Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

Instacart is a San Francisco-based company that offers on-demand grocery delivery.

The company also relies on shoppers and drivers to pick up groceries from various retailers such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Target, Costco and other local stores.

Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

No. They differ from each other.

Instacart shoppers are people who shop for others using their vehicles. They pick out items from grocery stores to deliver to customers’ doors.

Instacart drivers are professional chauffeurs.

They use their trucks and time to fulfill grocery orders on behalf of customers through the company’s website or mobile application.

These two positions do not have similar tasks. Yet, they provide valuable services that make shopping easy and efficient.

We all must recognize how these jobs benefit society and consider ways to improve them upon.

What’s The Difference between an Instacart Shopper and a Driver?

To begin, shoppers are people who shop for others using their vehicles. They go to grocery stores and buy items on behalf of customers through their App or website.

Shoppers use their shopping lists when making purchases from the store.

Although many customer orders can get fulfilled in minutes, some may take hours, depending on where you live.

Many shoppers complain about driving across town to fill a single charge that could have gotten completed in less time if closer to home.

In comparison, drivers are professional chauffeurs who use their vehicles and work as independent contractors.

They fulfill orders by picking up groceries from several stores, which means they have to travel a greater distance.

Drivers get paid by the number of orders they pick up and deliver, not for time spent in the vehicle.

Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

Although some drivers work extra hours at different jobs, most only drive with Instacart as an additional source of income.

To sign up as a shopper or driver on Instacart, you must be 18 years old and own a smartphone.

Besides these requirements, shoppers who sign up before June 4 receive a $100 bonus upon their first purchase within 30 days of registering.

This promotion is ideal for current workers or non-working individuals who want a flexible job.

However, it may not be as beneficial for those already working multiple jobs as Instacart restricts the number of hours performed in a week.

Who Gets Instacart Tip Driver Or Shopper?

It’s the shopper, not the driver. Shoppers receive an average tip of $2.86, with most shoppers choosing to leave 10% or more after their purchase is complete.

That’s right; your Instacart driver will never get a tip from you for making your delivery.

Instead, they rely on advice from customers that make purchases through the service via credit card.

So if you buy some paper towels and glass cleaner at Walgreens, then your delivery person is earning that extra money.

And before we get too much into this discussion, let me state plainly: I enjoy tipping drivers. Giving someone a tip makes me feel better about myself.

This study from the University of California, Berkeley revealed shoppers tipped their Instacart driver.

The study found that purchasing the service resulted in an average tip of $2.86, with most shoppers choosing to leave 10% or more after their shopping was complete.

The real question is why? Why would anyone choose to tip a shopper instead of a driver?

After all, these people are working hard and putting themselves at risk by walking into stores and interacting with total strangers.

But even though we know who gets Instacart tips, it’s still not entirely clear why.

So, I have come up with five theories about why shoppers receive most tips instead of drivers.

Theory 1: Shoppers Are Doing Most of the Work

Instacart only pays drivers based on time spent in the car and miles driven.

That means that even if your shopper does all the work at your local grocery store, they won’t earn any extra pay, and neither will you.

Theory 2: Shoppers Aren’t assets to the company

Instacart wants your business, but they don’t want to pay for it. That’s right; Instacart has shifted the responsibility of its financial success onto its customers.

If they treat their shoppers well then, their customers will treat them well too.

Theory 3: Shoppers Pay Their Way

This theory states that grocery stores are rounding up your bill to include a tip you should give to your shopper.

Theory 4: Shoppers Are Paparazzi for Grocery Stores

Remember when, in 2009, Kim Kardashian got paid $25k by Glamour magazine to feature 7 of her favorite outfits?

A professional photographer took the photos, and Kim’s job was to talk about her favorite look.

She didn’t sew, cut, or alter any of the clothing in the magazine; she said which one was her favorite.

Well, Instacart shoppers are doing the same thing with your groceries. They go into the store with no money in their pocket and come out with bags full of food.

Grocery stores know this, so they tip their shoppers well (and charge higher prices) to get more exposure for their brands.

Theory 5: There Is No Instacart Tip

This is another way of saying that shoppers are getting paid well by Instacart for doing all this work—no need to tip them.

Do Instacart Shoppers Know If You Tip?

No. Instacart does not tell the shopper what the tip amount is before completing an order, and there isn’t a prompt for tipping at checkout.

The only way for shoppers to find out how much you tipped them is by asking.

This could lead to awkward conversations about money which some people might feel uncomfortable having with their delivery person.

That is when it comes time to pay for groceries in cash at the door. And even then, the shopper may have forgotten or missed your request altogether.

Can I Tip Instacart In Cash?

“Yes.” But you must know a couple of things before deciding to tip your shopper outside of the app.

First, knowing where and how to leave a tipping instruction depends upon whether you place your order through Instacart with the store or restaurant.

Second, it’s best practice to give your shopper some level of control over their experience. You can do this by choosing to tip with cash in-store or through a third party.

Setting Up Tipping with Cash

When shopping on Instacart, place an order and select “TIP IN CASH” during checkout to use cash as a tipping method.

This option is the default for shoppers in the following locations:

  • Alabama
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Arizona
  • Illinois
  • Iowa (only available in certain areas) ·
  • California (and San Francisco) ·
  • Indiana (only available in certain regions) ·
  • Rhode Island
  • Colorado (except Arvada/Boulder)
  • Kansas (only available in certain areas)
  • Texas (except Austin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso & Houston)

Can Instacart Customers Request A Shopper?

Yes. Instacart customers can request to shopping by a specific shopper on any day.

You do this through the customer’s app, which sends notifications when shoppers are available in your area.

The shopper will then shop for your requests and deliver the groceries to your home or office within an hour.

The best part about Instacart is you get access to thousands of grocery items that you wouldn’t usually find at local stores.

Are Instacart Shoppers And Drivers The Same?

You can also have them stock up on essentials like eggs, milk, and bread, so you don’t need to worry about running out again.

Can My Instacart Shopper See My Name?

No. Not only does the Instacart shopping App hide items from shoppers who deliver orders for a living, but also customers’ names.

This means that while the delivery person will always know what’s in the box, they will not know who placed those items inside.

Instacart is an online grocery store that allows users to order from major retailers such as Costco and Whole Foods Market.

Delivery fees range between $3 and $5 based on distance traveled (plus tips).

After placing an order with one of Instacart’s partner stores and providing a credit card number or PayPal account access, consumers can choose a delivery window for their groceries.

Once you submit an order, Instacart’s shoppers scour the area looking for the products listed on each customer’s list.

The shopper then collects and buys the items before delivering them to customers’ doors.

Shoppers can also add personal touches to orders at this point if they want, such as adding candy or flowers (if they’re available).

Although Instacart shoppers will never know who purchased these goods, they have access to information about deliveries destinations.

But in case you were wondering whether it was possible to stay under your shopper’s radar while still giving them insight into who you are, that answer is no.

In its privacy policy section, Instacart states it does not collect its customers’ names, addresses, or phone numbers.

However, Instacart mentions your name, which becomes visible to the employee who fills your order when choosing a delivery window.

“When choosing a delivery window, only the name and address of the shopper’s preferred store is visible to you. You’ll also see the shopper’s first name.

The shopper might know what you purchased but not who bought them. The good news is that it doesn’t seem like Instacart keeps track of customer names either.

So, there’s no database anyone can access if they were looking for them.

Do Instacart Drivers Scan ID?

Yes, Instacart drivers scan your ID to confirm that you are the account holder.

This means only the cardholder will use their own Instacart account. If you do not want your driver to require an ID, you can set up ‘instant delivery’ by following these steps:

Visit and click on “Settings” at the bottom of the page Click “Instant Delivery” under “Account Preferences”

Enter your work or school email address where prompted. Follow instructions for sending yourself a verification code via email.

Enter the six-digit code into the box provided. Click submit. You’re now ready to shop instantly.

Instacart sends two text messages with purchase: one before downloading the order and one after you have downloaded the order.

If you don’t see these text messages, contact the Instacart support team.

Can Instacart Drivers Accept A Cash Tip?

No. Instacart does not allow drivers to accept cash tips.

Since Instacart allows customers to tip through the App, customers assume the tip gets given to the shopper working for them.

However, each driver pays a membership fee of $10/week. All earnings go back into that fee as well. Instacart keeps 10% of whatever their shoppers earn.

This means they only save about $2-$3 per order out of what should be an average of around $12 per order.

You cannot take cash tips because Instacart doesn’t pay you overtime when you work over 40 hours a week. So, it’s against labor laws for you to receive cash tips.

Instacart has been receiving heavy criticism from their shoppers on allowing tipping but not passing the tip onto drivers.

Some people have also accused Instacart of charging “hidden fees” to their customers when told that it goes towards shopper commissions.

Other complaints include lack of communication with management and working long hours without overtime pay or breaks.

On January 3rd, a survey got sent out by Instacart workers (sidelined) asking about their concerns about working for Instacart.

It asked if the company should bring these issues in negotiations:

-Being paid small wage instead of an hourly rate and paying dues weekly whether they worked that week.

-Not allowing them to accept cash tips and Instacart keeping 10% of what the customer pays.

-Charging “hidden fees” to customers that are going towards shopper commissions and lack of transparency in how many shoppers make.

-Lack of communication with management (or complete disregard for Instacart workers).

-Having to work over 40 hours a week but not having any overtime pay, breaks, or benefits.

They used the survey as a place for workers to vent about their issues working for Instacart and share their personal experiences.

Several Instacart shoppers have also created a petition to address these issues.

Do You Tip The Fresh Direct Delivery Person?

The petition is open for anyone with an account on So far, it has gained over 27,000 supporters as of January 7th.


If you’re trying to figure out who gets the Instacart tip, it depends on what role your shopper or driver is filling.

They pay drivers a fixed rate per hour with no tips accepted, and they do not tip shoppers at all. You can tip an Instacart driver in cash.

But there isn’t any way for them to know if you do. So they will have to trust that you made the right decision when tipping.

However, customers can request specific drivers, and their names will appear on the App and be visible through customer tracking cameras should anything happen while delivering groceries.


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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