I have tried a lot of different platforms as a gig worker but it was important for me to be able to choose one that I could stick to. When I tried them all at the same time, it just drove me slightly crazy and honestly allowed me to make less money in the end. Not to mention the huge anxiety that came with it.
Moreover, I ended up crashing my car at a parking lot in San Diego last year in the midst of my frustration. All the switching between Postmates and Doordash took a toll. Maybe that’s also why I stopped using both platforms, they always gave me bad memories.
Overall, I tried Postmates, Amazon Flex, Doordash and Grubhub but ended up sticking with Instacart.
Instacart has its flaws:
- The unfair rating system
- The lack of support we get as shoppers
- The difficulties that stemmed from the pandemic
But despite all that, I picked Instacart as my go-to platform last year and haven’t questioned that decision since.
Here are my main reasons for choosing Instacart:
1. Car mileage
Car maintenance is very expensive in the USA. The more miles you drive, the more technical attention your car requires. So in comparison to food delivery from restaurants, where you’re mostly driving, Instacart requires you to spend more time in the store and thus less driving around.
You can also be more strategic and in control of the orders you decide to pick whereas Grubhub and Doordash are more about accepting the order that pops up in your app. Of course you can decline orders, but your rating drops if you do this multiple times.
2. Instacart requires excellent customer service skills and creativity
Working for Instacart requires you to think smartly. This might seem like a stumbling block, but I personally enjoy this.
Just yesterday I spoke with a friend from Chicago and she was extremely unsatisfied with most of the shoppers she’s worked with, saying she could never get her order the way she wanted even though she communicated back and forth, wrote notes and provided as many details as she could.
Most of the time, she felt she was just wasting her time and one time she even went to the same store herself and found all the items she needed. It was useful to hear a customers’ perspective as I personally don’t even know how the app works on the customer side and what problems they can encounter.
So, to anyone considering doing Instacart: Please remember strong customer skills are an absolute necessity along with outstanding communication skills, creativity and knowledge of the store(s) you’re shopping in.
3. You develop your reaction and organizational skills
The more you do Instacart, the more professional you get in your service. You just look at the shelf and spot in seconds if that particular item is there / not there. It helps a lot in other areas of your life too.
I’m doing a full time job now and my Instacart skills have helped me to organize processes in a completely different environment.
Instacart teaches you good organization. Plus, when you’re doing double / triple orders, you have to be very attentive not to mix them up. I made many mistakes in the beginning and each time it affected my ratings, thus damaging my income. You end up learning that in order to succeed, you have no other option but to become more organized, attentive and quick, too.
4. You are in control of the customer service that you provide
Again, coming back to customer service.
No, you can’t control the ratings customers give you. But you can do your best to give yourself the best chance of satisfying your customer and encouraging positive ratings. You do this by following some essential steps and habits.
Leaving customers written notes about the order if they were not responsive helped me out countless times. Also, doing small things that show you are willing to go the extra mile don’t cost you much and can have such a strong impact on the customer’s levels of satisfaction and appreciation. Take insulated cooler bags for frozen items during summer for example. They cost a couple of dollars, but it’s the extra mile you might want to go to for orders with generous tips.
Doing things like this is exactly how I got my ratings back up last year. My ratings were at 4.93 last summer because at first, I just didn’t get it. I’m a foreigner. Despite my decent English, I was struggling with store knowledge and a lot of other things. But I made it back up to 5 stars within less than a month!
I’ll tell you in more detail how I did just that in my next article.
Stay tuned. Have a great week everyone!