Last Updated on 2024-01-27

Official and Hidden Shipt Driver Requirements

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

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Davis Porter

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

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James Tuliano

4 years of experience working across Shipt and DoorDash

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Michelle Wright

5 years of experience working as a Shipt Shopper

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.

When exploring delivery opportunities with Shipt, you should distinguish between the positions of a Shipt Driver and a Shipt Shopper — they each have different job responsibilities and requirements. 

They are completely different jobs that just happen to be run by the same company,” says James Tuliano , who’s been working with Shipt since 2020. 

Shipt Drivers pick up and deliver pre-packaged items from major retailers such as Target. Each trip serves multiple customers by combining individual orders into a single bulk payload. Conversely, Shipt Shoppers shop for and deliver groceries to one customer per order. 

So, to avoid any confusion between the two, we’ve decided to detail their respective job requirements in separate guides. And in this instance, we’ll focus on Shipt Drivers. 

The company's official website already outlines the basic qualifications for the position – including the criteria for age, licensing, vehicle specifications, and background checks. They make up what we call “official requirements”. 

However, the list provided by Shipt is not exhaustive. Beyond those official preconditions, there are “hidden” personal, logistical, and legal considerations that are equally critical for success in your Shipt driving career. They aren't explicitly stated by Shipt but are integral to the job. 

To help you fully understand the role’s demands, we’ll explore both sets of attributes – the official and unofficial Shipt Driver requirements. 

Shipt age requirements

To become a Shipt Driver, you must be at least 18 years old. At 18, individuals are legally recognized as adults, capable of entering binding contracts as service providers. 

Minors are ineligible for formal employment in many jurisdictions. Furthermore, commercial driving insurance policies usually set 18 as the minimum age to ensure that Drivers possess adequate road experience and maturity. This helps reduce risks associated with younger, less experienced Drivers who statistically have a higher accident rate.

This also means that even if you’re under 18 and have a learner’s permit, junior license, or even a full, senior license at 17 years old, you still can’t drive for Shipt. 

You can’t work for Shipt without a license

A valid driver's license is compulsory for anyone who intends to work as a Shipt driver. 

It acts as proof of an individual's legal authorization to operate a vehicle. What’s more, it confirms that the holder understands road safety rules and has passed all the qualification tests. 

Anything less than that won’t be accepted by Shipt’s recruitment team. 

“The license does NOT need to be issued in the state that you are going to be working in,” clarifies James . “I worked in Florida for Shipt (as a Shopper) with a New Hampshire driver's license.”

This has been corroborated by Michelle Wright , another Shopper with over 4 years of experience. “In my personal experience,  I have been able to deliver in multiple states with my CA driver’s license,” she says.

Keep in mind that if you are relocating to a new state, you still need to follow that state’s laws regarding licensure. So, if you live in California and are making deliveries just over the border to Nevada, you can use 

Shipt car requirements

Shipt requires vehicles from the year 1997 or newer. By limiting their age, the company seeks to keep its Drivers’ vehicles reliable and free of major mechanical issues that could disrupt deliveries. 

The platform additionally leaves out bikes, motorcycles, and two-door sedans from its vehicle recommendations . This is likely because those small-sized options lack the necessary cargo capacity for the types of deliveries assigned to Shipt Drivers. 

The preferred vehicles here are vans, SUVs, and hatchbacks, all of which offer ample space to accommodate various package sizes and quantities. Their builds are also highly versatile, thanks to features like foldable rear seats and cargo organizers. This allows you to modify the interior setup based on the specific requirements of each delivery. 

In fact, the size of your car will determine the route length and quantity of items Shipt allows you to carry. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Medium Vehicle
    • Average route length: 3-5 hours 
    • Average # of packages: 30
  • Large Vehicle:
    • Average route length: 5-7 hours
    • Average # of packages: 50+
  • Sprinter Van
    • Average route length: 7+ hours
    • Average # of packages: 80+ 

As you undertake these tasks, Shipt further expects strict compliance with state and federal vehicle safety laws. This is meant to protect not only your safety, but also the integrity of the deliveries.

You need to have car insurance

Shipt requires Drivers to have car insurance . At the very least, Drivers must meet their state’s minimum liability insurance requirements. 

Standard coverage in most jurisdictions covers bodily injury and property damage caused by the driver while operating their vehicle. Their limits are not uniform, though – so, you should confirm your state's insurance laws before applying to become a Shipt Driver. 

We further recommend investing in coverage beyond the state’s minimum requirements. It turns out that compulsory personal insurance policies often exclude liability arising from business-related vehicle use. 

Only commercial auto insurance policies guarantee such protection when you’re using your car for delivery services. They may be costlier, but you’ll get higher liability limits and more comprehensive risk coverage.

Shipt Drivers can alternatively choose to add a business-use endorsement to their personal auto insurance policy. This would extend their standard state options to include the liabilities that occur during Shipt rides. 

Matthew Desmond , who has been doing Shipt for three years, warns against going with the minimum requirements. “Can't stress this enough. State minimum should never be considered for gig workers,” he says. “In Indiana, for instance, the state’s minimum cannot cover a hospital visit. You must always go above and beyond those standard policies.” 

Ultimately, the level of insurance you decide on 

Do you need health insurance?

On the subject of insurance, another supplementary policy you should consider is health insurance. Shipt already has partnerships with insurance brokers and medical providers, from whom you can purchase health insurance and other benefits at a discount

James recommends using Stride . “It linked up with Shipt in 2023 to grant hired contractors access to affordable health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans.”

They’re not compulsory, but at least you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re financially protected against any health issues arising from your job activities. Keep in mind that Shipt gigs involve a lot of physical activities, such as driving and lifting heavy items, which increase your risk of injury and incurring related health care costs.

You’ll need a background check 

Shipt conducts thorough background checks to uphold a safe and reliable standard of service. The company has commissioned Checkr, a third-party service, to dig into its applicants' legal and driving histories. 

The background check reviews your criminal history across state, county, and federal databases, the National Sex Offenders Registry, and global watchlists. Checkr additionally scans motor vehicle records from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), upon which it retrieves a breakdown of your driving history, including any traffic violations, accidents, or license suspensions.

Through this scrutiny, Shipt seeks to identify any past behaviors that might compromise your ability to perform the job safely and effectively. 

While not all offenses lead to disqualification, convictions for violent crimes, theft, or serious driving offenses are major red flags and may greatly influence your chances of getting hired as a Shipt driver. 

There are no set criteria that you need to meet in order to pass Shipt’s background check , so there’s no way to predict whether your application will be successful or not. That said, a squeaky-clean record is more likely to be accepted than one with several DUI convictions, but it’s entirely possible to be accepted even with a seemingly problematic record.

Shipt sometimes hires felons — but there are no guarantees

Shipt does not universally disqualify felons from employment. Instead, the company evaluates applicants with felony records on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances surrounding the crimes.

Among the many things it considers are the magnitude and frequency. Felonies involving violence, theft, or reckless driving, such as DUIs, are particularly looked down upon, as they’re in direct conflict with Shipt’s policies for service delivery. 

That’s not to say you’ll be ineligible with such convictions. It turns out that Shipt recognizes the potential for rehabilitation. As such, applicants with felony records are given the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the role. 

You could, for instance, convince recruiters here by providing evidence of rehabilitation or positive behavioral changes. Shipt is willing to look beyond your felony history when you demonstrate your commitment to follow the company's standards.

If you otherwise fail the background check process, Shipt still allows you to file an appeal. You can challenge the findings of the background check or maybe provide additional context to explain the identified offenses.

You don’t need to take a drug test

Shipt does not conduct drug testing as part of its employment process for Drivers. 

However, Drivers must always stay sober while on the job. The legal implications of driving under the influence can be pretty severe, with the possibility of heavy fines, license suspension, or even imprisonment.

Overall, as long as your substance use isn’t interfering with your ability to carry out your work, Shipt doesn’t care. However, even if you refrain from driving under the influence, if your substance use affects your performance in other ways, such as being late for orders, you could end up having your account deactivated as a result. 

Michelle emphasizes, “as with any job or gig, getting caught working under the influence can lead to immediate termination.”

James further cautions that “you can be reported by customers or staff from the warehouse (or staff at the store you are shopping in if you are a shopper) if it appears that you are under the influence.” 

I previously worked for Target seasonally,” he adds, “and we did exactly that due to a conflict we had with a visibly drunk Shopper.”

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