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Over the past year, people have looked for ways to get the items they need without leaving the house. While shopping services like Instacart were around long before 2020, they really took off then. 

While Instacart makes your life much easier, there is someone on the other end doing the shopping for you, so it can be good to know the best Instacart tipping etiquette. After all, not only does the shopper make life easier for you, but so does ordering items and having them delivered to your door. 

This is why there are some things you may want to keep in mind when using Instacart’s services, and one of those things is tipping. Keep reading to find out more about the proper way to tip your Instacart shopper. 

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Instacart tipping

When you tip through Instacart, 100% of it goes to the shopper that delivered your order to your door. Instacart automatically defaults to 5% of your total, or the amount you chose on your most recent order, whichever is higher. However, Instacart does recommend a minimum amount of $2 for a tip.

As you can probably imagine, the question of how much to tip for grocery delivery became a big thing in 2020. But even now that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel of that time, Instacart tipping etiquette is still important.

Tipping your Instacart shopper isn’t required, but it is a good thing to do to show your appreciation for your shopper. You can use a tip to recognize a job well done by your shopper. 

Keep in mind; this person is shopping for you, so you do not have to. You are able to stay comfortable at home because they are out shopping for you.

Instacart tip baiting

Tip-baiting is when a customer selects a large tip in the app when placing their order. Once the items are delivered, the customer then reduces the amount of the tip. Customers do this to encourage shoppers to pick up their orders.

Early on in the pandemic, finding an available shopper to deliver your order was difficult. As a result, some customers began using Instacart tip-baiting to get their order. In fact, this became the Instacart tipping scandal of 2020 (after a separate one in 2019).

man on his phone engaging in Instacart tip baiting

Tip-baiting is unfair, so just don’t do it. Many people depend on Instacart to be a source of income for themselves. Changing someone’s tip is impacting the amount of money they are able to earn. 

Instacart has put some rules in place to stop customers from tip-baiting. First, they only give customers 24 hours to change the amount of the tip. Second, Instacart bans customers that tip-bait on a regular basis. Third, if the customer changes the tip, they must leave a reason why.

While these don’t completely eliminate Instacart tip baiting, it at least goes some way to discouraging people from doing this.

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Is the tip included in Instacart?

You can add your tip in the Instacart application. However, it is not automatically added. Instead, you must click on a button to attach a tip to your order. Alternatively, you can give your Instacart delivery person a cash tip if you would like. 

There are also different ways you can add a tip to your order, depending on how you place your order.

delivered groceries in black bag

If you order from the website, you are presented with the delivery tip amount once you are at checkout. You can click on the change button to the right of the amount. From there, you can choose the amount of your tip and click save. 

If you are using the Instacart mobile app, you go to the checkout screen and scroll until you see the delivery tip. From there, you can select change and choose the amount you would like to tip and save it. 

Can you tip on Instacart after delivery?

If you feel that your Instacart shopper went above and beyond while shopping for your order, you may decide that you want to increase the amount of tip you selected at the time of placing the order. To do this, you can change your tip up to 24 hours after your order was delivered. 

That is, you are able to add a tip to your order when you place the order. However, the option above lets you give more, if you want to. 

You can also give your Instacart shopper a cash tip on delivery, if you like.

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How to change the tip on Instacart

When you decide that you want to change your shopper’s tip, you can do it easily on the Instacart website or through the mobile application. However, it may be a little tricky to find how you change the tip.

  1. Navigate to your most recent order. On the website, you click on your name in the upper right corner. Next, click on your orders and then view your order detail for the most recent order. Alternatively, on the app, click the three lines in the left hand corner. Click on your orders and then click on the recent order.
  2.  Click on “rate order”. This should be at the top of the screen on both the site and in the app.
  3. Rate the order. You must rate the order first before you can change the tip.
  4. Change the tip amount. Once you have submitted your rating, you’ll be able to change the tip.

How do I tip Instacart curbside pickup?

When you select Instacart pickup, which may also be called curbside pickup, there is no way to tip the shopper through the Instacart app. If you want to tip your shopper, you can give the person a cash tip at pick up.

Keep in mind that the person shopping your order may be a store employee. Instacart may also employ the shopper to work in that specific store. Either way, the person is getting an hourly wage. 

woman checking groceries in order before following Instacart tipping etiquette

And in those cases, if you think about it, the tip would go to the store and not the shopper. 

It is also important to note that the shopper and the person who brings your food to you may not be the same person. It all depends on the store’s schedule. In some cases, all shoppers share the tips, but in other cases, they may not. 

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Do you tip curbside grocery pickup?

It would be best if you remember that someone has still done your shopping for you even when you are picking up your groceries. Therefore, you do not have to walk inside the grocery store. This service deserves a tip. 

Instacart tipping etiquette says, much like anytime anyone provides a service, they should be tipped. Even though they are paid by the store, if they have provided you excellent service, they should be rewarded. 

This is because they are still trying to earn a living and support themselves – and the same applies to tipping Instacart curbside pickup.

Do Instacart drivers do the shopping?

Yes, Instacart hires full service shoppers. That means this person shops in the store for the items and then drives their car to deliver the order. 

In some cases, Instacart hires in-store shoppers to pick up orders. Those customers come to the store to pick up their order, so there is no shopping and delivery. 

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Does the Instacart tip go to the driver?

Your Instacart tip goes to the driver who delivers your order. This is because the in-store shopper is on an hourly wage while most of the driver’s earnings come from tips, with drivers only getting up to around $6 per order without tips.

It may not seem completely fair at first, but it’s worth remembering that the driver also has to cover the expenses involved in using their vehicle to deliver your order. This includes not only gas, but also wear and tear on the car, insurance and other related costs.

With that in mind, you can probably see why it’s important to be well aware of Instacart tipping etiquette – and actually follow it.

How does Instacart split tips?

While you can place an order from more than one store at a time through the Instacart app, you are not able to select one tip for one store and then another tip for the second store. Instead, the tip you selected for all of your orders is divided equally among the shoppers. 

This is because, most likely, they will not have the same shopper. As such, you can only set one overall tip. 

Also, your orders most likely will not arrive at the same time, but even if the order is not equal in number of items and dollar amount, the tip is still split. Therefore, you should consider giving your shopper a cash tip.

Instacart driver on bike waiting for tip

So how much do you tip on Instacart?

General consensus is to always aim to tip 20% as the average tipping rate. If a shopper goes above and beyond by, say, keeping in contact about the items you selected, you can tip more. You may also wish to do this if a shopper attempts to make substitutions instead of just refunding your money.

However, when a shopper does not communicate and just refunds the item instead of attempting to find something else, I will not tip higher. 

Alternatively, if there are items missing upon delivery according to the app, not only will I report the missing items, but I will decrease the tip. In these cases, the shopper is not doing the bare minimum of their job. 

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Final thoughts on Instacart tipping

The question of how much to tip on Instacart produces different answers from different people. But it’s worth remembering that Instacart shoppers rely on tips to survive, not to mention that they’re offering you a huge convenience in doing your grocery shopping for you.

There’s definitely a broader argument to be made about tipping in general (compared to, you know, actually paying people a living wage…) but with the current system that we have, don’t take out your frustration with the tipping arrangement on those that rely on this to survive.

Similarly, don’t engage in Instacart tip baiting. It’s just mean and unnecessary.

On the other hand, you’re free to offer an Instacart cash tip if you don’t want to do this through the app, like if you’re concerned that Instacart drivers won’t get the tip you assign to your order. However, when reading about Instacart tips on Reddit, people do report actually getting these tips, so it seems that may not be an actual problem.

Otherwise: happy online shopping!

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