How Much Should You Tip Your Instacart Shopper?


Polite delivery man or mover tipping his hat and smiling . Isolated on white.

Instacart shoppers help deliver essential items to our doorsteps and aren’t exactly making a ton. So, it’s nice to tip them. But how much should you tip your Instacart shopper?

Here’s what I know, based on a lot of feedback from their employees:

Instacart has a minimum suggested tip of 5%. But a tip of 15-20% for delivery of your groceries or 5-10% for pickup is more appropriate for the service provided.

And it’s worth noting that since Instacart Shoppers can see the tip specified in your order before they accept it, a low tip could result in a delay as more experienced Shoppers pass on doing your order.

But sometimes, there are circumstances that might warrant less than 15% or more than 20%. And what about bad service if you’ve already tipped?

Read on to learn more about how much you should tip your Instacart shopper and related facts.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

Are you supposed to tip the Instacart delivery person?

Offering a tip to the Instacart delivery person is recommended and the default is 5%. It is a token of appreciation and recognition for the excellent service rendered by the Instacart delivery person. As with many similar jobs, they rely on tips for their income.

Delivering groceries is challenging.

Most shoppers have to go to a couple of stores each day, check customer’s grocery lists, check and pick, and pack all items. Then, they have to deliver them.

At times, they may not get enough orders to fulfill. Since they are paid for orders fulfilled, earning enough can be an uphill task. The average Instacart shopper earns only $11 an hour on average.

And yet, most of the shoppers render excellent service.

This is why even though you’re not supposed to tip the Instacart delivery person, it’s a good thing to do. It’s a way of saying: “Thank you. I appreciate your help” to the shopper.

The rate recommended is 5% or a minimum of $2 per individual store delivery, whichever is higher. It’s a very low rate compared to the 15% to 20% common in the restaurant industry, just to cite an example.

Consider that about half of the shopper’s income comes from tips.

The happier shopper is thus encouraged to be more focused on thinking of more ways to continue to render awesome service to us all.

And, I honestly believe that life’s better when we treat others the way we’d like to be treated.

In a recent article of mine, I explored: should you tip Instacart drivers in greater detail. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from Instacart Shoppers from that article, and not all of them are happy with me!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can Instacart shoppers see the tip?

From the company app, Instacart Shoppers can see the tip offered by customers. They can also see the items requested and have the option of accepting the order or not. But they cannot negotiate or change the tip.

So, before accepting your order, Instacart shoppers see your proposed tip. You’re allowed the option of changing the tip up to 24 hours after you’ve received your order.

By which time, you’d have received and checked your order.

If you have to change the tip, you’re allowed to within that time frame, but you are expected to leave feedback to let the company know why.

Unfortunately, there are some customers who set large tips to bait shoppers and then rescind on their offer after.

This is bad, and a customer found to be guilty of the practice may have their Instacart account deactivated.

You have the option of rating Instacart shoppers. In fact, this is the key data that goes into evaluating their performance and determining their access to future opportunities to deliver to customers and their earnings.

But can Instacart shoppers rate customers in return? It’s a theme I explored in a recent article of mine. As of the time of writing, you alone can rate them, and they can’t rate you (formally, via the app).

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do Instacart drivers do the shopping and if not, does the tip get split?

As a general rule, Instacart drivers do their own shopping. But, there are times when in-store Shoppers do it while drivers or full-service shoppers simply deliver. Full-service Shoppers shop and deliver. And they receive the tips in full.

In-store shoppers that don’t handle delivery receive a guaranteed income and aren’t as reliant on tips as the drivers.

There are basically two types of people who work for Instacart: Full-service shoppers (drivers) and In-store shoppers.

The former select, pack, and deliver groceries, while the latter select, pack and deliver at the curbside.

They are employees, while the former are independent contractors. The tips are not split between employees and contractors. The contractors get the tip in full.

They do more, and they also interface with customers, and being contractors, they have to defray their expenses while working for Instacart, so they get 100% of the tip.

Does Instacart really only recommend a 5% tip?

Instacart has a default recommended tip of 5% or a minimum of $2 per order delivery, whichever is higher. But as a sign of appreciation of the great service, it is better to offer tips at a higher rate than the default. 

And, Instacart does not suggest that the tip should only be 5%. The default simply means they suggest it not be less than that.

In most cases, Shoppers have to be painstaking as they move across the store, making sure they get exactly what the customer requested.

They are to deliver the order to the customer’s doorstep.

That’s what their contract stipulates. But, there are times when they may go beyond the letter of the contract and bring groceries inside.

In fact, I explored this in a recent article of mine. Technically, they are not supposed to enter someone’s house. But there are times when they might. And of course, any time they go the extra mile, it’s worth tipping them extra.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Truth be told, even 10% is not exactly a king’s ransom when you consider that the tips in the restaurant industry are often in the 15% to 20% range.

Because of the great service Instacart shoppers provide, it’s best to always offer a lot more than the default rate. 

How do I tip for Instacart curbside pickup?

As with delivery, use the Instacart app to set the tip for Instacart curbside pickup. The default suggested tip is 5% or a minimum of $2 whichever is higher. The Shopper who packed your groceries receives 100% of the tip.

In-store shoppers who also deliver at the curbside are employees, and a part of their income is guaranteed. But, this doesn’t stop you from giving them tips.

For you to easily add a tip during checkout using the app, follow the steps below:

  1. Tap Go to Checkout and scroll down to Delivery Tip.
  2. Tap Change.
  3. Select the amount you’d like to tip and tap Save Tip.

You’re also free to give them tips in cash.

There’s usually a dedicated parking space for those at the store for curbside pickup. Once you’re there, get in touch with the Instacart Shopper, and they’d bring your groceries and help you load them in your trunk.   

Naturally, curbside pickup is cheaper than having them delivered to the house. 

But, it is still a lot of work for the Shopper who has to select, pack, bring them outside, and then load them in your trunk.

So, be generous by offering a tip that’ll make the Shopper happy.

But what if they’re way late? There have been times when Instacart has been slow. Get the lowdown on why in a recent article of mine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

Instacart shoppers are rendering great service, and it’s nice to tip them well.

We learned that tipping them is optional and has been set by Instacart at a base of 5% or $2 per order, whichever is higher. In other words, you can offer a lot more.

When you set the tip, shoppers can see it. Of course, there’s really nothing they can do about it. You get to decide how much you want to give. And, you have the option of altering the amount within 24 hours of receiving for order.

Truth be told, 5% is too low. Always try to offer a lot more.

We also learned that most shoppers aren’t making out like bandits and that about 50% of their income comes from tips. Finally, we looked at how you can offer tips at the curbside.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

 

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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