Smart Money

Why You Should Consider Being A Personal Shopper For Instacart in Chicago

There is money in grocery shopping! Yes, you read it right. Instacart in Chicago (and anywhere else in the US and Canada regions) offers work opportunities for anyone who is willing to be someone else’s personal grocery shopper.


I am a stay-at-home mom, and I live in Chicago. I must say grocery delivery services like Instacart Chicago is like heaven-sent for me! I swear, it makes my life so much easier and definitely, more comfortable.


But if I may say, I actually just began online shopping when I got pregnant. I had a quite difficult pregnancy that I had to stay home most of the time. So, since I was not allowed to do my usual routine, and because I hate being stuck and feeling helpless, I started opening myself up to the wonders of online shopping.


It was actually then that I learned about Instacart Chicago. I swear I never knew it existed! At first, I was kind of hesitant but eventually gave in to online grocery shopping. After my very first Instacart Chicago delivery experience, it felt like my grocery shopping life was never the same again.


I honestly thought this is a very genius idea especially for women like me who could not find time to do groceries because of physical reservations, or like for stay-at-home moms, because their children are so demanding they could not even do anything else but look after and nurse their kid.


Don’t get me wrong, though. Today, I won’t be talking about my grocery shopping experience as a customer of Instacart, but how it can be a means also for moms like me to earn money. Yes! You can earn some extra cash for you and your family by becoming one of Instacart Chicago (or anywhere else for that matter), personal grocery shoppers.


When my baby was older,  out of boredom, I checked out for any available career opportunities on the Instacart website. I was delighted knowing they have a lot of job openings. By the way, I was particularly looking for a personal grocery shopper job. I cannot do regular day jobs yet, so a part-time job like this would mean a lot to me.


Anyway, to cut the long story short, I did apply to be Instacart Chicago’s personal grocery shopper, and I must say, I loved it and I did enjoy doing the job.


So, today, I thought of sharing the fun with you. I will be sharing some of the basic information you must know if you want to be one of Instacart Chicago’s (or anywhere else you are from in the US and Canada) personal shoppers like me.


To start with, let us first get to know what the company is all about.


What is Instacart?


Personally, I describe Instacart as something that makes mommas lives easier.


But seriously, Instacart was actually founded in 2012 in San Francisco by Apoorva Mehta. It is an American technology company that operates as same-day grocery delivery, as well as pick-up service. It operates not just in the United States, but also in Canada.


Instacart uses independent contractors to deliver grocery items right to the customer’s door. As I said, it makes people’s lives easier, because instead of heading out to the grocery store to do grocery shopping yourself, you can instead use the Instacart app to order everything that you need, and then, the Instacart shopper will take charge of picking it up and delivering your groceries to you. No hassle, right?


Because of the kind of service that Instacart gives, it is not surprising why right after they launched the business in 2012, it immediately became a Silicon Valley darling, and guess what again!? The company is now sitting at an about $8 billion valuation. Pretty big, right? Well, not, that is a very good reputation (and revenue) to beat.


How does Instacart work?


For those who are unfamiliar about how Instacart work, it’s actually pretty simple. All you have to do is download the app, sign-up, and start your online grocery shopping!


Instacart allows you to do pretty much everything that you usually do when grocery shopping – just in the online form. Instacart lets you add your favorite products to your grocery list, you get to set your personal choices, as well as add notes to your order if you have one.


Once done, an Instacart shopper will go get your items and bring them to your preferred delivery address – whether be at your home, office, or anywhere else within Instacart’s coverage area.


Instacart definitely makes online grocery shopping process very convenient and exceptionally user-friendly. When you look at the app, you will surely notice that Instacart thinks about how to make life comfortable for their customers. In fact, you sure get to notice that they allow their users to search products in different ways – as you can browse by category, featured products, new arrivals, or you may also find current deals and coupons.


Once you find the product you are looking for, all you have to do is tap the “Add to Cart” button, and leave special instructions if there’s any that you would like your personal shopper to know. This allows you to in a way take control of the kind of item you want to receive especially when buying fresh produces.


In the case of unavailable products, you can also leave a note on how the shopper can replace it. You can replace it with another product or you may choose to ask for a refund instead.


Once your order is completed, you will automatically be required to provide the delivery address, your mobile number, your preferred payment method, as well as your preferred delivery time. One of the best things about Instacart is that you can opt for same-day delivery, or you may schedule the delivery on a later date.


Instacart updates you with notifications regarding the status of your order, and the delivery. That way you can keep track of your groceries are already on its way to you.


See, it does really work simply, right?


What stores does Instacart work with?


Instacart has a lot of partner stores. Technically, you can only virtually shop at their partner stores. But don’t worry, most of the top and popular stores are actually partners with Instacart. In particular, some of these are Costco, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Kroger, Target, and ALDI.


The list of partner grocery stores actually depends on what city you live in. When you use your Instacart app, what you will basically see in there are the stores within your location, which personally, I find really well because you won’t waste your time looking for the stores near you. You will immediately see it in there.


How much does Instacart cost?


The fee of Instacart delivery varies per city, the time you ordered, and the items you ordered. Instacart’s delivery fee can range between $3 and $10. In some cases, though, it can get higher. Again, it really depends, taking into account the different factors we mentioned.


By the way, Instacart also allows tipping. You just have to check their tipping guide to know more about how to do it. So, if you like how your shopper worked, you can sure give him or her some tips.


How can you be an Instacart Chicago shopper?


Instacart basically follows generic guidelines when it comes to hiring personal shoppers. It’s just that we are specifically talking about Instacart Chicago.


Anyway, there are actually two ways to get into Instacart Chicago as a personal shopper. You can either work as a part-time employee working as an in-store shopper or an independent contractor working as a full-service shopper.


Now, for you to have an idea, here are the things that make them different from one another:


Independent Contractor


As an independent contractor, you work as a full-service shopper, it basically means you handle both shopping the grocery items and delivering them to the customer. You get to work for unlimited hours weekly.


Part-time Employee


Instacart Chicago and Instacart, in general, offer part-time employment to those who are interested. As a part-time employee, your role is to be an in-store shopper, which means you only fill orders. You are required to work for up to 29 hours weekly, you get to access to a 401(k) retirement account, and you also get to enjoy a commuter benefit that provides pre-tax dollars used for public transportation.


Apart from the above-mentioned perks, Instacart shoppers also get the freedom to set their own work schedules, get paid a commission or by the hour depending on the employment type, and they get to receive their payments on a weekly basis.


Where you can work?


Apart from Instacart Chicago, in total, Instacart operates in 38 states plus in Washington, D.C. It is available in different locations like New York and San Francisco, as well as in Maryland, Chevy Chase, and Lannon, Wisconsin.


You may check the Instacart website for the company’s full list of service areas.


What are the requirements to be an Instacart Chicago shopper?


If you are interested to try this out, here are some of the basic requirements that you need to meet in order to land a personal shopper job with Instacart:


  1. Must be 18 years old and above. Generally, the job is available for people 18 years and older. However, if you wish to be able to deliver alcohol, you must be at least 21 years old. Yes, Instacart is very strict with this age rule, which is actually commendable.
  2. Must be able to lift 40 pounds or more. Yes, you have to have the ability to carry grocery items that are as heavy as 40 pounds or more.
  3. Must own a smartphone. Instacart prefers their shoppers to have an Android 4.0, iPhone 4s or any other newer smartphone models.
  4. Must pass the background check. Yes, Instacart considers this as serious business. According to most shoppers, they usually are cleared within 72 hours after activating their accounts. The time frame does vary though per location.
  5. For independent contractors, you must have at least 2 years of driving experience. As mentioned earlier, independent contractors work as full-service shoppers including delivery. Thus, they are required to pass a vehicle or DMV check. Instacart is particular that their workers do have a functional car that meets not only their requirement but the state requirements, which include the minimum required insurance coverage, as well as “assess for any major violations on a prospective shopper’s driving record.” Unlike Uber or Amazon deliveries though, your car does not necessarily need to have four doors to pass.


How to be an Instacart shopper?


Whether you are aiming to join Instacart Chicago or anywhere else, you better check below Instacart’s very simple process to get you started:


  1. Go to and have your account activated. On this page, you will be asked to provide basic information such as your name, location, as well as give the company permission to do a background check.
  2. For part-time employees, you will have to attend an in-person orientation. The orientation lasts for two hours. It also allows prospective employees to try out the job before even starting. It’s like getting the feel of it.
  3. Fill out the necessary paperwork. Independent contractors will have to sign a contract or agreement, as well as a W-9 tax form. Meanwhile, part-time employees will need to sign an offer letter, and a W-9 tax form, too.
  4. Download the shopper app. Yes, the personal shopper app is different from the app used by grocery shoppers. The app basically allows you to set your availability, pick up gigs, communicate with the help team of Instacart in case an issue is encountered, and it also lets you track your earnings.

In addition, please take note that independent contractors need to have insulated food-delivery bags to help control the temperature of the items to be transported. Instacart sells preapproved bags for $20 for three bags. You may opt to buy elsewhere but you have to make sure the bag meets the company requirements.


How to take Instacart Chicago gigs?


Instacart Chicago delivery usually starts at 9 am ad can go as late as midnight. Again, it depends on the location. Workers have the flexibility to choose the time they want to start their shifts. They can start even earlier especially if a customer chooses a 9 am to 10 am delivery time.


To pick the time slots that you are willing to work on, you will have to use the company shopper app. You can update your availability accordingly. If you are wondering about how many hours you need to work, here’s the good news, there isn’t any minimum number of hours. So yeah, it is definitely something moms like me can get into.


How to make money via Instacart Chicago?


How much you make through Instacart depends on how hardworking you are. There is an evident difference though on how much you can earn depending on your employment type.


On one hand, part-time employees of Instacart are paid on a fixed, hourly rate, which varies from one location to another.


On the other hand, independent contractors earn from commissions based on the number of items per order, as well as the number of deliveries completed. For instance, large orders, which tend to be heavier, will earn a shopper a larger commission. The more customers put in orders, the higher the commissions are.


Here’s the trick, if you want to earn higher or make more money from being an Instacart shopper, whether it be in Chicago or anywhere else, I highly suggest you work during Sundays, holidays, as well as during popular events like Super Bowl.


Also, the better your customer service is, the more likely you are to earn tips from customers.


When it comes to the payment process, both part-time workers and independent contractors get paid on a weekly basis through direct deposit. For part-time employees, they may choose to have their check mailed at their preferred address. This is more convenient for those who do not have or are not comfortable sharing their bank details. The downside though is that it takes long before you get to receive our payment and may also mean you need to pay for check-cashing services.


Also, keep in mind that since Instacart does not withhold taxes for independent contractors, they then have to make their own estimated quarterly tax payments.


Why you should consider working for Instacart Chicago (or anywhere else)?


Personally, as I mentioned earlier, I opted to work as a part-time employee out of boredom, and also because I love grocery shopping. I find it super therapeutic. It’s like an equivalent to a vacation. You may find this funny, but I guess a lot of moms can relate to this.


Anyway, there is actually more to that. Being a grocery shopper for Instacart means earning extra money for myself as well as for my family. And because you have your own money, you get to buy whatever you want for yourself or for your family. In my case, I save the money for our baby’s future (because my husband takes care of everything else).


Apart from earning, if you notice a while ago I mentioned the flexibility of time. Instacart Chicago and Instacart, in general, allows you to work at your most convenient time. They even let you decide what time you want to start and end work.


For moms like me and others who hate getting stuck to a specific schedule, this is definitely one part-time work you may want to consider.


Final Thoughts


Working for Instacart Chicago or anywhere else in the US or Canada is actually a fun thing to do. It does allow you to make use of your time and earn extra at the same time. Personally, I love the fact that it lets me do something that I love to do, which helps rejuvenates my spirit while getting paid at the same time.


So, if you are like me who has ample time to do grocery shopping for others particularly fellow moms who we once were, or someone who hasn’t find his or her dream job yet but does not mind working as a personal grocery shopper, go ahead and apply to be one of Instacart’s personal shoppers.