How much does instacart cost

In today's fast-paced world, convenience is paramount. Grocery delivery services like Instacart have risen to meet this need, offering the ability to shop from home and have groceries delivered right to your doorstep. However, the convenience comes with its own set of costs, which can sometimes be confusing to navigate. This comprehensive guide aims to break down the various costs associated with using Instacart, so you can make informed decisions about your grocery shopping.

What is Instacart?

Before diving into the costs, let's briefly understand what Instacart is. Instacart is a grocery delivery and pick-up service that partners with various local supermarkets. Users can shop online through the Instacart app or website, select their preferred store, and either pick up their groceries at a scheduled time or have them delivered to their home.

Types of Costs Associated with Instacart

Instacart charges users through various fees, subscriptions, and markups. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  1. Delivery Fees
  2. Service Fees
  3. Instacart Express Membership
  4. Tips
  5. Price Markups
  6. Other Miscellaneous Fees
1. Delivery Fees

Delivery fees are the most straightforward cost associated with Instacart. These fees vary based on several factors, including the size of your order, the delivery time, and whether you have an Instacart Express membership.

  • Standard Delivery Fee: Typically ranges from $3.99 to $7.99 for orders over $35. Orders under $35 usually incur a higher fee.
  • Busy Pricing: During peak times, delivery fees may be higher due to increased demand.
  • One-Hour Delivery: If you need your groceries within an hour, expect to pay a higher delivery fee, often around $7.99 or more.
2. Service Fees

Service fees are additional charges that cover operational costs such as shopper payment, background checks, and customer support. These fees are separate from delivery fees and can vary.

  • Standard Service Fee: Usually ranges between 5% to 10% of the total order amount, with a minimum of $2.
  • Alcohol Service Fee: If you order alcohol, an additional fee may apply, often around $2.
3. Instacart Express Membership

Instacart offers a subscription service known as Instacart Express, which provides several benefits for a monthly or annual fee.

  • Cost: $9.99 per month or $99 per year.
  • Benefits:
    • Free delivery on orders over $35.
    • Reduced service fees.
    • No busy pricing charges during peak hours.

For frequent users, Instacart Express can lead to significant savings over time, especially if you place multiple orders per month.

4. Tips

Tips are not mandatory but are highly encouraged as they go directly to the delivery driver. The default tip amount is usually set at 5%, but customers can adjust this amount based on their satisfaction with the service.

  • Suggested Tip: 10% to 20% of the total order value.
  • Adjusting Tips: Tips can be adjusted up to 24 hours after delivery, allowing you to increase or decrease based on your experience.
5. Price Markups

Instacart partners with various stores, and prices can sometimes be higher than in-store prices. This markup is how Instacart and its partners cover the cost of providing the service.

  • Percentage Markup: Generally ranges from 15% to 20% above in-store prices.
  • Store Pricing Policy: Some stores offer the same prices as in-store, but this varies.
6. Other Miscellaneous Fees

There are other potential fees that might be included depending on your order specifics.

  • Heavy Order Fee: If your order is particularly heavy (e.g., bulk items), an additional fee may be charged.
  • Bag Fees: In some regions, there might be a small fee for bags, especially in places with bag regulations.

How to Minimise Costs

To make the most of your Instacart experience without breaking the bank, here are a few tips:

  1. Consider Instacart Express: If you order frequently, the membership can save you a lot on delivery and service fees.
  2. Order Strategically: Avoid peak hours to dodge busy pricing and aim for larger orders to minimise per-order fees.
  3. Compare Prices: Be aware of potential price markups and compare prices with in-store costs.
  4. Use Promotions and Coupons: Look out for Instacart promotions, and use store-specific coupons available on the Instacart app.
  5. Adjust Tips as Necessary: While tipping is essential, adjust based on the quality of service to ensure you’re rewarding excellent service appropriately.


Instacart offers a convenient solution for grocery shopping, especially for those with busy lifestyles or those who prefer to avoid crowded stores. Understanding the various costs associated with Instacart can help you make more informed decisions and manage your grocery budget effectively. By considering delivery and service fees, potential markups, and the benefits of Instacart Express, you can tailor your shopping experience to best suit your needs and preferences. Happy shopping.

Back to blog