Instacart lowers base pay for drivers

@sagetori111/TikTok sdx15/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘We’re not even worth basically minimum wage’: Instacart shopper says app’s base pay changed to as little as $3 an order

'All delivery gigs are now this way... It's not worth it for anyone.'


Eric Webb


Posted on Jul 31, 2023   Updated on Aug 1, 2023, 3:13 pm CDT

An Instacart shopper recently took to TikTok to vent about the grocery delivery service, claiming that it has changed its compensation structure to the detriment of the people who power it.

Creator Victoria Wilkins (@sagetori111) says in the video that Instacart has lowered its base pay to $3 per order. The video has more than 111,000 views and 4,401 likes as of Monday.

Wilkins addresses the camera from her car in the video, and the onscreen text reads, “Instacart no longer wants to pay their drivers.”

As she explains in the video, Instacart paid drivers a minimum of $7 per order, plus premiums for heavy items and long distances. Drivers also receive tips from app customers.

“But Instacart has decided their drivers are no longer worth that, and you can make as little as $3 an order now,” Wilkins says in the video.

She calls the change heartbreaking, adding that she’s driven for Instacart for six years. The creator doesn’t expect driving for the delivery service to pay her bills, she says, “but to insinuate that we’re not even worth basically minimum wage is really insulting.”

Wilkins says that she wants to let customers know what’s happening, guessing that they didn’t receive price breaks correlating to the reduction in shopper pay.

The creator added in the video’s caption, “It’s really sad that Instacart would do this to their drivers especially in a time like right now when everything is going up the least you could do is honor what you agreed to pay us when we signed up.” 

@sagetori111 It’s really sad that Instacart would do this to their drivers especially in a time like right now when everything is going up the least you could do is honor what you agreed to pay us when we signed up. Also I want to make this aware to all of the customers that use Instacart because I think they deserve to know that none of that money is really even going back to the drivers anymore #instacart #instacartnightmare #instacartshopper #instacartdelivery #shopper #why #sad #fyp #fypシ #heartbroken #instacartstorytime #delivery #deliverydriver #sosad😭 #shopping #instacartfails #bareminimum ♬ original sound – victoriawilkins53

The grocery service has indeed recently adjusted its compensation structure. In an update posted to its blog on July 20, Instacart announced changes to several policies, including batch pay—what the company calls the base payment a shopper receives on an order. 

“The smallest, quickest batches like delivering a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream will pay at least $4, which is 2x higher than the minimum of other major delivery platforms, in addition to customer tips. More complex batches like a larger business delivery, for example, may pay $10 or more, also in addition to tips. Instacart may pay more for batches based on the size and complexity of each order,” the announcement reads.

The company also announced “peak earning times.” According to Instacart, “Shoppers will be able to see which times of day have higher paying batches, so they can plan ahead for when they want to shop.”

In 2019, Instacart announced that its minimum batch payment would increase from $3 to $7-$10 for full-service batches.

The comments section of Wilkins’ video was full of folks who agreed with the creator.

“Yess she not lying. I do instacart. But the worst part is when they want you to do a $5 order with no tip and it’s over 50 items. NO TIP NO TRIP!!!” one commenter wrote.

“Gas is almost $4 a gallon. My insurance is way up. They offer promos & they basically shadowban you when you get close. Depressing,” another commented.

“Noticed this when I was online and kept getting batches with less than $6 batch pay!” someone commented.

“As a note … Instacart base pay was $12 at one point. Then dropped to $7. That was bad enough,” one comment read.

“All delivery gigs are now this way. Customer fees rising, driver pay gets lower. It’s not worth it for anyone,” one viewer added.

An app user commented, “Thank you for sharing. I usually tip $5-$10 but now will increase!”

Another user wrote, “As a customer omg I’m so sorry this is awful … also thank you for sharing. No we don’t pay less suddenly.” 

“That’s so unfair to drivers. If that’s the case they need to lower the prices of the items so people feel it makes more sense to give a higher tip,” one user commented. Wilkins replied, “Yes if they were charging customers less that would be completely understandable.”

Wilkins has shared dispatches from the Instacart shopper field before, like the time she got $300 in groceries from a canceled order and a negative experience where a customer refused to believe an item was out of stock.

The Daily Dot reached out to Wilkins via TikTok and Instacart via email.

Update Aug. 1, 3:13pm CT: In an email to the Daily Dot, Instacart confirmed that its minimum base pay is $4—not the $3 mentioned by Wilkins in her TikTok video. Larger or more complex orders may pay $10 or more.

According to Instacart, more users are now taking to the app to place small orders, and the change in batch pay structure was made to reflect the effort required by shoppers to fulfill orders. Larger “weekly shop” batches still account for most of the company’s orders, the company said.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Jul 31, 2023, 1:53 pm CDT