Driving For DoorDash vs Driving For Instacart

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Updated on July 12, 2021 by
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In today’s technologically reliant world, we have become overly accustomed to getting food and groceries delivered right to our doorsteps. The pandemic has only increased our dependency towards on-demand services, allowing apps like DoorDash and Instacart to grow exponentially over the last year.

If you are looking for a side hustle to earn some extra income, working for one of these delivery apps could prove to be incredibly lucrative for you. Whether you looking to pay off college debt, start a college fund for your children, or just make some extra cash, driving for delivery apps could help you fulfill your needs. However, with the number of apps available today, it might be perplexing to figure out which app can help you make the most money, and which one suits your needs the best.

In this article, we compare 2 of the most popular delivery apps out there today – DoorDash and Instacart. Scroll below to learn about the different features available on both apps, as well as all the pros and cons of working for each company.

DoorDash At A Glance

DoorDash is a food delivery business that was founded in 2013. Over the past few years, the company has grown to operate in over 4,000 cities across the United States and Canada. DoorDash allows customers to place an order from a list of over 450,000 vendors. The order is then picked up by a dasher (a DoorDash delivery driver) and delivered to the customer in a timely manner. The app also allows users to schedule deliveries, rather than simply make real-time orders.

Instacart At A Glance

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery business that was founded in 2012. The company has seen massive growth since its inception and operates in over 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada today. Customers can choose from over 300 grocery vendors, and save delivery and service costs on each order by signing up for subscription programs on Instacart.

Signing Up To Be A Delivery Driver

Signing up to be a delivery driver for both DoorDash and Instacart is a fairly similar process. Both jobs come with certain requirements and can take up to 1-2 weeks to accept your application.

Driver sign up requirements for DoorDash:
1. Be 18 years or older
2. Have an active driver’s license
3. Have auto insurance
4. Provide your social security number
5. Pass a background test (take 5- 7 days)

Driver sign up requirements for Instacart:

Instacart offers two types of delivery positions for drivers:

In-Store Shoppers: These types of employees don’t make any actual deliveries for the app, but simply shop for orders and pack them for customers in the store.

Full–Service Shoppers: These types of employees shop for orders, pack them, and deliver the products to the customer.

Rules For In-Store Shoppers and Full–Service Shoppers:
1. Be 18 years or older
2. Eligible to work in the United States
3. Own an iPhone 6/ Android 5 or a newer device
4. Be able to lift up to 50lbs

Additional Rules For Full–Service Shoppers:
1. Pass a background check
2. Have a minimum of 2 years of prior driving experience
3. Access to a vehicle

App Functionality:

The DoorDash app is relatively simple to use for dashers. Drivers can use the app to schedule their working hours ahead of time and enjoy a more flexible and organized work schedule. You can start scheduling your deliveries one week in advance.

If you choose to work at a time that you hadn’t scheduled before, you can use the ‘Dash Now,’ feature on the DoorDash app. This feature allows dashers to choose orders during high-demand and busier times, and benefit from peak pay.

One downfall of the DoorDash app is that it doesn’t offer GPS tracking. Therefore, drivers need to download an alternate application such as Google maps in order to find their way to their delivery locations.

Instacart also allows drivers to schedule their hours using the app. You can choose to work between 9 am and midnight every day. Once your shift is about to start, the app sends you notifications of delivery orders to pick from. You can choose the orders that suit you best and head to the store to start shopping using their Instacart debit card.

Shopping for Instacart can be more challenging as grocery orders tend to be much larger than restaurant food delivery orders. Drivers will need to confirm each item they find and add to their cart, as well as weigh certain items such as vegetables. Drivers can use the app to message customers when an item from their order is out of stock and ask them to choose a replacement.

Delivery Pay For Drivers

DoorDash Pay Model

DoorDash pays its drivers an average of $20 per hour. The Dasher payment model adds up 3 components to decide your final pay:

1. Base Pay: This is determined by the time taken and the distance traveled to complete each order, as well as how popular it is with the other dashers. The base pay tends to range between $2 to $10
2. Promotions: Promotions include features such as peak pay (getting additional income for making deliveries during busier delivery hours in the area) and challenges (completing a certain number of deliveries in a set time period)
3. Tips: DoorDash lets you keep 100% of the tips you earn

Instacart Pay Model

The Instacart pay model depends on factors such as your location and your speed when completing each order. Instacart shoppers can earn between $7 to $25 per hour. All employees get to keep 100% of the tips they earn.

In-Store Shoppers Pay: These types of shoppers earn a flat hourly rate and make anywhere between $9 to $16 per hour depending on their location. The flat rate is disclosed in the appointment letter.

Full-Service Shoppers Pay: Full-Service shoppers are considered to be independent contractors and earn an average of $11 during off-peak times, and $20 during busier hours. Their pay depends on how fast they shop and complete each order, as well as their location. Even though full-service shoppers earn more than in-store shoppers, they have additional costs such as buying fuel for their delivery vehicles.

Instacart drivers can also benefit from bonuses when they receive 5-star ratings for their deliveries, or refer family and friends to sign up after completing 40 hours on the app themselves.

Driver Ratings

DoorDash: DoorDash allows customers to rate deliveries based on a 5-star rating system. The app calculates each driver’s score using the rating from their last 100 deliveries. High-rated dashers succeed to the ‘Top Dasher Program’ and can receive benefits such as priority during slow time periods of delivery.

Instacart: Similar to DoorDash, Instacart allows customers to rate their overall delivery experience using a 5-star rating system. The app calculates your score by averaging out the rating for your last 100 orders. Drivers with the highest scores receive new order requests first, and can hence benefit from higher pay.

DoorDash vs. Instacart: Which one is better?

Both DoorDash and Instacart have their own sets of pros and cons. They both offer different structures and benefits, and therefore there is no clear winner.

If you are looking for a simple and quick side-hustle, DoorDash may be the right app for you. You don’t need to fulfill complicated long orders and be asked to lift up to 50lbs. You can also simply use your bike to fulfill deliveries rather than buy a car to haul heavy groceries. However, it is likely you will make a lower-earning as a Dasher than as a full-service shopper on Instacart.

On the other hand, If you are simply looking for a part-time job and don’t have prior driving experience or a vehicle, Instacart might be the right choice for you. You can simply work as an in-store shopper and make some side income without ever leaving the grocery store and having to pay for fuel for your vehicle.

You could also choose to work for both DoorDash and Instacart initially. This will help you receive more opportunities, and can also help you decide which app is the right choice for you. Both apps are sure to give you plenty of opportunities to make some extra cash that can help you pay off debt, or go towards your savings for the future.

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