At the end of November last year, it came as a direct slap in the face to loyal, hard working Full Service Personal Shoppers when Instacart restructured the pay scale. Unfortunately, this really came with no shock to Instacart independent contractors who have been weathering the storm these past few years, caught up in the many changes implemented by Instacart in their attempt to create record breaking profits to compete with Amazon. Instacart has little or no regard for the quality of life of the people who are the heart of the company. This change to “Batch Incentive” was marketed as the promise of more “transparency with pay,” and “you have spoken and we hear you.” There are pros and cons, but with all the changes that have occurred it leaves Instacart full service shoppers feeling as if they are picking up the leftover scraps from a company with growing profits.
Under the new pay scale, these no longer exist:
- $0.40 per item pay
- $10 bump when order reached $200, and an addition $10 bump for every $100 increment after $200
- $8.00 batch bump for each Costco order (in Los Angeles)
- $100 five star bonus
- Tips appearing after order completed
- Automatic 5% customer service charge
Under the new pay scale:
- Batch Incentive fee pay determined by weight, units, difficulty, location
- Minimum $10 batch fee
- Items in an order can be viewed before accepting batch
- Payment for each mile traveled from suggested store to delivery location
- Tips can be viewed before order is accepted
- Delivery addresses appear before order is accepted
- Peak hour pay per batch
- $3.00 bonus for every 5 star rating
What’s really going on?
Instacart’s new Batch Incentive is calculated by details including store location, types of items, item weights, number of units and overall difficulty in shopping the order(s). They seem to use the customers Tip towards that batch pay as well (apparently a lawsuit has been filed on Instacart shoppers behalf) so if a customer tips when order is placed it could have a negative effect on batch pay. Instacart has recently “updated” their tip policy a few weeks ago due to the lawsuit and promise not to use Tips towards batch pay. This remains untested by independent sources.
The tip can always be altered after the order is delivered. Unfortunately, there have been many orders that according to Instacart have no difficulty, heavy weight or location distance and they attempt to get away with a $10 minimum. There is no transparency on how Instacart determines the appropriate bath pay. For example: an order with 17 items (27 units) and a travel of 1.3 miles only payed $10 this day. The customer tipped $3.00 so Instacart payed $7.00. If there was no tip added when order placed, Instacart would pay the minimum of $10 and the customer could tip any amount after, or at all. To find out if a customer placed a tip before you accept the order, click on the “i” in the circle and it will give you a breakdown of the tip vs the batch pay.
So far with this new batch incentive, I’ve found that Costco orders, some larger Ralphs, Gelson’s and delivery only orders can still be profitable.
How to make it worth your while
So far, I’ve found a way to still make this worth my time, especially with the option to “cherry pick” orders. I won’t accept an order unless it’s over $10. Especially in the LA area, I can’t work for less than minimum wage. If an order is over $10, especially a higher paid order, I’ll check the delivery(s) distance and items in the batch. If it’s not like a crazy 10 cases of water from Costco order I’ll accept. I have been fortunate to still receive some higher paying orders. Supposedly we are “independent contractors” and we can refuse batches. However, after a while Instacart will end your shift and give you an RI if you reject too many. I reject orders often, and this has only happened once since the new pay scale was rolled out. I’m not sure how they determine to end your shift, but to be on the safe side, I will accept an undesirable order once in a while to keep from being taken off shift.
Maximize your bonus
I feel it’s to our advantage that the “elusive” 5 star bonus has been eliminated and replaced with a $3.00 per 5 star rating bonus. In order to maximize on your bonuses, it’s important to bring the rating up to the customers attention. After I drop off the order I mention to the client: “You’re going to receive a text or email allowing you to rate my service today. I TRULY appreciate the highest rating, because it makes a huge difference for us!” And you’re also paying it forward for our fellow Instacart shoppers!
Hold the phone!
As this article was being prepared to post, Instart made quite an admission in regards to using customer tips to pay Instacart Shopper’s batch incentive as well. Was this made in light of yet another possible lawsuit, did the comments made by Shoppers at end of shift, calls, surveys and tweets get Instacart’s attention, or perhaps Instacart is attempting to truly look after their hardworking personal shoppers? Only time will tell, and if they actually make good on the retroactive pay and promised adjustments to the new pay scale and batch incentives. I will be following up at the beginning of March once everything concerning batch payment goes into effect. Here are the two emails put out by Instacart last week:
Feb 7, 2019 UPDATE- New State of Pay
Our Shopper earnings model has evolved over the past year, and your feedback has been important to us as we make strides in the right direction.
Moving forward, we’re launching new measures to more fairly and competitively pay all Shoppers. As part of this, our earnings approach moving forward will adhere to the following:
- Tips should always be seperate from Instacart’s contribution to Shopper compensation
- All batches will have a higher guaranteed compensation floor for Shoppers, paid for by Instacart
- Instacart will retroactively compensate Shoppers when tips were included in minimums
Details on each of these new elements of earnings. Which we will be rolling out in the coming days, are available via a new post on the Shopper News blog.
We will provide further information on these new elements-including retroactive compensation-over the coming days.
Thanks for all you do,
The Instacart Team
February 7, 2019 State of Pay Update-Further Changes and Retroactive Payments
Yesterday we shared changes to our earnings approach to more fairly and competitively pay all Shoppers. We want to provide you with more information about what to expect and when.
When will the changes to earnings go into effect?
On Tuesday, February 19, the Shopper app will be updated to always show Instacart’s contribution separate from the customer tip. As part of this update, we are replacing the $10 minimum (inclusive of tips) with new guarantees from Instacart. Instacart’s minimum Batch Payment will increase from $3 to $7–10 for full service batches and $5 for delivery only batches.
- The Batch Payment is a combination of the Batch Incentive and Delivery Distance ($0.60 per mile).
- After you complete a batch, you will see the Batch Payment as a line item on the batch summary screen. Any applicable Peak Boost or Quality Bonus will appear as additional payments from Instacart.
- The full service minimum will vary by zone. Starting Tuesday, February 19, you will be able to view your zone’s Batch Payment minimum in the Shopper app.
- Please keep your Shopper app updated to see these changes as we roll them out.
When will I get retroactive payment and how is it calculated?
On Friday, February 22, Shoppers will be able to view a one-time payment for any batches in which Instacart’s payment was below the prior $10 minimum.
- This payment is for all applicable batches completed since the prior minimum was introduced in your area (as early as October 25, 2018) through February 18, 2019.
- We will identify all cases where Instacart’s Batch Payment (Batch Incentive + Delivery Distance) was below $10. In each of those cases, we will retroactively pay shoppers to ensure they received $10 in Batch Payment from Instacart.
- This total payment will be reflected under the Earnings section in the Shopper app. As always, earnings will be processed the following week.
- Any shoppers receiving a payment will be notified by email on Friday, February 22.
Thank you for your feedback and continued dedication.
The Instacart Team
Call to Action
There are steps we can take to help all of our earnings. Know your worth, and don’t accept orders with a batch incentive below $10! Instacart is hoping increase g new or desperate shoppers will accept the lowest batch incentive, and there’s no need to offer us bigger batch payments. If we keep rejecting these ridiculous orders, Instacart must have someone shop them, so the order is sent back with higher batch incentives! Check out the order batch payment before accepting, and see what items are in the batch, and how far a distance you’re traveling. Is it worth your time? The more Instacart shoppers follow this discernment, higher batch payment will continue to be offered.
A few weeks ago, there was a full service shopping batch order at Whole Foods with a 30 min travel time in each direction. The batch was only 6 items but travel was 13.6 Miles. After continually rejecting this order and completing another, an hour later the same batch came back with a batch incentive of $30.75. This works if we all work together!
Also, after you reject an order please take the time to explain why. And at the “end of shift comments,” make sure and express daily your discontent with the new pay scale and why. Both of these comments sections are actually read and researched. Let’s be unified and take action so that we can earn a living wage as this company continues to expedite record breaking profits.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions