Instacart vs DoorDash: Which Gig Is The Best Side Hustle

The food delivery market has grown exponentially over the past five years. The sector got a huge boost during the pandemic in 2020 and is expected to keep ballooning in size to reach $42 billion by 2025. Now that the economy is slowly moving towards a gig economy, customers want to outsource their basic needs by using food delivery services to get their grocery shopping or food delivered. The most common and popular in-home deliveries are DoorDash and Instacart. These two platforms operate similarly but are subtly different in certain aspects.

Let’s first look at Instacart.

Instacart Overview

Instacart was established back in 2012 and was an on-demand grocery demand service like Amazon Fresh. It is a private company that is headquartered in San Francisco and was founded by Apoorva Mehta (CEO) and Sagar Sanghvi (CFO). This service is available in over 5,000 cities across the United States and has had 9.6 million active users since 2020.

It works with more than 300 grocery stores and more than 500,000 Shoppers. To order, users must go through the app and wait for a shopper to pick up their orders from the store and get them delivered to their homes. Instacart personal shoppers are freelance contractors that do the work for the users.

It is similar to online grocery shopping, but you have a contractor to pick up groceries and deliver them to your door. Instacart is a game-changer for busy families that don’t have time to run to get groceries which is why it is known to be one of the best grocery delivery services. Whether you need cereal, veggies, cakes, condiments, noodles, canned goods, yogurt, pastries, or alcohol, Instacart's capable shoppers can deliver them to your door. All you have to do is give them your shopping list.

Delivery Fees

If it's your first time ordering on Instacart, you can get free delivery on your first order. After that, the fees start at $3.99 for orders over $35, with other fees like same-day, club, and small deliveries. If you sign up for Instacart Express, you can get unlimited deliveries for an annual fee of $149. You also have to pay a fee if it is a heavy order that weighs over 50 pounds. The minimum order for an Instacart delivery of $10.

Requirements to Work for Instacart

If you plan on working for Instacart, you'll need to meet their requirements. There are two kinds of shoppers – Full-Service Shoppers and In-Store Shoppers.

Instacart Full-Service Shopper:

  • Must be 18 years old
  • The worker must be authorized to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • Smartphone (either have an Andriod 5.0 or later or iOS 9 or later)
  • A registered and functional vehicle
  • Driver's license and car insurance
  • Ability to lift 30+ pounds
  • Commit to following safety policies

Instacart In-Store Shopper:

  • Must be 18 years old
  • The worker must be authorized to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • Smartphone (either with Andriod 5.0 or later or iOS 9 or later)
  • Ability to lift 30+ pounds
  • Commit to following safety policies

There are several pros and cons to working as an Instacart shopper.


  • Earning potential is higher
  • Work whenever you want
  • Tips are higher compared to other food delivery jobs
  • Free delivery on orders of $35 or more if you are an Instacart Express subscriber


  • Steeper learning curve
  • Inability to schedule shifts
  • Low shopper rate, meaning there are fewer batch requests
  • Delivery fee unless Instacart Express subscriber
  • Prices may be higher than in-store

Doordash Overview

DoorDash was established in 2013. Like Uber Eats, DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service that lets you order food from restaurants. It is headquartered in San Francisco and was founded by Standford students Tony Xu (CEO), Andy Fang (CTO), Parbir Adarkar (CFO), and Christopher Payne (COO). Compared to Instacart, it is a public company and is known to be one of the best food delivery apps. It is available in over 4,000 U.S., Canadian, and Australian cities. This company has a nearly 60% market share in the U.S., partnering with more than 340,000 restaurants and merchants.

When the pandemic hit hard back in 2020, DoorDash was a big winner that partnered with huge franchises like Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Panera Bread, and more. The users order food from local restaurants, and the driver – an independent contractor – picks up the order and delivers it. Similar to Uber Eats, you just wait to have them delivered, and it’s ready to eat.

Not only does DoorDash deliver food, but it also delivers groceries and essential household products from local stores like 7-Eleven, Wawa, Safeway, and Smart & Final.

Delivery Fees

DoorDash attracts customers due to the $1 delivery fee for the first month of service. After the first month, the standard is $5.99 per order. However, some restaurants ask for $8 per delivery. You might also have to pay a fee if the order is small.

Requirements to Work for Doordash

If you plan on working for DoorDash, there are several requirements you must meet.

DoorDash Delivery Driver:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Provide a Driver’s license number
  • Provide a Social Security number
  • Consent to a background check
  • Have a car, scooter, or bicycle


  • Flexible schedule
  • Stable hourly earnings
  • Eligible for having different vehicles


  • Not likely to get large tips
  • You might not work during busy hours if you don’t schedule your shifts

Are These Safe and Reliable Apps

Both apps are safe and reliable since delivery drivers go through a background check, and your phone number stays private with the delivery driver. As for the payment method, the apps are safe to use, just like paying with other established platforms. Using the apps means you don’t have to worry about dealing with cash.


Since the pandemic hit, DoorDash introduced new health and safety guidelines to protect their customers and workers from Covid.


After Instacart workers went on strike for more health protection, Instacart Shoppers were given health and safety kits to protect themselves. New standards were then adopted during the pandemic.

Job Review

If you are looking to work for Instacart or DoorDash, you might be looking for some honest reviews about the companies. To understand both companies, you want a complete job review.


If you love shopping and delivering groceries while getting paid to do it, Instacart is an excellent fit for you. When you become an Instacart Shopper, you have main duties you must remember:

  • Use the Shopper App to accept the job
  • Assist customers by shopping for their groceries and essential items
  • Follow the food safety protocols and policies
  • Deliver the order to the customer’s house or the requested location

Instacart requires physical skills, and you need to be able to lift 40 lbs without accommodation. There have been complaints from shoppers about missing items, low-paying orders, and technical troubles with the app.


DoorDash is a low-pressure job where you don’t have to deal with customers. “Dashers” earn money by delivering food to local customers, and it is the driver’s responsibility is to accept the gig in the app. The perk about DoorDash is that you can deliver with someone else as a pair delivery, which is different from Instacart, where you have to do grocery shopping by yourself. Some common complaints drivers have are low-paying orders and technical issues with the app.

How Much Money Can You Make


Instacart pays per batch, and each batch can vary. It depends on the number of items, types of items in the order, and driving distance. If you are working during a busy period, the company pays you more with peak pay incentives. You can take on double batches, meaning you can shop at the same store for two different customers and make two deliveries if you want to make more money. Shopping for groceries can be time-consuming, so you want to find ways to be efficient with your time.

For each delivery-only batch, Instacart pays at least $5. If the batch requires some shopping and delivery, the pay is from $7 to $10. If the customer tips you, that is additional money for you. If you are an in-store shopper, you earn an hourly wage, and the wage depends on where you live. The company pays its workers through direct deposit every Wednesday, and it can take two to three business days to process.


As for DoorDash, you get paid based on three things: base pay, promotions, and tips. When you are a DoorDash driver, you get paid $23 per hour while on delivery. Specific promotions like peak pay or challenges can help you boost your earnings. The company pays the workers every Monday via direct deposit, and payments usually take two to three days to process.

Which One Pays More

According to a salary review on Glassdoor, Instacart shoppers make around $11 to $25 per hour. As for DoorDash drivers, they earn around $23 per hour while on delivery. Instacart’s pay can vary because if you take on larger batches, you can make $40 to $50 more. In contrast, DoorDash is more stable since it is an hourly pay with lower earning potential.

Is Doordash or Instacart Better?

Whether DoorDash or Instacart is best for you will come down to personal preference. Doordash and Instacart do have their pros and cons, but they are unique in their own way. They are both easy side hustles or part-time jobs you can start if you want to make extra money. If you want to see which is the best solution, you just need to sign up and see which side gig is to your taste.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Cindy started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, so she decided to venture out. She took action and decided to learn how to save, budget, and invest while helping others along the way.