Last Updated on 2024-02-14

Shipt Rules All Shoppers and Drivers Need to Follow (Official & Unofficial)

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

author image

Catherine Meyers

5 years of experience working across Shipt and Instacart

author image

Joshua Merritt

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

author image

Davis Porter

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 enforces official rules to maintain high operational standards and ensure reliable service from its Shoppers and Drivers (read about the differences). Failure to comply with the rules can lead to serious repercussions, including termination or penalties.

There are also some "unofficial" Shipt rules, which are tips and best practices that will help you maximize your earnings, optimize delivery operations, improve customer satisfaction, and gain favorable ratings. 

This guide explores both official and unofficial Shipt rules to help you make the most of the gig.

Rules for Shipt applicants

Before we get into the specific rules for Shipt Drivers and Shoppers, here’s an overview of the initial requirements that candidates must meet to qualify for the two positions:  

Shipt Shopper requirements

Shipt’s Shopper requirements stipulate that applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid U.S. driver's license. They also need a reliable delivery vehicle that complies with Shipt’s car requirements — namely, a 1997 model or newer. In order to run the Shipt app, Shoppers will need an iPhone with iOS 10 or newer, or an Android phone with version 5.1 or newer.

Shipt Driver requirements

Shipt Drivers, like Shoppers, must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver's license and a 1997 model or newer car. However, Drivers can’t use two-door sedans — Shipt's Driver requirements require cars with more cargo space to accommodate bulk deliveries.

Insurance requirements 

Shipt's car insurance requirements are straightforward: Shoppers and Drivers must have personal auto insurance that meets their state's minimum requirements. However, that coverage may not apply when you’re using the vehicle for business-related activities. Therefore it may be a good idea to supplement personal policies with commercial insurance or a business-use endorsement even though it’s not required.

Matthew Desmond, a part-time Shipt worker of three years, says he “can't stress enough that Shoppers should meet with an insurance agent to verify their needs.”

Background check

Shipt conducts thorough background checks on all applicants via a third-party company called Checkr, which reviews public records for misdemeanors, felonies, and driving offenses. 

This is why Shipt is a solo gig,” says Matthew. “We are background checked, passengers in your vehicle are not and can get you deactivated.”

A clean record is, of course, the most preferred outcome. However, Shipt doesn't automatically disqualify applicants with criminal records, even if that record includes felonies . Instead, the company examines them on a case-by-case basis while considering the offense's severity, how long ago it was committed, and its relevance to the job duties in question. This gives even felons a fair chance of passing Shipt background checks

In addition, Shipt does not require drug tests.

Shipt’s official rules for Drivers and Shoppers

The most important part of Shopping or Driving for Shipt is following the platforms official rules. Here’s what you need to know to comply. 

Shipt Shopper agreement 

Upon joining the platform, Shoppers are presented with an agreement that outlines their contractual relationship with Shipt. 

You should carefully read and understand the terms and policies — especially regarding delivery standards, customer interaction protocols, Shipt payment processes, and account termination procedures.

Shipt’s rules for Rookies

New shoppers on Shipt are designated as "Rookies" for their first 10 orders. During this phase, they follow special Shipt rules to help them integrate smoothly into the Shipt system.

Usually, Rookies are strategically placed near the top of the order offering list so they can gain experience and exposure to Shipt’s wide order variety. However, they're limited to one order per delivery window, and if a Rookie claims a promotional order, it must be completed within the designated delivery window. 

Promo orders often have a smaller delivery window,” explains Catherine Meyers, a multi-platform gig worker with a Shipt portfolio of two years. “They've typically been on the queue for a while and Shipt wants them delivered ASAP.”

Matthew says that, sometimes, an order is stuck in the queue because it comes from a difficult customer. “I would caution new Shoppers against taking a promotional order,” he says. “They are rolling the dice. More experienced Shoppers recognize the addresses of difficult customers.”

Order card labels

Shipt uses card labels to help Shoppers quickly figure out the requirements for each order. These include "Shop & Deliver," "Prepaid," "Delivery Only," and "Shop Only." The labels are relatively self-explanatory: Shop & Deliver tasks involve both shopping and delivery, while Prepaid orders are already paid for and only need pickup and delivery. Delivery Only orders are prepackaged and ready for delivery, and Shop Only tasks require shopping but no delivery.

Shipt also uses special order card labels, like "Drop-Off," "Early Ok," "Promo," and "Alcohol Delivery." "Drop-Off" indicates a contactless delivery, while "Alcohol Delivery" means that alcoholic beverages are included in the order, which may require ID verification.

Shop & Deliver orders

Shop & Deliver orders require Shoppers to buy all the items on the customer’s list and deliver them to the specified address. During checkout, Shoppers must scan each item to confirm the customer’s list is fully covered. They then pay using their Shipt card and upload a picture of the receipt to the Shipt app. 

Physical receipts are never handed over to customers — Shipt provides them with a digital copy after delivery. If the customer is not home at the time of delivery, Shipt Shoppers are advised to try contacting them for further instructions or contact Shopper support if they can't get in touch with the customer.

Delivery Only orders

Delivery Only orders are orders fulfilled by Shipt Drivers. Drivers pick up packages from a designated Target pickup location and deliver them to customers. The orders are placed through the retailer directly, so no shopping is required.

These types of orders are bundled, so Drivers will deliver multiple packages on one route — generally anywhere from around 30 to 80 packages, depending on the length of the route they choose and the size of their vehicle.

In preparation for these orders, Drivers should review details on the delivery window, estimated pay, store location, and delivery address. They should plan to arrive at the pickup location 15 minutes before the delivery window. Shipt’s app will then guide them through the pickup process and the subsequent delivery. 

Prepaid orders

Prepaid orders are similar to Shop & Deliver orders in terms of shopping and delivery. The only difference is that they don’t require in-store payment — everything is paid online by the customer when they place the order.

The checkout process for prepaid orders varies depending on the retailer. Shoppers should therefore try to familiarize themselves with store procedures in their areas. For example, you will likely have to provide the customer name and potentially a code that they receive for their order. 

“The best practice is to come with grocery bags or boxes and to bag/box everything as your shopping for prepaid orders,” says Joshua Merrit, who has been working with Shipt for about four years. “At checkout, the attendant simply has to look over your cart, scan your barcode, and you can go. This greatly minimizes time in store, especially for larger orders.”

If the customer is unavailable during delivery, Shoppers should contact Shipt support for guidance. Catherine agrees that “this is generally best practice, but 90% of the time the customer isn't actually available face-to-face at delivery. If they don't have frozen food or super high-ticket items, I just leave it at their door.

Shop Only orders

For Shop Only orders, the Shopper selects items as per the customer’s list, but instead of delivering them, they arrange for the customer to pick them up at the store. These orders are marked with a yellow "Shop Only" label in the Shipt app.

This order type is only open to certified Shoppers. They should arrive at the store well before the designated pickup time to ensure timely completion. Once the shopping is done, the customer contacts the Shopper to collect the items. If the customer fails to show up, the Shopper should contact Shipt support for guidance.

Prohibited Orders

Shipt has rules regarding items that generally should not be delivered by its Shoppers and Drivers. These include alcohol, prescription medications, tobacco products, and large pieces of furniture. 

There are exceptions, though. In some jurisdictions, alcohol and prescription medications can be delivered if the Shopper has the necessary certifications. For the most part, however, Shoppers are responsible for informing customers if their order includes prohibited items. 

Shipt’s rules allow Shoppers to deliver any gift cards received during checkout. However, they should not purchase or deliver gift cards requested by customers. 

According to Joshua, “requesting gift cards is the most popular scam committed by fraudulent customers, and buying cards for them may result in your account being permanently banned.”

Shipt’s rules for scheduling work hours

Since Shipt Shoppers are self-employed, they have a lot of control over how and when they work. They can proactively manage their schedules using the Shipt app, defining availability up to a week in advance and choosing work zones, hours, and preferred delivery windows.

Shipt also allows them to edit their schedules if availability changes. Any claimed orders will remain on the schedule unless they are dropped separately.

Joshua clarifies that you’ll also be able to see orders outside your marked schedule. 

Late orders

Shipt’s rules place a high emphasis on promptness, with an expectation of a 90% or higher on-time delivery rate from its Shoppers. 

To maintain such a track record, Matthew says that Shoppers should “start orders as early as possible and try to deliver at the top of the window.”

Frequent late deliveries will hurt your on-time percentage and overall rating, potentially reducing the volume and quality of accessible orders. 

Shoppers should proactively handle all orders they expect to be late by informing Shipt support about the delay and updating the customer on the new expected delivery time.

Whenever such delays are caused by circumstances that are beyond the Shopper's control, they may apply for late forgiveness to have the delay omitted from their performance profile. To do so, they must fill out the late forgiveness form in the Shipt app, detailing the reasons behind the delay. Shipt will then review the request and make a decision based on the specifics of the situation.

Completion rate 

The completion rate measures the percentage of claimed orders that a Shopper has fulfilled. While there are no strict Shipt rules regarding the minimum threshold, a high completion rate demonstrates a Shopper's reliability and commitment, which Shipt subsequently rewards with access to more and better order offers.

To maintain a high completion rate, Shipt Shoppers and Drivers should only accept orders they can realistically handle. Otherwise, if they ever need to drop an order, they should do so well in advance of the delivery window to minimize any negative impact. 

Customer rating 

Shipt Shoppers are rated by customers on a scale of one to five, with the recommended average being 4.70 stars or higher from the last 50 ratings. Your rating also directly influences the type and quantity of orders available to you, as Shipt's algorithm prioritizes Shoppers with higher ratings. 

If you fall below the recommended average, you may be subject to additional training courses or deactivation,” warns Joshua.

For ratings that do not accurately reflect the quality of service provided, Shoppers can request rating forgiveness. This entails filling out Shipt’s rating forgiveness request form explaining why you believe the rating was unjust. Shipt will then review everything and either accept or deny your rating forgiveness request.

Shipt Shopper rules on delivering alcohol

Shoppers must be at least 21 years old and certified for alcohol delivery to handle such orders. However, Shipt’s rules prohibit them from adding alcohol to an order that didn't originally include it. If a customer makes such a request, Shoppers should advise them to place a new order for the alcohol. 

In addition, whenever an alcohol order is made outside of the legal hours of sale (which can vary by state), Shoppers must request that the customer remove it from their order.

Shipt card rules for Shoppers

Shipt provides its Shoppers with a physical Shipt card to pay for Shop & Deliver and Shop Only orders. It must be activated in the Shipt app before use. The alternative is a virtual card option, which Shoppers can add to their Apple or Google Wallet and is accepted at any retail outlet that supports Apple and Google Pay. 

Shipt cards are intended solely for in-store payments of customer-requested items. Using the card on personal purchases or cash-back requests is strictly prohibited. If your Shipt card ever malfunctions or is declined, you should contact Shipt support immediately. In some situations, though, Shipt rules allow you to pay with your personal card and later seek reimbursement through the app. 

For lost, stolen, or damaged Shipt cards, Shoppers can request a replacement via the app.

Unofficial Shipt rules for Shoppers and Drivers

As long as you follow the rules above, you won’t get your account deactivated. However, to achieve top-tier status on the Shipt Summit Seeker rewards program and maximize your earnings, you should keep the following tips in mind as well. 

Onboarding 

Though optional, Shipt’s two-part onboarding tutorial is highly recommended as it provides valuable insights into the practical aspects of being a Shipt Shopper. You also get practical tips and strategies for enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Optimizing service delivery 

When possible, Shoppers' work schedules should prioritize peak hours, typically between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and busy days like weekends and Mondays. These times often see a higher volume of orders, which translates to more income opportunities.

“As shoppers get used to their metros, they should understand that peak periods will come and go,” says Matthew. “In some metros, Saturdays are dead during the school year, and Sundays are busy, meanwhile, during other times of the year, Saturdays are busy, and Sundays, are dead.

Make sure your phone is fully charged before heading out for shopping and consider carrying a portable charger. Upon reaching the store, consider sending an introductory message to the customer using either a pre-formatted or personalized template.

During shopping, pay close attention to item particulars, customer notes, and special requests. You can even offer to send pictures of substitute items, check if the customer needs anything else before checkout, and take a photo of their order when you drop it off

Can you shop at a different location from the one suggested on Shipt?

Shipt advises its Shoppers to shop at the store listed in the app for each order. The selected stores are typically close to the customer’s location, saving you time and preserving the quality of temperature-sensitive items.

Also, customers often choose a particular store because it stocks the specific items they want. So, by shopping at the designated outlet, Shipt Drivers increase the chances of fulfilling the order accurately according to the customer’s preferences.

Matthew says that if something seems off about the store you’re being sent to, it’s good to double check. “If you know the area well, make sure you check with your members.  There have been times when Shipt has sent orders to wrong stores due to algorithmic zoning errors.”

Shipt shopper certifications 

Shipt offers various optional certifications to help its Shoppers diversify and expand the types of orders they can claim. You can choose between Alcohol Delivery, Shop Only, and Disney Delivery certifications. Each caters to a specific service type and comes with its own set of requirements for Shoppers.

Before beginning any of the courses, check to confirm that the service in question is available in your area of operation.

Shipt support

Shipt provides multiple support channels, all of which are easily accessible through the Shopper app.

For immediate assistance, the live chat feature is available 24/7. Phone support is also provided around the clock. You can reach Shipt’s support team at (205)-502-2500 for assistance with any issues that require quick feedback.

For less urgent matters, you can contact Shipt support via email at support@shipt.com

Matthew advises that it’s good to have strange requests in writing should you ever need to contact support about them. “Make sure you ask for anything outside of the realm that you have been told to be normal to be documented on the order to protect yourself.”

Get started

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

Keep Learning...