Tipping etiquette feels so complicated sometimes. First of all, we tip differently in America than people in many other countries. Even here, though, it’s so confusing to know who to tip, let alone how much to tip them. After all, we’ve begun to receive an increasing number of services. As new ones emerge, how do we determine tipping? For example, is Instacart tipping a thing?
What Is Instacart?
I won’t belabor this too much since most of us know what Instacart is. Nevertheless, for a quick refresher:
- Instacart is an app or website that you can use to order groceries as well as other items.
- You place your order on the site.
- Next, you’re matched with your own “personal shopper.” They go to the store for you and purchase the items that you have ordered.
- Typically, they deliver the items to your door. Note that with some stores you have the option of curbside pickup instead. Generally, though, the delivery person comes to you and either hands you your goods or does a contactless drop-off if that’s what you selected as your preference.
- That’s it. You have your items. You didn’t have to do your shopping except for online.
Your “personal shopper” is, of course, an Instacart gig worker. You’re matched with them in the same way that you’re matched with an Uber or Lyft driver, for example. You don’t get the same one each time or anything like that.
What Does Instacart Cost?
You don’t have to pay a monthly or annual feel in order to use Instacart. You can download the app and use it for free.
Various Instacart Fees
However, you do pay a price for each delivery. According to Instacart, delivery prices start at $3.99 for same-day orders of $35+. That’s the starting price, though, and many factors can change it. For example, if you’re shopping during a peak time, your delivery price may be higher. Additionally, there are higher fees for one-hour deliveries, deliveries under $35, etc. As you get used to using Instacart, you’ll get a better feel for the price you’re truly paying for the service.
If you choose curbside pickup instead of delivery, then you may or may not pay a pickup fee.
Furthermore, Instacart has additional service fees. Here’s what they say on their website about that:
“Service fees vary and are subject to change based on factors like location and the number and types of items in your cart. Orders containing alcohol have a separate service fee.”
Healthline reports that those service fees start at 5% of your order.
Oh and one more thing … the price you pay per item may be higher than if you bought the same item in the store! This varies by retailer.
Optional Instacart Membership
That said, you do have the option to sign up for Instacart Express. You can choose a monthly or annual payment for that service. It comes with a variety of perks, including free delivery on orders over $35 and reduced (but not exempted) service fees.) You pay $9.99 per month of $99 per year.
Instacart Tipping is Confusing Because Instacart Pricing is Confusing!
As you can see, there are many different factors that go into your Instacart shopping price. Until you get used to using the app, you may have no idea what each order really costs you. Even then, you might feel a bit fuzzy about the costs and where the money is going. As a result of this confusion, Instacart tipping is confusing. You know, for example, that you tip 20% of your bill to the waiter at a restaurant. But what do you do about Instacart tipping when the bill is so confusing?
Suggested Instacart Tipping Etiquette
Despite the confusion, Instacart tipping is recommended. After all, this person is providing you a service. They’re doing your shopping for you. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram shopping soared because many people didn’t want to leave their houses and cope with grocery store risks. Those shoppers are taking those risks for you. So, tipping only seems right.
Instacart reports that tipping your shopper is entirely optional. They note, however, that 100% of your tip does go to your shopper. Therefore, at least you know that the money is going where you expect, not adding to Instacart’s fees. How does Instacart tipping work? You do it right there in the app when you place your order. Here are some things that you should know:
- The default tip is set at 5%. You can change it easily when you place your order. Furthermore you can change it within 24 hours of placing your order.
- Instacart recommends tipping a minimum of $2 on any order.
- Your shopper can see your tip. Therefore, if you opt not to tip, you might not get as many people willing to take your order.
How Much Do You Tip on Instacart?
So, there’s no easy answer to how much to tip on Instacart. You could follow the recommended guideline of $2 minimum. Or the 5% of your order option. But you might want to go with your gut. Like with all service tipping, think about the quality of the service provided. Was your shopper on time? Did they communicate well with you? Did you get everything you asked for? If you had any issues, did they help you resolve them? Did you have a huge order that took them hours to shop for? Did they have to climb up a bunch of stairs to deliver your order? Factoring all of these things in can help you decide whether to tip more or less than average on Instacart.