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Instacart Shopper Pro Tips and Tricks

As a five-star rated Instacart shopper. Charles enjoys the freedom of setting his own schedule while earning extra money.

Instacart Tips & Tricks

Instacart Tips & Tricks

Why I Chose Instacart

Before I started shopping for customers on the Instacart platform, I was always looking for a side hustle. I enjoy having extra spending money, and it makes it easier to make ends meet. I've tried driving with Uber, Lyft, delivering food with Uber Eats, and DoorDash. I finally found my dream side hustle and started shopping and delivering groceries with Instacart. Each of these side gigs has its pros and cons.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, I decided I didn't want to drive people around in my car. At the time, I wanted to potentially avoid personal contact as much as I could. Uber Eats and Doors required pretty much no or low contact and were great for making extra cash on Fridays and Saturdays. That was pretty much it. I often found that when shopping with Instacart, I was able to consistently earn decent money from Friday to Tuesday on most weeks. Tips are yours to keep in all of these platforms.

New Shopper Bonus

If you are thinking of signing up to shop with Instacart, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind. First, make sure you sign up with a referral. If someone refers you to Instacart, you will be eligible for a signing bonus. The amount may vary depending on your location. I strongly suggest that you sign up with a referral from an Instacart shopper to maximize your earnings in the first 30 days.

Be sure to read all of the details and requirements of the bonus and also make sure to meet these requirements in order to collect the referral bonus. Most commonly, a new shopper is required to complete 30 batches in the first 30 days to be eligible for the bonus.

Flexible Schedule

There is currently no minimum number of hours that an Instacart shopper is required to work. An Instacart shopper can work as much or as little as they like. It's totally up to you. Once you become an Instacart shopper and download the app, there is a section that provides you with the best days and times to shop in your area. You can use this information to set a schedule for yourself and maximize your earning potential by shopping on dates and times that have the heaviest demand.

Pro Tips

Pro Tips

Pro Tips


Unless the app specifically says that self-checkout is not authorized (I've only seen this at Costco), feel free to use the self-checkout lane to speed up the process. Time wasted waiting in the regular checkout line can add up, especially on busy shopping days. You always want to complete batches as fast as you can in order to earn as much as possible. Wasting time can lead to missed batches and that means less money for you.


Often overlooked, parking near the cart return can save a good amount of time. Always park near a cart return to speed up your orders and help keep your deliveries on time to maximize your earnings. Parking is key for Instacart success, it's not always important to be close to the entrance but to score a location that allows for easy loading your vehicle and exiting the parking lot with ease.

Shopper Promotions

Always shop on days when a shopper promotion is offered by Instacart. This is a good time to rack up some extra cash by completing the required amount of orders required by the promotion in one day. Promotions are generally offered on days where there is a high volume of orders and is a great time to make some quick cash. You should get a notification from Instacart the night before the promotion starts. Complete the promotion as quickly as you can and move on to more batches to maximize earnings for the day.

Small Orders

I love small orders, especially on shopper promotion days. On promotion days, I generally take small orders so I can quickly meet the promotion requirements and then move on to larger orders once I reach my promotion quota. This allows me to meet my daily quota and earn extra money that I hadn't counted on.

25 Items or Less

I earn my living on orders that contain 25 items or less. Orders of this size normally contain six bags or less. I can easily carry 6 bags without making multiple trips to the customers door. Truly a time saver. I can breeze through a store with a small shopping cart and hit the self checkout. I am generally on my way in 30 minutes or less. This method is ideal for maximizing your earnings and managing your time. Time management is key to increased earnings.

Membership Stores

Sam's Club, BJ's, and Costco are generally the best paying batches in my opinion. They are usually small in size but often contain heavy items such as cases of bottled water. You can quickly earn a decent batch pay and move on to the next batch. You can also use self-checkout at any of these except Costco, making your shopping trip even faster. Always arrange your cart with the UPC labels facing up and scan them with the handheld scanner. Grab a couple of boxes to carry your items with on the way out. Load up your car and head out to the customer.

Time and Location

Remember, the early bird gets the worm. To be a pro, start early. I like to open my app at 6:00 AM while I'm making my coffee. I try to look for a quick batch that is close to my house as my first batch. This helps me to get warmed up and off the couch. Once I've completed my first batch, I often set up by parking in a central location of the town I am working in. This puts me close to Wegmans, Costco, BJ's, etc. Remember, location is important, don't forget to put yourself close to the action to make the most of Instacart.

Set Goals

Be sure to set goals for yourself. The key to maximum earnings is to set attainable goals. You should be able to complete six batches in a single day easily. Or, alternatively, set a dollar amount as your goal. Set a realistic monetary goal for yourself. Try to earn $50 for the day. If earning $50 a day ends up being too easy, raise your threshold to $60, $80, or $100 per day. Whatever works in your particular area. Depending on your location, your daily goal could be as high as $500! Ideally, it's best to start out by setting realistic goals for yourself and sticking to them in order to succeed.

Delivery-Only Orders

If you have the opportunity to complete a delivery-only order, grab it! I personally like these batches a lot. It's always much faster than a full shopping batch and the batch pay is comparable to a full service order, maybe just a little less. That's fine by me. It definitely beats wheeling around through the store and also helps to break up the monotony of the day.

Wegmans Side Door Hack

When shopping at Wegmans, take note of the small non-descript side door. It's usually located on the left side of the store. Customers and Instacart shoppers can use this door for picking up orders. To save time on delivery only orders, park near this door to save a bunch of time and snag a great parking spot. Most people tend to park near the main entrance leaving the parking area near the side door wide open. Thank you very much. Mic drop!

Wegmans Side Door Hack

Wegmans Side Door Hack

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Charles Kikas