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Instacart Cuts Instacart Shopper Delivery Rates Next Week

Instacart Cuts Instacart Shopper Delivery Rates Next Week

In the past four months, there has been many changes to how Instacart Shoppers are paid. The change affects both In Store Shoppers and Full Service Shoppers. The change was less profound for In-Store Shoppers.

The biggest change with Instacart was been the shift from tips to a combination of an optional service fee and tips. Instacart is trying to make it seem as if the service fee is a tip, but it is not. Instacart shoppers can fulfill the order in any way possible and still receive the same payout with the service fee, so from this fact alone, it is materially different from a tip. A tip can change an Instacart shopper’s pay depending on the level of service, whereas the service fee does not do that.

Instacart Already Cut Instacart Shopper Delivery Rates Months Ago

Instacart first announced that they were changing from tips to a service fee and this accompanied a higher base delivery rate. When Instacart Shoppers protested, informed customers of the change, and caused customers to speak out against the service fee, Instacart begrudgingly brought back the tipping option. When Instacart put back in the tipping option, they buried it behind a few layers of menus and continue to tell customers that the service fee is a tip so that Instacart could increase their revenue. In addition to these changes, they secretly reduced the guaranteed delivery rates to Instacart shoppers to factor in the loss of service fees.

Instacart Cuts Guaranteed Delivery Rates

If you want to read more about the history of the service fee and past changes to the delivery rates, here is my extended post about all the recent changes to Instacart:

Why Instacart Shoppers are Striking on Thanksgiving

Instacart Cuts Instacart Shopper Delivery Rates Next Week

A few Instacart Shoppers had posted online that they noticed a drop in delivery rates next week, starting on January 9th. Instacart Shoppers with Early Access saw the rates first, but they posted many screenshots across the country about the drop in delivery rates. It ranges from 50 cents to up to $1.50 for both delivery only and full service rates. In addition, not every city has a drop in delivery rates, but a majority of them have. Boston, Orlando, Oakley/Berkeley, Tampa seem to have the same rates next week. One zone in Portland went up and one zone went down.

There have been a few cities that saw a drop in item commission, from 40 cents to 35 cents. This is also something to watch out for.

The easiest way to check rates is if you have hours next week or if there are open hours next week in your city. Remember that the rates vary almost every day and typically peak days have lower rates than non-peak days. There are lower rates for peak days because there are more multiple orders within a batch and higher delivery rates on non-peak days can boost your income on single batches.

Here is a table of rates in Seattle this week and next week:

This WeekNext Week
Full ServiceDelivery OnlyFull ServiceDelivery Only

Here is a summary of the drop in rates:

Change in Rates
Full ServiceDelivery Only

As you can see from the table above, the average drop in rates in Seattle is about a dollar for full service and 35 cents for delivery only rates. I typically do up to 2 deliveries an hour, so in an 40 hour week, that amounts to a loss of $80.

Here is a summary of what I gathered in other cities:

Feel free to leave a comment below about the drop in rates in your city!

Why is Instacart Cutting Instacart Shopper Delivery Rates?

I believe that it is mainly because fewer customers are paying the service fee. About 3/4 of my customers have said they know about the service fee and haven’t paid it on their last few orders. On some days, I have almost 80% of my customers tip me. This is probably higher than what Instacart projected and are lowering delivery rates to make up for the loss of revenue from the optional service fee.

Instacart also sees that Instacart shoppers are making more because of the tips, so they are lowering guaranteed delivery rates to bring down earnings and increase their own revenue. It is a pretty crappy thing to do, but most Instacart shoppers are not surprised by the changes Instacart makes anymore.

Another reason could be that demand is typically lower in January and are lowering delivery rates to compensate for it. However, Instacart typically raises guaranteed delivery rates when it is slow to compensate for fewer orders.

How Can Instacart Shoppers Fight Back?

One of the most powerful things Instacart Shoppers can do is to inform all of their customers about the service fee and to encourage tips.  I always start the conversation about the service fee specifically. I personally tell all my customers that the service fee is optional. My strongest argument about the service fee is that we get paid regardless of how we shop for the order. We can refund and replace most of the items on the order and still get paid the same. You can make the same argument about picking bad produce.

I also tell my customers that the service fee is completely optional and to zero it out, even if they do not tip. Most of the customers I speak with always ask how they can tip. I never force the idea about tipping but they usually ask about how they can tip us. I take a more passive approach in terms of tipping. I also tell them how they can change their tip and what kind of interaction they will encounter when they speak with Instacart Happiness. The customers always seem horrified about what I tell them about the response by Instacart Happiness. Telling customers that we get paid the same regardless of how we fill the order is the most iron-clad argument I make against the service fee and something Instacart can’t deny without outright lying.

What Are the Alternatives?

Instacart has the ability to change rates as they see fit. Unfortunately, there isn’t much Instacart shoppers can do about it, except for not working for Instacart. Instacart is unfortunately the only job some people have and in the past few months, many Instacart shoppers have looked for alternatives. I personally have found Amazon Flex to fill in a few hours of the day. In my city, it is very difficult to get hours so I only do it about 10 hours a week, but Instacart shoppers in other cities have been able to pick up more hours and have been doing Amazon Flex ever since. Others have switched to hot food delivery services like Postmates and Doordash. These services pay similarly to what Instacart pays now and it is much easier to do.

I always recommend that workers in this industry diversify their income streams and always have alternatives when things change. This industry is very new so changes happen. Having alternatives can help maintain your income, especially if you depend on it. As an Uber driver, it is great to do deliveries part time and vice versa. When I first started on Lyft, I signed up for Uber and enjoyed having both options available to me. There were times where Uber was better and then other times when Lyft was much better.

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