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If you are a new driver in the gig industry, you might have some questions about what to expect when you first start working for a company. Different companies all have their own unique quirks, company culture, methods of doing work, benefits, and other factors to consider. Food and grocery delivery services like INstacart and DoorDash, as well as personal retail shopper/delivery services like Target-owned Shipt, all have different requirements for their drivers and personal shoppers, as well as methods of payment. But which company is better for new drivers, Instacart vs DoorDash vs Shipt?Below, we list some of the things a new driver for these companies can expect when first going to work as a freelance worker.
Instacart specializes in grocery and restaurant takeout delivery. Orders are placed within the app itself, and drivers either acquire the groceries that have been collected by someone else, or shop for the groceries themselves. Takeout orders are picked up like any other takeout order. Some things to expect as a new driver are:
- In-person shoppers must wait until a background check has cleared before beginning work. Delivery orders are available almost immediately.
- Guaranteed Earnings Referral promotions for new drivers and those who refer them add up to several lucrative bonuses in the first month.
- Instacart might have a waitlist for new driver applications. The wait can be as long as 2 months.
- Instacart employs a rating system for both drivers and clients. A high rating usually means more available work for a driver, so new drivers should focus on getting their ratings up.
- Drivers must be at least 18 years old, drive an insured vehicle, have a valid driver’s license, and pass a background and driving check.
- As independent contractors, drivers work at-will and can be dismissed at any time for any reason.
- Drivers are responsible for their own expenses, vehicle maintenance and gas costs, and withholding and filing their own taxes.
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DoorDash is also a grocery and takeout order delivery service, much like Instacart, though it focuses more on pickup and delivery, rather than personal shopping. The bulk of DoorDash’s deliveries are restaurant takeout orders. New drivers for DorDash should expect the following:
- Be at least 18 years old and be required to pass a background and driving record check.
- The waitlist for new drivers varies between areas but is usually less than two weeks.
- “Dashers” are independent contractors and are responsible for their own expenses and taxes.
- Dashers can be paid weekly, or daily. Daily “Fast Pay” payouts incur a fee of $2.
- Dashers can schedule shifts in advance, as well as work deliveries as needed.
- Drivers must complete at least one delivery before receiving a DoorDash hot-bag and a Red Card debit card, with which Dashers can pay for food at non-affiliated locations.
- Clicking the “?” or “HELP” in the Dasher driver app will summon driver support.
Shipt is a service that offers personal shopper services for nearly any sort of retail item, not just food, but many other items as well. Shipt shoppers receive orders through the app, and deliver them to clients. Shipt shoppers should expect the following:
- Be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and pass a background check.
- Drive an insured car that’s younger than 1998.
- Be able to lift 40 pounds.
- Have a smartphone capable of running the Shipt app.
- Offers fiancial assistance for shoppers affected by COVID.
- Provides shopper assistance and support.
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As we can see, there are many opportunities for freelance workers to earn extra money in various delivery-on-demand businesses. The main things that a new driver can expect in the first month, regardless of the service he or she works for, is a steep learning curve and to get the hang of how to do the job. New drivers must remember that they are independent contractors, which means little to no job security, that they are responsible for their own expenses, taxes, and insurance, and that there might not always be jobs available. On the other hand, the flexible schedule and the ability to earn extra income as needed are quite attractive for many. The choice between Instacart vs DoorDash vs Shipt often comes down to demand in a particular area over many other factors.
1. What is the best way for new drivers to learn the process?
Some services, such as DoorDash, provide online training materials, but new drivers should look into online discussion forums and YouTube channels run by veteran drivers who give a wealth of experience and information to new drivers.
2. What is the average earning potential for drivers of services such as these? Is there a noticeable difference in the earnings of Instacart vs DoorDash vs Shipt drivers?
Depending on the area, demand for services and saturation of the market with drivers, most drivers in the gig industry average anywhere from $12-$20 an hour, depending on the number of hours worked. Most drivers of various services earn similar hourly pay.
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