Instacart: A Successful Side Hustle

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What is Instacart?

Simply put, Instacart is a grocery delivery and pick-up service that can be conveniently accessed through an app on a mobile device, such as an Android or Apple phone.

Instacart employs independent contractors (known as personal shoppers) that can shop around for customers and deliver groceries to their homes. Consumers can order food, beverages, and other important items from their favorite grocery stores in the area. Most importantly, the consumer does not have to leave their home to access the items they need! Max Cash is here to help you learn more about this side hustle.

How to Sign Up for Instacart

To sign up for Instacart and become a personal shopper, you will need to initially fill out your basic profile information. Additionally, you will need to provide the following information when signing up:

  1. Your Direct Deposit Information to Receive Your Money     
  2. Your Vehicle’s Make, Model, and Manufacturer Year
  3. Your Car’s Current Insurance Information (To Ensure that the Vehicle is Safe and Eligible to Drive for Instacart)

There could be an onboarding waiting period, so you may be placed on a list until a spot is available.


However, regardless of whether or not there is an onboarding waitlist, you will be required to undergo a background check before you can get the green light to start driving for Instacart. Generally, the background check takes anywhere from 1-3 business days.

If you are approved to work as an independent contractor for Instacart, you can choose to accept rides, which are referred to as batches by the app. On the Instacart app, you will find a list of instructions on which store to go to, the items and their location by row, the checkout process (this includes snapping a picture of the receipt and uploading it to the app after the purchase is complete), and the customer’s delivery information and instructions. Some customers choose contactless delivery, and others request in-person delivery! Once the delivery is complete, your earnings will be shown on the home screen in the app. They are available to be pulled after two hours.

Is Instacart a Successful Side Hustle?

Yes, it can be. If you follow the necessary steps / instructions and work quickly, it could be worth your while to drive for Instacart. Of course, you will need to factor in the amount of gas you will spend to get to the store and the customer’s house, as well as the amount of wear and tear you are potentially putting your car through.

Our team tested the Instacart app by taking 2 orders (totaling $36) in Scottsdale. They were able to pick up a total of 22 items at Safeway and Walgreens. This took around 2 hours, and they drove approximately 10 miles. The drop-off points were at a residential location and a hotel in north Scottsdale. Since these items weren’t hard to find and the team worked diligently to follow the app’s instructions, it was a successful trip! Gas is currently $4.90 a gallon. The estimated cost of wear and tear on the car is approximately .73 cents per mile. Therefore, the team made $26.56 and took home $13.23 each for just a few hours of work.

Instacart has the potential to be a successful side hustle. If you are consistent, you could easily make a couple of hundred dollars a week in your free time!

Interested in earning with Instacart?

By Z. Garcilazo

Z. Garcilazo is a financial writer for the Max Cash team with over 2 years of experience in the financial services industry. She has a passion for finance, and routinely authors blogs about budgeting, banking, and more.