In February of 2020, I was killing it at girl bossing, presenting at conferences, and rocking a marketing fempire bringing in $12,000+ a month. By April of 2020, my business took a hit and I was struggling, bringing in about 10% of that per month!
At the same time I was in need of income to pay my bills, I was quarantining in a city where I had no friends or social outlet, so I decided to hill two birds with one stone – by making money and helping people through Instacart + Shipt Shopping.
After applying to be a Shipt and Instacart Shopper and dabbling with it for a few months, I learned these tricks & tips on how to increase the hourly rate I can make on these personal shopping platforms.
If you are detail-oriented and looking to make some side hustle income, here are 9 tips to increase your hourly rate on Instacart and Shipt delivery services to $25 to $30 per hour.
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Apply to be a Shopper
If you’re even thinking about doing delivery as a side hustle, I highly recommend you go ahead and apply to be a Shipt and Instacart Shopper via their apps. Once you apply to be a shopper (which is an independent contractor), it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks to be notified if you are accepted. Apply to both, as the options and opportunities of each delivery service differ in different cities and regions.
You’ve been accepted and received your debit card in the mail. Now you’re ready for your first personal shopping experience!
Preview What Items You Are Shopping for Before you Select an Order
For your first shopping experience, choose a smaller order (under 25 items) in a store you are already familiar with. For all orders, you can waste the most time and impact your hourly rate by having to scavenger hunt for items you’re unfamiliar with. So, before you select an order to shop for on Instacart or Shipt, make sure it has items that you think you can figure out where they are in the store.
Send a Selfie
Even though you are shopping through an App, grocery delivery and personal shopping is a service-based industry. So, if you’re working to increase your hourly rate, start by making it a personal service to increase the tip. The first step in doing this is to take a selfie as you’re entering the store and send it to the customer.
Share your Why
It might seem like a “waste of time” to spend the first 3 minutes sending a selfie and then a text introducing yourself to the person you’re shopping for, but this makes all of the difference in tips. With the first two orders I sent selfies and introductions of my “why” I’m Instacart Shopping I received $20 cash tips in addition to the tips on the app.
Learn 2 or 3 Stores Well
Other than increasing tips, the other easy way to increase your hourly rate is to shop fast! What’s the easiest way to do this? Learn a couple stores really well so you know where certain products are. Once you become a shopping all-star, you’ll even be able to strategize more the order of items in which you shop for most efficient shopping!
Focus on Quality and Substitutions
A customer deleting the tip will really hurt your bottom line (I’ve had it happen), and the best way to avoid this is to ensure, no matter what customers order, that they are happy with what they receive. Did your customer order 4 roma tomatoes and there are none in stock? Before you grab a box of grape tomatoes and call it a day, take a photo of possible replacements and ask the customer what substitution they prefer!
Keep an Eye on Peak and Promo Times
Both Instacart and Shipt will add bonuses and increase base pay during peak times. Although this is sometimes random, keep an eye on when these times roll around so you can plan to shop during that time moving forward.
Block Out Time to Shop and Plan Ahead
In order to make money shopping through Shipt and Instacart, it all starts with committing time to shopping! I highly recommend you fit at least 4 hours per week into planning to go shopping during a time you know that orders are coming in! Weekends, mornings, and evenings are usually the best time to go shopping!
Trick Your Brain into Making Your Side Hustle Fun
I love high-end health food stores – they bring me a sense of calm! So, a couple times per week when I need a change of pace from my day job staring at my computer, I pack my favorite cup of coffee, grab my headphone and pick up an Instacart order to relax! In order to get the most out of your Instacart or Shipt shopping side hustle, find a way to make it fun! The more you trick your brain to make it enjoyable, the better it will be!
For me, Instacart and Shipt Delivery have been the most enjoyable way to make an extra $200-$600 a month on my “off-time”. Best of luck and happy shopping!