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Instacart vs DoorDash: Which Is Better in 2022?

Instacart vs DoorDash: Which Is Better in 2022?
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Our world is increasingly moving toward the gig economy, where workers can earn extra money or even make a living freelancing or doing short-term work instead of more traditional employment. Similarly, customers are increasingly looking to outsource everyday tasks like grocery shopping, housekeeping, and commuting.

One gig economy sector that has taken off over the past few years is grocery shopping and food delivery services. Two of the most well-known gig economy jobs in the food delivery space are Instacart and DoorDash, and both show up consistently on lists of the best gig economy jobs.

What’s the difference between these two food delivery companies, and which one is best? We’ve pitted them head-to-head to see which is better in 2022. Continue reading this post to see our comparison of Instacart vs Doordash.

Table of Contents

Instacart Overview

Established in 2012, Instacart is an on-demand grocery pick-up and delivery service. The company was struggling before the Covid-19 pandemic and had its first profitable month at the beginning of the pandemic.

Today, Instacart has around 9.6 million active users, 500,000 shoppers and is estimated to be worth approximately $39 billion. It is available in most major U.S. cities, has expanded into Canada, and works with many retailers.

You can either be a full-service or in-store shopper when working for Instagram.

Full-Service Shopper

Full-service shoppers do it all. They receive orders from customers, do all the shopping, and then deliver the groceries to the customer’s house.

While full-service shoppers can take longer to complete and deliver orders, they can make more per order plus tips. However, full-service shoppers are considered independent contractors and thus responsible for all their own taxes. You’ll also need a car to be a full-service shopper.

In-Store Shopper

On the other hand, in-store shoppers are only responsible for compiling and purchasing a grocery order, after which the customer picks up the order curbside.

An important distinction between the two roles is that an in-store shopper is considered a part-time Instacart employee and is required to work set shifts for a maximum of 29 hours a week. You also don’t need a car to be an in-store shopper.

Availability

Instacart is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and all 10 Canadian provinces. You can visit their site to see a list of U.S. and Canadian cities where Instacart is offered.

How to Become an Instacart Shopper

To become an Instacart shopper, you’ll need to apply with your name, phone number, email address, zip code, and driver’s license. You’ll also need to download the Instacart app and fill out a questionnaire.

Instacart will have you sign an independent contractor agreement, submit a W-9 form, and conduct a background check if shoppers are needed in your area. If everything checks out, you’ll receive a prepaid debit card for grocery purchases and can begin working.

Note that you can’t be both a full-service shopper and an in-store shopper, but you may be able to switch roles after a period of time working for the company. Also, in-store shopping roles may not be available in all markets, so make sure to check your area if you’d prefer to work as an in-store shopper.

Sign Up
Instacart Shopper
4.5

Instacart is one of the biggest online grocery delivery companies. You can earn over $20 per hour shopping and delivering groceries to people through the app!

Pros:
  • Work When You Want
  • Mileage Deductions
  • Earn Tips
Cons:
  • Vehicle Wear & Tear
  • Gas Costs
Apply Now

DoorDash Overview

Established in 2013, DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service. The four founders ran the whole organization at launch, including building the app and receiving and delivering orders. To this day, DoorDash employees spend one day a month delivering food.

Today, DoorDash has 18 million users, most of which are in the U.S. The company also controls 45% of the U.S. food delivery market and increased its revenue in 2020 by 241%.

Meal Delivery

DoorDash began as a meal delivery service, which is still the main staple of the business. Customers place an order at local restaurants through the app, then “Dashers” pick the order up and deliver it to the customer.

Because Dashers are delivering meals, which are generally smaller, they can choose to use a car, bike, scooter, or even deliver on foot in some instances.

Grocery Delivery

Due to the boom in demand for grocery delivery services, DoorDash recently began offering its Shop & Deliver service. Using Shop & Deliver, customers can order from grocery, convenience, or retail stores and have their orders delivered to their homes.

DoorDash Drive

DoorDash Drive deliveries may include catering, large group orders, or some setup once arriving at the requested location.

Only experienced Dashers that have qualified for DoorDash Drive will have the opportunity to sign up and claim these opportunities.

Availability

DoorDash is available in more than 7,000 cities in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and Puerto Rico.

How to Become a DoorDash Driver

Becoming a DoorDash driver is similar to that of working for Instacart. You’ll need to apply with your name, contact information, and vehicle information. You’ll also need to show vehicle registration and insurance information and be able to pass a background check.

If everything checks out, you’ll receive an activation kit, a food delivery bag, and a DoorDash red card to pay for orders. As soon as you’ve received your materials, you can begin working.

The average driver earns $23/hr!
DoorDash
5.0

Get started delivering food with DoorDash.

You choose the time and delivery goals as your own boss.

Pros:
  • Fast Payment
  • You Pick Your Hours
  • Preview Pick-up/Drop-off Locations
Cons:
  • Vehicle Usage
  • Gas
Sign Up
Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Which Is Better in 2022?

Instacart and DoorDash are both popular food and grocery delivery service companies, but which is better to work for? Below we compare Instacart and DoorDash in several metrics to see which of these two delivery companies comes out on top.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: What They Deliver

Instacart

Instacart shoppers can either do only in-store only or full-service shopping. However, no matter the role Instacart only delivers groceries.

DoorDash – Winner

DoorDash allow you to order from restaurants, but you can also have orders delivered from grocery stores, convenience stores, and retailers.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Requirements

Instacart – Tie

To become an Instacart shopper, you must be 18 or older, have a newer smartphone, and have a valid driver’s license and car insurance (if you’re a full-service shopper). You’ll also need to be in relatively good health and able to lift 30 pounds.

DoorDash – Tie

The requirements to become a Dasher are almost identical to that of Instacart. You’ll need to be 18 or older, have a valid driver’s license and insurance or some other form of transportation, and a newer smartphone.

Both companies will also run a background check before allowing you to begin working.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: How Much Do They Pay?

Instacart

How much you’ll make with Instacart depends on the kind of shopper you are, your location, demand, the number of orders or deliveries completed, and how many items are in the order.

Instacart full-service shoppers will see an estimated expected payout before taking an order and delivering it. The pay per order is based on the number of items in the order, the driving distance for delivery, and the effort it will take to shop for and deliver the order. You’ll also keep 100% of the tips your earn.

In-store shoppers are paid a flat hourly wage ranging from $9 to $16 an hour depending on your location, but the average hourly pay is around $13.

As previously mentioned, the amount earned depends on various factors, but a full-service shopper will likely make more per order, or batch, because of the increased effort involved. Instacart guarantees shoppers will earn at least $5 for every delivery-only batch and between $7-$10 for each full-service batch. According to Glassdoor, full-service shoppers make an average of $30 an hour.

DoorDash – Winner

DoorDash claims that Dashers nationally average hourly pay of $23, plus 100% of any tips earned. However, what Dashers make per order depends on the Dasher Pay Model.

The Dasher Pay Model sets payment per order using a base pay plus promotions plus tips to calculate your total earnings.

Base pay ranges from $2-10+ depending on the order’s time, distance, and desirability. Next, promotions are added to the base pay and include peak pay, challenges, DoorDash Drive, and guaranteed earnings, which challenges Dashers to earn a specific amount within a set number of days. Finally, customers can leave a tip when they check out or after the delivery.

Although Instacart pay may be higher on average for some workers, overall, DoorDash offers higher earning potential for all their Dashers and extra incentives like peak pay. Also, note that both companies allow you to earn referral bonuses.

The average driver earns $23/hr!
DoorDash
5.0

Get started delivering food with DoorDash.

You choose the time and delivery goals as your own boss.

Pros:
  • Fast Payment
  • You Pick Your Hours
  • Preview Pick-up/Drop-off Locations
Cons:
  • Vehicle Usage
  • Gas
Sign Up
Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: How Does Payment Work?

Instacart

Instacart pays weekly through direct deposit. In-store shoppers can also request that checks be mailed to their homes.

DoorDash – Winner

DoorDash also allows delivery drivers to access their earnings early with Fast Pay for a fee of $1.99 per use.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Apps

Instacart – Tie

In general, Instacart orders will be more complex than DoorDash orders because all orders involve shopping for items on a grocery list.

The Instacart shopper app will display available batches (orders) when you start working. You can tap on a batch display to see the estimated earnings, items in the order, the store, and the distance to the home if you’re a delivery driver.

You must add items as found in the app either by scanning the barcode or entering them manually as you shop. When items are out of stock and require replacements, shoppers can message the customer to ask what they prefer. You can also select “I can’t find a replacement,” and the customer will be refunded for that item.

Customers can request no contact delivery or other preferences in the app, which you’ll see if you’re delivering groceries. Your earnings will typically show up in the app 30 minutes to an hour after the order is complete.

DoorDash – Tie

The majority of DoorDash orders are more straightforward since DoorDash delivery drivers primarily deliver food that has been already prepared. One nice thing about the DoorDash app is that it highlights busy zones in the area you’re working. Red zones are busier and where you can begin Dashing right away.

When you open the app and start working, you’ll see details about the order like restaurant and location, delivery distance, driver pay (not including tip), and the desired drop-off time. Once you accept an order, navigate to the restaurant, ensure the order is correct, and then deliver the order to the desired location. You’re also able to communicate with customers via the app if necessary.

The newer DoorDash Shop & Deliver service works similarly to Instacart in the app. Delivery jobs, including groceries, convenience stores, and retailers, are displayed in the app along with items in the order, the desired store, and the distance to the delivery spot.

This one is a tie since both apps work similarly, and shoppers can communicate with customers throughout the job.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Scheduling

Instacart

Instacart in-store shoppers, considered part-time Instacart employees, must sign up to work during specific shifts totaling no more than 29 hours a week. In 2020, Instacart began rolling out on-demand delivery options for shoppers who also delivered groceries to allow for more flexibility in scheduling.

DoorDash – Winner

DoorDash offers two options for Dasher scheduling: you can either work immediately in a red zone or schedule a shift in 30-minute increments in a zone of your choice. The ability to choose red zone work ensures there are enough drivers to cover the busiest delivery hours, while scheduled shifts ensure there isn’t an oversaturation of Dashers in an area at any given time.

Overall, the flexibility offered by DoorDash is superior to Instacart.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Safety

Instacart – Tie

Instacart allows workers to accrue sick pay equal to one hour of sick time for every 30 worked. They also offer contactless delivery to protect shoppers as they deliver groceries. Once the delivery is made, the shopper snaps a picture as proof.

DoorDash – Tie

DoorDash has been providing up to two weeks of financial assistance to Dashers who’re in quarantine, provided they’ve completed 30 deliveries and have actively worked for the company in the past month.

Furthermore, no-contact deliveries are the default method, and Dashers can request no-contact delivery at any time.

Instacart vs. DoorDash: Driver Ratings

Instacart

Both Instacart and DoorDash offer driver ratings, but only with Instacart could your rating have a significant impact on your access to orders.

Customers rate shoppers between 1 and 5 stars, and your last 100 deliveries determine your average rating as an Instacart shopper. The highest-rated shoppers receive batch requests first, so if your rating is lower, you’ll be placed further down in the queue and potentially make less money. New shoppers are ranked higher in the queue to allow them a chance to compete for orders.

DoorDash – Winner

Although DoorDash also offers driver ratings, these ratings don’t have the same impact on your ability to get orders. This is because customers rate drivers based on their experience, and your overall rating is based on your previous 100 orders.

While a lower rating won’t necessarily impact your ability to get orders during peak times, those with high ratings are eligible for the Top Dasher Program, which gives your priority during slow times and lets you schedule work whenever you want.

Sign Up
Instacart Shopper
4.5

Instacart is one of the biggest online grocery delivery companies. You can earn over $20 per hour shopping and delivering groceries to people through the app!

Pros:
  • Work When You Want
  • Mileage Deductions
  • Earn Tips
Cons:
  • Vehicle Wear & Tear
  • Gas Costs
Apply Now

DoorDash vs. Instacart FAQ

Here are the most frequently asked questions we receive about working for Instacart and DoorDash.

Is Instacart Better Than DoorDash?

Not necessarily. Both are popular food delivery companies, with the main difference being that Instacart is focused on grocery delivery while DoorDash is primarily a restaurant food delivery service. In addition, both offer relatively competitive pay and flexible hours and are great ways to make extra money for those looking for side income.

Does DoorDash or Instacart Pay More?

The money you make working for DoorDash or Instacart will depend on how often you work, your role, and tips. However, while the average earnings per hour are similar for both companies, DoorDash driver pay is typically more because their base rate for tips is higher. Since tips contribute to around 50% of shopper earnings, DoorDash comes out on top in most circumstances.

Do You Have to Have a Car for DoorDash?

Not necessarily. While you’ll have the most options and range for delivering orders with a car, many Dashers have been quite successful in using a bike or scooter to transport their deliveries.

Are DoorDash Drivers Employees?

DoorDash drivers are considered independent contractors and not employees. This means you’ll be responsible for your own transportation, maintenance, and taxes.

Does DoorDash Offer Referral Bonuses?

Yes. DoorDash offers referral bonuses to Dashers after all qualifying conditions are satisfied. Bonus amounts vary by city.

Do You Earn Tips With DoorDash?

Dashers can earn tips but will not see the tip amount until the delivery has been completed.

How Do You Make More Money With DoorDash?

There are several ways you can make more money with DoorDash. The primary method is to maximize the number of orders you can complete in the shortest amount of time. Also, offering excellent customer service through correct orders and communication will help you earn better tips. Finally, taking advantage of promotions like peak pay and challenges can help you make more while Dashing.

Can You Be Both an In-Store and Full-Service Shopper With Instacart?

No, you can only work in one role because one is considered an employee while the other is an independent contractor.

Is There a Minimum Earnings Guarantee From Instacart?

Yes. Instacart guarantees a minimum batch payment of between $7 and $10, depending on the area. For example, if you only delivered an order, your guaranteed minimum pay is $5.

Do You Earn Tips With Instacart?

Yes, you can earn tips with Instacart, and as a full-service shopper, you can see the expected payment amount, including tips, before taking an order.

Can You Make Bonuses With Instacart?

Some Instacart shoppers received up to a $500 bonus in 2020 as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic. Bonuses were based on the time worked with the company and the number of orders fulfilled. Instacart has not yet announced a bonus for 2021.

Can You Work for Both DoorDash and Instacart?

Yes, you can work for both DoorDash and Instacart simultaneously.

Do You Have to Pay For Orders When You Drive for DoorDash?

No. DoorDash issues you a red card to pay for orders.

Can You Make $500 a Week With Instacart?

Yes. On average, an Instacart shopper can make an extra $200-$500 a week depending on how much they work and the batch orders completed.

Can You Make $200 a Day With DoorDash?

Yes. The average Dasher makes $25 per hour, not including tips. If a Dasher worked for 8 hours a day, they would make $200 a day on average plus tips.

Do You Have to Pay for Orders When You Deliver for Instacart?

No. You’ll receive a prepaid debit card to use for purchasing groceries when you work for Instacart.

Instacart vs DoorDash Final Verdict—Which Should I Work For?

While DoorDash came out on top in more categories, the reality is that both companies are pretty evenly matched and which online food ordering service is best for you will largely depend on your preferences.

Both companies offer the ability to have a flexible schedule, work your own hours or preferred hours, and have extensive market coverage across the U.S. and Canada. While on average, you’ll make more money with DoorDash, both allow for a decent hourly income plus tips.

If you enjoy shopping for groceries, don’t want to do deliveries, or prefer a set schedule, Instacart may be a better option. On the other hand, if you like variety and flexibility or have an alternate mode of transportation, DoorDash is likely the better option.

Plus, instead of choosing Instacart or DoorDash, you have the option to work for both to see which suits you better.

So, which gig job will you try first, Instacart or DoorDash?