Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

As one of the most popular grocery delivering services on the market today, Instacart has only grown in popularity ever since COVID-19 ripped through the US. Now more than ever, people are wanting to stay home and not risk going to the grocery store if they don’t have to. But, now that you have people doing your grocery shopping for you, does that mean you have to tip them as well?

This is what we’re going to dive into with this article. While the short answer is yes, you should tip your instacart drivers, we’re going to explain why you should tip, how much you should tip, and more.

Why You Should Tip Instacart Shoppers

Having driven and delivered for Instacart in the past, one of the most common questions friends and family would ask who planned to use Instacart or similar services in the future, is if they should tip their shoppers or not.

Being a shopper myself, I of course couldn’t believe this was even a question! Obviously you should tip your shoppers! While I’m kidding, understanding why you should tip your shoppers isn’t as obvious as I may think it is.

What Do Shoppers Do?

To really understand why you should tip your shoppers, you need to understand just what they have to do when it comes to delivering your groceries. One thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t as easy as delivering a pizza or DoorDash order. With those, all the driver really has to do is take the food from point A to point B.

When it comes to Instacart though, what goes into a delivery is much more complex. Not only are they in constant contact with the customer throughout the order, they also have to cater to them when it comes to things such as finding substitute items, making sure the produce is fresh, and not letting the frozen goods melt.

Because of this, Instacart and related apps are much harder to complete than just regular deliveries. A lot goes into a successful shop, and because of this, shoppers delivered to be paid a little extra than what the app offers.

How Much Should You Tip?

Now to the main question. How much should you tip your shoppers? While there is no set rule, a minimum of 5% tip is what Instacart recommends. In my opinion, this is too low for most orders.

I think a fair tip is 10% of the order up to $100. If the order is over $100, then you can use your best judgement as far as how much you should tip your shoppers. One thing to keep in mind when deciding how much you should tip, is how difficult did you make things for them?

If it was an easy shop then a standard 10-15% tip is just fine. However, if there were a bunch of substitutions, you weren’t very responsive, or people are risking their health in order for you to get your groceries, then a little higher percentage is recommended.

Considering that tips make up roughly half of a driver’s money on a weekly basis, drivers are quite dependent on receiving good tips in order to make a decent $/hr from delivering grocries. Instacart’s fees alone aren’t enough for most drivers to sustain a decent wage.

Bait and Switch

One thing that has become more prevelant ever since the coronavirus took shape is what some drivers are referring to as the bait and switch. With Instacart’s app, customers can change their tip amount up to three days after the order has been delivered. This means that a driver can initially see that the order is paying out $50 only for that to not be the case once everything is all said and done.

These days, customers are showing that they will be tipping a large amount, only to switch it to zero once the groceries are delivered. This sneaky tactic has been picking up steam ever since the pandemic because some customers are finding it more difficult than usual for them to get their groceries delivered. There just aren’t enough shoppers at the moment in order to fulfill all of the order requests that are coming through.


While tipping Instacart shoppers isn’t mandatory, it is highly recommended because so many people’s livelihoods depend on it. So, the next time you order Instacart, think twice before you decide to input a $0 for a driver’s tips. This may be what they’re relying on in order to feed their family.

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