The gig economy has created many interesting job opportunities, one of which allows you to shop for groceries for other people. What is it like to become a Shipt Shopper and how much can you actually make? Read my full review to find out if the task profile fits you for the long term.
Shipt at a Glance
Shipt is an on-demand grocery delivery service that picks up groceries and delivers them to customers nearby. As an independent contractor, you are basically required to pick up those orders from the local stores and send the items on the very same day.
The program operates through two different apps – one for the customers and one for the shoppers. In your case, it will be the latter. Earnings vary according to location and it is calculated based on the following factors;
Earnings = $5 (flat fee) + 7.5% of the total receipt +/- tips (from the customers)
Based on the equation, it’s been reported that most shoppers can make anywhere between $15 to $25 (+tips) per order. As your shopping skills improve and the more orders you take, the more money you’d naturally make.
Are You Eligible?
Before signing up, it’s worth checking the criteria of becoming a shopper in your area.
- You need to be at least 18 years old and above.
- Have a valid driver’s license, a car less than 15 years old and is insured.
- Knows how to operate an iPhone (iOS 8 or newer) or Android (4.4.2 or newer)
- Must pass a background check (no criminal records whatsoever)
- And able to lift at least 25 pounds and avoid smoking on the job.
Apart from all that, it’s also a good thing if you are familiar with the stores around the neighborhood, enjoy walking down supermarket aisles and discovering new consumer products. Even if you aren’t good at these, the tasks can be learned and improved over time.
How Does Shipt Shopper Works
If you checked all the above, you can fill out an application or do a virtual interview and the recruiting team will get back to you with a confirmation email within 24 to 48 hours. When accepted into the job, you’d receive a free Shipt T-shirt and a Shipt Card in the new shopper package sent by mail.
The prepaid card will be used to pay for grocery orders and it will be loaded with funds before a new delivery window begins. Meanwhile, you should get your own insulated bag which can be purchased through Shipt’s website. Once everything is ready, you can log onto the Shopper’s app and set your working hours.
When receiving orders, the first thing you see would be the total price of the grocery, the estimated shopping time and the store location. If you are okay with the time and place, you will accept the order and the app will automatically notify the customers that you’ve begun shopping for their items.
If an item on the list isn’t available in-store, the customers may notify you to use your best judgment to find a substitute or contact them through the messaging feature on the app. Upon completing the orders, customers will leave ratings for your service and payment will be made weekly, every Friday via direct deposit.
So what gets people excited about becoming a Shipt Shopper? Here are some interesting facts.
- The learning curve is minimal. As long as you know how to use the app and navigate around a supermarket, you can start taking orders as soon as you are qualified.
- If you still feel jittery about the whole thing, the basic training will walk you through different scenarios to help with familiarization. You can also get access to online networks and support such as the local Facebook page for the area you intend to service.
- To keep you motivated, Shipt does provide a few incentives. For example, when you complete 30 orders, you will be rewarded with two more T-shirts and an insulated bag. In the past, they have also offered bonuses when you complete an X amount of orders within a certain period. Such offers may vary from time to time though.
- The ability to keep open communication with the customers through the in-house messaging system is a good way to get things done efficiently without breaching the privacy of both parties.
- Just like other gig economies, the working hours are flexible and you can set your availability 7 days in advance. Some people choose to work part-time while others may want to commit to a 40-hour schedule – that’s fine too. Shipt doesn’t limit the orders as long as you can get the job done and oh, as for tips, the company doesn’t take any cut either so 100% of that goes to your profit.
- Besides money, here’s the best part. As a shopper, you get a free membership to use the app for ordering groceries for your own. That means on days you don’t feel like going out, someone else can ship your orders – you just need to pay for the groceries. How cool is that?
- Last but not least, grocery shopping for others can be considered a good service to the community. If it makes you feel satisfied assisting a busy working mother or helping a senior citizen with her weekly errands, the outcome of the job can be quite rewarding. Not to mention, it helps to keep you fit and stay active too.
As interesting as the app may sound, it’s not without its own set of drawbacks.
- Technically, the program is only accessible for residents living in the US and the UK. Even in the US, it’s only available in about 270 major metros and more job opportunities are to be expected in bigger cities versus smaller ones. More demands can also be found in certain zones that are populated with stores.
- According to frequent shoppers, weekday orders can be pretty quiet and the busiest hours are mostly during the weekends. So if you are a person with family commitment, you would need to sacrifice the time in order to earn the extra money.
- When you accept an order, you don’t really know what’s in the grocery list until you start shopping. This can be a potential bummer if you are later required to search for tough-to-find items or having to carry heavy stuff beyond your capacity. All these can extend shopping times, causing unexpected delays in delivery and indirectly affecting your ratings.
- While the tough get going, keep in mind that encountering bad weather and long drives are part of the job’s nature. And because Shipt doesn’t have a reimbursement program, you will also need to pay for your own gas and vehicle maintenance that occur along the way.
- One thing I found lacking is that there’s no referral bonus for Shoppers – the program is just for signing up new customers. That means, if someone likes what you do and want to join as a shopper, you will not be rewarded for introducing them the opportunity. If you want to see how much reward a referral program can make, you should check out the Doordash gig instead.
- As an independent worker, you won’t get any paid vacation or benefits. Shipt does not withhold any taxes from your weekly payment so you are fully responsible for filing your own taxes when the earnings hit above a certain amount.
Is Shipt Shopper Worth Your Time?
It depends. I find the opportunity to be a good option for stay-at-home moms, college students, semi-retiree or anyone who has flexible hours and is quick-witted.
People who are looking for a fresh change of job and enjoy grocery shopping also tend to favor this gig more than others. The hourly pay is also not bad and if you are efficient, you can certainly take up more than one order for a single session to maximize earnings.
On the other spectrum, the job opportunity can be quite scarce if your area is saturated with shoppers or if the market demand is low. If you intend to work for long hours, I imagine it can be quite labor-intensive too. Is this side-hustle something you can do for the long term? That’s something to think about.
Another way to make money on the side with shopping activities is through affiliate marketing. You earn sales commissions whenever someone buys something online through your recommendation. This income model leverage from the growing eCommerce industry, taking place in all sorts of niche and it’s something you can monetize long term with just a blog. No need to drive around town.
If you like to learn more, please check out my recommended training platform to find out how you can get started for free, right from the comfort of your own home.