Instacart Tipping 2021: Here’s How Much To Tip

Instacart tipping can be a confusing topic. Luckily, we've outlined the most common tipping etiquette for Instacart shoppers and how to tip correctly on Instacart so you're never left wondering what's appropriate again.

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Instacart is a great service for those who can’t make it to the grocery store on their own, but figuring out how much you should tip your Instacart shopper can be tough. Luckily, we have compiled a list of tipping guidelines that will help you figure out what’s appropriate in any situation.

The short answer is that you should tip at least 5% of the total cost of your order to your delivery driver.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule and I will go over those as well. In general, it’s not socially acceptable to tip less than 5%. If you get someone who does a great job for you or if they have been really helpful, you can tip more.

For example, if your shopper brings a few grocery bags and makes sure to pack it perfectly (with no substitutions) so that everything is safe and secure in the bag, they deserve a bigger tip for their efforts.

However, when a shopper does not communicate and just refunds the item instead of attempting to find something else, you shouldn’t tip higher than 5%.

What Do Instacart Shoppers Do?

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Instacart shoppers complete shop for your orders in the grocery stores. This includes picking up groceries, pricing items to make sure they’re correct, bagging the order in a standard Instacart-branded shopping bag, helping with heavy loads like heavy boxes or bags of pet food or cat litter if needed, and then delivering everything safely to the customer’s home.

Instacart workers can be broken into two types of gig workers — there are full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers.

Full-service shopper

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors in the gig economy that use the Instacart platform to shop and deliver orders for their customers. This opportunity has lots of flexibility—you choose which batches you’d like to shop for, with no limit on how many batches you can fulfill or work full-time.

Requirements to be on the platform as a full-service shopper include—

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • A smartphone with Android 5.0 or later, iOS 9 or later
  • A functioning, registered vehicle
  • Vehicle insurance, in accordance with local laws
  • Can lift 30+ pounds
  • Following Instacart’s food safety policies

In-store shopper

In-store shoppers are Instacart employees who, among other things, shop and stage orders in one store at a time. These part-time shoppers work scheduled shifts, up to 29 hours per week. No car is required for this role.


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Requirements for the in-store shopper role include—

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • A smartphone with Android 5.0 or later, iOS 9 or later
  • Can lift 30+ pounds
  • Following Instacart’s food safety policies

Individuals with a medical condition or disability may qualify for reasonable accommodations.

Do You Tip People on Instacart?

It’s important to note that you do not tip Instacart shoppers. You are only supposed to tip the driver who delivers your order.

The Instacart Help Center states that you should tip if you want to recognize excellent service and 100% of your tips will go directly to the shopper delivering your order.

Instacart’s default tip is 5%. If you can, a good idea is to leave a minimum of $2 in the app per store delivery. You can leave large tips for excellent service.

Can Instacart Shoppers See the Tip?

Instacart shoppers can see tips that customers add beforehand, but they have the opportunity to change it before delivery is made. Customers can review and alter their tip in the event of stellar or poor service. They also have the option of declining an order due to a low tip.

How Much are Instacart Drivers Paid?

What are Instacart worker’s earnings? Instacart drivers are paid $7-$20 per hour, plus they have to pay for gas and tolls. They also receive big tips (hopefully) from their customers on top of that hourly wage.

At present, there is no “hourly guarantee” or minimum wage like on-demand ridesharing and other food delivery jobs offer.

With the new pay structure, Instacart shoppers’ tips are separated from the company’s pay and all orders will have a higher minimum wage of between $7 to $10 for full-service orders.

What is Instacart Tipping Etiquette?

Instacart tipping etiquette can be tricky, but luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of guidelines to help. In general, it’s not socially acceptable to tip less than 5%. 

If your shopper brings a grocery bag and makes sure to pack it perfectly so that everything is safe and secure in the bag, they deserve extra cash for their efforts.

Instacart Tipping Policy

According to Instacart’s dedicated tipping help page, tips are optional but a great way to show your shoppers appreciation and recognition for their excellent service. 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper delivering your order.

The default tip is 5% or the percentage you chose for your most recent order, whichever is higher. There is a minimum suggested tip of $2 per individual store delivery. 

You can modify the tip while placing an order and up to 24 hours after receiving your delivery.

How Can You Tip Instacart Drivers

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To add a tip during checkout:

On the website

  1. At checkout, continue to the Say thanks with a tip page
  2. Choose your tip amount and click Place order

Instacart app

  1. Tap Go to Checkout and scroll down to Delivery Tip.
  2. Tap Change.
  3. Select the amount you’d like to tip and tap Save Tip.

To add or modify a tip after delivery—

Instacart website

  1. At the top left, click the 3 horizontal lines 
  2. Click Your Orders
  3. Click View order detail on the relevant order
  4. At the top of the order page, click Rate order
  5. After rating the order, update the tip

In-app

  1. Tap the 3 horizontal lines in the upper left-hand corner.
  2. Tap Your orders.
  3. Tap your recent order.
  4. Tap Rate and tip.
  5. Select the tip amount.

Instacart Delivery Fees

Instacart delivery starts at $3.99 for same-day orders $35 or more. Fees vary for one-hour deliveries, club store deliveries, and deliveries under $35. There will be a clear indication of the delivery fee when you are choosing your delivery window. 

As always, Instacart Express members get free delivery on orders $35 or more per retailer. 

All orders must be at least $10 before being eligible for delivery.

What is Instacart Tip Baiting?

With the COVID-19 pandemic rocking grocery stores, more people are turning to services like Instacart.

Tip-baiting happens when a customer who promised a large gratuity changes it to a lesser amount or to nothing after the delivery is complete.

Instacart recently unveiled a helpful new feature to combat tip-baiting. A technology blog, TechCrunch writes that customers who make changes to their orders after the delivery must provide feedback on why they are doing so.

Users now only have 24 hours to change a tip, down from the previous three-day window. Additionally, repeat tip removers will have their accounts deactivated.

This change happened after senators call for FTC investigation into tip baiting on Insstacart.

What are Other Apps Like Instacart?

There are other food delivery apps like Instacart: 

Amazon Fresh: A membership-based grocery delivery service that delivers fresh, frozen and nonperishable groceries.

Uber Eats: The Uber Eats app is a food delivery service that offers restaurant meals delivered to your location. Uber Eats drivers deliver take-out right to your doorstep.

Drizly: You can find a liquor store nearby and order alcohol for delivery—even beer!  It’s like the Uber of booze.

Grubhub: A nationwide food delivery network where you can get your favorite grub from any restaurant, even if it doesn’t

DoorDash: The most popular food delivery app, DoorDash offers a variety of on-demand and pre-scheduled food options.

Postmates: Offers an interactive map with stores that offer deliveries. Order from over 100k restaurants in the U.S.

There are a lot of jobs like Instacart that workers can consider joining.

Should You Tip Delivery Drivers?

When you are using food delivery apps like Instacart, Shipt, DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates, Uber Eats and Grubhub, it’s important to tip your delivery drivers for their good service.

This is mainly because you’re supposed to treat delivery drivers just like you do servers at local restaurants. Because they are getting minimum wage so it’s important to show your support.

These gig economy delivery services do pay their drivers a base pay but they still rely on tips to make any real sort of supplemental income.

The Bottom Line

Tipping is never required, but it’s a way to show your appreciation of the service you receive. Instacart shoppers make less money than restaurant servers do so tips are greatly appreciated by them.

So how much should you tip on Instacart?

The Instacart Help Center states that you should tip if you want to recognize excellent service and 100% of your tips will go directly to the shopper delivering your order. 

You should tip at least 5%, but if you want to show your appreciation for excellent service or have a really helpful shopper, then it’s okay to tip more. 

For example, tips should be higher on weekends when Instacart shoppers are busier and they may need help with heavy loads like heavy boxes or bags of pet food or cat litter.

If you’re unsure how much to tip, a few things to consider are size of order, speed of delivery and level of customer service.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Instacart shoppers deserve a tip, leave a fair standard is 5% of the total cost of your order
  • If you have a good experience, increase the tip to 15% or even more
  • You are welcome to pay them a cash tip
Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs helps you make money from home and online. Don't spend time on a side hustle that doesn't pay, I'll help you find the highest paying and creative side gigs to help you pad your bank account. I've been featured as a personal finance expert on Yahoo! Finance, Discover, Fox News and more.

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