Last Updated on 2024-02-04

Official and Hidden Shipt Shopper Requirements

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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Patricia Jones

Experience working across both Shipt and Instacart

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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.

The Shipt Shopper role has requirements just like any other paying job. According to Shipt’s official site, the official requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid current mailing address.
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance (must meet your state’s minimum requirements)
  • Have access to a reliable vehicle (1997 or newer)
  • Have knowledge of produce selection
  • Be able to lift 45 pounds
  • Have access to a smartphone - iPhone (iOS 10 or newer) or Android (5.1 or newer).

Although these Shipt shopper requirements are relatively basic, they can sometimes be confusing due to limited information. 

It’s for this very reason that we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that answers all the questions that you might have on both the official and lesser-known requirements for Shipt shoppers.

For the sake of clarity, though, let’s begin by differentiating two often-confused roles – Shipt Shoppers and Shipt Drivers. While there are many overlaps in their responsibilities, certain job requirements distinctly set them apart. 

Shipt Shoppers vs. Shipt Drivers

Shipt Shoppers are hired to select and deliver groceries. For each order, they visit stores, handpick items from the customer’s list, and then proceed to drop them at the customer's doorstep.

In contrast, Shipt Drivers focus more on making bulk deliveries. Whereas Shipt Shoppers do individualized shopping, Shipt Drivers deal with pre-packaged bulk orders. They transport them from Target retail stores to multiple delivery locations. 

So, you could say that Shipt Shoppers engage in a more personalized shopping experience, while Shipt Drivers manage delivery logistics. 

Age requirements for Shipt shoppers

Shipt requires its shoppers to be at least 18 years old. This is the legal age of adulthood that allows you to enter into contracts as well as independently handle responsibilities like driving and insurance.

For age verification, Shipt relies on the applicant’s driver’s license. You’ll be required to submit a copy during your application. 

You need a valid driver’s license 

Your driver's license serves as proof of identity and legal authorization to drive.

Shipt will also request your social security number. They use it to confirm your eligibility to work in the U.S. and to run background checks across federal and state databases.

Other than that, you’ll need your SSN for filing your taxes for Shipt. As independent contractors, Shipt Shoppers are self-employed and are entirely responsible for reporting their income and paying appropriate taxes. 

You need a valid mailing address 

Every applicant must provide a valid mailing address for receiving official communications and job-related materials, like Shipt-branded apparel and payment cards. Shipt also references that same mailing address mailing in its background checks and verification processes. 

However, your mailing address isn’t the same as your shopping location. Catherine Meyers, a Shipt Shopper of two years, says, “the mailing address isn't necessarily relevant past sign up — if I'm visiting family where I'm able to work Shipt during downtime, I'm able to adjust my shopping location really easily, regardless of the listed mailing address. You just go into your account settings and search available metros.”

A background check is another requirement for Shipt Shoppers. It’s conducted on applicants to ascertain whether they are responsible, law-abiding individuals who can be trusted to handle customer orders and interact safely with the public.

The process begins when you provide your personal information plus consent. 

For the check itself, Shipt partners with a third-party specialist company called Checkr. Their job is to dig up applicants’ criminal records and driving history from databases like the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), National Sex Offenders Registry, Department of Corrections, and Department of Transportation. 

To qualify for the Shipt shopper role, your background check report should ideally be free of major criminal convictions such as theft, violence, or sexual offenses. They will also look into your driving records for serious violations like DUIs. However, you won’t necessarily be rejected if you have a criminal record. 

If you are rejected, Shipt offers an appeal process to contest inaccuracies and add context to your records. Each appeal is evaluated individually, giving applicants the chance to clarify their history and potentially reverse the initial decision.

What about applicants with a criminal record?

The background check requirement does not automatically disqualify applicants with criminal records.

Shipt follows fair chance employment principles, which advocate against discrimination of individuals with criminal records. 

So, even as the company digs into each applicant’s past, its final decisions are based on current qualifications and character. Felonies, misdemeanors, or traffic violations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature and severity of the offense, the time elapsed since the offense, and the relevance of the offense to the Shipt Shopper role. 

This approach gives rehabilitated felons an opportunity to get hired despite their criminal backgrounds. The less serious your offense is, the more likely it is that you’ll be hired. Serious felonies might complicate your application, but the company always evaluates applications on a case-by-case basis.

The only way to know whether you can work for Shipt despite your criminal record is to apply and see what happens — there’s no way to tell in advance. 

You don’t need to take a drug test 

Shipt does not routinely drug test its Shopper applicants (or active Shoppers, for that matter). 

This, however, should not be interpreted as leniency towards drug use. The platform expects Shipt Shoppers to maintain high standards of professionalism and safety, including abstaining from drug use while on duty. 

Drug use can seriously impair a Shopper's ability to drive safely, handle groceries, and interact with customers. It poses risks to the Shopper’s safety, customer well-being, and Shipt's reputation. And, of course, driving while under the influence is illegal and will land you in trouble with more than just Shipt if you get caught. 

You need access to a reliable car…

Shipt requires its shoppers to use reliable cars manufactured in 1997 or later. This age limitation ensures that cars are not prone to frequent breakdowns, which could potentially disrupt the delivery process and affect customer satisfaction. As for the type and model of the car, there are no strict restrictions. 

Matthew Desmond, who’s been doing Shipt for three years, says, “customer perception is everything. You can have an older car, but make sure that everything is in working order.”

Catherine agrees: “I know shoppers with run down, dirty cars and they've had issues with customer complaints and poor ratings. Even if you're not interacting with the customer at the door, tons of people are watching through the window or have doorbell cameras/property cameras, and they can see if your car is filthy. Most people obviously don't take kindly to their groceries sitting in a dirty car.”

…but you don’t have to own one

While a car is a strict requirement for Shipt Shoppers, you just need to have access to one, but you don’t need to own one. This opens up opportunities even to non-owners, allowing them to take on all the responsibilities that come with the role. 

You could, for instance, rent a car or borrow one from your friends or family members. Renting is often the most practical option, as there are now many car rental services with flexible terms and insurance coverages for gig economy workers. 

If borrowing a vehicle, you might want to verify that its insurance policy extends to additional drivers and the activities involved in Shipt shopping.

You need car insurance

At the very least, Shipt Shoppers are supposed to maintain their state’s minimum auto insurance coverage. This protects the shopper from financial losses in case of accidents or damages caused while driving. 

On the flip side, however, these state-legislated policies provide only basic coverage – which might not suffice for the complexities of gig work. They have low liability limits, which often do not extend to cover liabilities incurred while you’re on commercial errands. 

Shipt Shoppers should thus consider supplementing with commercial insurance policies for broader coverage. You need higher liability limits that apply even when the vehicle is engaged in income-generating activities.

Working with an experienced insurance agent is a must,” advises Matthew

Getting car insurance for Shipt can be complicated, so make sure to check out our full post on the topic. 

You need to know how to pick produce 

Shipt requires Shoppers to know how to select high-quality fresh produce. That means you should know how to discern fruits and vegetables by ripeness, freshness, and overall condition. 

But even though Shipt doesn’t explicitly say so, produce picking is just one of the shopping skills that you need to succeed with Shipt. Catherine says that produce picking skills are important, but so are general substitution skills. “I always ask customers if a replacement is okay — a lot of shoppers just do what's convenient instead of talking to the customer.” She says that this can harm your ratings, which impact future orders, and, consequently, puts your earnings in jeopardy.

She adds that sometimes produce selection is more about customer communication than just picking a nice looking pair of fruits. “Sometimes new Shoppers feel pressured to pick out produce even if the selection at the store is rotten or just plain bad. Knowing how to pick produce should also include the ability to discern if they should just message the customer, let them know it's rotten, and ask if it's ok to remove the item or advise on their preferred replacement.”

Matthew says that “asking how people like their produce is important too.  There are some people who like green bananas and some who like them almost overripe.”

Shipt itself offers resources and training materials to help Shoppers develop and hone basic produce selection skills. You can use them to elevate customer satisfaction, drive repeat business, and progressively increase your tips.

You have to be able to lift up to 45 pounds

Shipt Shoppers must be capable of lifting up to 45 lbs. They often handle heavy grocery bags, bulk items, and stacks of soft drink cases. You’ll be lifting the loads from shopping carts to your car and then from the car to customers' doorsteps, sometimes over a fleet of stairs or long distances. 

Physical stamina is equally important, as shoppers spend considerable time walking through stores, supermarkets, and large warehouses. They move around while bending, reaching, and sometimes stretching to access items on high shelves or in deep freezers. Then after picking up groceries, they may end up standing for long periods in checkout lines. 

You need a smartphone

Shipt Shoppers rely on their Shipt app to accept orders, communicate with customers, and find stores. This means you’ll need a smartphone with adequate processing power and storage to run that app. 

The app itself is compatible with both iOS (10 or newer) and Android (5.1 or later). 

Each smartphone should additionally have a stable mobile data plan, as the job involves being on the move and often away from Wi-Fi networks. The corresponding data consumption varies based on the hours you spend shopping and delivering. 

If you plan on running the app all day, remember to bring your car charger,” says Patricia Jones, a Shopper with several years of experience.  

Matthew agrees: “portable power banks and car chargers are a must if you are going out all day.”

Get started

Going by these basic job requirements, can you see yourself as a Shipt Shopper? Apply now to get started.

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