Signing up to be a personal shopper is a great way to earn extra cash on a flexible schedule.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at being a shopper with Shipt including how to get started, how much you can expect to make and additional tips to maximize your earnings. I recently signed up as a Shipt shopper and tried out the service myself to see exactly what the process looks like.
4 Things to Know Before Becoming a Shipt Shopper
If you have a reliable vehicle and a working smartphone, you can earn money by shopping for Shipt. Similar to Instacart, Shipt allows customers to order groceries and other home essentials for same-day delivery. The company hires freelancers to shop for and deliver the groceries in exchange for per-order pay and customer tips.
About a month ago, I signed up to be a Shipt shopper in Lexington, Kentucky, as a way to earn extra cash. As of now, having completed 16 orders, I’ve made $391. In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about shopping for Shipt.
Below, you’ll find detailed information including how to become a Shipt shopper, how much you can expect to earn, tips for maximizing your savings and more.
What Is Shipt?
Shipt is a grocery delivery service owned by Target Corporation. Customers with Shipt memberships can order groceries and other household essentials from Target, Meijer, Costco, HEB, CVS and select other retailers. Once a customer places an order, nearby personal shoppers will be alerted. Once a shopper claims the order, he or she will shop for the items and deliver them to the customer.
There are two different apps for Shipt including the delivery app for members (iOS and Android) and the Shopper app for freelancers (iOS and Android). Both apps are free to download, but if you’re signing up for Shipt as a customer, you’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly membership fee. For more information on signing up for Shipt as a customer, check out our review of the grocery delivery service. If you’re signing up for Shipt as a shopper, an account is free to create.
Shipt is available in over 5,000 cities throughout the lower 48 states. To see if it’s available in your area before signing up, enter your ZIP code online.
How Much Do Shipt Shoppers Make?
As a Shipt shopper, you’re able to choose when and how often you work. However, you’ll earn money only when you claim a grocery delivery order that a Shipt member in your area has placed. Because of the extreme flexibility, earnings can vary greatly between one Shipt shopper and another. Of course, how much you can make will also depend on where you live and when you’re available to work. I’ve been using Shipt in Lexington, Kentucky, and picked up shifts during evenings and weekends. In my experience, you can expect to earn anywhere from $15-$22 an hour.
Over the course of two full weeks, I earned $320.76 by taking 13 orders. That means I made an average of $24.67 per order. In general, I spent between 1-1.5 hours shopping for and delivering each of those orders. Below, you can see my delivery history and the amount I’ve earned each week so far:
When an order becomes available to claim, you’ll see an estimated payment that includes a range such as $6-$7 or $12-$15. This is how much Shipt will pay you for completing the order. If there is a promo available for that order (meaning you can earn an extra $1-$15 if you complete it) you’ll see that as well before deciding whether or not to claim an order. In addition to Shipt’s order pay and promos, personal shoppers also keep 100% of customer tips, which customers typically add after a delivery is completed.
The lowest total pay I’ve received for an order was $10.25 and the highest total pay I received for an order was $51.98. Because tips make up a big portion of payment, what you’ll earn per order can vary greatly.
Of course, there are expenses that come with the job including some wear on your car and gas. And as a freelance Shipt shopper, you’ll need to hold out your own taxes. Even taking these expenses into consideration, it’s still possible to make $10-$20 or more hourly.
To Maximize Your Earnings a Shipt Shopper, Follow These Tips:
- Know what you’re shopping for and where it’s located. Preview your list ahead of time to get an idea for what you’ll be looking for. You can see the aisle numbers above each product and sort your shopping list by category to make the process easier. Also, arrive at the store early to avoid running short on time and delivering a late order. You never know how long traffic, substitutions or the checkout line will take.
- Provide excellent customer service. Tips can significantly raise your earnings, and providing excellent customer service is the only way to earn more substantial tips. Once you’ve claimed an order, communicate clearly with the member you’re shopping for. If they want to be contacted for substitutions, text them with available options. I also always send final text when I drop off grocery delivery orders and thank the customer for their patience, speedy replies or just for choosing Shipt in general.
- Work on Sundays and Mondays. In my experience, a lot of bigger grocery orders are placed at the beginning of the week. Putting yourself on the schedule for Sundays and Mondays gives you an opportunity to get those bigger weekly orders.
Additionally, you’ll be able to claim multiple orders in the same hour after you’ve been Shipt shopping for a while. This is a great way to increase your earnings once you’re comfortable with the app and the stores where you’re shopping. But this feature won’t be available to you until you’ve completed 10 orders.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take smaller orders. Sometimes orders with less than 5 items still total over $100-$200 and can lead to an incredible tip. Plus, if you get an offer for an order, you’ll boost your acceptance rating by claiming it. Shoppers with higher acceptance ratings typically see available orders first, so this can help you earn more over time.
How Does Shipt Work?
Shipt works by connecting members with freelance shoppers and nearby grocery stores/retailers. As a shopper, you’ll use your smartphone and vehicle to accept, shop for and deliver orders. You’ll earn an amount within the estimated pay range for each order, any promos that are available with the order and 100% of the tips that customers add after delivery.
If you’re thinking about becoming a personal shopper, follow these steps to sign up and start earning money with Shipt.
To begin, download the Shipt Shopper app for iOS or Android. Once you open the app, click “Apply Today.” You can also visit the website if you’d rather apply online. Either way, you’ll need to enter your name, email address and ZIP code initially. Additionally, Shipt will collect your address, age, some details about your vehicle and your shirt size. You’ll get a free Shipt shirt in the mail along with your Shipt credit card once the company approves your application.
During the application process, you will have to provide a few written responses to questions about what you’d do in certain scenarios that you may find yourself in related to substitutions and deliveries. You’ll also have to submit a video response. When I applied, I had five minutes to introduce myself and describe three traits that would help me provide quality customer services as a Shipt Shopper.
Finally, you’ll need to fill out a Shipt Shopper Agreement, W9 and background check consent form. Of course, all of this can be completed in the app. Once you’re finished with the initial application process and paperwork, you’ll have to wait for a spot to open up. Three days after I applied, my application was approved. Six days later, my Shipt shirt and credit card arrived in the mail.
Once you’ve received and activated your Shipt credit card, you’ll be ready to begin taking orders.
Claiming and Completing Orders
When you first log in to the Shipt app, you’ll see available orders in your area. There are two ways that you can get orders. First, orders that you see in “Open Metro” are available for you to claim. Second, you can click the “Schedule” tab to select which hours you’re available to work up to a week ahead. If you’re on the schedule and an order is placed, it will be offered to you directly and you’ll receive a notification. From there, you can choose whether or not you want to claim the order.
Before you decide whether or not you want to claim an order, you can click on the store’s logo to preview the shopping list and click on the location button to see how far you’ll have to drive. You can also see the estimated Shipt pay, expected delivery window, whether the order can be dropped off early, if it’s prepaid and more. Once you claim an order, you’ll be able to see additional details including the customer’s name, substitution preferences and the order total. The app also provides time estimates that can help you figure out when to start shopping; you’ll want to begin before the delivery window.
When it’s time to start shopping, simply open the app, click on the “My Orders” tab, choose the order you’re about to begin and follow the steps in the app. Generally, you’ll start by sending an introductory text. One is automatically generated for you, but you can personalize it. This allows the customer to contact you during the shopping trip. Then, you’ll begin working your way through the shopping list.
You’ll notice that above each product, you can see the section of the store and the aisle number that the product’s located in. This can save you tons of time while looking for products you aren’t familiar with!
The app turns your phone’s camera into a barcode scanner so that you can easily track products as you add them to your shopping cart. Depending on the customer’s substitution preference, you may have to text them, choose a backup product or skip an item if something’s out of stock.
Once you’ve completed the order, you can review your shopping cart in the app, process the order and use a self-checkout station to pay for the order (if it wasn’t prepaid by the customer) and bag the groceries. You’ll also want to send another text to check for any last-minute additions and let the customer know you’re on your way.
Once you’ve arrived at the delivery address, you’ll either hand the order to the customer or drop it off at their doorstep if they requested a contact-free delivery. I usually also send a final text letting them know that I’ve dropped off the order and thank them for choosing Shipt.
Once you’ve completed an order, you’ll be able to mark it as “delivered” in the app. You can visit your delivery history to see exactly how much you made for the order from Shipt, but in my experience, you may not see a tip added until later that day or even up to a week later. If the customer does add a tip, you’ll receive a notification.
You’ll receive payments via direct deposit to the bank account you listed when signing up. Shipt pays shoppers weekly on Fridays for the work completed the previous Monday through Sunday. If a customer adds a tip after Sunday for a delivery completed in the previous week, it will be included as part of the next pay period.
Beginning in January 2021, shoppers will also have the option to cash out instantly. At the time of writing, it hasn’t been announced whether or not there will be a fee associated with Instant Payout.
Pros and Cons
Overall, I have loved being a Shipt shopper for the past few weeks. It can be a great way to earn extra money, and applying for the job is easy. Once you’re approved and your card arrives in the mail, you’ll be able to start claiming orders.
After being Shipt shopper myself and completing 16 orders, here are the major benefits and drawbacks I’ve found:
If you do decide to become a Shipt shopper, be sure to hold back enough of your earnings each week to cover your estimated tax payments. If you make $600 or more in a calendar year, you’ll receive a 1099-MISC form. Even if you don’t earn that much, you’ll still need to report your earnings at the end of the year and pay the appropriate taxes.
Have you ever worked as a personal shopper? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!