Shopping for a living? What’s not to like about that? Yet, when someone suggested I look into the Shipt service to see if it is a lucrative side gig, I was skeptical. After all, various sources said you could earn from $15 to $25 per hour just grabbing other people’s shopping off store shelves and dropping it at their front doors. What’s that old saying – “sounds too good to be true”? So, I took some time to learn all about it and found out the answer.
So, can working for Shipt be a lucrative side gig? Well, you’ll have to read on to learn more (Alright, spoiler alert: Yes, you can make pretty good money, but there are a few caveats to be aware of).
What is Shipt?
Okay, first things first – if you want to learn whether or not working for Shipt is a lucrative gig, you have to know what the work involves. To explain, let’s just go straight to that proverbial “horse’s mouth” and see what Shipt itself says:
“Shipt is an on-demand grocery delivery service looking for reliable, independent people to shop for groceries and deliver to our members. Earn money, set your own schedule and feel free to sing in your car on the way to a delivery!” Okay, so that sort of sold me right away, but I still needed to know if you can make good money with Shipt or just a passable amount. After all, you don’t want to give away time when you could, potentially earn much more.
The site itself says that its team members can expect to earn from $16 to $22 per hour working for Shipt, plus they also get to keep whatever tips their customers pass on to them.
So, that sort of gives the answer to the question of just whether or not you can make good money with Shipt, but then you have to take into account some very important, unspoken issues – those caveats I mentioned a moment ago – such as
- Time it takes to complete each gig
- Costs of using your own transportation to get to and from the individual jobs
- The complexity or physical challenges of the work (after all, a buyer can order ten palettes of bottled water or ten 30 pound bags of cat litter, and so on)
- You get more job offers the higher your customer reviews and ratings are, and Shipt even encourages customers to tip based on their opinion of the service and not on the dollar amount, difficulty of the work, and so on
- You cannot shop multiple deliveries at once until you have done ten successful gigs
Does any of this make working for Shipt less appealing or lucrative than it should be? In other words, do any of them add up to reasons you won’t make good money with Shipt? No, not really. Let’s assess them on a point by point basis to understand more.
The Time You Spend Working for Shipt
As with everything in life, there is a distinct learning curve that you must go through as you first begin working for Shipt. As the site itself advises, “shoppers that keep at it quickly find ways to shop more efficiently, which translates to making more money.”
Not to mention that those who shop for Shipt are given lots of tools and resources to help them build their speed, skills, and credentials. After all, it benefits everyone involved if shoppers can get the work done quickly, correctly and on time.
Unfortunately, taking an order could be up to chance. This is because Shipt doesn’t allow their shoppers to see the itemized list of items they are going to be picking up and transporting (as well as unloading) at a customer’s home. It could be that your work is going to require you scouring aisles for specific types of cat food or baby food, or it could be that you are given many difficult to locate items. And as already mentioned, you might have to lug dozens of palettes or cases of water to and fro.
The point of mentioning this is that it has to be a point of consideration as you start to do work for a service like Shipt. You get to choose the neighborhoods in which you operate, and that means you can choose stores you might already know by heart. Knowing the floor plans of your preferred stores is very helpful, but also accepting that orders might include lots of scavenger hunting is also a good way to keep your sanity when one of those oddball orders arrives.
However, if you know that the main “demographics” for services like Shipt include stay at home parents with young kids and seniors unable to handle the work themselves, you can start to hone your shopping and aisle skills pretty quickly; enabling you to make good money with Shipt shifts..
Using Your Wheels for Work
As any of my regular readers know, I’m always looking for ways to monetize ownership of a car. Whether it is signing on for a few shifts with Uber or Lyft each week or going full blown car wrapping, I like to show that you can offset the monthly payments, and operating and maintenance expenses of owning a car in many ways.
When the car is used for a formal business enterprise, such as a sole proprietorship, many of the expenses of using it can be taken as tax deductions. Because they hire only as independent contractors, you can probably take a lot of your out of pocket expenses as deductions.
The experts at Turbo Tax agree, saying that “As a contracted delivery driver, you may be covering 100% of your own business costs. Because these expenses dip into your earnings, you can often claim them as deductions at tax time to lower your overall tax bill…Independent contractors are generally considered small business owners and report profits and losses on Schedule C.”
That’s a big plus for you because if you earn more than $400 driving for a service like Shipt, you’ll have to pay self-employment tax, but also get the benefits of itemizing profits and losses. That means you’ll be making the very most out of the use of your car, the money you spend on gas, the amount of time your mobile phone is used for work, and much more.
Again, this means you can make good money with Shipt and see lots of tax benefits from using your car for the work.
And there is also the issue of loyalty card points. When you are the shopper at a store where loyalty cards are accepted – which is the case for most of the biggest chains. It is your loyalty card that gets scanned at checkout and your loyalty account that gets points. If the store has a gas program, you can see deeply discounted prices for your fuel, and still get the write off during tax season!
The Physical Challenges
Being your own boss and enjoying the tax benefits of being a self-employed driver are great, but what about the physical challenges presented by working for Shipt? There is no doubt that you are going to have to be able to safely bend down, lift things and move roughly 40 to 50 pounds without any risks to your health.
If you meet basic physical requirements for the job, you can also look at this element of the work from a more positive perspective. In other words, you are away from the usual 9-5 desk routine, are physically active and out and about in the world. No more “desk body” worries because you’ll be getting total body workouts almost every day – and particularly if you take full day shifts.
If weather is an issue, such as heavy winter conditions or brutal summer heat, you’ll have to be prepared for what that might mean for your working hours, but as you can adjust your schedule to suit your availability, you can actually position yourself to work only when you are most comfortable with the conditions.
Think of it this way – you are not likely to be snowbound for days or weeks – it is usually just one or two days that weather gets a bit hinky. The same goes for summer heat waves, and if you know that being out and working in super humid and hot conditions is not for you, just take yourself off the schedule for that 48 hour time frame! It’s that flexible, and you’ll still make good money with Shipt as you do so.
Do Well, Earn More
One of the issues that frightens some from working for Shipt is that the amount of work offered to individual shoppers varies based on customer feedback. Yet, a lot of that – in fact, all of it – is within the individual shopper’s control. How? Well, it is up to you to choose:
- The areas in which you work – This means you can work in the places where you know the stores, streets and traffic patterns best; enabling you to shop fast and deliver on time
- The times you work – If you know the areas, and traffic patterns, you know the right times to make yourself available in order to get deliveries done as promptly and easily as possible. You’ll do best working for Shipt when you book your availability at least 24 hours ahead of time
- Whether to take an order or not – You are offered orders and can take them or turn them down. You can also grab any “metro available order” if you are looking to make money outside of your usual, chosen area. This is not an unusual way to make good money with Shipt, and build credentials. It is like any freelance work – you say yes to everything at first, do the best job possible and then build on your initial success
With such factors within your control, you can usually ensure you do the work fast, get the order to the buyer in the delivery window, and do so in a way that nabs you higher tips and good reviews.
NOTE: When orders are open to metro available conditions, and still not taken, they are given “bounties”. Taking such orders means you are less likely to get a tip because the order may already be running late, but you are not penalized for taking and completing bounty orders within a specific frame of time.
Once you get higher ratings and do those first ten unique orders, you can then overcome the final issue – being forced to do a single order at a time. If you want to make the very most working for Shipt, it is in your best interest to have a few orders running at once. For instance, if you are headed to a single grocery store for two to three orders, you can organize yourself in a way to do it all at once and get any loyalty points on your account!
So, you can make good money with Shipt if you understand various pros and cons as you go into it. And if working for Shipt is not an option for you right now because they don’t exist in your area just yet, there are several other sites and apps that can give you similar work. They include:
- GoPuff – We looked at them in another article, and they are an emerging delivery service specializing in items more common to mini-markets.
- Instacart: The model on which all other shopping gig apps and sites are based, it has the widest range of locations around.
- WeGoShop – If you are eager to be a business owner running an on-demand grocery service of your own, you can become a partner with this site – what they call an associate owner. You use their brand and credit processing, but then you do the rest of the work in establishing yourself in your chosen area.
So, you can make good money with Shipt and other grocery services, and you can even merge your activities into a business of your own. Don’t forget to blog about experiences, share insightful tips and use whatever affiliate marketing options you find as they can generate passive income while you spend days actively shopping for others.