Instacart vs Doordash: Best Side Hustle & Pay for Drivers?

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instacart vs doordash

While you can turn to a number of delivery services if you're looking for a part time or full time job or looking for a way to earn extra cash in your spare time, it's guaranteed you will consider one of the two prominent delivery apps: Instacart or DoorDash.

Both platforms are quite mature at this stage and grew a lot during 2020. With the Covid pandemic, the height volumes for the home delivery, food and grocery pick up delivery apps evolved their offer by introducing new delivery options, including same-day, same-week, and scheduled delivery and enhanced pick-up services, such as contactless in-store pick-up and curbside pick-up.

That means both have developed comprehensive features for users and for the independent contractors and there's very little one can do that the other cannot. Still, however, each has its advantages, and there are reasons you might want to choose one over the other.

Pitting Instacart vs. DoorDash, we take a look at the respective strengths of each delivery platform, so you can pick the right one for you the next time you start your next gig.

Understanding the On-Demand Delivery Service

DoorDash Grocery Delivery & Food Delivery

DoorDash was born as an on-demand food delivery service. It is a public company headquartered in San Francisco, California and operates in + 4000 cities in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It was founded by Stanford students Tony Xu (CEO), Andy Fang (CTO), Parbir Adarkar (CFO) and Christopher Payne (COO), in 2013.

The 24 7 delivery company links consumers with local restaurants, fast foods or other on-the-go meal services, like Hy Vee, listings on the Doordash online store.

The convenience store currently has 50% market share in the US and works with more than 340, 000 restaurants and merchants. While the coronavirus pandemic hit the US economy hard, DoorDash is a winner and leading national partners, such as Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Panera Bread and Five Guys, as well as regional stars such as Dig Inn, Tender Greens, Portillo’s and Modern Market.

So, does Doordash deliver groceries? The answer is YES. You can use Doordash for groceries. There are a wide number of companies that use doordash. In April, the Doordash announced to extend their services delivering groceries and essentials household products from local stores, including:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Wawa
  • Casey’s General Store
  • CircleK
  • Safeway
  • Smart & Final

Shopping with Doordash gives you access to shop in-app for anything, from pizza to fruits and veggies.You can also shop for groceries online from CVS that is one of the Doordash partners.

Doordash and CVS pharmacy has partnered for same-day delivery of food, grocery, nonfood and non prescription products.

In addition, the on demand delivery app offers free delivery to all members of the Dashpass that is currently one of the largest membership subscriptions in the US and Canada.

As a Doordash shopper, you earn money by picking up orders at partner stores and delivering them to the customer.

The San Francisco based food delivery app is doing pretty well, especially if you compare it with the main rival Uber Eats that acquired Postmates in November 2020.

According to DoorDash's latest financial reports the company's current revenue (TTM) is $4.55 B. In 2020 the company made a revenue of $2.88 B.

Instacart

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery service. It is a private company headquartered in San Francisco, California that operates in + 5,500 cities in the United States. It was founded in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta (CEO, co-founder) and Sagar Sanghvi (CFO).

The grocery app has grown tremendously and it is expected to go public in 2022. The company is currently working with +300 grocery stores including Aldi, Safeway and has more than 500,000 Shoppers. Instacart is hiring and was on track to have 750,000 shoppers by the end of 2020.

This is the first and most important difference between DoorDash and Instacart. While Instacart is only a grocery delivery service, Doordash is one of the best food delivery apps delivering groceries from select stores in California and parts of the Midwest. Additionnally, while Doordash is a public company, Instacart is a private company.

Another key difference is their operating system. Instacart is a private company and DoorDash is a public company. Comparing Instacart and DoorDash you should also know the difference between a public vs private company.

DoorDash vs Instacart: Safety and Reliability

Both apps are safe and reliable.

  • All the delivery drivers are screened through background check
  • Your phone number stays private while you communicate with the delivery driver

Doordash is one of the safest food delivery apps that introduced new health and safety guidelines to protect customers and workers amid the COVID pandemic.

So, paying with Instacart or DoorDash is just about as safe as paying with any other company. However, you can avoid scams and help to keep your accounts safe from phishing by not sharing your password with anyone for any reason.

From a driver point of view, it is important to know that the payments are made directly through the app and you do not have to deal with cash.

is Dordash safe

DoorDash

The spread of COVID-19 has been hard for everyone, and it has been particularly challenging for people who deliver with companies like DoorDash. Since the start of the global pandemic, Door Dash has supported dashers.

The measures it has implemented include:

  • All active Dashers in the US, Canada, and Australia can now order consumer-grade masks from the special Dasher store completely free of charge
  • No-Contact delivery option to avoid coming into contact with other people
  • Through Doctor On Demand, one of the nation’s leading healthcare platforms, all U.S.-based Dashers can complete an online risk assessment for COVID-19 and access virtual urgent care visits if needed for just $4.

Instacart

In response to Instacart strikes who wanted more health protection and to protect gig workers, Instacart Shoppers are now given a health and safety kit that includes multiple resources needed in order to protect themselves. New guidelines were also implemented in the hopes of maintaining and supporting the health and safety of its Shopper community.

These measures include:

  • A new tip policy to protect Shoppers from tip bating. Customers can also be deactivated
  • A new sick pay policy available to all in-store shoppers who are Instacart employees
  • The “Leave at my Door Delivery” option, , similar to DoorDash’s Contactless delivery

Winner: Tie

Related Article: Covid and Delivery Drivers

Instacart vs DoorDash: Job Review

If you are looking for an honest review on both companies, you are at the right place. To understand the difference between DoorDash and Instacart, it is really important to have a complete job review.

DoorDash

It’s a low pressure job and one of the favorite side hustles on reddit. Unlike rideshare apps, you do not have to deal with customers.

Dashers earn a living by delivering food to local consumers. DoorDash' customers place delivery orders, so the driver's responsibility is to accept the gig with the dasher app , pick up and deliver food or grocery items or alcohol to the customer’s location. Sometimes the driver must make the necessary purchase by using a special credit card.

The most common complaints from drivers include low-paying orders and technical trouble with the app itself.

Instacart

If you like the idea of getting paid to shop and deliver groceries, Instacart is currently looking for full service shoppers. We suggest you consult our complete guide with all the opening jobs positions.

Instacart offers drivers the opportunity to complete delivery from many grocery retailers including Whole Foods, Safeway, and Costco.

As an Instacart Shopper you get paid to deliver groceries and your main duties are:

  • Accept a job with the Shopper app
  • Help customers by shopping for their groceries and general merchandise ordered on the Instacart app
  • Following Instacart's food safety policies to keep perishable goods fresh. We suggest you consult our guide to courier gears
  • Load merchandise into your vehicles and deliver it to the customer’s house or requested location
  • Greet and thank customers with a smile!

Instacart is a standing gig job and requires physical skills. You must be able to lift up to 40lbs without accommodation.

The most common complaints from shoppers include dealing with missing items, low-paying orders and technical troubles with the app itself.

For some delivery drivers working for DoorDash, one of the biggest benefits is the ability to deliver with someone else. While food delivery apps tolerate the ‘pair delivery,’ this is not allowed in any way on the Instacart platform.

It is against Instacart's terms of service for a Shopper to have other people with them while doing their job. Your account may be permanently deactivated if you do not follow the rule.

Winner: Tie. If you like the idea of spending time shopping at the grocery store independently, Instacart is the right job for you. But if you like the idea to have a friend in your car while delivering, DoorDash is the right gig for you.

Instacart vs DoorDash: The Requirements & Application process

The requirements are pretty similar and if you qualify for one, you will most likely qualify for the other too. If you want a detailed list, we suggest you consult our guide to Doordash requirements and Instacart requirements .

Basically, the requirements for both include:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid US driver's license
  • Be eligible to work in the United States
  • Have access to a vehicle (No vehicle inspection required)
  • Own a smartphone
  • Pass a background check

The application process can be done in just a few minutes and it is completed online for both platforms.

Both are Gig Economy jobs that will turn you into a self employed worker. As a business owner, you have the obligation to file tax returns and pay taxes. In addition, you have to find creative ways to increase your income by saving gas money and using cash back apps. These can be quite challenging sometimes, so it is important you plan in advance for them.

Keep in mind that both platforms recently introduced a system of waiting lists on some oversaturated markets.

Winner: Tie. However, if you like the idea of earning money riding your bike, you should sign up for DoorDash.

Related Article: How To Get Free Gas

instacart vs doordash pay

Instacart vs DoorDash Driver Pay

I am a driver for Doordash and Instacart. This means that I’m a 1099 worker and self-employed. One of the great advantages of independent contracting is flexibility to work when and for whom I want. But, like all independent work, I’m responsible for covering my own taxes and insurance. Although there are many benefits that come with being an independent contractor, there are also many disadvantages.

On the other hand, being a part of the gig economy comes with the benefit of tax deductions including, car expenses.When you work as a gig worker, you should always keep track of your mileage.

Here are some important things I wish I knew before starting the job. The first and important question is: Does Instacart or Doordash pay more?

DoorDash

Doordash worker pay and earnings vary by market. The company offers incentives to new drivers when they sign up with a referral code.

When working during peak hours, the pay can be decent and higher sometimes. We suggest you consult our guides on the best times to DoorDash and how to make more money with DoorDash.

Tips are received on top of your earnings, so they are a great way to make extra money.

Dasher hourly pay can range from $7 - $23 per hour while on a delivery. *

*For Illustrative purposes only. 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

Instacart earnings vary by market. The company offers incentives to new drivers.

You are paid for each batch you complete. Shopping and delivering for Instacart is a great way to make money as a side job or activity, or even as a main gig.

You keep 100% of tips and when a customer tips cash, it's like getting double the amount.

Full Service Shopper hourly pay can range from $3 - $25. We suggest you consult our guide on how much can you make with Instacart

Winner: Both apps allow you to cash out your earnings daily . However, DoorDash seems to have a higher pay!

Which Should You Choose?

So then comes your decision, Instacart or DoorDash: Which should you choose? I hope our driver comparison will help you make the right choice for you. Both platforms have pros and cons, and, as with many job decisions, your choice will depend on what you enjoy doing and which one better fulfills your wants and needs.

Working for Doordash is a good experience. There's less to think about, and because it represents the most popular food delivery app, there's an abundance of support and it also places first when it comes to work-life balance and benefits/perks.

I recommend Instacart for those who want to make extra money. However, sometimes it is hard to get the hours you want and you have to be more organized and know how to maximize your earnings.

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