How Much You Should Tip Your Instacart Shoppers, According to Shoppers Themselves

Young person shopping

Gig workers, such as food delivery drivers and Uber/Lyft drivers, rely on flexible, temporary assignments to earn an income. Instacart shoppers are part of this group. They’re the superheroes who are tasked with doing your grocery shopping and delivering the goods to your home. Even before COVID-19 changed our way of living, getting your groceries or fast food delivered was a modern convenience that removed the dread of facing long lines.

The thing about Instacart shoppers, they’re not just people who make sure that your bananas don’t have brown spots. They actually have a set of skills—like speed, problem-solving, precision and communication—to do their job, and customers who want a service using these skills should tip them. Or you could also get off the couch, burn the fuel in your car and grab your own groceries.

If you’re thinking twice about tipping a fair rate for someone else to do your grocery shopping, let’s talk about it before you hit that “order” button.

Related: How Much You Should *Really* Tip at Starbucks, According to Current & Former Baristas

Should You Tip Your Instacart Shopper?

Instacart shoppers perform a service, so yes, they should be tipped. A shopper from Michigan noted that, “you tip your waitress and hairdressers, so we deserve the same! Gas isn't free.”

Instacart states that shoppers get a flat rate (about $7 per order but that varies by location) and they keep 100% of their customer tips, but how much they earn depends on their location and how many orders are completed.

One Instacart shopper in the St. Johns, Florida area, who has been doing this work for a few years, explained the importance of tipping. “Many customers order off Instacart tipping as low as $2, or even no tip. I just wanted to inform you that Instacart shoppers are not paid hourly. Instacart only pays your shopper $5 per order, and sometimes we are shopping for 2 or 3 customers at a time, which means the pay is like $2.50 per customer. We also pay for the gas to deliver the groceries to you. [We] heavily rely on your tips!”

How Much Should You Tip an Instacart Shopper?

There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to tipping. But the consensus among Instacart shoppers on social media groups and forums agree that a range of 10% to 20% of the total order is fair. Customers don’t have to tip at all, but they should know that they might not get the happiest personal shopper or anyone at all within their mileage range.

Portland, Oregon Instacart shopper, Nateinstacarts on TikTok, thinks customers should be tipping a minimum of $10 per order for up to 10 items. In his area, the company only pays $8 per batch, which could include 2–3 orders. A shopper from Wisconsin said, “If Instacart raises the batch pay to what I think I deserve for the order, I will take it without a tip.”

According to Instacart, when customers order, they can choose their tip percentage based on their basket size or pick a specific dollar amount. A common dilemma is that the percentage method can change if there are refunds, complaints over damage or replacements.

Another issue is if the customer removes a tip without a reason. In that scenario, Instacart covers the tip up to $10. Shoppers have also complained about “tip bait,” which is when a big tip is attached to an order, but it drops significantly after the order is completed and for no reason.

How Does the Instacart Shopping Process Even Work?

To help you understand why you should tip, consider how the process works. Instacart shoppers use their Shopper app to locate orders (or “batches”). The app shows the batch price, delivery distance, number of items and expected tip. The shopper can choose to accept the batch or not. In the store, shoppers pick the customer’s items, chat with them about changes or questions, check out with their provided payment card, then deliver the groceries. This process can take 60–90 minutes depending on the time of day and the complexity of the order.

Shoppers need to have a 4.7 rating to get batch prioritization. When batches with good tips pop up, they’re snatched up in seconds. At the end of the day, the work is competitive, physically demanding and it’s a constant battle to be in the “hot spot” of requests—not to mention waiting around for batches to pop up.

At the end of the day, tipping is voluntary, but it’s a way to recognize hard work and it supports fellow taxpayers who provide convenience. As one Instacart shopper from Washington hysterically noted, “Too cheap to tip? Then take your own trip.”

Up next: Aldi's Super-Cute ICEE Maker Kit Is the Best Money You'll Spend This Week