Last Updated on 2024-05-21

Getting Off the Shipt Waiting List: How Long It Takes and What To Do

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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Tommy Brownson

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

Even if you meet all of the requirements to start as a Shipt Shopper or Driver (read about the differences), you may be put on a waiting list until Shipt needs more personnel. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guess how long it will take to get off the waiting list, so if you want to get out on the road and start earning, the best thing you can do is to apply to similar gigs, like Instacart and DoorDash, while you wait.  

When you shop or drive for Shipt, you’re working as a self-employed independent contractor, which means you can work multiple gigs at once. “Multi-apping” (using multiple gig apps at once) is not only acceptable, it’s advisable — it’s one of the best ways to maximize your earnings as a gig worker. 

By signing up for other apps that may hire you sooner, you’ll not only increase your odds of getting out on the road as fast as possible, but you’ll set yourself up to optimize your earnings if you do eventually get off the waitlist.

You’ll find out if you’re waitlisted as soon as you submit your application

After filling out and submitting your application, you will receive an email notifying you that your application will be reviewed once a spot opens up (i.e., you are now on the waitlist).

This means that you’ll find out if you’re on the waitlist before both the interview and the background check. So, one thing you can certainly do in the meantime is make sure you’re prepared for the interview

You may also want to check in with your auto insurance provider to make sure you get any car insurance issues sorted before you start. Making sure you’ll have health insurance is a good idea too. 

Referral codes won’t get you off the waitlist

While it’s definitely great if you can cash in on the occasional referral bonuses that Shipt offers to boost recruitment and retention, having been referred will not affect your status on the waitlist. Once you get off, the referral bonus will work just like it normally would.

Beware of third-party offers to get you off of the waitlist

Sadly, there are reports of scammers trying to take advantage of prospective Shoppers and Drivers who have been waitlisted and want to get through the process more quickly. 

Joshua Merritt, who has three years of experience Shopping for Shipt, explains: “in community groups on Facebook and Reddit, I have seen scams go around where people say they can get Shoppers off the waitlist, but no one has the power to do that and this should not be trusted under any circumstances. They are usually requesting money or account login details.” 

How long is the Shipt waitlist?

Put simply, Shipt only hires new workers when the rate of orders they are receiving in that area requires it. In other words: there’s no good way to predict how long you are likely to wait.  Sometimes applicants are approved in days, while others may wait months for their turn.  

This general picture was reflected in the experience of veteran Shipt Shopper James Tuliano, who has been working with Shipt since 2020: I have a friend in my metro that signed up four months ago and is still on the waiting list. So it can take a while!”   

He went on to assure that it’s not like that everywhere.  “It's mostly dependent on the location/metro. Some metros have no waitlist and some are very long.” 

While your time on the waitlist may vary widely based on the area or metro you’ve applied in, fundamentally, it will depend on: 

  • The number of people ahead of you on the waitlist
  • Changes in the volume of orders (demand)
  • Changes in the current pool of workers (supply)

Unfortunately, none of this information is readily available, but if you’re lucky enough to know someone in your area who is already working in the role you’re applying to (especially someone who has started recently), asking them about the current situation is probably your best chance at making any kind of informed guess.

If they have seen that a lot of Shoppers or Drivers have been leaving or reducing their hours, or that more orders have been going unclaimed, it might be an indication that Shipt needs to take in some new people. Even with insight like that, however, one can only guess.

What to do if you’ve been put on the Shipt waiting list

Just because you’re on the waitlist doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. Here are a couple of things you can do while you wait.

Improve your odds by applying to both Shipt roles

In some areas, there are two different roles with Shipt: the Driver and the Shopper. Shoppers shop for customers' orders and deliver them, while Drivers (which only operate out of a select list of partner stores) deliver batches of packages on a predetermined route, much like a standard mail delivery person.

What’s important to keep in mind is that the application processes for the two roles are separate, and there is no rule (anymore) against being active in both roles at the same time. 

For example, there may very well be a shorter waitlist for the Driver role in your area. So even if you think you’d prefer to work as a Shopper, if you apply for both positions, you would have the option to start working as a Driver first. Then later, when you’ve made it through the process as a Shopper too, you could choose whichever you prefer — or do some of both!

But be careful: Shoppers can apply to be Drivers, but Drivers can’t apply to be Shoppers. If you’re approved to become a Driver before you’re approved to be a Shopper, you likely won’t be eligible to be a Shopper anymore. So, if you’re dead set on being a Shopper and want to play it safe, skip this and move on to the next step instead. 

Apply to similar gigs while you wait

Of course, Shipt isn’t the only delivery platform in most areas. It’s possible that competing delivery platforms, such as DoorDash and Instacart, could have shorter waitlists in your area, or none at all.  

There are differences to consider when comparing Shipt to Instacart, or comparing Shipt to DoorDash, or to any other delivery gig, but you don’t have to choose between them. 

Many gig workers will do what’s called “multi-apping” (working on multiple gig apps), as there is no restriction preventing you from working simultaneously on any number of these platforms. In fact, multi-apping is a great way to boost your earnings, and some experienced gig workers have a strategy of taking on orders from multiple apps at the same time.

Even if you’re planning to focus on Shipt once you have been approved, applying to other apps while you wait can get you out and earning sooner, and set you up to maximize your earnings down the road.

Get Started

If you have only applied as either a Shopper or a Driver, you can read about the differences or apply now to be a Shopper or Driver and apply to Instacart and DoorDash while you wait. 

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