Should You Tip Instacart Drivers? (yes, here’s how much)

Instacart operates like ride shares but delivers groceries instead of people. It’s similar to ordering a pizza, which usually requires a tip. If it’s your first time using Instacart, you might be a bit wondering should you tip Instacart drivers?

Here’s what I discovered:

Yes, you should tip Instacart drivers. Since you’re requesting a delivery, it’s always a nice gesture to pay an additional tip to the driver. Like many in the service industry, a large amount of their pay comes from tips, and it’s good to know that 100% of the tip stays with the driver who’s shopping for you.

But there’s more to know about Instacart, tipping drivers, how much to tip, and if there’s also a delivery fee on top of that tip. So let’s keep going!

If you’re not familiar with Instacart, it’s quite a simple process that can make life much easier. The first section is going to break down exactly how you’re supposed to use this stay-at-home shopping experience.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.

What is Instacart and How Does it Work?

Instacart works through very much the same as most other delivery services. The thing that makes it so special is that you can stay right at home and have everything that you want.

Choose the brands that you prefer, look for coupon offers, and pick out from a variety of stores around the country. It’s as good as it gets when you’re not looking forward to going out for yourself.

You can access Instacart through their website or by downloading the app.

You can input personal information, such as your zip code, to show which stores are available in your area. Instacart doesn’t work for every store, only the select amount that shows up on the app or website for your zip code.

Various popular stores such as Safeway, Costco, Petco, and even CVS Pharmacy are just a handful of the options you’ll have through Instacart. Simply choose the store and look through their current promotions to see what’s available. Once you’ve done this, you can start loading up your virtual cart to place an order.

Another reason that so many people love Instacart is that they can have their products delivered within an hour in most cases.

While there might be a few times that take a bit longer, you’ll always be notified about the timeframe. However, you might also have a few shopping experiences that take under an hour, which is always welcome.

Instacart is also unique because they make sure to get food that has the best expiration dates, no damage whatsoever, and the top deals around. You won’t have to worry about receiving cracked eggs or stale chips! They’ll even properly package and carry flowers and other delicate items.

Anything that arrives in an unsatisfactory condition will be dealt with.

Wondering how Instacart grocery pickup works?

After all, Instacart isn’t just for grocery home delivery and sometimes they can get backed up hours, days, or even weeks for delivery! So pick-up can be a great option! Luckily, I cover all you need to know in a recent article.

I break down exactly how to use Instacart, what to expect from the app, how long it takes for your order to be ready, and also whether it’s possible to use coupons when you shop using Instacart.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is the Delivery Fee for Instacart?

Instacart has an interesting delivery fee system that lets you choose delivery times by the hour.

Shorter delivery times require a bit more money, but it can be well worth it if you’re in a pinch. After all, it takes about an hour to go to the grocery store anyways. Currently, the prices are set at $7.99 for a one-hour delivery window and $5.99 for anything over two hours. For the price of convenience, some say it can’t be beaten.

Another option is to opt-in for the membership. This membership costs $149 a year currently, but the prices are all subject to change. If you request an order over $35 and you’re part of the membership plan, you can get a two-hour delivery scheduled for free! It also adds a tip onto the ticket automatically for you.

Keep in mind that weighed items, such as produce, can cost different prices per pound. Do your best to request the exact amount of weight that you want for any given item that’s usually weighed at the store.

For example, ask for two pounds of pork chops rather than simply requesting two pork chops. This will get you a much more accurate price estimate that doesn’t deviate much from your budget.

Prices are always changing, so you should check what the delivery fee is before placing your order.

No matter what, it won’t be too high compared to the purchase. Many customers find that they spend less money on the delivery fee than they do on the gas that it takes to get there. The convenience is also a huge benefit as well.

But does Instacart charge you the same price you see on the shelves at your local store?

Not always! Luckily I break down in a recent article the how, when, and why of Instacart pricing. They do charge the same price for some stores. But others get marked up as much as 20% or greater!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can Instacart Drivers See the Tip?

Yes, once the groceries are delivered, the driver sees the tip.

When you place a tip for your Instacart driver through the app or their website, you might be curious if they could see it.

If they didn’t, you might feel obligated to tell them, so they don’t think that you’re holding back a tip. On the other hand, if the driver does see it and it’s ‘not enough’ or too low in their eyes, then it’s a whole different problem.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry too much about the right amount to tip them.

Instacart recommends a 5% tip, which is much less than the average 15% restaurant tip. You can add this on virtually to the order for them to receive it instantly once they finish the job.

After they’ve delivered your items, the tip shows up, and they’ll get paid.

Do You Tip Instacart in Cash? 

Most people don’t, as Instacart drivers are usually tipped through the virtual process. It calculates the tip for you, but you can also feel free to tip them in cash as well.

If you don’t want to increase the total on your debit card or you have extra money laying around in cash form, you can pay them with cash. Keep in mind that they get 100% of the tip either way.

You won’t have to worry about the company taking some of the profits in any sense. It’s known that certain delivery services split up the tip among all of the drivers and employees to promote fairness.

However, it’s not always a good idea since some employees work harder than others. If you’ve had an exceptional experience with an Instacart driver, you can tip them extra, knowing that it’s all going to them.

So, How Much Do You Tip an Instacart Driver?

You should almost always follow the 5% rule mentioned above when tipping an Instacart driver. It’s a modest amount that helps them, but it won’t cost you much at all.

Instacart pays their drivers an income that depends partially on tips, which means that every little bit counts. If you feel that your driver deserves more than 5%, you’re more than welcome to do so.

In a traditional sense, most delivery or service-related jobs should be given a 15% tip. This isn’t necessary, but it’s certainly helpful. Drivers aren’t paid on an hourly rate. Instead, they’re paid per job.

The number of items in the cart directly impacts how much money they get. This pay rate means that orders with a low number of items could end up costing them more in gas. Unless, of course, you help them out with a good tip.

Instacart drivers not only see the amount that you tip them, but they’ll greatly appreciate it as well. There are people from all walks of life who rely on tips for their income working for the company.

If you’re concerned about how much you should tip, follow these suggestions:

  • Pay at a rate of 5% per tip.
  • Increase the tip up to 15% or more depending on how well the job was done.
  • Feel free to pay them a tip in cash.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about Instacart drivers and tipping?

In this article, we took a quick look at the world of grocery delivery and tipping.

We explored Instacart, how it works, and what the various delivery fees are including tip. While Instacart recommends adding a modest 5% to your order at the time of payment, you’re welcome to tip more and/or tip in cash at the door.

Either way, the driver gets to keep 100% of that tip, which is always appreciated.

Think Instacart just charges you the same price on the shelves at the store?

They don’t always! They do charge the same price for some stores. But others get marked up as much as 20% or greater! Luckily I break it all down in a recent article and show you which stores have deals with Instacart to get you the store price and which stores don’t.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Ready to start ordering from Instacart?

CLICK HERE to go to the Instacart order page.


Photos which require attribution:

instacart 3 by Mapbox is licensed under CC2.0


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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