Instacart vs DoorDash

Instacart vs DoorDash: Which Side Job Is Better for Drivers & Pays More?

Nowadays, many people prefer having food and groceries delivered to their door. Online food ordering and delivery companies like Instacart and DoorDash are becoming more popular as a result. With this Instacart vs DoorDash comparison article, you’re going to discover which one is better for drivers.

As a driver, what you get paid matters a lot when choosing a delivery company to work with. But besides pay, it’s essential to consider the ease of signing up, work flexibility, and more. If you’re ready to start exploring, let’s get into it.

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Related: High Paying Online Jobs

Instacart vs DoorDash: Overview

Both Instacart and DoorDash allow customers to order and get deliveries. But the two differ a bit in the type of orders delivered. So, one difference between Instacart and DoorDash is that Instacart is widely a grocery delivery service while DoorDash mostly delivers food from local restaurants.

Of course, there are other differences between these two delivery companies. But first, let’s take a look at their overviews.

What is Instacart?

Instacart is a retail company widely used for ordering and delivering groceries from stores. It was founded in 2012 and operates in over 5,500 cities across the US and Canada. Because the company partners with over 40,000 stores in these cities, there are 500 million products available to choose from.

Users can order items from grocery stores nearby and get them delivered or availed for curbside pickup. All these factors make Instacart the largest online grocery shopping and delivery service.

What is DoorDash?

DoorDash is an online platform for ordering food from restaurants and getting it delivered. The online food ordering and delivery company was established in 2013. It now operates in over 4,000 cities across the US, Canada, and Australia.

DoorDash partners with thousands of restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other stores. People can order food from local restaurants and stores through DoorDash to be delivered to their door. With its significant market share, DoorDash is the largest restaurant delivery service in the US.

Related: DoorDash Review: How to Make $1,000 a Week with DoorDash

Instacart vs DoorDash: How They Work

While both are companies offer deliveries, Instacart and DoorDash don’t work quite similarly for delivery workers. Here’s how each one works.

How does Instacart work?

With Instacart, you have two options to choose from to make extra money. These are the in-store shopper and full-service shopper options.

In-store shoppers are only involved in shopping for groceries. They receive and organize the orders so that someone else can pick them up. In this role, you work at one store at a time following a shift schedule.

Full-service shoppers do both shopping and delivery. This is the best option for drivers.

Here’s how to Instacart works for shoppers:

  • Submit an application online or through the Instacart shopper app and wait for the approval.
  • Once approved, you pick the order of your choice.
  • Shop a customer order as you do in regular grocery shopping.
  • If you’re a full-service shopper, you’re required to deliver the items after shopping.
  • Get your earnings plus customer tips.

Start earning as an Instacart shopper today!

How does DoorDash work?

DoorDash is all about picking up and delivering customer orders from local restaurants and stores. Your role is simply that of a delivery person.

Here’s how DoorDash works for drivers:

  • Become a Dasher by finishing the registration steps and waiting to get approved.
  • Get the app, launch it, and click on “Dash Now.”
  • Accept an order of your choice.
  • Pick up and deliver the order by following in-app instructions.
  • Get paid after completing the service.

Start Dashing for extra money now!

Instacart vs DoorDash: Requirements

Instacart and DoorDash have some similarities when it comes to the delivery person/driver requirements. You’re likely to get accepted into either of them as long as you meet the requirements for drivers. But the Instacart in-store shopper role is a bit different in what’s required.

What are the requirements of Instacart?

The in-store shopper and full-service shopper roles have some varying requirements. Below, we’ll explore each.

Here are the Instacart in-store shopper requirements:

  • The age of 18 years at least.
  • Ability to work in the US or Canada (the operating areas of Instacart).
  • A smartphone (Android 5.0 and above or iOS 9 and above).
  • Ability to lift at least 30 pounds.
  • Willingness to follow Instacart’s food safety policies.

Here are the Instacart full-service shopper requirements:

  • The age of 18 years at least.
  • Ability to work in the US or Canada.
  • A registered vehicle in good working condition.
  • Vehicle insurance.
  • A smartphone (Android 5.0 and above or iOS and above).
  • Ability to lift at least 30 pounds.
  • Willingness to follow Instacart’s food safety policies.

As you can see, you don’t need a car to work as an in-store shopper on Instacart. But you need a registered vehicle if you’re going to deliver customer orders as a full-service shopper.

It’s worth mentioning that Instacart also does background checks when approving shoppers. You need to be ready to undergo one to work with the company. According to Instacart, they’re normally processed within 10 business days.

What are the requirements of DoorDash?

DoorDash drivers need to meet requirements that are quite similar to those of Instacart full-service shoppers. Here are the Dasher requirements:

  • 18 years of age or above.
  • A car or a bicycle, scooter, or motorcycle in select cities.
  • A driver’s license number.
  • A social security number if in the US.
  • A background check.

Now, the good thing with DoorDash is that they don’t have specific car requirements. You’re free to use the car you have if it’s functional and good on the road. You just need your license and car insurance.

Which one wins? Looking at the driver requirements, it’s safe to say that there’s a tie. If you don’t have a car, you can either work as an Instacart in-store shopper or Dash with DoorDash using your bike or scooter.

Instacart vs DoorDash: Signing up

It’s time to compare the ease of signing up with either of these companies as a driver.

How to become an Instacart shopper

  • Go to the sign-up page.
  • Create an account.
  • Download the shopper app from Google Play or App Store.
  • Enter the background check process which can take up to 10 days.
  • Get the Instacart payment card for shopping customer orders.
  • Start shopping and making money!

How to become a DoorDash driver

  • Visit the registration page.
  • Fill out your contact information, name, and password.
  • Select the vehicle type and enter its details.
  • Begin the background and vehicle check process.
  • Add your bank account information.
  • Deliver your first order and earn.
  • Get the Welcome Kit in 1-4 business days with a Red Card, an insulated hot bag, and a manual on getting started.
  • In-store shoppers are only involved in shopping for groceries. They receive and organize the orders so that someone else can pick them up.

Which one wins? DoorDash is the winner in this case. The DoorDash sign-up process takes a few minutes and you’ll be Dashing in a few days. With Instacart, there’s a background check that can take a while, an in-store shopper’s in-person orientation, and waiting for payment card processing.

Instacart vs DoorDash: Earnings

How much does Instacart pay?

The amount of money you earn shopping and delivering with Instacart depends on some factors. These include the number of completed orders, the item type, distance, and effort involved.

According to PayScale, Instacart personal shoppers make an estimated average of $14 per hour. Working more hours is a great way to generate more earnings as a driver.

Instacart also allows a customer to leave a tip. The personal shopper keeps the entire of it.

You can also earn extra bucks with Instacart’s referral program. Your referral has to complete a bonus requirement within a specified period for you to get paid.

How much money does DoorDash pay?

With DoorDash, you can earn $2 to amounts over $10 per delivery. It depends on the duration, distance, and effort involved in picking up and delivering a customer order.

According to ZipRecruiter, DoorDash delivery drivers earn $18 per hour on average. It can be more depending on the location. You can boost your earnings by completing more deliveries each day or week.

Customer tips are also there to enjoy. You keep 100 percent of the amounts earned as tips.

Another income booster is to refer your friends and family. They only need to complete a delivery requirement for you to get the commission. But the program requires you to have been an active shopper for the past 6 months and completed at least 40 work hours.

Does DoorDash or Instacart pay better?

It’s quite hard to figure out your potential earnings unless you work with both companies. For instance, you may be in a city where Instacart works better for you (or DoorDash) and thus great earning opportunities.

If you’re wondering about when does DoorDash or Instacart pay, it’s on a weekly basis with both companies. The two companies pay via direct deposit to your bank account.

But since most people prefer instant pay, Instacart allows shoppers in select cities to cash out immediately. DoorDash also lets users in the US who meet specific requirements cash out daily at a small fee.

Which one wins? Depending on the location you work, this is a tie when it comes to earnings. Either Instacart or DoorDash can work better for you.


Instacart vs DoorDash: Pros and Cons

Here are some of the things I like and those I don’t about Instacart shopper and DoorDash Dasher.


Pros of Instacart for shopping and delivery jobs:

  • Work at the time of your choice: Instacart allows shoppers to choose their own hours and days. If you have another job, you can commit your free time to Instacart gigs. In case you have no other job, you’re free to work the entire day and make more money.
  • Improve customer service skills: You’re able to have a chat with your customer while shopping and delivering what they need.
  • Earn customer tips: Instacart users can give you tips that you keep entirely.
  • Instantly cash out: In some cities, Instacart shoppers can cash out their earnings any time or day. You won’t have to wait for a scheduled payment day.

Cons of Instacart for shopping and delivery jobs:

  • Tax obligations: Unlike regular jobs where employees have taxes deducted, you need to handle that yourself as a shopper.
  • Gas and maintenance costs: As a driver, you need to take care of your car’s needs and make sure that it’s good for doing deliveries.


Pros of working as a DoorDash driver:

  • No car requirements: DoorDash doesn’t require a specific type of car to start working. If you don’t have a car, you may use your bike or scooter.
  • Work flexible hours: You choose the time you’ll be picking up and delivering customer orders. It can work for you whether you have another job or not. But working more hours each day means earning a higher amount daily.
  • Deliver from any location: As a Dasher, you can work at your homeplace, college location, or a place you’re visiting.
  • Receive tips from customers: Customer tips can increase your driver earnings by a lot more. DoorDash, just like Instacart, lets you have the whole amount from tips.
  • Fast pay: Eligible Dashers in the US can cash out daily but at a small fee.

Cons of working as a DoorDash driver:

  • No hourly pay: You get paid per delivery and not by the hours of work.
  • No automatic withholding of taxes: You’re required to file your own taxes on income earned from DoorDash.

Which one wins? DoorDash might be the winner here. The reason is that other modes of transportation like bikes and scooters are allowed. You can deliver without paying for gas or when your car breaks down.

Wrapping It up

Both Instacart and DoorDash are great for finding delivery jobs. If I have to mention my favorite, it’s DoorDash. It’s only because DoorDash is somehow more accommodating when it comes to the sign-up process, mode of delivery, and ways to earn.

But still, it helps to try both apps and see which one works best for you. Your earnings depend on various factors like location. And so, either Instacart or DoorDash could be more popular in your area and present better earning opportunities than the other.

If you haven’t yet, go ahead and become an Instacart shopper or a DoorDash Dasher!

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