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How Long Is the Instacart Waitlist in 2024?

Instacart Waitlist

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Instacart is one of the most popular delivery gig jobs, with more than 600,000 shoppers countrywide.

Given the increasing demand for jobs like Instacart, the company has put in place a waitlist to help manage the number of applicants.

So perhaps you’ve considered signing up as a shopper but found yourself on the Instacart waitlist. This only means there are no open positions in your area because the market is saturated.

One of the reasons working for Instacart is such a popular side hustle is that there’s enough customer demand to support the number of shoppers.

As such, Instacart must maintain a balance between customer demand and shopper supply. With too many shoppers, there wouldn’t be enough work.

If you’ve been stuck on the Instacart waitlist for a while, it’s natural to have questions.

In this post, you’ll learn what the Instacart waitlist is, whether you can bypass it, and what you can do in the meantime.

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What Is the Instacart Waitlist?

The Instacart waitlist is a list of people in the queue waiting for open positions to join the Instacart workforce. It’s a measure put in place in areas with low order volume or shopper oversaturation.

The waitlist is a temporary part of the application process to help manage the number of applicants.

Some applicants may get approved to work immediately, depending on the demand for shoppers in that area.

Your zip code determines the Instacart waitlist.

If you apply for an Instacart shopper position and you’re put on the waitlist, you’ll have to wait for an opportunity to arise so you’re taken off the list and into the pool of Instacart shoppers and drivers.

Instacart Waiting List

Instacart is not the only delivery service with a waitlist. Even apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats have waiting lists.

If the company has too many drivers and the orders are down, it will be spending more money than it’s making.

If you’ve been on the Instacart waitlist for a while, keep checking your application status for any changes.

Typically, Instacart notifies you via email when a spot opens up, and you can start working immediately.

How Long Is the Waitlist for Instacart in My Area?

According to Instacart, there’s no standard length of time you’ll spend on the waitlist. It all depends on where you live. Every zip code has a different number of applicants, so you may be on the waitlist for a few weeks, or it could stretch for a couple of months.

Instacart stays ahead of shopping trends and tries to adjust the needs of shoppers depending on real-time shopper data. The need for shoppers is based on the prevailing shopping trends.

If many shoppers are actively shopping in your region, you may not spend too much time on the waitlist.

The number of shoppers in your area also determines how long you’ll be on the waitlist.

If you live in a busy city area, you may stay on the waitlist for a while because there are many shoppers. Rural areas, on the other hand, have very short waitlists or none at all.

Instacart Waitlist

Instacart doesn’t provide data on how long the waitlist in your region is.

When you submit your shopper application, Instcart will tell you if you’ve been added to the waitlist, and they’ll contact you once shopper positions open up.

If you’d like to know how long the waitlist is or want an estimate of how long it will take to get approved, contact Instacart customer service. You can reach out to them via email, a chat on their website, or the phone.

You can approximate the length of the Instacart waitlist by looking at what real shoppers say about it. Here are a few examples of Instacart waitlist Reddit:

  • Faster_than_sound: “I have been on the waitlist for 5 months. Good luck.”
  • 1CatShortofCrazy15: “I’ve been on the waiting list for over a year and 3 months.”
  • Omega_nik: “2 or 3 days. I was surprised at how quickly I got off it.”
  • SecretFamiliar3296: “In May 2020 I waited 10 days.”
  • AKAwilson: “Me, 2 weeks. My mother who applied 2 months before I did, 17 months.”
Instacart Waitlist Reddit

As evidenced by the responses, there’s no way to tell how long you will be on the waitlist.

You may get lucky and be approved within a few weeks or be on it for a while, depending on the saturation of your market.

Can You Skip the Instacart Waitlist?

Unfortunately, there are no ways to skip the Instacart waitlist entirely. However, you can use a few tricks to get around it. One method you can try is changing your zip code.

Regions with many Instacart shoppers typically have a waitlist. You won’t know if your area has a waitlist until you put in your Instacart shopper application.

If your location and the surrounding areas all have a waitlist, there’s no way around it. All you can do is wait and check in with customer service occasionally to see your applicant status and get an estimate of when you might get off the waitlist.

It’s easy to despair after being on the waitlist for some time, but you can do plenty of things in the meantime. The gig economy is thriving, and finding opportunities elsewhere is not hard.

Extra Reading: Does Instacart Pay for Gas?

How To Check Instacart Waitlist

Unfortunately, there’s no precise way to check your waitlist status. Instacart emails you once positions are available, and you can start shopping.

The best way to keep track of your application status is to check your email for notifications from Instacart regularly.

If you have questions or concerns about the process or the company, you can also contact Instacart customer service.

How To Get Off the Instacart Waitlist

Spending months on the waitlist with no end in sight can be very discouraging.

Knowing you can’t do anything to improve your odds can also cause you to lose hope. However, there are a few options you can try out.

Here are two courses of action you can take:

Wait It Out

When you submit your Instacart shopper application, you’ll be notified that you’re on the waitlist. Once you’re on the list, it’s important to regularly check the app and your email for notifications from Instacart.

Your patience will pay off eventually. Based on shopper responses on sites like Reddit, you could wait for a long time, but you would still get the job.

Keep tabs on your application status and contact support if you have any questions. Instacart will notify you when shopper positions are open in your area.

Try a Different Zip Code

A simple Instacart trick applicants have been using is changing their zip code. If there’s market saturation in your area, you can change your zip code to an area near you.

When you sign up for Instacart as a shopper, you must enter your zip code.

If you get put on a waitlist, it means there are enough shoppers in your area and no open spots at the moment. There could be other zip codes in your area that are less saturated than yours.

There might be other zip codes around you that don’t have waitlists because there aren’t as many shoppers. You can improve your chances of being hired immediately by changing your zip code.

Consider zip code areas near you that you’d be willing to shop in, then change yours. To change your zip code, contact Instacart customer service via email or the company’s website.

For instance, if you live a few minutes outside a major city and you have easy access to the city, you can change your zip code and see if an opportunity opens up.

While this trick has worked for some people, it’s not always guaranteed. Customer service may deny your request to change your zip code, so keep this in mind.

Extra Reading: When Does Instacart Pay Shoppers?

What To Do If You’re Stuck on the Instacart Waitlist

While you wait for Instacart shopper positions to open up, several alternatives are available. So what can you do as you wait?

Try Other Food Delivery Services

Dozens of food delivery services are available, and most have very few requirements.

While you wait for Instacart shopper opportunities to open up, you can try signing up for other food delivery gig apps.

Here are a few popular Instacart alternatives you can try:

  • DoorDash: You can sign up to become a Dasher, where you deliver food and groceries to people within your city. DoorDash currently operates in thousands of cities in the U.S. You can use a vehicle, bike, or scooter to deliver for DoorDash, and you must be more than 18 years old. Dashers earn $23 per hour on average.
  • Uber Eats: You can deliver fast food and restaurant meals as an Uber Eats driver. The company currently operates almost globally, so there’s no question about its availability in your city. You must be 18 years and above to sign up for Uber Eats, and you’ll need a valid government-issued ID. The app lets you choose when and how much you want to work.
  • Shipt: Shipt is one of the closest alternatives to Instacart. It’s also a grocery delivery platform where you can sign up to get paid to shop for grocery orders and deliver them to customers within your city.
  • GrubHub: Another major player in the list of apps that pay you to drive is GrubHub, a food delivery gig currently available in dozens of cities across the U.S. GrubHub partners with local restaurants, and you can sign up to deliver meals to customers in your area.
  • Cornershop: This is a relatively new grocery delivery service you can try out. Once approved to work, your job is to browse the app for orders, shop for grocery items, and deliver them to the customer. The app is less popular than Instacart, but you’ll earn about $16 per hour and keep 100% of your tips.

Sign Up for Other Gig Economy Apps

Food delivery services are not the only gig economy apps.

If you’ve not been successful, there are many other gig apps where you can make money by completing simple tasks.

Here are some of the most popular options:

  • TaskRabbit: This is a popular gig marketplace where you can sign up to earn money helping people with simple tasks. When you sign up as a Tasker, you can accept jobs like handyman help, furniture assembly, mounting electrical appliances, plumbing, helping people move, yard work, and more. You have to be 18 years or older to sign up for apps like TaskRabbit.
  • GoShare: You can sign up for GoShare, an on-demand moving and delivery platform where you can make money with your cargo van by helping people move. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you can make north of $100 an hour, which makes the app one of the most lucrative gig apps out there.
  • Amazon Flex: If there are opportunities in your city, you can sign up to be an Amazon Flex driver. You’ll earn up to $25 an hour delivering packages to Amazon customers in your city. Amazon Flex allows you to choose when you work by booking Amazon Flex blocks.
  • Bellhop: You can make money helping people with local and long-distance moves by signing up for Bellhop. The app connects you to people in your area who need help moving, and you can set your own work schedule. Bellhop movers make up to $21 per hour and keep 100% of their tips.
  • Roadie: You can provide delivery services on Roadie, a platform that connects people needing delivery drivers in their area. You’ll deliver food, groceries, luggage, furniture, appliances, and more. Some packages will be large, so owning a big vehicle is an added advantage.

Explore Other Side Hustle Ideas

Gig economy apps are not the only side hustles out there, and there are other alternatives you can try. A few side hustle ideas you can try include:

  • Cleaning houses: You can make anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour cleaning houses. There are platforms like where you can look for house cleaning opportunities in your area. It may not be the most glamorous gig, but it’s lucrative.
  • Taking online surveys: Many websites GPT sites pay you to take online surveys and complete simple tasks like watching ads, playing mobile games, and testing apps. While you won’t make a lot of money, you can get free Amazon gift cards.
  • Proofreading: if you enjoy reading and have good editing skills, you can try proofreading as a side hustle. You can sign up on proofreader platforms and earn between $15 and $40 per hour.

Extra Reading: Does Instacart Track Mileage?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Did Instacart Put Me on a Waitlist?

If you’re put on the Instacart waitlist, it means there are no shopper positions open in your area.

Instacart uses the waitlist to balance customer demand and shopper supply. If too many shoppers are in a market, there won’t be enough orders for them to work.

How Long Will I Be On Instacart’s Waitlist?

There’s no way to determine how long you will be on the Instacart waitlist, as it depends on your location and the number of shoppers in your market.

Shopping trends also have an impact on shopper demand. Instacart shoppers report waiting anywhere from 2-6 months.

How Long Does It Take To Get Started On Instacart?

It depends on whether Instcart accepts you immediately or puts you on the waitlist.

If approved immediately, it may take one to two weeks to complete the application, finish the onboarding process, and start shopping in your area.

If you’re on the waitlist, it may take a couple of months before you start working.

Can I Make $300 a Week With Instacart?

Instacart shoppers make approximately $200 to $1,000 a week, depending on factors like batch availability and how busy the market is.

You can easily make $300 a week on Instacart if you pick large orders and get tips from customers.

Can You Make a Living off Instacart?

Depending on where you live, you can make a living delivering groceries with Instacart.

Since you decide when and how much you work, you can shop and deliver groceries as a side hustle or as your full-time job.

If you put in the work and the prevailing conditions are favorable, you can earn a living on Instacart.

Final Thoughts

The Instacart waitlist is a temporary part of the application process, so this shouldn’t discourage you.

It’s a measure that will also benefit you once you’re accepted, as it ensures there are enough jobs for shoppers currently in the workforce.

While there are no ways to skip the waitlist, you can try many money-making opportunities.

You can sign up for other delivery gig apps or try other side hustle ideas while you wait for Instacart to approve your application.

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Lydia is a personal finance expert and the founder of Sproutinue, a personal finance site helping you find legit ways to make money, save money, and achieve financial freedom. She has been featured on various major financial publications, including Investopedia, Business Insider, GoBankingRates, and more.

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