Instacart vs. DoorDash

Considering signing up for Instacart or DoorDash but you're not sure which is best for you? Here's the ultimate comparison to help you pick the right one.

Today, more and more people are getting their groceries and ready food delivered to their doorstep.

Instacart and DoorDash are among the top delivery services providing such services. On the other hand, they also offer job delivery opportunities for those who are eligible.

In this article, I will be reviewing the two services, what they offer, and how their delivery options differ.

Related:Instacart ReviewDoorDash Driver Review

What Do They Offer?


Instacart is a grocery delivery service that operates in over 5,500 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Costco, Petco, Safeway, Kroger, H-E-B, Target, and Aldi are among the more than 350 grocery stores they collaborate with.

Customers may opt to pick up their packed purchases from the shop or have them delivered directly to their homes when they place orders online or through the app.

Because of the variety of alternatives for consumers, there are two ways to work with Instacart: as a Full-Service Shopper or an In-Store Shopper.

Full-Service shoppers receive customers’ orders, purchase and deliver them.

  • Full-services Shoppers are classified as self-employed.
  • To fulfill deliveries, you’ll need a vehicle.
  • You have complete control over your working hours.

In-store shoppers look for orders and package products for pick-up by customers.

  • Instacart personnel are considered part-time in-store shoppers.
  • You won’t need a car.
  • You can set your own working hours; however, you cannot work for more than 29 hours per week.

You can’t be a Full-Service and In-Store Shopper simultaneously; you have to choose one. You can switch after six months if you’re in good standing with the firm.


DoorDash is a meal delivery service that delivers food from over 300,000 local and brand restaurants across the United States and Canada.

Since its inception in 2013, the firm has expanded to over 4,000 cities. DoorDash’s delivery couriers are known as Dashers, and they may deliver orders by vehicle, bike, scooter, or motorbike.

Dashers may set aside time to work up to a week ahead of time. They can also check the app to see if any orders are waiting to be delivered.

Possible Earnings


Your compensation is determined by criteria, including the type of shopper you are, your location, and the number of orders you complete.

Full-Service Shoppers may earn anything from $7 to $26 per hour, according to Glassdoor. During peak hours, you may expect to earn closer to $20 per hour.

Before accepting an order, full-service shoppers will get an estimate of how much money they will make.

The pay per order is determined by the number of products, the driving distance, and the amount of work required to shop for and deliver the order. You also get to keep all of your tips.

In-store shoppers are paid a fixed hourly salary of $9-$16 per hour. Your place of employment determines it, and the rate will be listed in the offer letter you get from Instacart when you sign up to shop.

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors, which is one of the main differences between these two shopper alternatives. If you’re a full-service shopper, this implies you’ll be responsible for withholding taxes.

You’ll also have to account for the wear and tear on your delivery vehicle, although you may deduct your kilometers, which will cost 57.5 cents per mile in 2020.

You can start earning referral incentives if you’ve completed 40 hours of service in the last six months.

Instacart provides you with a one-of-a-kind code that your friends may use to sign up. The bonus and criteria differ depending on the zone and job.


Dashers make about $20 per hour, and their pay is determined by the Dasher Pay Model. The starting pay is between $2 and $10.

This cost rises if you travel a greater distance to complete an order or if the order will take longer and/or if it is less popular with other Dashers.

Promotions provide you with the opportunity to earn extra money, and you have three choices:

  • Peak Pay: These are your area’s busiest delivery hours, and a Peak Pay notice will appear in the app. Peak Pay typically ranges from $1 to $4 extra for each delivery.
  • Challenges: These are rewards for completing a certain number of orders in a certain length of time. The app notifies you of new challenges, and you may track your progress. You may earn even more by combining Peak Pay and Challenges.
  • Drive: These are huge orders for which you get compensated.

Customers may tip their Dasher via the app when they check out or after their purchase is delivered. You will receive the entire sum.

Dashers, like Instacart, are responsible for paying taxes and maintaining their cars.



To work as a Full-Service Shopper or an In-Store Shopper, you must be 18 years old and eligible to work in the United States.

Both positions require an iPhone 5 or Android 4.4 or newer smartphone and the ability to lift 50 pounds without assistance.

Full-Service Shoppers must also have two years of driving experience and a clean driving record.

When Instacart makes a conditional offer to provide services, you authorize Instacart to do a background check on all of your customers. Background checks usually take ten days to complete.


You must be 18 years old, have a Social Security Number (SSN), and pass a background check if you live in the United States.

In most cases, background checks take 5-7 days, although they might take longer in some cases.

You’ll also need a valid driver’s license, insurance, and a clean driving record if you’re delivering by car.

Depending on where you are, scooters, bikes, and motorcycles can be utilized for delivery.

Signing Up And Approval


To join Instacart, go to the sign-up page.

  1. See if Instacart is available near you by inputting your zip code on the registration page.
  2. To set up an account, fill in all the required fields.
  3. Install the Shopper app on your device.
  4. Accept the results of a background check.
  5. Begin your shopping.


To join with DoorDash, go to the sign-up page.

  1. Sign up and complete your profile on the DoorDash application page.
  2. Accept a background check and a car inspection.
  3. Activation kits, which contain a handbook, food bag, and prepaid card, are available upon request.
  4. Set up direct deposits for your earnings when you’ve activated your card.
  5. Get started by downloading the app.

Rating System


Customers evaluate shoppers on a scale of one to five stars, with ratings based on the past 100 orders. The highest-rated shoppers get first dibs on batches or orders.

Customers can give feedback on the quality of their orders, but these comments have no bearing on your total star rating.

The app also tracks your speed, and you risk losing access to your account if you shop too slowly or frequently fail to deliver on time.


You have the opportunity to become a Top Dasher with DoorDash. This grade comes with benefits such as arranging shifts ahead of other drivers and privileged access to specific jobs.

A client rating and a task completion rating are used to determine DoorDash ratings. Both of these ratings are based on your previous 100 deliveries.

The customer rating is a number between one and five. You may lose access to the platform if your score falls below 4.2.

A score of at least 4.7 is required to be a Top Dasher. For conditions beyond your control, like severe weather, DoorDash eliminates negative customer ratings.

The percentage of orders you complete is your completion rate. Your rate should remain at or above 80%. Otherwise, you’ll be kicked out of the app.

When picking Top Dashers, DoorDash keeps track of your order acceptance rate as well as your on-time/early rate.

There is no minimum order quantity; however, it is better to accept as many as possible and make deliveries on time.

Comparison Table

Instacart DoorDash
Ease of UseGoodGood
Earning PotentialExcellentGood
Ideal ForDelivering groceriesReady meals from local restaurants


Right now, it’s challenging to determine which of these services is superior to the other. Instacart delivers groceries, a vital service, and both businesses have made pledges to keep their drivers safe.

Finally, you may drive for DoorDash and Instacart simultaneously, and many drivers do so to maximize their earnings.

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Matt Castillo Bennet is a former banker and restaurant worker. After paying off $30K of student loan debt and saving up for a couple of years, he left his job to manage Cash Math full-time and help others achieve financial freedom.