Last Updated on 2024-02-07

Shipt Referral Bonuses Are Hard to Come By - Here’s How They Work

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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Joshua Merritt

4 years of experience working across DoorDash, Instacart, Shipt, and UberEats

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Davis Porter

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

Referral bonuses have become a very common way for companies to attract new customers and workers. They generally reward current customers or workers if they get someone else to make a purchase or sign up for the company's service.

Shipt occasionally offers a similar referral bonus for Shoppers and Drivers (read about the differences) to help them maximize their self-employment income. When available, this bonus is open to seasoned Shoppers and new recruits alike, but it can be hard to come by.

Here's everything Shipt Shoppers and Drivers need to know about Shipt's referral bonuses, including qualification criteria, where to get Shipt referral codes, how much you can earn, and how to process the payouts.  

What is the Shipt referral bonus?

The Shipt referral bonus is an incentive program to motivate Shoppers and Drivers to bring new workers on board. You may have heard this referred to as the refer-a-friend program, which refers to the same thing. Shipt also has a referral bonus program for customers, but it's a completely separate program — our focus here is solely on the referral program for Shoppers and Drivers.

Here's how it works: current Shoppers and Drivers receive a unique referral code from the Shipt app, which they can share with friends, family, or anyone else they know who might be interested in working with Shipt. The prospective Shipt worker must then include the code in their Shipt application. 

When the person who's been referred is successfully recruited and proceeds to fulfill a predetermined number of orders within a set timeframe, Shipt awards them and their referrer a bonus.

James Tuliano has been working with Shipt and DoorDash since 2020. And based on his extensive experience, the standard referral bonus criteria for new Shoppers is 30 orders completed within 40 days of being approved. 

This is the same requirement for all referrals,” he says. “Just the payout amount will be different depending on your metro.”

That said, the referral bonus program is a win-win for both the platform and its workforce — Shipt gets to expand its team while Shoppers and Drivers can leverage the opportunity to earn additional income. 

Program differences for Shipt Shoppers and Drivers 

Shipt Shoppers and Drivers have different roles, but the referral bonuses operate the same way — both reward delivery personnel for recruiting new ones and depend on the new recruits completing a set number of orders within a designated period. Naturally, the only difference is what the new workers need to complete in order to earn the bonus. 

Recruited Shoppers need to complete shopping tasks — taking their orders from individual customers, going to the assigned retail stores, selecting and purchasing the groceries as ordered, and then fulfilling their deliveries — while recruited Drivers meet the criteria by picking up pre-prepared orders from Target and delivering them on predetermined fulfillment routes. 

Even though referral bonuses are available to both Shoppers and Drivers, they’re very rare overall, and they’re even rarer for Drivers. For that reason, most of what we’ll cover here is related to referral bonuses for Shoppers. 

Shipt referral bonus vs. sign up bonus

The Shipt sign-up bonus is another incentive program the company offers, which is distinct from the referral bonus. Shipt referral bonuses are meant for Shoppers and Drivers who successfully recruit new workers to the platform. The sign-up bonus, on the other hand, is a one-time incentive for workers to join Shipt and quickly meet order completion criteria. 

Both programs contribute to Shipt's recruitment and retention efforts. The sign-up bonus program pulls in applicants by offering them an immediate financial incentive, while the referral bonus facilitates a community-driven growth model.

When is the Shipt referral bonus offered?

Shipt's referral program is not always available — the company offers it occasionally based on market demand, the number of active Shipt Shoppers in a region, strategic workforce decisions, and other factors.

For instance, in regions with a high concentration of Shipt Shoppers, the referral program may be available less frequently compared to areas where the platform is looking to expand its workforce.

Referral bonuses are relatively rare, so you shouldn't wait for a referral bonus to become available, as it may not come around for a while. It's best to just sign up and start shopping or driving so you can maximize your earnings right away.

In some metros, referral bonus programs may be accessible on the Shipt Shopper app, but practically impossible to complete because all new referees are put on the Shipt waiting list. Catherine Meyers, says that in the two years that she has worked with Shipt, the referral bonus feature has remained accessible, but everyone gets put on the waitlist.

“I’m in a very busy metro, and there’s basically been a waitlist for the last 2 years, but there’s constantly a referral bonus for me. I’m still able to refer people, but they’ll be placed on the waitlist regardless. So the referral seems to always be there, even if the metro isn’t in need of shoppers at the moment.”

Where to get the Shipt referral bonus

The Shipt referral bonus program is available through the Shopper app. You can access it by going to the main menu and selecting “Refer Shoppers.” You need to have completed at least one order to be eligible for the program.


Most of the time, however, you won’t find the program active on the app — it appears rarely to only a handful of the platform’s metro areas. You can confirm the status of your location directly in the app. Shoppers can refer friends in metros with waitlists, but the referrals will be on hold until Shipt approves them.

To stay in the loop, you can enable notifications in your Shipt app and regularly check for emails from Shipt. You’ll then be able to get alerts to any new or ongoing referral bonuses in your area.

How much do referral bonuses pay?

There’s no standard amount for Shipt referral bonuses — they can vary based on location, time, Shipt’s hiring strategy, and market conditions. 

Joshua Merritt, a Shipt, DoorDash, UberEats, and Instacart driver of four years, claims to have witnessed Shipt’s referral bonus offerings getting raised and promoted towards the end of the third quarter of the year. 

They do so to get a high concentration of shoppers for the holiday season,” he says. 

In most metro areas, though, the bonuses often range from $5 to $100. This is the amount that both participating Shoppers and referred recruits can earn whenever any of the referred workers meets the program’s order completion quota. For example, if a Shipt Shopper refers someone and the referral bonus in their area is $50, both parties will receive $50. 

My current referral bonus is $5,” explains James Tuliano, a Shipt Shopper with four years of experience. “My referred friend has to do 30 orders within 40 days in my metro for me to get only $5. I am in a very busy metro so they probably aren't trying to incentivize more Shoppers, and that's why it is so low.”

How is the referral bonus paid?

Shoppers’ bonus earnings are processed immediately after their referred recruits have fulfilled the set program criteria. Shoppers can expect to be paid the following week. Shipt pays out the bonus via direct deposit along with Shoppers’ regular earnings. 

Referral bonuses are not eligible for Shipt instant payouts,” notes James. “You have to wait for the normal weekly direct deposit” — even if the funds have already been credited to your Shipt account. 

You can track the payment in the payment history section of the Shipt Shopper app. These are some of the records you’ll need to accurately work out, pay, and file taxes on your Shipt income

How to refer other Shoppers to Shipt

To refer other Shoppers, you’ll need to use your own referral code. 

To get your referral code, open the Shipt Shopper mobile app and go to the “Refer Shoppers” section. The codes are automatically generated and linked to your service account, so they're unique to each Shopper. Referred recruits must enter your code when signing up for you to be credited with the referral and earn Shipt’s referral bonuses. 

Once you’ve completed at least one order on Shipt, you should be able to access and share your code whenever Shipt’s referral program is active in your area. This minimum order requirement ensures that only active Shoppers are involved in the referral process. 

Once you have the code in hand, you’re free to share it with any friends or acquaintances interested in joining Shipt. You could also try to broaden your reach by distributing the referral code through social media or online communities.  

The Shipt app includes a tracking feature for monitoring the progress of all your referral efforts.  You can see when your referrals sign up, track their order completion rates, and verify whether the conditions for the referral bonus have been fulfilled.

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Can you see yourself as a Shipt Shopper or Driver? Read about the differences or apply now to be a Shopper or Driver.

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