Delivering groceries is becoming a popular way to make extra money in the booming gig economy. Apps and services like Instacart, Shipt, and DoorDash allow you to earn income on your own schedule, by shopping for customers and delivering their grocery orders.
With flexible hours and strong income opportunities through base pay and tips, grocery delivery can be an attractive side hustle. This article will explain how it works and provide tips for maximizing potential earnings and your payouts.
Why Deliver Groceries?
Here are some of the main benefits of earning money delivering groceries:
- Make your own hours - The beauty of grocery delivery platforms is you aren't tied to a rigid work schedule. As long as you meet delivery timelines, you have the flexibility to work whenever fits your availability.
- Good pay - Between base rates per order, promotions during busy times, and tips from happy customers, you can earn decent money delivering groceries. Full-time shoppers report $15-$25 per hour on average.
- Growing demand - Online grocery ordering grew tremendously during the pandemic. As more customers get used to delivery, demand for drivers continues rising.
Delivering groceries is an easy way to generate income in your downtime. Continue reading to learn how to get started.
Requirements to Deliver Groceries
While each company has its own criteria, most grocery delivery services require:
- A valid driver's license and auto insurance. You'll shop orders and deliver them directly to customers.
- Pass a background check
- Access to a reliable vehicle to safely transport groceries. Cars are most common, but some platforms allow bikes.
- A smartphone with mobile internet to use the delivery app and accept orders. Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program offer discounted or free cell service that helps gig workers starting out keep expenses low. Learn more about FREE cell phone and data service at EASY Wireless.
- The ability to lift orders up to around 40 pounds. You'll need to carry bags from the store to your car and to customers' doors.
- Meeting age requirements, typically 18 years old but sometimes older like 21. This varies by company based on insurance needs.
As long as you meet these basic criteria, you can get approved to start accepting grocery delivery gigs in your area.
How Grocery Delivery Services Work
Grocery delivery platforms connect local grocery stores, with customers looking to shop online. As a delivery driver, your role is to fulfill online orders.
You'll get notifications through the delivery company's app for orders available near you. After accepting an order, you'll go to the store, shop for all requested items, load up your car, drive to the customer's location, and deliver their groceries.
Some services have two roles:
Full service shoppers
Your responsibility is to shop and deliver orders. This role provides the most flexibility to build your own boss and schedule.
An in-store shopper works shifts shopping for orders that other drivers deliver. These are part-time hourly positions, so your hours are fixed.
Your pay typically includes a base rate per order from the company plus any tips customers add. Base rates vary based on factors like order size, driving distance, heavy items, and more. You'll earn more during peak hours like Sundays when demand spikes.
Major Grocery Delivery Companies
Now that you understand how it works, here are some top grocery delivery services to consider working for:
Instacart is the biggest player, serving over 500 metro areas in the U.S. and Canada. You'll shop orders from major chains like Costco, Aldi, Kroger, Publix, and more. the Instacart app offers the option to be a full service shopper with a flexible schedule.
Create an account and download the Instacart shopper app to get started.
Shipt focuses on shopping and delivering from major retailers like Target, Meijer, H-E-B, and Safeway. It's available in over 5,000 cities. You get to schedule hours based on your personal availability too. You can choose to be a shopper or a driver. There are two options to get paid, through a weekly transfer to your bank account or instantly on the app (fees may apply).
In selected regions, Amazon Fresh allows Prime members to get groceries delivered from Whole Foods and Amazon. As a driver, you'll also earn money by making Amazon Fresh deliveries when convenient for you.
To deliver Amazon Fresh you'll need to sign up as an Amazon Flex Driver and then select those routes when available.
Uber Eats Driver
While known for restaurant meal delivery, Uber Eats also offers grocery delivery from major chains like Walgreens and Petco through its Cornershop acquisition. Deliver food and essentials with Uber Eats' flexible schedule.
Sign up to become a driver at www.uber.com
DoorDash drivers (Dashers) can now choose to deliver groceries in addition to hot food orders. Customers can order groceries from convenience stores, supermarkets, pet stores, and more.
Deliver for Walmart with Spark Driver
Another option for grocery delivery is to become a Spark Driver for Walmart. The Spark Driver platform allows you to shop for and deliver Walmart Grocery orders placed online by customers.
As a Spark Driver, you'll earn money by picking up grocery orders at Walmart stores and delivering them. Spark Driver is available in over 3,650 cities, so you can likely find openings near you.
With Spark Driver, you get to be your own boss and choose which delivery offers to accept. You can work as much or as little as fits your schedule.
The Walmart Spark Driver app shows you available delivery gigs in your area so you can earn income on your own terms by delivering groceries.
Signing Up to Deliver Groceries
The process of making money by delivering groceries is quick and easy:
- Download the app for your chosen company like Instacart or Shipt. Provide your basic personal information to get started.
- Consent to a background check. Companies need to vet drivers. As long as your record is clean, you should be fine.
- Get activated to start accepting orders. Once approved, you'll receive instructions to officially activate your account.
- Set up payment. Whether you use the company payment card or direct deposit, you'll provide details to get paid for orders.
Then it's time to start shopping and earning extra income! Check for delivery openings in your area.
Maximizing Your Earnings During Your Grocery Delivery Service Shift
Follow these tips to earn more money delivering groceries:
- Take orders during peak hours like weekends and holidays when demand and pay surge.
- Provide excellent customer service. Happy customers are more likely to give larger tips!
- Take advantage of promotions and referral bonuses offered by delivery companies to boost your income.
- Track your mileage and costs. As most of these positions hire you as an independent contractor, recording your mileage expense will be critical when submitting your tax returns. Deduct work-related expenses like gas and car repairs to lower your taxable earnings.
Delivering groceries is an easy, flexible way to make great money on your schedule. Sign up for apps like Instacart and start accepting orders today!