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… just with a few taps on your smartphone and get your order delivered to you the same day.

Instacart is growing fast and 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 during the coronavirus outbreak.

Whether you are a new Instacart user or not, 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 CEO- 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 of 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 in the Instacart shopper forum in reddit, you will immediately understand how tips are important 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, buying and delivering groceries. In the United States and in Canada the cultural norm is to tip those who provide this kind of service.

Instacart Tipping Etiquette: Should You Tip? How Much?

Instacart 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?

In 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 and how many hours 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 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 do not pay for gas or car maintenance

So how do you make sure Shoppers are properly compensated. In the service-industry workers depend on gratuity. This is a way to make extra money. It is important to give a proper tip for grocery delivery.

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 a good tip? How much to tip grocery delivery? The Emily Post Institute in their general tipping guide says that a tip 20% of your order is a good tip. So, if you want to know what percent 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 easy without having to 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:

  • 63.57 → 6.357
  • 6.40 (round)
  • 12.80 (double)

How to add a tip

how to tip instaacart delivery drivers

YNow 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 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 in the app are charged to the card on file.

Can I Change Instacart Tips?

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted normal life of 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 Instacart shorted the tipping window from three days to 24 hours. Basically, while you can always adjust tips with the Instacart app, tip adjustment is not anymore authorized after 24 hours

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.

Do You Tip For Grocery Pickup?

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

With Instacart Pickup, customers have the option to bypass the Shopper and pickup their own orders when more convenient.

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

  • ALDI
  • Food Lion
  • Publix
  • Sprouts
  • Wegmans

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 not set rules by Instacart.

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

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 .

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 in your membership.

Can My Instacart Driver see how much I tip?

Personal Shoppers can see the total sum of their tips that are added in their weekly earnings in 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 your order. Once you create your Instacart account you have to add a payment method. Currently Instacart accepts all major US credit and debit cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay only.

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 in the app. Even though it can be a better idea to tip the grocery delivery person afterward using cash for the following reasons:

  • This 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, to facilitate the no-contact or contactless delivery almost all the 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 your shopper by putting the tip in an envelope.

The Bottom Line

Whether it is cash or in app, by tipping your grocery delivery driver you will support the gig workers and provide them the 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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