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Instacart Vs DoorDash (Which is the Best?)

If you can use one word that the worldwide adoption of the internet and technology brought us, you can sum it up by saying “convenience”. Food delivery is one of the biggest industries that has been booming over the past couple of years thanks to apps like DoorDash and Instacart – it’s convenient and fast. In this article, I will break down Instacart vs DoorDash

Instacart is a super convenient way to order if you want fresh groceries. But if you want to order food from local chains and restaurants, DoorDash should be your go-to. Both are for ordering different things. However, DoorDash is better for working as a courier.

There is more to it though. Both of these apps have two different sides. One from the driver’s point of view and the other one is from the customer’s point of view. Let’s get into all of the details.

Instacart Vs DoorDash – What Are Their Differences?

As you might imagine, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. But, let's see which areas these two shine, starting with what they are in the first place.

If you aren’t familiar with any of these, allow me to blow your minds. Both of these are food delivery apps that allow you to get whatever you're craving for right from the comfort of your home.

However, there is one very important difference. You see, Instacart is more focused on delivering groceries. With DoorDash on the other hand, you can order food from local restaurants and big fast-food chains.

There is really is no solid point in comparing these two since both are used for different things. They are similar in some ways though. Both allow you to deliver food from the app. It's convenient and saves you the hassle of getting out of the house.

If you want a fresh product and groceries, Instacart is hard to beat. For restaurant food delivered as fast as possible, DoorDash is actually a great service.

That is one side of the coin. Apart from ordering from these two apps, you can also work for them as a driver. I will get into details about that a bit later in the article. Now let’s take a look at how these two compare in some aspects.

Business Model

With Instacart, you will find big-name grocery brands on the app. In fact, there are 350 groceries Instacart works with including ALDI, Costco, Safeway, Kroger and more.

You can place an order from the app and choose to either pick it up from the store or have someone deliver it to you at your home.

There will be a list of items available from the retailer you choose. A shopper will pick up the orders. You can get your order in two ways. There is an in-store pickup option and also a home delivery option.

DoorDash on the other hand is more for restaurants. You can have different food from restaurants around you delivered to your home. Naturally, there are more restaurants to choose from in DoorDash.

Choose from a whopping 300,000 chains and local restaurants across both the USA and Canada. That’s actually quite a lot of options available to you right at the tip of your fingers.

Food Quality

Since both of these are food delivery apps, food quality is one of the biggest concerns for all customers. I am glad to say, both DoorDash and Instacart try their best to ensure food quality.

DoorDash's drivers aren't responsible for the food quality. That responsibility is on the restaurant you order from. The drivers are just there to deliver you the food you ordered. If you want to ensure that you get the best, you need to be diligent in ordering from restaurants that you know are good.

Ordering from a restaurant that has really good reviews is a pretty good option as well. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t tried a particular restaurant before, it is better not to order from DoorDash. Since there is no way of telling how that particular restaurant’s food is (apart from the reviews).

Instacart on the other hand has shoppers that are trained to ensure they pick out the right thing. The shoppers are also trained on food safety and on things like how to safely transport and handle the items.

All the usual things you would pay attention to yourself like how fresh the food is, the expiration dates, broken seals are all things a shopper for Instacart will look into as well.

Since the app lets customers order for future deliveries, food storage becomes an important factor. Instacart makes sure that the foods are stored in well-maintained freezers and are kept at proper temperatures so they do not get spoiled.


The next important factor you would want to know as a customer is, of course, the cost of these two apps. Comparing the costs is a bit tricky. It depends on your location.

Instacart has a base delivery fee of $3.99. There can be an additional service fee as well. Again, this is dependent on your location. The prices for specific items on the app compared to what you will see on the shelf in the store depends on the store you pick to shop at.

This means a specific retailer can choose to charge you more on the app compared to the prices listed in their brick-and-mortar store. Leaving tips to the delivery driver is also common. So, the prices can also add on top of that.

In other words, the prices you pay for would be the actual costs of your items, the delivery and service fee and the tip. It goes without saying that the price you end up paying when shopping through Instacart, you can expect to pay a bit more. But then again, you are paying for convenience at this point.

The prices for DoorDash are pretty simple. There will be a delivery charge on top of your actual order costs. The delivery charge in this case will also depend on where you are located.

Honestly, the best way to determine what the prices are for you, you can try ordering through the app. Think of this as a trial run. During rush hours, the charges can go up though. The thing that gives DoorDash a slight advantage is its monthly subscription.

The subscription is called DashPass. You basically get free delivery and depending on the credit card you use to sign up, you can also get a couple of months for free. If you see yourself ordering food often, say for a lunch when you are out working, it is definitely worth checking out.

DoorDash does have a minimum order amount though. I do not think the amount is too high. And even if you are ordering for just one person, it should be easy to meet the minimum order requirement. Tips are something you would normally give your driver when you order from DoorDash.

Working for DoorDash and Instacart

You can work for both of these apps to bring orders/food deliveries to customers.  That’s the job of the ‘driver’ in DoorDash’s case. DoorDash calls its drivers Dashers. Cool little nickname, if you ask me.

For Instacart, you can choose to work as a shopper. There are two types of Instacart shoppers – Full Service and In-Store shoppers. Let’s see how these two compares if you decide to work for them.

Working Requirements

The requirements for both are pretty much the same for the most part really.

Working Requirements for DoorDash

For DoorDash, you need to be at least 18 years old with a Social Security Number for people in the USA. A complete background check is also needed along with that. Since DoorDash Dashers can use a car to deliver orders, a valid license, insurance and a clean record are mandatory.

Working Requirements for Instacart

For Instacart the requirements are you need to be 18 years old at the very least and are eligible to work in the US. A physical requirement is you need to lift 50 LBS of weight with or without accommodation.

The app will run a background check as well. You can authorize the checks the moment Instacart gives you a conditional offer to work for them as a shopper.

Full-service shoppers on the other hand need to have at least 2 years of driving experience along with a clean driving record.


When it comes to choosing between these two apps. Both are pretty competitive in this case but at the end of the day, we have to pick one. Read on to see which one fits your needs more.

DoorDash Salary

DoorDash has a model which it uses to pay its couriers. It consists of the base pay, promotions and tips. All these together will be your total earnings.

The base pay consists of your time, distance and desirability records. You then add promotions like Peak Pay and Challenges (I will explain the promotions a bit later), plus tips from customers.  Usually, the base pay is around the $2 to $10 mark. For deliveries that are long distances, the rate will go up.

Let’s address the promotions. There are two types of promotions DoorDash couriers can take advantage of. One is the Peak Pay and the other is Challenges.

What is Peak Pay Promotion?

This is pretty self-explanatory. During the busiest time in your area, the Peak Pay promotions will apply. In the app, there will be a convenient popup that will alert you when it is Peak Pay time. Expect to earn $1 to $4 more during this period.

What are Challenge Promotions?

Completing ‘Challenges’ are also a good way to increase your earnings through DoorDash. If you complete a specific number of orders during a given period of time, you will get extra incentives.

Instacart Salary

Instacart has two types of shoppers and the pay will also vary depending on these and a couple of other factors. Except for what kind of shopper you are for the app, things like location and completed orders will also affect the salary you can earn through the app.

Full-Service Shopper

These types of shoppers will make money on each order. When you accept an order, you will see an estimated amount of how much money you will make when you accept said offer.

Things like the number of items in the list, types of items, the effort needed to complete the delivery and the distance you need to drive for the delivery come into play when deciding this rate.

Full-service shoppers are more like an independent contractor for the app. That is to say that they are responsible for taxes and general wear and tear for the vehicle they use to deliver.

In-Store Shopper

For in-store shoppers, it is a bit different. When you sign on as an in-store shopper, you will be paid a flat hourly rate. This rate is calculated on your location and the rate is shown to you when you sign up to work for the app. The usual rate is around $9 to $16 per hour.

For both the shoppers, after completing 40 hours of service within the last 6 months, you will be given a referral code to earn a bonus.

What is It like Working for DoorDash and Instacart?

In my opinion at least. Both of these apps give you pretty flexible timings for the most part.

Working for DoorDash

As I already mentioned, DoorDash call's their delivery drivers Dashers. You can use any type of transport you prefer to work for them. Be it a bike, car or scooters.

As a Dasher, you have the freedom to set up specific timings during which you want to work. Also, you can just simply open the app to check if there are available orders you want to accept and deliver.

DoorDash’s activation kit is pretty cool. You get a food bag which you can use to deliver the orders. The bag is insulated so the food should be warm and toasty. There is also a Red Card and a personal debit card. The card is used to pay if the customer hasn’t already paid for it.

The timing is also pretty good with DoorDash. You can have a scheduled working hour. This scheduling gives you some flexibility in your working hours. You can have set a time aside during which time you will work as a Dasher.

Do not worry about not getting orders though. Since the app limits the number of Dasher that can work at a given time, there will be plenty of delivery opportunities for all. You can set the time daily or a week before.

The other method is the Dash Now method. When an area has a high volume of orders, the areas will be lit up in pink or red. Then you can simply scroll through the orders and pick the one you want to deliver. It is pretty cool and convenient as well. Of course, you have the option to accept and decline orders.

Working for Instacart

Instacart’s experience as a shopper is not that far behind either. When you sign up, you can set a time frame for when you want to deliver orders.  The app will notify you of orders you can accept 30 minutes before your shift starts.

You can scroll through the orders and accept or reject them. You do need to stay connected to the customer though. This is because if you need to substitute an item you can let the customers know about it. Updates on your progress are also made through the app.

After you are done picking up the items, checkout using the app and pay via the debit card Instacart will provide you. You can deliver from 9 AM to midnight.

While both are pretty flexible and have good hours, DoorDash wins this one since you can schedule the hours and also make some extra money with Dash Now deliveries if you have the time.

There you have it. When it comes to Instacart vs DoorDash, what works for you will come down to what you want to order. This is sort of comparing apples to oranges in a sense. Instacart is great for ordering groceries while DoorDash is a super convenient way to order food from restaurants. If you would want to work for one though, I think DoorDash is the better choice in that case.

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Author Ferdi
Written by Ferdi Vol
Ferdi Vol has been working for a grocery store for the last few years and he knows all the ins and outs of running a grocery store. He's also got great tips about what you need to know as a customer, from getting the most out of your money to knowing where everything is in the store! Ferdi loves sharing his passion with others via his blog on how to have an awesome shopping experience at your local grocery store.
About Ferdi Vol
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