Last Updated on 2024-03-20

Is Shipt Worth It? It Depends — Here's How To Decide

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

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James Tuliano

4 years of experience working across Shipt and DoorDash

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Catherine Meyers

5 years of experience working across Shipt and Instacart

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Phil Grossman

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

There’s no easy answer as to whether Shipt is worth it: the answer involves assessing personal goals, financial needs, and how much time you have available. Clearly, there are quite a lot of people who think Shipt is worth it — the company is notorious among experienced gig workers for its long waitlists

Ultimately, the only way to know whether Shipt is worth it for you is to try it out for yourself, so we recommend signing up and seeing how it shakes out for you. 

For stay-at-home parents, current students, recent graduates, or anyone seeking flexible earning opportunities, Shipt is a particularly good option as it lets you work around your other obligations. For others, traditional employment may offer better financial security and benefits, and you may want to use Shipt only as a side gig for some extra cash. You may find that working as a Shipt Shopper is worth it for part-time work rather than full-time, or maybe you’ll be ready to shoot for $1,000 a week from the get-go! 

In all cases, you’ll have to weigh potential earnings against expenses such as gas, vehicle wear and tear, and if the time invested generates a comparable return to other opportunities. Applying these considerations to your personal situation will allow you to determine if being a Shipt Shopper is right for you right now. 

Benefits of working with Shipt

Like any job or gig, there are pros and cons to working with Shipt, but for many, the pros outweigh the cons. Here are some of the main benefits of working with Shipt.

Be your own boss

Perhaps the most promoted aspect of gig economy jobs is the autonomy they offer. As a Shipt Shopper, you enjoy the freedom to set your own schedule, select the orders you wish to fulfill, and decide how much or how little you want to work. This flexibility is ideal for those seeking to balance work with other life commitments, such as personal pursuits, education, career shifts, or caregiving responsibilities. 

Minimal barriers to entry 

Gig economy roles, including those on Shipt, are characterized by their accessibility. There's no need for specialized degrees or extensive work experience. Basic requirements such as having a reliable vehicle and passing a background check make these opportunities open to a wide demographic, based more on willingness and ability to work than on formal qualifications. Shipt also hires felons on a case-by-case basis, so even if you have a criminal record, you may be able to work as a Shipt Shopper. 

Competitive earnings

Shipt earnings are composed of base pay (awarded per delivery), tips, bonuses, as well as promotions on certain orders. Shipt guarantees a $16 hourly pay rate for Shoppers, but this is based only on time spent actively delivering an order, so it often works out to less in reality. In larger metro areas, higher demand for Shoppers may increase the hourly pay past the $16 floor — our gig pros have reported hourly earnings between $29.30 and $46.93 an hour.

Bonuses for fulfilling certain order quantities or working during peak hours can also increase earnings. However, the largest component of Shopper pay will likely consist of tips, so the total compensation will depend on the tipping habits of customers in your particular area. 

Grow your own business and brand 

Compared to other delivery apps, Shipt is particularly focused on the idea that its Shoppers are building their own business. Shipt’s Preferred Shopper program gives Shoppers the ability to develop a reliable list of clientele much like a traditional business would. This makes Shipt a better long-term option than many of its competitors. 

Whether you’re looking to increase your Shipt Shopper earnings or develop skills for future entrepreneurship, you’re incentivized to manage your schedule, nurture customer relationships, and set financial goals. Even if you stop doing Shipt eventually, those skills will stay with you, and you can apply them to your future endeavors. 

How to determine if Shipt is worth it based on your personal situation

Now, let’s dig a bit more into how the above perks hold up based on various personal factors that may apply to you.

Scheduling considerations

Although you can work whenever you want, your ability to match your working hours to Shipt’s peak demand periods is one of the biggest factors in determining your potential earnings with Shipt.

There are several times throughout the day when order demand is particularly high. Shipt observes quiet hours overnight between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., so any orders placed on Shipt during those times are not available until the morning. Therefore, there tends to be an initial batch of orders to claim at 6 a.m. After this, order demand slows down, then peaks in the late afternoon and evening

Depending on your availability, one or both of these time slots will likely be the most productive for you to work. Other working hours will result in a lower per-hour pay rate since you may not receive enough orders for Shipt’s base pay to cover your downtime.

If your potential working hours are fixed (for example, if you’ve got a full-time job and want to do Shipt before or after work), you’ll only be able to claim orders within your available hours. If your available hours don’t fall in those peak delivery windows, there will be far fewer orders for you to fulfill. 

But all is not lost! Orders tagged with an ‘Early OK’ label can be delivered at any time up until the delivery window ends, so you can preferentially fulfill these orders. That said, if you need to fit Shipt into a pre-existing schedule that isn’t very flexible, you’ll be dependent on high-tip scenarios to make the gig especially lucrative, so you may see higher variance in your take-home pay. 

Take your location into account

The other huge factor in determining your fit with Shipt is your proximity to a metro area. Urban centers, with their population density and higher demand for delivery services, typically offer more frequent shopping requests. This translates to increased opportunities for earnings and the potential for larger order sizes. 

Over time, you’ll be able to sort through more customers, build relationships with people you work well with, and, ideally, find high tippers. This can boost your income through tips and bonuses. 

Moreover, operating in a metro area often means shorter distances between stores and delivery locations, maximizing the efficiency of your time spent in transit. However, it's important to balance these benefits with the challenges of navigating busier urban environments, such as traffic and parking considerations. 

If you’re located in a suburban or rural area, your customer base will be smaller, which reduces your chances of finding generous customers. While lower population density may make parking and driving less stressful, increased delivery time and vehicle wear and tear will eat into your earnings, reducing your take-home pay. But keep in mind that Shipt only operates in areas that meet a base level of economic viability, so if Shipt hires you, it always means that there’s still some decent money to be made. 

Consider where your strengths and preferences lie

The Shipt Preferred Shopper program allows customers to select their favorite Shoppers for direct order placement, fostering a reliable customer base and potentially higher tips for Shipt Shoppers. This unique feature distinguishes Shipt from competitors like DoorDash or Instacart by offering a more personalized shopping experience. 

If you’re people-oriented, being a Shipt Shopper can lead to a sustainable, client-driven business model while avoiding the isolating nature of many gig jobs. Benefits include fewer problematic customers, more reliable scheduling, and increased income by catering to higher tippers and optimizing order bundling. The program underscores Shipt's potential for long-term gig work, transforming it into a more sustainable venture compared to other gig apps.

On the other hand, if you just want to make a little bit of extra cash on the side and don’t want to work to develop long-term customer relationships, DoorDash or Instacart might be a better fit for you. Shipt is very much a long game that expects a high level of customer service skills, so if dealing with people isn’t your thing, Shipt may not be worth your time. 

James Tuliano, a Shipt Shopper with 4+ years of experience, adds some context: “Since Shipt is a long game, doing DoorDash or Instacart orders in-between Shipt orders while you build your customer base would be a great way to manage your time effectively. You could do a Shipt order, DoorDash for a couple of hours while checking the Open Metro between deliveries, and switch back once you grab an order.

Other things to keep in mind

A notable convenience Shipt offers its Shoppers is the Instant Pay feature. This allows for immediate access to earned wages, a significant benefit for individuals who need quick cash flow to meet daily expenses. Shoppers can receive their earnings, including tips, up to three times per day, typically within an hour of requesting a payout. 

In the gig economy, the timing of payments can be as crucial as the amount earned, especially for those living paycheck to paycheck or managing tight budgets. Most gig apps these days offer some type of instant cashout option, so Shipt isn’t unique in this regard, but it’s important to know.

Other delivery apps that may be a better fit

If you’re trying to decide which delivery app is best for you, check out our full comparison of the 17 best delivery apps. Here are two quick comparisons that we think are especially important. 

Needless to say, you can always work for all of these companies and see for yourself which one makes more sense for you! In fact, working for multiple apps is the best way to maximize your earnings, so we recommend applying to DoorDash, Instacart, and Shipt right off the bat so you can see what mix works best for you.

Shipt vs. DoorDash

While both DoorDash and Shipt are delivery apps, DoorDash caters more to restaurant food delivery (it offers grocery delivery too, but it’s not the focus). Both platforms offer the flexibility to work on your own time, but Shipt's model may appeal to those who prefer grocery shopping and building rapport with repeat customers. 

There’s more ambiguity when shopping for Shipt since each order may require you to evaluate a customer's preference for specific groceries. As mentioned above, the Preferred Shopper program offers a path toward using Shipt for a sustainable job over time.

DoorDash, with its broader base of quick food delivery options, might be more appealing to individuals looking for faster-paced work. DoorDash might offer more frequent but smaller tasks, which could be a better fit if you’re seeking shorter, more straightforward gigs.

Your personality type can also help you determine which of these apps you prefer. James explains further: “It's also better for introverts. Not that you necessarily need to be extroverted to do Shipt, but it requires a LOT more customer interaction (even if it is normally just over messages). If you aren't good or don't like dealing with people, DoorDash is your better option as it rarely requires direct interaction with the customer.

We won’t get into a direct financial comparison between DoorDash and Shipt as their relative earnings depend on where you’re planning to work. Certain regions may have relatively fewer restaurants, making it harder on Dashers (and vice versa). With that said, DoorDash’s base pay, which ranges from $2 to $10+ may track similarly to Shipt’s base hourly pay of $16 since delivering each Doordash order is faster than each Shipt order fulfillment.

We’ve got a whole article comparing Shipt and Doordash where you can see them stacked up side-by-side. 

Shipt vs. Instacart Shopper

Instacart, another major player in the grocery delivery market, provides a more direct comparison to Shipt. Both companies offer similar roles for Shoppers, but Instacart provides a broader selection of stores to shop from. Shipt, owned by Target, offers unique benefits like in-app guidance on product aisle locations at Target stores, and having fewer overall stores to shop at may make your life easier as a Shopper. 

Catherine Meyers, who’s worked on both apps for several years, confirms this: “Instacart on a Sunday is MUCH busier than Shipt in terms of the availability of stores. One benefit of Shipt mainly being limited to Target is getting used to your area’s stores and having a sort of routine on busy days.” 

Shipt's Preferred Shopper program and Instant Pay feature might give it an edge for some shoppers. On the other hand, Instacart does allow for more batch orders, so you can make more money per grocery run. 

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