When is the Best Time to Deliver for Instacart? (2023)

If you want to make extra cash, delivery app gigs are a smart move.

Side hustles like Instacartlet you make money on the side, giving you the freedom to work as much or as little as you like. Plus, you normally make more than minimum wage.

However, working efficiently is critical for gig economy success. A large part of this means driving at the busiest times, so knowing the best times to Instacart is essential for shoppers.

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What Are the Peak Times for Instacart?

Because shoppers deliver groceries, busy Instacart hours are different from the best times to DoorDash(which mostly center around mealtimes).

Peak Instacart hours follow normal grocery shopping habits more closely and include:

  • Weekdays: Generally, this includes very early morning deliveries or 4:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m. as people get home from work.
  • Weekends: Instacart is busiest during the entire weekend because this is when people usually shop for groceries and are home to receive orders.

If you want to work late-night weekend shifts, food delivery apps like DoorDash or Grubhub are a better option to make money.

What Are the Best Days to Work for Instacart?

The best days to deliver for Instacart Shopper are Saturday and Sunday. You generally get more batches during the weekend shift, and batches are steadier as well.

The only catch is that you might face more competition with other Shoppers.

To avoid missing out, try shopping at several different times during the weekend to get more Instacart shopper orders and high-paying orders.

What Are the Peak Times for Customers?

Peak Instacart hours are whenever customers are placing the most orders. This is typically on the weekends.

So, as a gig driver, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and plan ahead to ensure that you’re online during the busiest times.

(Video) The BEST Times to Work for INSTACART in 2023!

Early Weekday Mornings

Mornings are typically lower-earning periods for food delivery gigs. However, with more people working from home these days, this is changing.

If you live in a large city, you might find enough early-morning batches to make it worth your while.

Many drivers also alternate between DoorDash and Instacart in the morning to ensure they get enough orders.

Weekday Evenings

Weekdays are another popular Instacart time because people want groceries after a busy workday but don’t want to shop for them.

To earn more money during this time, make sure you’re waiting at nearby grocery stores in your area so you can accept batches and begin shopping quickly.

All Day During the Weekends

Weekends are the busiest times to Instacart for customers and shoppers. This begins as soon as grocery stores open on Saturday morning and continues late into Sunday.

What Does Instacart Say Are the Best Times to Deliver?

Gig jobs like DoorDashoutline busy times and tips for drivers to make more money.

Unfortunately, Instacart doesn’t give shoppers much direction on the best time to accept new orders. The only help you get is a “best times to shop” button within the Instacart Shopper app.

However, this feature isn’t available in every market.

This feature is a general guideline for busy Instacart times each day, but it’s not a guarantee. As a result, you should still test your market to find peak times on Instacart.

How to Find the Instacart Peak Hours

As mentioned, you can use the “best times to shop” button if it’s available in your market. This can help you find the busiest times to deliver for Instacart.

However, another nifty trick is to look for peak pay on Instacart batches. Peak pay is a bonus on top of base pay that Instacart pays shoppers per batch if it’s extremely busy.

You can tell if a batch has peak pay if it has a small flame icon next to the earnings estimate.

(Video) What Is The Best Day For Instacart?

In short, if you spot peak pay on a batch, you’re delivering at a busy time. It’s a good idea to keep shopping since higher-paying batches are more likely.

Feedback From Drivers on the Best Instacart Shopper Hours

One of the best ways to succeed in the gig economy is to learn from more experienced drivers.

The on-demand grocery delivery platform isn’t an exception, and there’s tons of information on the best Instacart hours and tips for success.

For example, this Reddit threadon the best Instacart times actually has some surprising tips on how to make more money:

  • User Dirty-Ears-Bill says: “More often than not a fantastic batch drops first thing in the morning at 6:50 and I love snagging those.”
  • User Biancanevenc says: “I’m usually up and looking at the batches at 6:45…other days it’s closer to 8:00 when more good batches appear.”
  • User LePetitPrince_33 says: “7-12, 5 days a week for regular cash. I add weekends if I need extra.”
  • User RockyMtnRivulets says: “11:00 a.m. til 6:00 or 7:00.”

The key is that many shoppers check their Instacart Shopper app early to accept orders before other shoppers.

This means waking up around 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. to snag the highest-paying morning batches.

As noted in our Instacart review, your minimum batch payment is commission-based on the order size. Tips increase your earnings.

Starting early in the day will help you maximize your earning potential.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Figuring out the best Instacart times is important for making more money. However, there are plenty of other common questions shoppers ask about ways to maximize their earnings.

What Are the Slowest Days for Instacart?

The slowest Instacart days are typically Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday is often busy if people neglect to do their grocery shopping on the weekend.

Thursday and Friday aren’t as slow because people are preparing for the weekend.

How Can I Make the Most Money With InstacartShopper?

Delivering at peak Instacart hours is one of the best ways to make more money.

Other Instacart Shopper tricks to boost your earnings include:

(Video) Meet The Instacart Shopper Who Makes $20,000 A Month Delivering Groceries!

  • Be Selective: High-paying batches are ideal, but also factor in how many grocery items are in an order and how far you have to drive to ensure batches are worth it.
  • Talk To The Customer: Message your Instacart customer about important replacements and alert them when you’re done shopping. Customer service goes a long way in scoring generous tips, so the extra effort is worth it.
  • Use Insulated Food Bags: Using insulated food bagsis important when shopping to keep frozen goods at the right temperature. Again, customer service is critical for any gig job.
  • Leverage Promotions For Drivers: Instacart sometimes pays you bonuses for completing a certain amount of deliveries within a day or certain timeframe. If you want to maximize your earnings as a delivery driver, take advantage of these pay boosts.

Ultimately, the best tip is that going the extra mile when accepting Instacart orders can be a terrific way to earn more.

Does Instacart Pay Mileage?

Instacart doesn’t pay you for gas or vehicle expenses because you’re an independent contractor. Jobs like Amazon Flex and Uber Eatshave the same policy.

Working as a W-2 employee for a company means you likely get paid for mileage. This could include jobs like being a truck driver or delivery worker for companies such as UPS.

Does Instacart Pay More on Holidays?

Instacart doesn’t pay shoppers more on holidays. However, you usually get more deliveries on Instacart during the holidays. This enables you to select higher-paying opportunities.

People may also tip more generously during the holidays. Overall, the holidays are one of the best times if you want to make money on Instacart.

Can I See if There Are Any Shoppers in My Area?

The Instacart Shopper app used to have a speed leaderboard.

This leaderboard listed how many shoppers were in an area and how fast shoppers were so that you could compare your batch times to others.

Unfortunately, this leaderboard isn’t available anymore for most markets. Instacart is gradually removing features that let you know how many shoppers are in your market.

How Do You Get High Paying Batches on Instacart?

The best way to get high-paying batches is to wake up early to claim them before other shoppers. Working at busy Instacart times also increases the odds of peak pay.

Additionally, you can try accepting double batches. These are orders that require shopping for two orders at the same store and then making two separate deliveries.

Typically, double batches pay more than normal batches since it’s two orders.

What Time Do Instacart Hours Unlock?

In the past, Instacart Shoppers could claim batches starting at 9:00 a.m. and schedule shifts in advance.

However, scheduling isn’t available anymore. Instacart hours unlock when grocery stores are operating.

According to Instacart, hours begin as early as 9:00 a.m. and end at midnight.

(Video) Instacart- Best Times to Shop

Can I Do Instacart at Night?

You can get paid to shop as long as grocery stores are open in your area.

However, peak times usually end around 9:00 p.m. Mornings and mid-day are generally busier times.

How Can You Tell if Instacart is Busy?

Checking for batches is the simplest way to see if Instacart is busy. This is because more batches equals more demand.

Peak pay is also a reliable indicator that it’s a busy Instacart time.

How Often Do You Get Paid From InstacartShopper?

Instacart pays you weekly through direct deposit for the batches you completed between Monday and Sunday of the previous week.

It normally takes a few days to receive funds, so earnings typically reach your bank account on Wednesday.

Alternatively, you can use Instacart Instant Pay and cash out daily earnings instantly for a $0.50 fee.

Can You Make $1,000 a Week With Instacart?

If you live in a big city that’s busy, hourly earnings can reach $20 to $25 when shopping for Instacart. This means you can earn $1,000 per week if you work 40 to 50 hours.

However, using several side gig apps is more realistic because it’s hard to get enough batches to do Instacart full-time. Most drivers alternate between DoorDash, Instacart, and Uber Eats.

Bottom Line

The gig economy is a viable way to make more money every month. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to build your emergency fund or want some fun money.

These jobs can help you reach your goals.

You need to work smart and hard to make the most money. If you try delivering for Instacart or other food delivery apps, make sure you work at peak times.

This strategy will give you the best chance of success.

How do you work to increase earnings from a side hustle?

(Video) Instacart Shopper: First day Trying Instacart | Shop & Deliver with me

Related Posts


What time does Instacart drop batches? ›

What Time Do Instacart Batches Start In The Morning? Instacart batches start at around 8am in most markets since grocery stores open around 8 or 9 in the morning.

What time is too late for Instacart? ›

Typical Instacart Delivery Hours for Most Cities

Instacart delivery windows are available between 9 AM and 12 AM in most areas. Availability will vary depending on where you are. Cities are likely to have many more available Instacart shoppers – but also many more orders.

Why am I not getting a lot of Instacart orders? ›

There are multiple reasons why you might not be getting any batches on the Instacart platform, such as: Low personal shopper rating. Low order volume. High competition from other Instacart full-service shoppers.

How much can you make on Instacart in 5 hours? ›

Instacart pays shoppers $20+ per hour, including tips which are usually 5-20%+ of the order. Instacart shoppers keep 100% of tips. The most efficient Instacart shoppers are earning up to $45/hour.

How do you get high paying batches on Instacart? ›

Go to a location with high demand.

To get higher earnings you'll need more batches. The best way to make the most money with Instacart is to be in an area with high demand. These zones have less competition and more opportunities to find higher payments per batch.

Is Instacart better in morning or night? ›

The best time to Instacart for Shoppers is typically all-day throughout the weekends and in the evenings after work during the week. This is because these are the main times when people are actually home and are ready to receive their groceries.

Why is Instacart so slow right now? ›

There are numerous reasons why Instacart deliveries are slow in your area, which include: Fewer shoppers available. Your home is located far from the shop. The time you requested groceries is busy with orders.

Does Instacart punish you for not accepting batches? ›

Does Instacart Punish You for Not Accepting Batches? According to anecdotal evidence, Instacart penalizes customers for refusing to accept batches when they were still active. For instance, if shoppers reject a batch, Instacart may remove their delivery chances for the rest of the day.

Can you write off gas for Instacart? ›

As an Instacart shopper, the entire income you reported on your 1099-NEC won't be taxed. You can write off the following: Car expenses, including gas, maintenance, registration, tolls, parking fees, etc. Your phone bill.

How much can I make with Instacart in a day? ›

The average earning of an Instacart driver in the United States is $13.88 per hour, and the range may vary from $7.25 to $25.59 depending on the area and city of delivery operations. This means for an 8-hour shift, you can expect to earn a minimum of $111 per day shopping for Instacart.

How do you get the highest batches on Instacart? ›

How to get more batches on Instacart
  1. Keep your shopper rating as high as possible.
  2. Check the app frequently for new batches and accept them quickly.
  3. Position yourself close to busy stores.
  4. Take note of busy times of day and work those hours.
  5. Follow all steps to be approved for all order types.
Nov 17, 2022

Can you make $1000 a week with Instacart? ›

As an Instacart shopper, you can expect to earn anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per week. The amount you make will depend on several factors. These factors include how many orders you complete and the size of the orders. In general, shoppers who complete more orders will earn more money.


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