Instacart Waitlist: What Does It Mean?

There is no denying that the gig economy has exploded in the last few years. A sense of independence and flexible schedules allow gig workers to be their own boss. If you add on the many job losses due to the pandemic, it begins even more obvious that gig work has reached an all-time high in popularity.

Instacart Waitlist

Amongst the many gig jobs out there, one of the more popular options is Instacart. Instacart, at its core, allows a person to earn money by shopping for other people’s groceries. It can be a very lucrative job! Unfortunately, though, Instacart has become harder than usual to land a job with.

After a large increase in applicants to work through Instacart, their response has been to create a “waitlist”. This waitlist essentially means that if you applied, you are set off to the side with other applicants, only to be considered for the job at a later date.

This can be really bad news if you are strapped for cash and see Instacart has a great opportunity. It can be very frustrating to apply, only to be told that you are placed on a waitlist. With all of this in mind, though do not fret!

In this article, a solution to skip the waitlist will be provided. So instead of being placed on Instacart’s waitlist, you can use our secret to jump the line and start earning right away!

Instacart Waitlist – What Does It Mean?

Instacart’s decision to implement a waitlist was simply a matter of supply and demand. They had too many applicants with not enough demand for those applicants. Furthermore, they did not want already working Instacarters to be left without work.

An over-saturated environment could mean that no Instacart worker gets enough work, which would defeat the purpose of the gig job in the first place. The most important aspect of this waitlist though is that it only applies to certain regions.

For example, a city may have a very high demand for people to Instacart, while another city may already have enough Instacartersz because you can choose how much you want to work and earn, it’s okay if you are in a city with a lot of other Instacarters.

The problem arises when you try to apply and are placed on the waitlist. Our solution? Pick a zip code for when you apply that is in an area without a waitlist.

Once you are hired, you are free to do the job anywhere you see fit, so it actually does not matter if you do not truly live in that zip code. By using the tip, you will be able to jump ahead of all the people that are stuck on the waitlist, which can be for months

What is the point of Instacart’s Waitlist?

What is the point of Instacart’s Waitlist

Instacart’s decided to put into place their waitlist because of the greater demand that they were facing in a number of regions across the U.S., forcing the adoption of the waitlist. In the scenario of a greater demand of applicants than grocery orders to accept, the workers would not have enough work to share amongst each other.

Similarly, if the area has many grocery orders, but not enough workers, Instacart loses money because the orders will not all be fulfilled.

With all of this in mind, the purpose of the waitlist is clear: regulate Instacart’s supply and demand and hopefully maintain a peaceful equilibrium. While this is all fine and dandy, it could mean your application never gets reviewed.

So to reiterate, by registering for Instacart with a zip code in a waitlist-free area, you will be immediately considered to work for Instacart, whereas in a waitlist area, you would not even have the chance to be considered. This would make all the difference if you are looking to make a strong side income.

What is the typical timeframe for being on the Waitlist for Instacart?

The answer to this question will of course depend on where you are located. For some applicants, they have been stuck on the waitlist indefinitely, with many months stretching on.

In the case of others, they have been on the waitlist for a week or less. Your specific zip code will be the indicator for how long you would be on the waitlist, if at all. The best way to know for sure is to get in touch with Instacart’s customer service.

By providing the customer service representative with your application information, he or she can tell you exactly how long, if at all, your waitlist will be.

Of course, if customer service tells you that it will be a long way, this is a clear opportunity in which changing your information will sidestep the long waitlist.

So, is it really possible to skip the Waitlist that Instacart has implemented?

Technically, the answer is “no”, you cannot just skip the waitlist. What you can do, however, is avoid the waitlist entirely but simply insert a different zip code than the one that put you on a waitlist in the first place.

Now, you’ll be all set to start earning money via Instacart. Although this is relatively easy to understand, if you are on the Instacart waitlist, that is not a good zip code to use! Instead, find a zip code that does not put you on a waitlist.

You’ll be ready to get started immediately! After you are able to navigate your application with a zip code that does not have a waitlist, you should be approved to start shopping in less than 20 minutes! That way you can start earning your gig money ASAP, unlike if you had stuck to a zip code with a waitlist.

What about “Shipt”? Do they have a waitlist?

As far as our research has indicated, Shipt does not currently have any waitlists implemented. That is to say, though, that a waitlist is entirely possible if they too see a large increase in their application pool. You can always contact a Shipt employee and confirm that there is no delay in your application.

What about Instacart and their Background Checks?

Instacart does in fact screen all applicants with background checks. This is pretty standard for all jobs, but what does it mean specifically in the case of Instacart?

Firstly, Instacart will search throughout all records at not only the local levels but also state and even federal levels to gather a complete picture as to who is applying to their company. Secondly, Instacart will be sure to do a full search on your driving record.

Why would Instacart do this, you may ask? Well, a very large aspect of working for Instacart is driving. You’ll need to drive the groceries to their final destination. Therefore, Instacart screens all applicants for driving infractions.

While our research indicates that you may not be rejected for minor infractions, a long track record of incidents or very reckless experiences may lead you to be passed upon by Instacart.

On the contrary, if an applicant does not show a criminal record and has a relatively clean driving record, will almost certainly be accepted for the job. This makes sense; after all, Instacart does not want the responsibility or liability for accidents or any other wrongdoing during the Instacart operation.

Our research shows that this entire background check takes upwards of 10 days. If you find yourself amongst many other applicants in a high-volume area, it could even take longer than 10 days.

Does working for Instacart Pay well?

After a quick glance at the stats on the website, it appears that in-store Instacart shoppers can expect to earn an average of $12 per hour. It is noted that this can be closer to a range of $15-$16, but there are a number of factors that would leave to such variance.

For once, location is very important. Also, being tipped is a factor as to how much money you can earn by working through Instacart. Another site,, states that the average pay of an Instacart shopper is around $12, confirming the information found on Glassdoor.

So, in short, working for Isntacart pays approximately minimum wage. Another aspect that we have not discussed regarding one’s wages is how many orders they are able to complete. Speed and precision are two huge factors when it comes to completing work via Instacart.

If you struggle to locate items and take a long time, you will not complete as many orders as your counterpart who moves fast and knows where all the items are. This is something to definitely consider when trying to gauge your potential earnings via Instacart.

If you are speedy enough to get done 2 orders done in a single hour, you could see upwards of $20. Gig work does become rewarding if you are good at what you do!


Although we have concluded that there is no definitive timeline for how long the waitlist can last, we do know that there is a mighty shortcut around being on such a waitlist from the getgo.

Also, due to Instacart’s good standing customer service support, rest assured you will always be able to contact them to get a clearer picture of the timeframe of your application status.