers and try to find the replacements they want. When I accept a job I expect to get all of the pay I see. It’s a slap in the face to see the customer taking back some of the tip based on product availability. I always go above and beyond for my customers. Just remember to be thankful for these services.

  22. I have been on both sides – as an instacart shopper and customer.
    The person who explained how he selects which jobs he accepts was simply explaining the way we select jobs. If you do not want to tip – that is absolutely your right! But please don’t complain if after a few days you are unable to find shoppers for your purchase.
    As a shopper I have received tips in person and after the fact. But I will say that I will not select a job that is under $25 which is tip and fee from instacart. That is a fair wage for driving to the store, shopping the items, loading and unloading them to front doorstep. Which at the minimum will take 1 1/2 hours plus the gas in my car. I am absolutely appreciative of the 100% kind and positive feedback as well – this job is not as easy as it looks especially when facing often empty shelves in your local stores. If your shopper is communicating with you please remember that takes extra time and attention!
    Part of the instacart payment can be cashed immediately and part of it is deposited weekly. For those of us who took this on because we recently lost our jobs the cash tips are amazingly helpful. These tips pay for gas and food for my own family.

  23. Today, I ordered on Instacart for the first time. Once my wonderful shopper was done fulfilling my order, I received a message that she wouldn’t be delivering the order. I had someone else deliver the order. Who receives my tip? I want to increasse it for the shopper, but I don’t want it to go to the delivery guy.

  24. Newbie to Instacart. Just got my first delivery. Can I add a tip at this point? I gave what change I had but it really wasn’t enough in my opinion.

  25. What if you tip 20% on your order but half the items are missing from your order? Then what? There are always some items missing.

    • It’s not the shoppers fault items aren’t there.. you can’t and shouldn’t hold that shopper liable for what the store has or doesn’t have..
      You tip based of shoppers work ethic.
      Does he/she communicate throughout the shopping.
      Does he/she bag the items correctly.
      Does he/she deliver on time.
      Does he/she follow delivery instructions on where to leave it.
      Those and those only should be what customers should be tipping for..
      Make sence?

    • Your tip goes down for every item you must refund. You got to love the people who order 10 bottles of bleach and bathroom tissue in every brand knowing there is a limit and now we will get nothing for a tip. They know there is a limit. The games they play

  26. I have been ordering from Instacart since the pandemic began. I order about every two weeks and my orders average $150. I have no problem leaving a 20% tip when I order. The Instacart driver is risking their own health to pick up groceries for me. All of my drivers have been excellent and have kept constant contact with me while they are in the store and ask me about what I would like to replace out of stock items with. I have been in couple of local stores and realize how bare the shelves are. I know the shoppers I have used have done incredible jobs. If I feel my shopper goes above and beyond I increase my tip with my survey, but I think a 20% tip should be the minimum.

  27. With everything that’s going on, our family is jumping on the grocery delivery bandwagon. We’ve never done this before in the US, though overseas (Asia) it was very common. So we don’t know what to expect here. Our car is in the shop and we really appreciate the opportunity to have stuff delivered. And we want to be generous to our deliverers/shoppers. But I agree with others who question the EXPECTATION of a 20% tip. The problem as we see it is that the company (“contracting” is too often an excuse for a company to pass on costs to other people) can pay shoppers so little.

    We’ve read shoppers aren’t compensated for gas, mileage… But these things are required to do their job. I’m guessing shoppers get few, if any, benefits, too. Do they get paid time off if they’re ill? Instacart and its allies here in the US (rideshares…) pass costs on to workers (wear and tear on their own vehicles, insurance, gas, private health care costs…) and customers (subsidizing workers’ pay through our tips–which transform from an expression of gratitude into an expectation). We don’t want to support this system. I don’t have a problem paying a big tip to thank someone for helping me out. But I don’t want to feel OBLIGED to do so because the company the worker works for (or “contracts with,” whatever terms a company wants to use to justify not taking care of the people who do the work that keeps the company alive) refuses to pay workers enough.

    We’re about to place our first Instacart order and have been considering buying the yearly membership. After reading the comments in this article’s comment section, we’re strongly re-considering.

  28. sending out a message of profound gratitude to all instacart shoppers everywhere. like so many, we are elderly and have a couple of health issues that keep us from doing our own shopping out here in the CA desert cities, and we owe a great debt to you for your wonderful service. we gladly tip in excess of what the IC site offers almost every time, and have upgraded the tips after the shoppers’ deliveries both on delivery AND after delivery based on the quality of service. this seems to be a good model for getting quality service, as i have NEVER rated any shopper at less than 5 in 23 deliveries over 9 weeks, and have never tipped less that 20%, plus cash in many cases. i have also encountered (at a distance, sadly) many lovely, hard-working people struggling to get by during this pandemic, and as a human being, i feel need to do what i can to help. happily, i CAN do it, and i do this with pleasure, and with appreciation for providing a service i require during troubling times. THANK YOU, wonderful instacart shoppers!

  29. I’ve used Instacart twice since the Covid thing began and I’m so grateful for the fast and courteous service I’ve received. Both orders have been in the $250 range and I’ve tipped $75 each time, starting initially at $50 and if all goes well (e.g. order delivered in good shape), raising it to $75 during shopper rating. That may seem high to some, but the extra is my contribution to support the front-line workers who are out there hustling and helping to keep us safe. I also figure this is a good use of the stimulus money I received and don’t really need.

  30. I have an order in to Wegmans for Instacart delivery in northern VA for the first time on May 6. I noticed that Wegmans prices are about 15% higher for the delivery option vs shopping in the store. Added to that is the delivery fee, service fee and a modest tip, and the total ends up being 25-30% higher than in store shopping (before deducting savings on gas). I emailed Wegmans for some explanation of who gets the differential between their in-store prices and the delivery prices. Perhaps someone can explain on this forum. I’m assuming that most if not all of the differential goes to Instacart both for their costs/profit and to pay an hourly wage to Instacart shoppers (Instacart shoppers, please confirm that you do receive an hourly wage). If any of it goes to Wegmans, I would be upset since that seems like gouging on their part. Who can explain further? James

  31. I’m glad to know that shoppers can see whether or not I’ve tipped before taking my order. I also wouldn’t mind if they were able to rate me as a customer. However, I don’t like that Instacart raises the prices at Aldi. That’s a hidden cost that annoys me. I was super happy with Instacart until I found out about the upcharge. It’s a deal-breaker for me.

  32. Attention soon to be customers and existing customers!!
    The shoppers only get paid by the mile from store to customer house.
    So do you think they are making any real money? What about if they accepted a delivery and they live let’s say 20 miles from store. Does shopper get anything for those miles and gas? No so that’s 40 miles for that 1 delivery that isn’t paid so think about this before you order your next groceries list ok..
    That’s the scenerio of most shoppers is that they drive pretty far each delivery to shop for someone they don’t know to feed there families.
    IT SHOULD BE MANDITORY TIP OF 12%
    CAUSE THATS PRETTY MUCH THERE PAY!!
    THANKS

  33. I didn’t see this question above, so can someone say whether the tip for an Instacart shopper is (or should be) different for curbside pickup (shopper only selects items) than from delivery?

  34. Glad I read this. I schedule my delivery date and then shop all week so my tip is calculated on the starting total. I always fix the tip after delivery .

  35. I’ve been tipping $.50/item, rather than a percentage of the total cost. For me, it seems like pretty much the same time and labor to grab an $.88 can of beans as a $12 bottle of laundry detergent. My orders are usually $120-$200, but sometimes I am buying a lot of little things and others I’m buying more high-cost items like medicines or cleaning supplies. So, if I’m ordering 50 items, I would tip a minimum of $20. I also tip extra for variables like exceptional service, long distance between my home and the store, and employees risking their health during global pandemic, etc.

  36. I have a question. I just ordered from Instacart. I tipped 15% plus gave the shopper a few dollars in cash at the door. I was charged a service fee as well as a delivery fee. Both fees were around $4. Who gets those fees? Does my shopper/ buyer get any portion of the service fee or delivery fee? I am appalled that anyone would not tip or tip a low amount. The website clicks in the tip at 5% automatically, which I think is too low. They should click it in at 10% at least.

  37. I agree with all the generous tippers. It is worth a large tip to save me the time and gas that I would normally spend in shopping. I can get so much more done now, or relax if I wish. I am grateful for the folks who put themselves at risk so that I could remain safely at home, obviously they need the income otherwise why would they be doing this? I always put at least a $20 tip on my smaller orders (under $100), and I always get good service with a smile within about an hour. I have read about people changing the tip after delivery (down to zero sometimes) and I find that disgusting and an abuse of the service and service providers. There should be a way for shoppers to rate the Instacart customers, so that shoppers have a way of knowing in the future to avoid orders from those weasels. For what it is worth, I love using Instacart and truly appreciate their shoppers. I have them just leave the bags on my front porch, but always make sure that I am there to greet them with a smile and a thank you.

  38. I’m shocked at how much people tip! The example that’s been floated here is $50 on a $250 order. Let’s say that the driver makes $10 an hour base pay. It is reasonable that they’d be able to complete and deliver the order in two hours. So the base pay they are getting is $20 total for that delivery, plus a $50 tip so combined they are getting $70 for that order. Divided per hour that means they made $35 per hour. That’s ridiculous.

    • Well Ashton, there is no hourly base pay and most lucrative batches take longer than two hours to complete.

      I don’t care about the tip as a percentage of the bill. I care that you care that I’m out here getting your groceries for you and it’s making your life easier. Whether you get 47 bags of popcorn at $4 each ($188) or 47 bottles of vitamins at $30 each ($1,410), I’m exerting roughly the same level of energy to fulfill both orders. If you want to tip me 20% on that vitamin order, then I’m the luckiest shopper on Instacart, but that’s absolutely not necessary. Think about whether your shopper is going to make minimum wage with your order, and then throw in some more, because batches are not guaranteed to come to shoppers when we need them. And if you have someone running to the store for a couple things and they’re going to be driving for 15-20 minutes, tip them at least $5 bucks for the effort. Based on what we know Instacart pays, I will never spend my time shopping for a customer that doesn’t add a tip.

      I’m staring at the Instacart app now and this is what I see: $8.69 for an order at Fairfax Costco. 18 items, 22 units. No tip, all Instacart payment. The customer’s house is 7.2 miles away from the Costco. I’ll be damned if I’m shopping for 18 different items, waiting in line, finding the right boxes to put them items in, driving 7.2 miles, and unloading the order per the customer’s instructions for $8.69! (I live 26 miles/52 minutes away and need to make at least $60 for that order).

      For those of you interested in learning more about my experience as a full service Instacart shopper, keep reading.

      My first Instacart batch…
      My first batch took me 1 hour and 40 minutes (not including time and mileage to get home) and paid me $23.75 ($11.35 from Instacart + $12.40 tip). There were 47 unique items (66 units) and the bill came to $220.88. Minimum wage in DC is $15/hour and I made $14.31/hour with the customer tip. Now that I know better, I wouldn’t accept that batch for under $45 (in that case, the customer tip would be $33.65, or about 15% of their bill).

      My first batch with three orders….
      Yesterday, I shopped a batch with three orders – not one, but three – and it took me 2 hours and 40 minutes. Once I officially started shopping, the size of each order was revealed to me, and I mentally and physically (with insulated bags) allocated space in the shopping cart for each customer depending on the size of their order. It’s important to shop dry goods first and frozen last (unless they ordered hot food), so you have to ensure that bread you grab at the beginning isn’t crushed by the gallon of ice cream you get at the end. And that your ice cream isn’t melted by the rotisserie chicken because the only place that chicken will fit at this point is on top of that gallon of ice cream. During the trip, I messaged each customer at least once because the store was out of what they wanted. The back and forth with one customer can be daunting, let alone three! When it was time to check out, I had to wait in line, ring up the order, bag, and pay for each order separately. Then it was time to deliver the goods. All three lived in apartment buildings in DC so you can imagine the challenges that presents with parking, getting access to the building, waiting for the customer to meet you, etc. Instacart (not customers) paid me $33.14 for that batch ($7 minimum + $2.52 mileage + $23.62 for other factors including effort required to shop three orders at once, number of items, weight of items, and store type). $33.14/2.66 = $12.46/hour ($2.54 below DC’s $15 minimum wage). Customer tips on that batch totaled $29.98 and here’s the breakdown:
      – Customer A spent $15.49 and tipped $2 (13%)
      – Customer B spent $85.95 and tipped $12.83 (15%)
      – Customer C spent $97.43 and tipped $15.15 (15.5%)
      With tips, I made $63.12 for 2.66 hours, or $23.73/hour. This beats minimum wage, but batches are consistently paying this.

      My best Instacart batch…
      The day before yesterday, I shopped for one order at Costco and it took me 2 hours and 42 minutes. This trip was enjoyable for me because this was my regular Costco and they happened to have everything the customer wanted. The bill was $361.10. I made $110.60, or $41.42/hour. Instacart paid me $45.92 (heavy item pay was definitely factored in) and the customer tipped me $64.68 (a little over 18% of his order). This isn’t the norm, but it happened, and I’m grateful.

      I’m doing Instacart out of necessity and I can’t afford to accept batches without a tip. Good luck shoppers and thank you to the awesome customers that tip us like they would want to be tipped if they were in our shoes!

      • Correction to ‘This beats minimum wage, but batches are consistently paying this.’ I meant to say batches are NOT consistently paying this.

      • Excellent response. I’d like to factor in a few other things…..

        The initial post indicated $35/hour as being “ridiculous”. I shop full-time. If I earned $20/hour, the company’s benefits paid to me would be about the same; about $20/hour. It would cost the company $40/hour to employ me.

        As a gig worker, taxes are not taken out of my pay. As a gig worker, my income is taxed at a higher level.

        As a gig worker, I do not have my company supporting my future by paying into social security for me. I do not have medical benefits provided or partially subsidized.

        I’m driving about 150 miles each day. That’s extreme for my little car. Yes, I get a tax break on my mileage, but I still have a lot more out of pocket auto expense and insurance than an regular employee.

        So that “ridiculous” $35/hour isn’t all that ridiculous. Especially when it’s not a true number.

        I average $25/order. It takes me an average of 80 minutes per order. That’s $18.75/hour. Where I live, minimum wage is $15/hour. My rent is $1,900 and I support two kids. It’s claimed that your rent/mortgage shouldn’t be more than 30% of your income. Yeah….. right….. That means I should be making $6,000/month. However, I am somehow able to do it if I earn $5,000. But that means I’m working 267 hours each month. Dividing that by 30 is 9 hours a day, each and every day. So to get just 1 day off each week, I must work 10.5 hour days, 6 days a week.

        And it’s not easy work. I climb stairs and lift heavy cases of water and kitty litter and awkward bags of dog food. I have to find addresses at night when the guest isn’t accommodating enough to turn on the porch light. I have to navigate dark pathways with heavy loads. I fall while making deliveries about once every 6 weeks.

        I had surgery in the middle and only took 3 days off as I don’t have paid time off. I wasn’t supposed to lift more than 10 pounds, but was out there doing 20 while still on pain killers.

        And I am risking my health during COVID.

        A waiter makes more than $35/hour that the initial poster posted. I work just as hard.

  39. Is it okay that I tipped $10 for a $100 order? Most things in my town are close together so I don’t think the driver would have driven more than 5 miles or so. I assume since they can see the tip and everything before accepting the job that it was okay? It wasn’t a ton of stuff but the items were on the pricey side.

  40. After reading about the whole doordash tip fiasco I try to tip in cash as much as possible. Today I used instacart for the first time just for a few items because I was in a pinch, out of diapers for my special needs daughter with no car and it’s 90 degrees outside. I tipped $5 on the app and my order was accepted by a shopper within 30 seconds so I guess that the overall compensation was worth it for her. I will tip an additional $5 in cash when she gets here but in the future I guess that I should put it all on the app.
    I hate food shopping so much that I would pay $100 for someone to do my big monthly shopping for me if I could afford it. But unfortunately I will only be using the service for times when I am desperate for something.

  41. I used Instacart for the first time today for a BJ’s order. (BJ’s charges $14.99 per delivery but the prices are the same as in the store.) I haven’t entered any store in 4 months due to a chronic health problem and my age; my husband is even older so I didn’t want to send him out to shop during the pandemic, either. But we’d used up most of what was in our fridge and freezer and it was time to restock perishables. (Non-perishables I have been buying all along from various sources online.)
    I made up a large order of meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables and dairy items and set the tip at 15%. My shopper was great– she kept in touch with me while shopping as some substitutions were necessary, and delivered it to my front step still cold / still frozen. After delivery, I increased the tip to 20% and rated her 5 stars.
    I’m just so grateful not to have had to go out myself during the pandemic, in this hot weather, and drag home all those groceries. I consider the tip as money well-spent, and well-earned by the shopper.

  42. I started using instacart when the pandemic began in March. Back then, I had to wait about 2-3 weeks for delivery to a location that is 10 minutes from my house (they dont deliver to my house due to me living in a rural area). Now, as things have “calmed down”, I can get get an order delivered within 2 hours.
    The prices are definitely about 30% more than what I would pay if I were to shop myself, but honestly, the service is VERY worth it to me!
    I do not have any health issues preventing me from shopping myself. With a full family living at home now, I use instacart at least 2 times a week. If I need only a few items, I always find other things to add to my order so that it is worth it for my shopper to shop for me. I have never requested less than $100 worth of groceries, and always tip 20% of the order total. If I am lucky enough to get a great shopper who searches for my “hard to find” items, or one that shops quickly and communicates throughout, I add to that tip afterwards. Sometimes I have extra large orders of $500+, so obviously my shopper would get a very large tip for that based on the 20%+ tip.
    I have had amazing shoppers every time but one. The “bad” shopper I had accepted my order right away, but after 4 hours and only one text, he became MIA., with only a few of my items “shopped”. I am available at all times for my shopper via the app, so this really bothered me. I had to cancel that order, and reorder my items the next day with someone different.
    I REALLY appreciate my shoppers, but want to make sure they get the most money they can for their services. So a question to the shoppers: would you prefer if I tip 20% at time of placing the order, plus more if you do a good job OR $.22 at time of order, plus the 20%+ afterwards? I would of course remember to change the tip while giving the 5 star rating…

    • If you tip 20% in advance, the shoppers will come out of the woodwork to grab your order. As a 5 star shopper, I would suggest you indicate 10% tip, knowing you’ll raise it to your minimum of 20% later.

      AND THANK YOU! To me, if you’re going to tip a waiter 20% for the 6 minutes they spent with you, why would you tip less to someone who focuses their full attention on you for an hour or more?

    • If you tip 20% in advance, the shoppers will come out of the woodwork to grab your order. As a 5 star shopper, I would suggest you indicate 10% tip, knowing you’ll raise it to your minimum of 20% later.

      AND THANK YOU! I don’t understand why a shopper’s tip would be less than a waiter’s when we give you 100% of our attention shopping for your family as we do for our own.

    • If you tip 20% in advance, the shoppers will come out of the woodwork to grab your order. As a 5 star shopper, I would suggest you indicate 10% tip, knowing you’ll raise it to your minimum of 20% later.

      AND THANK YOU for understanding how hard we work for you!

  43. I just placed my first delivery order. I am on here to determine what I should tip. I’m probably going to need to tip more in the end. Let me say, I can’t get pizza delivered where I live. Having groceries delivered is a LUXURY. I believe we should be considering subsidized grocery delivery (i.e. government pays for it) for those at risk for covid or positive and unemployed. That makes more sense to me than sending employed people checks or paying people more in unemployment than they make while working. For everyone who PREFERS to have groceries delivered for convenience, pay for it. You can always drive to the store for pickup. Store employees get paid their normal wage, above minimum in my area, and don’t have to drive or carry items to your door.

  44. I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading through all of these responses and opinions and have not seen my point of view represented so I guess I’ll comment.

    First, I’ll say that all the “Get a real job” comments need to stop. No job is “not real” and using that type of talk to demean retail workers, gig workers and any other basic labor jobs is less of a reflection on them and more of a reflection on those making the comment being elitist snobs. The world needs ditch diggers too and there is no reason that they should not be given the same basic respect as those of us who are more fortunate.

    Compulsory tipping as a practice, and building any form of employment that is primarily dependent on tips, is wrong. Businesses need to pay their employees enough for them to have a decent quality of life and putting workers in a position that they must depend on the charity of others for basic income is criminal. If a business cannot be solvent / cash flow positive by charging enough for their services to fairly support their workers than that business should not BE IN BUSINESS.

    I will say it again: Compulsory tipping as a practice, and building any form of employment that is primarily dependent on tips, is wrong. The core purpose of any company is to provide a means for its stakeholders to maintain a fair quality of life [That means paying a fair and livable wage]. Tips are discretionary and were once only a reward from the wealthy to the less fortunate for an exemplary job well done. A business plan that is dependent on the charity of others to provide for its stakeholders is a 501c3 non-profit (or similar) and employees of those organizations are working for a cause, not for their own enrichment and often not as their primary source of income. Our society seems to have lost this basic understanding that companies only exist to take care of their people somewhere along the way… maybe around 1978 when the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend money on state ballot initiatives and reaffirmed the 1886 decision that corporations are PEOPLE. (Imagine that, lol) the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road, the Court “appeared” to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment but regardless of the intent, that is how corps have been treated since. Or maybe it was Citizens United in 2010 that really set things moving towards a corporate slavery model as they seem to have accelerated since then with the Gig-economy…

    Election for the soul of our nation coming up, remember to vote and vote smart people!

  45. I tip 15-20% every single time and about 90% of the time I get shitty produce delivered!!! I mean I’m talking rotted or old or smashed. Why do I keep tipping? Because I hope I’m being kind enough to consider that my tip is helping the shopper out to making a decent wage. But come on? If your delivering food based on my predelivered items/tip amount that you haven’t even shopped for yet, why can’t you be kind enough to me and make an effort and get me some decent peaches? Why can’t I get good produce! I never go back and change my tip either! But wtf???!!! I may just stop tipping until after the fact but then you won’t pick my order? So what do I do? I have to keep that 15-20% tip so you at least consider taking my order?

    • Put notes with the produce: prefer light green avacados; refund the bananas if they are green or brown. Try not tipping. Cough cough.

  46. Well this has been a wake up call, thank you. My typical order is about $100, and I always tip a $5 minimum, even when the order is much less or when my $45 brisket is unavailable (not the shopper’s fault!). If service/communication was good, I add a few dollars. But I hate taking away a tip, so that’s why I start at 5%. I’d rather increase it afterwards for good service. I figured I was ripping in the right range, or shoppers wouldn’t be accepting my order.

    Reading these comments, however, I’m starting to understand how hard you shoppers work for us! Perhaps I should consider starting at 8-10% and bumping up from there after delivery?

  47. The article is wrong…shoppers see the tip. No tip, no trip. We cannot guess what you will tip after spending an hour shopping it for the cheapskates who claim to tip cash. Why should we. Those that don’t tip also rate poorly and are abusive. They steal items, claim they weren’t delivered and are generally more demanding and manipulative. They get new shoppers or those with poor ratings who continue to be abused. If you cannot tip get the groceries yourself. We are paid $7 by Instacart for an hour of our time. If you cannot tip at least $12 you should be ashamed.

  48. I tip 10% because I want to entice good people to do good work for me. I came here to see if I was going overboard but the fact is, I’ve had one guy a few times that picks out crappy fruit and veggies. I’d rather not get them when they’re going to expire in a day. I wish I could request the ladies I’ve had who are phenomenal at communication. They message and ask about how soon I may use the produce before adding it to the cart. I’ll continue tipping 10% as the norm and reduce when they do worse than expected.

  49. We are ordering via Instacart all the time and I believe that I found a good way to tipping AND getting a good service:
    1. I always enter 5% or $10 tip – whichever is bigger – and never ever reduce it no matter what (I regard it as a promise);
    2. I write a message via chat: one asking the shopper to bag fish/meats separately from other staff (after getting everything drenched in “salmon juice” once. And no, I didn’t reduce the tip in that case either, just left fewer stars in my review.);
    3. If service is good, I always increase the tip accordingly, usually to $20 or 10%, sometimes more.

  50. In my opinion, 5% is NOT proper etiquette.

    A family of four goes to a restaurant. The waiter spends maybe 6 minutes with just you. If you don’t know what you want to order, s/he excuses themselves and comes back a few minutest later. When you leave an hour later, you’ve maybe had your drinks refilled once. Your waiter has asked if all was OK, and has left you the bill. Your bill is $100 and you leave a $20 tip.

    Same family of four. I go do your grocery shopping for the week. You have 47 items. If all is perfect, I can do that shop in about an hour. If not, I must stand around waiting for you to respond to my texts. While waiting, I shop the rest of that aisle. When you don’t respond, I leave that aisle and go to the next. When you do respond, I must go back to that first aisle. As a result, that 60 minute shop takes about 80 minutes. I check out, another 10 minutes, haul your order to my car and load it up, another 5 minutes. I drive to your home and place your groceries where you’ve requested.

    Your groceries cost $200. I spent 90 minutes or better doing this for you. My time was 100% devoted to you. Is this really only worth an $8 tip when I shopped for your family for a week? Why is my value less than the waiter’s?

  51. If you tip 20% in advance, the shoppers will come out of the woodwork to grab your order. As a 5 star shopper, I would suggest you indicate 10% tip, knowing you’ll raise it to your minimum later.

    AND THANK YOU for understanding and rewarding how hard we work for you! We rely on tips to feed our families and pay our rent!

  52. I try to be generous with my tips because I do appreciate the work being done for me. I do tip after and although I would never tip nothing, I also will not tip extra if you bring me rotting food. I don’t understand why they don’t train the shoppers how to pick out good produce, meat, and sell-by dates. Several times my produce has gone from the bag to the garbage because it was literally rotting. If you are not happy with what you are earning you need to learn a skill. Yes, this is unskilled labor. That is not an insult as I also worked in unskilled labor most of my life.

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