How Much Does Instacart Cost for Delivery?

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You have decided to stay home during COVID, and part of that becomes the potential to have your groceries delivered. You can get some groceries delivered via DoorDash, but one of the most common shopping / delivery services used by customers.

So you are ready to place an order via Instacart but wondering how much it will cost? According to Instacart, delivery costs start at $3.99 for same-day orders greater than $35. You will also pay a service fee (starting at $2) and tips. At a minimum, you should expect to pay $5.99 for these costs.

You also have the option to join Instacart Express for $99 annually ($9.99 per month) to get $0 delivery fees on orders greater than $35.

Instacart Service Fee

According to Instacart, the service fee is additional to the base delivery fee paid to instacart.

The service fee helps support the Instacart platform and covers a broad range of operating costs including insurance, background checks, and customer support. The service fee isn’t a tip and doesn’t go to the shopper delivering your order.

Service fees vary based on market and begin at 5% for non-Express customers. The service fee is calculated based on the subtotal of the items in your order, not including alcohol*.  You’ll be able to view the service fee in your area at checkout. 

Instacart Alcohol Service Fee

The alcohol service fee covers the additional cost associated with ensuring compliant delivery of alcohol products and ID verification. The alcohol service fee that applies to the alcohol portion of your order is:

  • $0-$35 of alcohol: $2.00 fee
  • $35.01-$75 of alcohol: $4.00 fee
  • $75.01-$110 of alcohol: $8.00 fee
  • $110.01 or more of alcohol: $10.00 fee

Express members pay a reduced service fee starting as low as 1.9%.

Express members may be charged a reduced alcohol service fee—

  • $0-$35 of alcohol: $0.80 fee
  • $35.01-$75 of alcohol: $1.60 fee
  • $75.01-$110 of alcohol: $3.20 fee
  • $110.01 or more of alcohol: $4.00 fee

Should you Tip Instacart and How Much?

So you now have costs adding up very quickly for your Instacart order. You have your Delivery Fee and your Service fee that likely cost around $5.99, so should you still tip?

We realize that fees are adding up quickly, but you should still tip your Instacart Shopper. The default tip from Instacart is that you tip 5% of the order total. There is also a minimum suggested tip of $2 per individual store delivery. Tips are optional and may be adjusted up to 24 hours after the delivery is complete.

This can be considered smaller than many other industries, but it is in addition to the small fees that Instacart pays the shopper.

Does it matter if you put the tip in on the app or pay cash? Instacart notes that 100% of the tip goes to the shopper / driver, but we recommend cash tips if they are laying around. Maybe we are suspicious of companies trying to keep the tip for their profits or maybe we just like cash straight in someone’s hands. Either way you should tip your driver.

Other Instacart Costs & Fees

Heavy fee

The heavy order fee helps cover operational costs and only applies when you purchase certain heavy items, like cases of beverages and pet food, among other products. The fee is applied if the total combined estimated weight of these items is above 50 lbs.

You can always review which items qualify for this fee before you place your order.

To find out which of your item(s) are associated with a heavy order fee—

  1. Create an order as you usually would in the app or on instacart.com
  2. You can see the heavy order fee in the order subtotal
  3. Select the Review link to see the heavy items in your order
  4. You can adjust the quantity of these items in the pop-up window to avoid or lower the heavy fee

Items at certain retailers may have a weight limit and be unavailable for purchase.

Taxes and fees

Like any other service or product, taxes are included in the order total on your delivery receipt that’s emailed to you upon the completion of your order. The tax and/or fees you pay on products purchased through the Instacart platform are calculated the same way as in a physical store. Depending on your location, the delivery or service fee that you pay to Instacart in exchange for its service may also be subject to tax.

There are a few different taxes involved when you place an order—

  • Sales tax: The sales tax may be applied to some or all of the items in your order in accordance with local laws depending on the address of the store or your delivery address.
  • Bottle deposit: In certain jurisdictions, a bottle fee may apply to purchases of bottles, cans, or other recyclable containers. These deposits may be applied on some or all of the items in your order in accordance with local laws depending on the address of the store.
  • Bag fees: In certain jurisdictions, a fee is charged for use of non-reusable bags.  This fee may be applied to your order in accordance with local laws depending on the address of the store.
  • Sugar sweetened beverage fees: In certain jurisdictions, sugary beverages are subject to an additional tax. These fees may be applied on some or all of the items in your order in accordance with local laws depending on the address of the store.
  • San Francisco healthy tax: This tax applies only to orders within the city of San Francisco. Visit sfgov.org to learn more.

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