Instacart Tipping Etiquette

Instacart Tipping: How to Decide on the Right Amount

Tipping is a controversial subject, especially with new food delivery services like Instacart, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.

Today, the gig economy is replacing numerous daily tasks. This has raised a lot of questions regarding tipping etiquette.

If you just want to know :

How much am I supposed to tip my grocery delivery driver?
10-20% based on the service you receive.

If you want to learn more about determining your tip and how to tip your driver, read on.

To provide some insight into how to decide how much to tip an Instacart delivery driver, let’s take a closer look behind what they actually do.

Additionally, let’s look at other factors involved with their work that you should consider when tipping a grocery delivery driver.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for further details.

How Much do Instacart Drivers Make?

According to, the average base pay for Instacart drivers is $15 per hour.

This rate is pretty typical for personal grocery shopper jobs. However, based on Glassdoor’s data, the pay rate can range from $5 to $27 per hour.

But, because it is typically based on user input, it isn’t clear what that includes. Some may consist of tips, while others may not.

Additionally, drivers aren’t really paid by the hour. They are paid by the job.

So if there aren’t any available jobs, they aren’t getting paid. And they typically receive around $10 base pay for each delivery.

What do Instacart Drivers get Paid For?

Instacart shoppers get paid to pick up your groceries, load them in their car, and deliver them to you.

8281 579064 Instacart Tipping: How to Decide on the Right Amount

What Don’t Instacart Drivers get Paid For?

Drivers don’t get paid anything extra for sitting in traffic, bad weather, difficult delivery conditions, or demanding customers.

But I’m sure you’re not one of those, right?

How do You Tip Instacart Drivers?

You can tip within the Instacart app as well as tipping with cash upon delivery.

There has been a good deal of controversy about company policy on tipping for Instacart drivers in the past.

The default tip used to be 10%, and that was changed to 5%.

Drivers aren’t happy about the default being set at 5%. That is because most customers will just default to that.

Additionally, for some time, workers were guaranteed a minimum payment for each delivery. However, their tips were factored into that payment.

Tipping In the Instacart App

When you go to checkout in the Instacart App, a 5% tip is applied.

However, if 5% of your order is less than $2, a $2 tip is applied.

Instacart Tipping Examples

Instacart Tipping example where 5% of the order is less than $2.
5% of order < $2
Instacart Tipping example where 5% of the order is greater than $2.
5% of order > $2

You can change the tip if you desire. When you click “Change” next to Diver Tip, you see the following notes:

  • 100% of tips go to your delivery person
  • Tips are always optional
  • You can change your tip after delivery

You can choose to tip a preset amount or a custom amount.

The option to choose “None” has been removed to encourage customers to think more before entering $0, which should rarely, if ever, be done.

The default tip for small orders is $2 and is 5% for larger orders.

Additionally, each order includes a service charge.

The service charge is 5% of your order and covers operating costs, including insurance, background checks, and customer support.

And if you order alcohol, if it is available in your area, an additional service charge starting at $2 is applied. It goes up depending on the amount you buy.

According to the app, this additional service charge is to cover the extra cost for ensuring compliant delivery of alcohol products and ID verification.

Can the Instacart Drivers See the Tip Before Delivery?

Yes, drivers can see how much their Instacart payment is as well as the tip amount before accepting any order.

If you intend to tip upon delivery, you may want to consider this. If the driver sees zero or little tip beforehand, they may not accept the job.

If you are looking to make some extra money on the side delivering groceries, Instacart is an excellent opportunity.

However, if you’d prefer to have the option of delivering more than just groceries, look into working for Postmates to expand your potential delivery opportunities.

Can you Change the Tip in the App After Delivery?

Yes, you can change your tip in the app after your delivery is complete.

However, the experience of most drivers, when it comes to Instacart tipping, is that it is rare for customers to change their tip amount after delivery.

Whatever you do, please do not put a large tip in the app prior to delivery and change it to $0 after you receive your groceries.

Tip baiting is not cool.

These delivery people are providing a service and deserve a tip, especially when everyone else is under a stay-at-home order.

I recommend putting at least a minimum 10% tip. If they exceed your expectations, either give them additional cash or increase the tip in the app.

The only time you should lower the tip after delivery is if your order was wrong or the delivery person was rude or handled your delivery poorly.

Tipping with Cash at Delivery

Despite the controversial Instacart tipping policies in the past, the current policy is that 100% of the tips go to the drivers.

However, if you have any concern that the drivers aren’t receiving the whole tip you leave in the app, you always have the option of tipping them in cash.

But again, be aware that drivers might not be happy to see your order if it has a $0 tip applied. You could always change it to $0 after giving them a cash tip.

How Much Should You Tip for Instacart Delivery?

Before you decide how much to tip your Instacart driver, you should consider several factors related to your order, as well as the delivery.

Additionally, according to a US Foods survey, 60% of deliverers were irritated by a weak tip or no tip at all.

This survey was primarily focused on food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash, but my guess is that Instacart drivers feel the same.

How to Decide the Tip Amount in the App

Besides the convenience of not having to go to the grocery store yourself, you should consider the following to determine your tip amount when placing your order.

  • Order size
    • This should be considered on both ends of the spectrum.
      • An order for 1 or 2 items might not be worth it to most drivers, so a more significant tip may be called for.
      • Large orders can result in a large tip based on typical percentages recommended.
        • However, keep in mind the extra work required of the driver in this case.
  • Known delivery conditions
    • You may want to consider increasing your Instacart tip for things like:
      • Bad weather
      • Challenging to reach your home (construction, traffic, etc.)
      • Conditions at the delivery point (stairs needed to climb, far from the driveway, etc.)
      • Delivery during a worldwide pandemic!

Other Factors to Consider for Tip Amount

Additionally, there are several other factors you should consider when deciding on how much to tip your Instacart delivery driver.

When deciding on the tip amount in the app, you are considering the items above. However, what about factors affecting the delivery itself?

  • Traffic changes after ordering
  • The attitude of the delivery driver
  • How the driver handles your groceries

So What is the Proper Instacart Tipping Etiquette?

As with any service, the amount that you tip should be based on the service you receive.

10% to 20% is what should be tipped in this case. And in most instances, it should be in the upper end of that range.

Again, each situation is unique.

However, always keep in mind the service the is being provided. And the conditions the driver has to work through.

And if you are interested in becoming an Instacart Shopper, you can sign up here.

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Instacart tipping, like tipping for anything else, is a controversial topic.

People have firm beliefs about how they think tipping should work.

But whenever you have a service provided for you, you should consider what it is worth to you for not having to do it, and the level of service and effort involved by the service provider.

What are your thoughts about Instacart tipping? How do you compare it to tipping for other services? Are you an Instacart delivery driver? What have your experiences been around Instacart tipping? Please share in the comments below.

Instacart Tipping: How Much Is the Right Amount?

2 thoughts on “Instacart Tipping: How to Decide on the Right Amount”

  1. As an IC contractor, it is now common for instacart to use the customer tip as part of the “batch” pay. A batch consists of one or more orders. IC (Instacart) will combine multiple orders, Order #1 will have a high tip and the IC payment reduces to $5 for that batch, the in order #2 has no tip and IC keeps that batch at the average $7. IC claims that drivers are getting 100% of the tips and we are, but IC is using the tips to supplement a lower paying order. IC also encourages low tips in lieu of promoting their contractors as the good, hard working people we are, We are made to feel inferior. Why do we do this job? The freedom to have a job that can work with a busy family, to take time off without hassle for the doctors, working when you can if you are disabled or on social security and supplementing your income, and ultimately wanting to help our fellow man, because their lives just got too busy.

    1. Dawn – thanks for your informative comment and for the work you do. It is unfortunate the way that companies, and some customers, treat workers like you. You are providing a valuable service, especially during the current situation, and should be fairly compensated for it.

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