Grocery Delivery Tip Guide
(Updated with the latest info on May 22, 2021)
Do you tip for grocery delivery?
In my last post, I went into of detail about why, how, and when to tip for grocery delivery. You ask, “Do you tip for grocery delivery?”, and “Do you tip Instacart grocery delivery?”, “Do you tip on Instacart?”, and “Do you tip Publix delivery,” “Should I tip for Walmart grocery pickup?”, “Do you tip Shipt?” and other search queries that mean people want to do the right thing. These rules are correct for all gig-economy related contracting jobs as most of these companies only write software to be the interface between the customer and the services or goods they want.
The answer to “Do you tip?”, is yes. Below is the calculation you should make (Pulled from the in-depth article):
The Grocery Delivery Tip Calculator
I’ve packed this blog post with facts and in-depth information pertaining to your grocery shopping and delivery contractors. I hope the next time a Google search query is “How much should I tip grocery delivery” means intentions are to tip but not sure where the figure comes from.
This is how you should calculate tips for grocery delivery:
- Did you order groceries online and have someone bring them to you? Tip 7-10% of the total grocery bill and Go to #2.
- Did you like the service and they shopped for you (ie not a corporate shopper with benefits)? Add 5% to the #1 and Go to #3.
- Did your experience go above and beyond? Add 5% to #2 and go to #4.
- Maybe: Tip in Cash whenever possible. Or, now that we’re on the backend of the pandemic, add a 5% tip in the app and then add 10% at the door. If you read this blog you’ll see that adding a tip in the app will get you faster service.
It’s that simple. If you can pay a 10% premium on grocery prices and pay a company like Instacart and Shipt for the ability to do so, then adding a 10-25% tip should not be very hard. Instacart and Shipt are companies that develop the interface between the customer and the food they want all the while charging premium prices. It’s the same as hiring Lyft or Uber to take you to a festival when you don’t want to spend the time and effort to find a parking spot and you want to drink alcohol.
It is peers in your communities who are shopping and delivering your food. This includes Doordash, Postmates, Uber Eats, and any other company that provides delivery. No company (yet) pays enough income to afford driving all day to offer these extra services you have come to expect. I know because I delivered groceries and experienced it myself. You can read more about my experience on the blog.
Do you tip for grocery pickup or curbside?
I worked part-time at Kroger and Target as an e-commerce employee when I needed a break from corporate inhumanity. It was the best thing I could do for my experience than any number of years being a cubicle jockey. You should know that the e-commerce Kroger Clicklist associates (and I would imagine similar at Walmart) shop for sometimes six customers at a time and load at least five times as much weight as an Instacart or Shipt shopper. (A Target fulfillment associate never does curbside delivery but other Target employees do.) A typical e-commerce shopper drums out around 8,000-10,000 steps on concrete each day as they shop your orders and only sit down on a 15-30 minute break(s). A Shipt and Instacart shopper sit when they drive to and from customer homes and stores.
A Shipt or Instacart employee can make about the same amount of money as a full-time minimum wage-earning employee after you take vehicle depreciation, maintenance, and gasoline costs out. I’ve done the math but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can survive.
As a part-time employee for less than six months, I did not receive medical insurance. The starting salary for a typical associate is $7-12 per hour. I think if you are relatively smart about this decision you can quickly get to the answer that these faceless people who deliver your goods deserve your tips. Eventually, electric driverless vehicles will deliver them so enjoy the personal service while you can.
Tipping for Grocery Delivery Mechanics
Companies that provide premium services like driving or shopping and delivering groceries want to know what their contractors are being tipped. It reflects any adjustments they may make in commissions and how their contractor program works. Prior to Instacart’s 2020 change where shoppers could see how much the customer is tipping before acceptance of the order, they only knew the tip when the transaction was completed. Shipt as well. As of the update on Nov. 5th, 2018, Instacart added much-needed transparency into the batches those shoppers receive, but it also makes leaving a cash tip less easy. If you were an Instacart shopper and wanted to decide over a batch (new order of groceries) but the estimated earnings seemed low because the customer wanted to tip in cash, then a shopper may not accept it. When an Instacart shopper sees the order they only see a total estimate of earnings, not how it was created. If you plan on giving the shopper 15% at the door in cash, then the estimate they saw for the order on say a $75 bill, then they would have seen a low earning estimate in comparison to shoppers who leave the tip in the app. That’s the negative side of tipping in cash; but very few customers actually do that anymore. There is one caveat to this: if you use a weekly service the shoppers will know your general location so they might grab the order as fast as it comes in! (Yes, the shoppers “shop” orders as they come up.)
My advice is to put a nominal amount of tip in the Instacart app and then add a cash tip at the door. Also, consider this, most new Instacart shoppers aren’t hours savvy like the experienced ones, so whatever orders they do get, are grateful. Also, they are nervous about the first few shops and will bend over backward for a five-star (they now get a $3 bonus for that). This means if you put $0 tip in the Instacart app and then hand over cash at the door, you will really be making a difference in the overall future experience for a contractor. (But again, if you put 0$ in the app, you might get slow service–the best shoppers are savvy with extra phones and quick action to take the best orders.)
With Amazon Now (ordering from Whole Foods), I put a note on the order that tells the delivery person I tip in cash at the door. If they don’t read my note and don’t ring, then no tip (keep in mind Whole Foods employees shop the order, not the delivery person).