Last Updated on 2024-02-11

Shipt Doesn’t Drug Test - But Don’t Get Caught

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Catherine Meyers

5 years of experience working across Shipt and Instacart

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James Tuliano

4 years of experience working across Shipt and DoorDash

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Patricia Jones

Experience working across both Shipt and Instacart

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or insurance advice. The content contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments or insurance changes. Any reader should consult with an insurance professional to obtain insurance advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

Shipt doesn’t require its Shoppers and Drivers to take drug tests, but that doesn’t mean that you have a free pass to partake on the job. Shipt expressly and strictly forbids using drugs while working — and you’re still subject to local laws, of course. Plus, you might raise your insurance premium if you get caught or even hurt your customer rating if you’re visibly under the influence or smell of weed while delivering to your customer. 

It should go without saying that driving a vehicle while under the influence is never ok. It puts your life and others’ lives at risk. Don’t do it. 

However, if you use drugs in a way that doesn’t affect your work for Shipt or break the law, you likely won’t run into any issues with the company. For example, if you live in Colorado and smoke cannabis in full accordance with state law (in private, not while operating a vehicle, etc.) and in a way that doesn’t affect your work (e.g., not smoking in the car so that your groceries don’t smell), then Shipt won’t bother you about it. If you break the law or your customer rating plummets, that’s when you might find yourself in trouble. 

While Shipt is relatively lax about current drug use, past drug use is a different story: you will be required to submit to a background check, and if you’ve ever had a prior drug conviction, you might be disqualified from becoming a Shipt Shopper or Driver (but there’s no way to know for sure, so it’s still worth applying). 

If you’re concerned about how your past or current drug use might affect your ability to work with Shipt, we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how Shipt handles drug use among its Shoppers and Drivers. 

You won’t need to drug test, but getting caught can spell trouble

Shipt doesn’t drug test its Shoppers or Drivers, but that doesn’t mean that it will look the other way if you get caught driving while intoxicated or with illegal drugs in your car. 

When you work for Shipt, you’re considered self-employed, so for the most part, Shipt only cares about your results, not how you get the job done. That’s why they don’t drug test — as long as you can do the job well, they don’t care if you take an edible on your day off (assuming it doesn’t affect your performance the next time you’re working). 

But that tolerance only goes so far — once you cross the line and get in trouble with the law, Shipt may decide to terminate its relationship with you. After all, if Shipt will disqualify some applicants on the basis of minor drug charges that appear on the background check, it’s safe to assume they might fire someone who gets caught with drugs if they find out about it. 

James Tuliano, who has been working with Shipt since 2020, says that even if you don’t get get caught by the police, Shipt may deactivate you if they find out about your on-the-job usage: “if the customer you're shopping for (which is mentioned later in the article) or associate at the retailer (which should be mentioned somewhere) you are shopping in notices that you are under the influence and it is reported, then Shipt can and likely will deactivate you.”

Here’s Shipt’s official drug policy from its Shopper guidelines (the terms you agree to when you become a Shopper):

“Safety is a top priority at Shipt. Therefore, engaging in any behaviors that threaten or jeopardize the safety of our customers, retailer partners, the general public, HQ employees or other Shoppers may be grounds for deactivation. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Use of, or impairment by, illegal drugs or alcohol while providing services on the Shipt platform;
    • In California: Shipt will promptly suspend access to the Shipt platform, subject to further investigation, for any Shopper that Shipt reasonably suspects to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while providing services on the Shipt platform;”

Also it doesn’t explicitly mention drugs, the agreement also forbids:

  • “Engaging in conduct that jeopardizes food safety, such as tampering with packaging, placing non-retail items in bags, failing to bring or use insulated bags, failing to maintain a clean car to transport items, or causing customer goods to become smoke-tainted;”

For example, if you smoke in your car while off the job, but then everything that goes in your car while on the job ends up smelling like weed (i.e., your customers' orders), you could be in violation of the Shopper agreement. 

If you abide by your local laws and these sections of the agreement, then you likely won’t run into trouble with Shipt.

Your insurance company won’t be happy either

To drive or shop for Shipt, you need to have a car with auto insurance. One of the quickest ways to boost the cost of your insurance is to get caught with drugs. 

According to ValuePenguin, getting a DUI increases your auto insurance premium by an average of 83%, which works out to $1,484/year. In fact, even non-drug-related convictions can raise your car insurance premiums. 

Car insurance is expensive enough as it is, and when you work for Shipt, you may want to take out additional insurance that covers using your vehicle for commercial purposes (some insurers may even force you to take out additional coverage if they find out you’re driving for Shipt, even though Shipt doesn’t require it). Don’t make things even harder on your wallet by getting caught with drugs on top of that. 

Be respectful of your customers

As a Shipt worker, you need to maintain at least a 4.70 customer rating to stay on the platform. If your rating drops too low, Shipt will deactivate your account, and you won’t be able to earn with Shipt anymore. 

If you’re visibly intoxicated, text your customers while clearly under the influence, or smell of weed, you might make your customers uncomfortable, which can result in you receiving a poor customer rating. 

Although most deliveries are no-contact, Catherine Meyers, who has been shopping for two years, reminds Shoppers that you always have to be ready to interact with customers: “while the majority of orders are delivery only with no face-to-face contact with customers, alcohol deliveries DO require you to physically hand off to the customer face-to-face in order to scan their ID. Some Shoppers get comfortable with how hands off many Shipt orders can be, but you do occasionally have to interact with them at order delivery.”

In fact, some DoorDash customers have complained that they received orders that smelled like weed, so even if you’re not using on the job, just keeping weed in your car while shopping or driving could be enough to land you in hot water. 

Patricia Jones says, “this is true for not only weed but for any smells that linger in your vehicle. That is part of your original agreement to maintain a clean vehicle as you are transporting goods to consumers. Smells can seep through plastic bags easily.”

Does Shipt require a background check? And will past drug convictions show up and disqualify me? 

Shipt requires all prospective Shoppers and Drivers to submit to a background check as part of the application process. If you have a prior drug conviction, it’s possible that it will show up on your background check, but that will depend on how serious the charge is — sometimes, misdemeanors don’t show up on background checks, and sometimes they do. It all depends on the specific crime, how long ago it was, and how thorough the background check is. 

If a drug conviction does show up on your background check, it won’t necessarily disqualify you, but it may. Shipt approves applicants on a case-by-case basis, so there’s no way to know in advance if they’ll hire you.

For example, one Shipt applicant said on Reddit that they got rejected because they had a charge for one gram of cannabis seven years ago. Meanwhile, another Shipt worker said on Indeed that they were approved despite having three felonies on their record.

So, if you have past drug convictions, and even if you have felonies on your record, it’s worth it to apply to Shipt — there’s nothing to lose, and you may be approved. 

Catherine adds that even if you’ve been rejected in the past, you could be accepted this time around: “A friend of mine was charged with a misdemeanor a few years before his application with Shipt, He applied for Shipt a second time a year or so after being rejected, and he was approved the second time around. There isn't a whole lot of transparency on the Shoppers' end regarding the approval process, but I feel like the busier a metro (designated shopping area) is, the more people are approved, even with previous criminal charges.”

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