- Side Hustles
- Apps like Instacart
10 Best Apps Like Instacart: Work For Companies Like Instacart in 2023
Ask people about their experiences working with Instacart, and you get a mixed bag of emotions. Some will say it’s easy and enjoyable, while others will claim it opens up a Pandora’s box of delivery problems.
Regardless of the highs and lows, there’s no denying that the delivery business can be lucrative—the Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently concluded that it’s the fastest-growing job industry in the US.
So good job (no pun intended) on checking out more apps and jobs like Instacart. We’ve got you covered.
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In this article, we’ll tell you—
- What is Instacart?
- How does Instacart work?
- Average pay for services like Instacart.
- 10 best Instacart competitors: get paid to shop for others.
- Key FAQs on gig apps like Instacart and Shipt.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a company that’s arguably dominating the online food delivery space. It connects its customers to personal shoppers like you via its app and website.
This San Francisco-based delivery giant saw a massive uptick in customers during the 2020-21 pandemic outbreak—
- Over 85%i of American and 90% of Canadian households were using Instacart.
- A whopping 4.4 millioni app downloads in March and April 2020 alone.
- A total of $1.8 billioni in annual revenue in 2021.
This wildfire-like growth has slowed down since then—but the company continues to work with over 600,000 Instacart shoppers thanks to its flexible work policy and consistent batch orders.
How Does Instacart Work?
Whether you’re a shopper or a customer, Instacart can seem muddled and unsystematic at first—so we’re going to break it all down for you.
Instacart’s backbone is its strategic partnerships with over 750 individual retailers from which it sources products. (These are the same stores that customers can order from on the app and the website.)
You can join the band as Instacart’s “in-store” or “full-service” shopper. In-store folks prepare orders at one store, whereas full-service shoppers deliver orders to the customer's door. (Selecting, purchasing, packaging, and delivering—you’ll be dabbling with it all.)
This business model is genius and does wonders for Instacart—it attracts customers who are dedicated to a particular store, without stocking up on any product inventory.
Tons of customers have pointed out they love being able to order from different stores in a single delivery.
Good for them—but what’s in it for you?
As an in-store shopper, you’ll work part-time as per your availability (and for the hourly pay, you’ve agreed on).
As a full-service shopper, you’ll work as a gig worker—whenever you want—and pocket 100% of customer tips. (The catch is that you’ll need a car for this job.)
Average Pay for Services Like Instacart: How Much Can You Make from Grocery Shopping for People?
We went through the dandy job description, but—all the frills and trimmings aside—how much can you actually earn as an Instacart shopper?
Here’s some secondary research:
Full-service shopper average pay
In-store shopper average pay
$25/hour (including tips)
$17/hour (including tips)
$20/hour (including tips)
Very little common ground here, so we did a small survey ourselves.
We asked twenty Instacart full-service shoppers—most (60%) say they earn $15–$20/hour.
We also surveyed nineteen Instacart in-store shoppers—the majority (52.6%) say they make $10–$15/hour.
Now let’s look at top Instacart competitors and draw some comparisons.
10 Best Instacart Competitors: Get Paid to Shop for Others
Here’s a list of the top ten apps like Instacart you should check out—
Pay per hour: $16–$22/hour
Why we like it
Shipt is an on-demand online delivery service that lets you get paid for shopping. Similar to Instacart, this company has strategic tie-ups with physical stores where Shipt drivers shop for customers.
Where Shipt one-ups Instacart
- The Shipt app lets a Shipt shopper choose which areas they want to shop from—Instacart prompts you to take orders from anywhere and everywhere.
- Shipt creates a community for its Shipt delivery shoppers by organizing events and meetups.
Where Instacart one-ups Shipt
- Instacart has job roles for people without cars—for Shipt jobs owning a car is mandatory.
- Instacart is available in more locations than Shipt.
Pay per hour: $17–$22/hour
Why we like it
Doordash offers on-demand delivery or pickup services for nearby restaurants and convenience stores—and this delivery giant is almost always recruiting drivers. You can become a Dasher if you’re over 18 and have any kind of vehicle (car, scooter, or bicycle).
Where DoorDash one-ups Instacart
- Don’t have a car? No problem, you can deliver for DoorDash with your scooter or bicycle.
- Generally higher hourly pay than Instacart.
Where Instacart one-ups DoorDash
- Instacart gives you more opportunities to earn customer tips and bag 100% of it.
- You’ll make a minimum of $13/hour as an in-store Instacart shopper (even if there are no orders) while DoorDash pays you per delivery.
Pay per hour: $15–$20/hour
Why we like it
From takeout food to alcohol to groceries, you’ll deliver just about anything when you work for Postmates. This delivery platform is available in dozens of locations in all 50 US states—so there’s a good chance Postmates operates near you.
As a part of the Postmates Fleet you’ll earn a fee for each pickup and drop-off, a per-minute and per-mile rate, bonuses, and tips.
Where Postmates one-ups Instacart
- Customers can order absolutely anything from partner and non-partner stores, meaning more delivery opportunities for you.
- Instacart needs you to be able to lift 50 lbs to qualify as a shopper—Postmates doesn’t care about your weightlifting skills.
Where Instacart one-ups Postmates
- Instacart has in-store job opportunities for people without vehicles, while Postmates requires you to have a delivery vehicle.
4. Uber Eats
Pay per hour: $17–$21/hour
Why we like it
Pick your delivery schedule and get paid on a weekly basis with Uber Eats—an excellent alternative to traditional part-time delivery gigs.
The app lets you track how much you can earn from delivering an order before accepting it. You can also maximize your earnings through promotions and delivering during peak hours. (Plus, you get to pocket all the tips.)
Where Uber Eats one-ups Instacart
- You can work as an Uber delivery driver and a rideshare driver at the same time. (Folks alternate between driving people and delivering meals to make more money.)
- Want to go crazy and pull a 50-hour week? Uber lets you work as much as you want, while Instacart in-store shoppers can only work up to 29 hours per week.
Where Instacart one-ups Uber Eats
- Instacart emphasizes good ratings—so if you’re a high-rated shopper, you’ll have priority access to new orders.
Pay per hour: $10–$31/hour
Why we like it
Grubhub is a popular food delivery service where customers can place orders using the website and app. Driving for Grubhub can be a great second income opportunity.
You can bag this gig if you’re over 18, have a car (or a bike in select areas), and all the necessary papers.
Where Grubhub one-ups Instacart
- This one is a biggie—Grubhub pays you a minimum of $12/hour if you accept 90% of orders for the day. (Instacart doesn't guarantee any money.)
- The instant cash-out feature lets you redeem your earnings as often as you want. (Instacart lets you access your full earnings two hours after you deliver a batch.)
Where Instacart one-ups Grubhub
- For Grubhub you usually need at least two years of driving experience. (Instacart is newbie-friendly and has no such requirements.)
6. Amazon Fresh
Pay per hour: $18–$25/hour
Why we like it
Here’s the key difference between Amazon Fresh and most delivery services—Amazon Fresh exists as a grocery store of its own instead of working with other existing grocery outlets.
You’ll deliver proprietary items like Amazon’s Fresh brand meal kits, produce, and baked goods.
Where Amazon Fresh one-ups Instacart
- With Amazon you don’t have to personally interact with Johnny from Chinatown who’s being a pain in the rear over a milk carton. (Instacart would require multiple conversations with this delightful customer.)
Where Instacart one-ups Amazon Fresh
- Instacart presents more tipping opportunities—the company promotes a minimum suggested tip of $2 per individual store delivery.
Pay per hour: $17–$19/hour
Why we like it
Available in over 1,000 cities across the UK and the US, Gopuff is a delivery app with its own micro-fulfillment warehouses. So instead of picking stuff from grocery stores all across the city, you’ll have limited pickup locations.
The company also lets you choose pre-scheduling delivery hours for a more predictable work schedule.
Where Gopuff one-ups Instacart
- Can be less physically demanding as you have free pickup locations than with Instacart.
Where Instacart one-ups Gopuff
- Gopuff drivers sometimes worry about not having enough deliveries to fulfill—a problem related to Gopuff’s limited availability.
8. Walmart Delivery
Pay per hour: $17–$19/hour
Why we like it
Walmart offers one of the most stable and high-paying delivery jobs in the US. This service operates on a Spark Driver app and connects you to customers around a few Walmart local stores.
You have full flexibility to choose when you want to drive. Here’s the best part, though—the national average wage of a Walmart delivery driver is $18/houri (attractive to say the least).
Where Walmart one-ups Instacart
- Walmart offers growth opportunities to transition into management.
- The localized deliveries mean you don’t have to drive around the whole city.
Where Instacart one-ups Walmart
- Unlike Walmart, Instacart has a great referral program that pays you when the person you referred completes a certain amount of deliveries.
- Walmart has strict requirements (including 30 months of driving experience) to bag a driver’s job. (Instacart has more lenient thresholds.)
Pay per hour: $12–$18/hour
Why we like it
ASAP is another food delivery app that delivers food from local restaurants and takeaways. You can deliver meals to customers using your car, scooter, or bike.
You can expect decent hourly pay and cash out your earnings daily.
Where ASAP one-ups Instacart
- Unlike Instacart, ASAP lets you use your car, bike, or scooter to complete deliveries.
Where Instacart one-ups ASAP
- Instacart full-service shoppers can work as much or as little as they like. (ASAP requires you to work a minimum of 20 hours a week.)
Pay per hour: $12–$40/hour
Why we like it
Marketed as the “ethical Instacart”, Dumpling works on pretty much an identical business model.
Here’s what’s different—Dumpling will let you decide how much you charge to shop, what stores you’re willing to go to, and when you’re available (so you’re basically running your own business).
Where Dumpling one-ups Instacart
- You have full control over how you’re compensated for your deliveries. (Instacart isn’t really comparable because it’s yet to establish some transparency over its pricing system.)
- Dumpling also empowers you to set up your own business through coaching from successful personal shoppers.
Where Instacart one-ups Dumpling
- Dumpling charges you $19.99 to set up an account and a continuing transaction fee of 3.9% on each order. (Instacart doesn’t take a fee out of your income.)
Mind you, your actual earnings can differ and depend on factors like the number of deliveries, time of day, location, and expenses.
Key FAQs on Gig Apps Like Instacart and Shipt
Let’s answer some most commonly asked questions on services like Instacart—
1. What are the best apps like Instacart to make money?
Here are Instacart alternatives that can help you make just as much money—
- Shipt—become a shipt shopper and shop for your customers from different physical stores ($16–$22/hour).
- DoorDash—deliver from nearby restaurants and convenience stores using your car, scooter, or bicycle ($17–$22/hour).
- Postmates—join the Postmates Fleet and earn a fee for each customer pickup and drop-off ($15–$20/hour).
- Uber Eats—decide your food delivery schedule and get paid on a weekly basis ($17–$21/hour).
- Grubhub—earn a minimum of $12/hour by accepting 90% of customer orders for the day ($10–$31/hour).
- Amazon Fresh—deliver proprietary Amazon items like meal kits, produce, and baked goods ($18–$25/hour).
- Gopuff—choose pre-scheduling delivery hours and deliver from a few warehouses ($17–$19/hour).
- Walmart Delivery—get a stable and high-paying delivery job with several career progression opportunities ($17–$19/hour).
- ASAP—work a minimum of 20 hours a week and deliver meals to customers using your car, scooter, or bike ($12–$18/hour).
- Dumpling—run your show by deciding how much to charge for your service, what stores you’re willing to go to, and when you’re available ($12–$40/hour).
2. How to find the best-paying grocery store shopper jobs?
Brian David Crane, founder of SpreadGreatIdeas, says, “Some side hustles—like delivery gigs—offer good returns. The key to finding the profitable ones is researching online and staying ahead of the trends. The delivery industry can seem saturated at face value—but it’s ever-evolving. Every time a new service comes up and addresses a key consumer inconvenience—you have a new opportunity to make more money.”
- More apps like Instacart are emerging every day.
- We’ve shortlisted ten that pay well for shopping for people's groceries, food, and other essentials.
- You’ll work as an independent contractor with most of these opportunities—guaranteeing you a certain amount of flexibility and hourly pay.
- Make sure you do your research on what’s expected of you and what you can make.
We hope you have some fun, positive delivery stories to share soon!
Browning & Griffith (2022, April 29). Instacart Searches for a Direction as Its Pandemic Boom Fades. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/29/technology/instacart-valuation-pandemic.html
Instacart and Michaels Expand Partnership to Launch Same-day Delivery Across Canada. (n.d.). Instacart Corporate. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.instacart.com/company/pressreleases/instacart-and-michaels-expand-partnership-to-launch-same-day-delivery-across-canada/
InstaCart: Availability to households in the U.S. and Canada 2020. (n.d.). Statista. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105206/instacart-availability-to-households-in-the-us-and-canada/
Editorial teamMeet the team
Content writing and marketing professional with 5+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.
Kacper is an editor, writer, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands.
Founder/Personal Finance Expert
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.
Lauren is a published content writer and journalist. In the last five years, she has written about a range of subjects, including business, technology, and finance.
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