The Complete Guide to Instacart Tipping Etiquette

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Instacart Tipping Etiquette

instacart tipping

Grocery delivery services like Instacart, Shipt and Walmart are making our life easier. Today you can do your grocery shopping from Cotsco, Safeway and other local stores with just a few taps on your smartphone and get your order delivered to you the same day.

Instacart is growing fast and planning an IPO for 2022 . It is one of the best grocery delivery companies now expanding rapidly in the United States due to demand spurred by the pandemic. In the first half of March, Instacart saw downloads of its app grow by 218 percent from February to mid-March based on consumers' apprehensions about visiting grocery stores at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Whether you are a new Instacart user or not, by reading this guide you will learn everything you need to know about how tips work in the grocery delivery platform.

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Do Tips Go to the Drivers?

You probably heard about the controversial tipping scandal , which showed that Instracart and other food delivery apps were using customer gratuities to cover delivery workers' pay.

Instacart legal issues include a lawsuit from a District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine.

The lawsuits argued the company misled customers about the Instacart tipping policy . The grocery delivery service collected millions of dollars by deceiving customers into thinking that an optional service fee would be used as a tip for workers when it allegedly went to the company instead.

After public pressure, complaints from drivers, and a class-action lawsuit from shoppers in California, Apoorva Mehta - Instacart's founder- ultimately announced in February 2019 a new tipping policy.

With the new pay structure, Instacart shoppers’ tips are separated from the company's pay, and all orders will have a higher minimum wage between $7 to $10 for full-service orders.

Related Article: How late does Instacart deliver

Should You Tip Instacart Drivers?

If you read some posts on the Instacart shopper forum in reddit, you will immediately understand how important tips are for delivery shoppers. Tipping is always an option and not an obligation. It is a voluntary gesture of gratitude; a reward for good service.

However, the delivery guy will provide a personal service by buying and delivering groceries. In the United States and in Canada, the cultural norm is to tip those who provide this kind of service. If you had a good delivery experience, we recommend giving a tip to your driver.

Instacart Tipping Etiquette: Should You Tip? How Much?

Instacart's Tipping Policy encourages you to tip Shoppers, but they do not include these in the delivery cost, nor require users to tip. If you want to tip, they make it incredibly easy to do via in-app...

Do Drivers Depend On Your Tips?

Over the last few years, the Gig Economy’s platforms, including ride sharing companies and online food delivery apps, empowered the workers with extreme flexibility. Despite the risks, especially during the pandemic, many workers continue to choose independent contractor positions from companies like Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats.

Gig workers can choose when to work and how many hours they wish to work. So, does Instacart pay well? Instacart shoppers get paid per deliveries. They can work full time or part time, however, unlike in-store shoppers, they are not Instacart employees but independent contractors. Here are some important things you should know:

  • Instacart workers do not have a minimum wage
  • The driver pay varies per order based on number of items and distance required to deliver the order to the customer
  • A full service shopper earns an average $12/hr
  • Instacart does not pay for gas or car maintenance

So, how do drivers know how much you are tipping them? If you choose to tip beforehand, the amount of the gratuity will appear on their batch request.

Do Instacart Shoppers See Tips?

Before accepting a delivery request, Shoppers can see the following information:

  • The number of items to buy
  • The distance
  • The earnings estimate including the Instacart payment and tip

All this information will help the Shopper to choose if they will accept or decline the order.

So how do drivers know how much you are tipping? If you choose to tip beforehand, the amount of the gratuity will appear on their batch request.

How Much To Tip The Delivery Driver?

What's considered a good tip? How much should you tip grocery delivery? In their general tipping guide, The Emily Post Institute says that a tip 20% of your order is a good tip. So, if you want to know what percentage to tip, the general rule is to tip between 15 to 20 percent of delivery orders. Practically, assuming that 15% will be an appropriate tip for a delivery person, any tip is incredibly appreciated. Even just a dollar.

How To Calculate The Tip?

You do not need a tip percentage calculator. Well, in a tech world you can always ask google, so you will get the answer easily without having to figure out the tip percentage.

The tip calculator formula for a 20% tip is pretty simple:

  • You move the decimal point in your pre tax bill one place to the left
  • Round up to the next easy number
  • Double that number. The result is 20% of your original bill

Here is a practical example for you on an order that had a total of $63.75:

  • 63.57 → 6.357
  • 6.40 (round)
  • 12.80 (double)
how to tip instacart delivery driver

How To Add A Tip

Now you know how to calculate a 20 percent tip and that you don't need a delivery tip calculator. The app calculates the tip amount for you. There are 3 ways to add a tip for your delivery person:


  1. After selecting your order items, follow the prompts until you reach the 'Place Order' screen
  2. Find the section 'Driver Tip'
  3. The Instacart app suggests a default tip of 5% for the shopper. You can change the tip amount at checkout or up to three days after delivery. Select the tip amount/percentage or tap 'Other' to enter a custom amount


Once your order is delivered, you're automatically given the option to rate your experience and add a tip.

NOTE: If you add or edit a tip after delivery, you'll be emailed an updated receipt that includes the new tip amount.


You can add or modify a tip to a completed order for up to 24 hours after delivery:

  1. At the top left of the app, tap on ‘View Account’
  2. Tap on 'Your Orders'
  3. Select the order you want to update
  4. Select the order you want to add a tip to
  5. Next to the tip amount, tap "Add tip"

No matter what options you will use, tips added on the app are charged to the card on file.

Can I Change Instacart Tips?

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted normal life for people around the world who increased using online services when available.

Some of those people have turned the tactic into a bait-and-switch, offering up the big tip and then taking it away as soon as the person delivered the order.

The tip baiting is one of the Instacart scams creating a deceptive practice.

Recently, Instacart changed the tipping policy to ensure a safe platform and the best possible experience for Shoppers.

Starting Monday, June 8, the San Francisco headquartered company shortened the tipping window from three days to 24 hours. Basically, while you can always adjust tips on the Instacart app, tip adjustment is no longer authorized after 24 hours of when your order is received.

Keep in mind that while you can always delete your account if you do not want to use the delivery service anymore, Instacart customers can also be deactivated for tip baiting.

👀 Related Article: Is Instacart Down

How To Change Tip Amount On Instacart

If you want to find out how to edit tips on Instacart after an order is placed, you are at the right place.

To adjust a tip amount after you've placed an order and your order is still in progress and not yet delivered, contact customer support using either the mobile app or desktop browser.

If you want to change the tip after delivery, follow our step by step tutorial:

  1. Open the Instacart app and log in to your account
  2. Open the menu located in the upper-left corner
  3. Select “Your Orders.”
  4. Select the Instacart order that you would like to modify
  5. You can now adjust the amount you would like to tip (You may need to explain why the tip should be lowered or increased)

Do You Tip For Grocery Pickup?

Curbside pickup is a new feature on the Instacart app. Very similar to the pickup feature offered by food delivery service, this new option empowers the local business and provides a new form of convenience to customers.

With Instacart Pickup, customers have the option to bypass the Shopper and pick up their own orders from the restaurant when more convenient.

The curbside services are available in 3,300 stores across more than 30 states, including the following Instacart partners:

So, do you tip curbside grocery pickup? While grocery services like Walmart have a pick up tipping policy that explicitly defines that stores associates do not accept tips, there are no set rules by Instacart.

Our suggestion, especially during this hard pandemic time, is to BE GENEROUS.

👀 Related Article: Do You Need To Tip For Pizza Pick Up

Best Jobs to Make Tips

Being a personal assistant shopper, delivering and earning money for each delivery is not that complicated, especially if you keep track of your miles, with tax deductions, if you save the money on gas, and always follow our tips to earn more. However, if you are looking for the best tipping jobs and the best delivery service to drive for, we suggest you consult our guide to the best delivery apps to work for . In any case, do not forget to send your customer a thanks note for the kind gesture.

Instacart Tipping Frequently Asked Questions

Is Delivery Fee a Tip?

No, the money for the delivery fee does not go to the driver. In addition, if you signed up for the Express Subscription, the delivery tip is never included as part of your membership.

Can My Instacart Driver see how much I tip?

Personal Shoppers can see the total sum of their tips that are added to their weekly earnings on the Shopper app. However, if you tip using the app, they won’t know that they have received any additional money from you specifically.

Should you tip in Cash?

If you order groceries through the Instacart app, you already know that it is a cashless app. This means that you will not need cash to pay for your order. Once you create your Instacart account you have to add a payment method. Instacart currently accepts all major US credit and debit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay and EBT cards.

Once you place an order, you will be able to use the in-app system. Many drivers do not have a preference for cash or tipping directly on the app. Even though it can be a better idea to tip the grocery delivery person afterwards by using cash for the following reasons:

  • Tipping in cash is the only way to be sure that 100% of the tips go to the delivery driver and to avoid the previous bad pay model. By tipping cash your tip will be on top of the base pay and of the minimum guaranteed. This can help drivers boost their income significantly.
  • To show your appreciation directly to the driver, you could tip the driver in cash.

With the spread of the Covid-19 virus, to facilitate the no-contact or contactless delivery almost all on-demand delivery apps introduced a new feature called “leave at the door.”

The touchless delivery is really appreciated by customers. If you choose the contact free delivery you can always tip cash to your shopper by putting the tip in an envelope.

Can I Say Thanks For The Tip

If you are a Shopper, you should always be grateful for the amount of money you get and care to say thanks for the kind gesture. It's not as difficult or awkward as you may think! Instacart recently introduced a new feature that allows you to say thanks for the tip to the customer with a tap on a button.

The Average Tip Percentage Is 15%

Now you found out how much you are supposed to tip. However, even an extra few dollars is a good tip amount. Whether it is cash or in-app, by tipping your grocery delivery driver you will support the gig workers and provide them a way to earn extra cash. Drivers deserve tips, especially if you have an Instacart subscription or if you are using a promo code, a referral code or other discounts that are sometimes available on our website. You can save money on your Instacart purchases using Ibotta.

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