Make Extra Money: Buy and Deliver Groceries as a Profitable Side Gig


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In a world bursting with new ways to make money on the side, here's one so simple that you may not have thought of it.

Looking for part-time work that lets you pick your hours and work as much or as little as you want? How about grocery shopping? Yes, you heard that right. The on-demand business model, used most famously by Uber, is moving into the grocery delivery business. Some delivery companies hire independent drivers who, like Uber drivers, set their own hours and work in response to customer demand.

The Uber model

One such employer is Shipt, a grocery delivery service that uses driver-shoppers as contracted employees in Florida (Jacksonville, Sarasota, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm, Tampa and Orlando); Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona.

“Earn an average of $15-$25/hour and set your own schedule,” Shipt tells prospective Shipt Shoppers, as it calls its shopper-drivers.

Nooga.com, a local news site in Chattanooga, Tennessee, interviewed Shipt Shopper Kimberly Carrizoza, a stay-at-home mother of three, who says she enjoys the money and the flexibility. Shipt lets her fit work around her busy and constantly changing schedule, she says:

“My husband works full-time, and he goes out of town for his job. So to have something like this where I can sign on when I want and sign out when I’m done [is ideal].”

Be a top-rated shopper

Just as Airbnb customers do, Shipt customers rate their experience with their shopper. The shoppers who receive the best customer ratings are given first crack at jobs as new orders arrive. Customers make their orders using Shipt’s app. According to Nooga.com:

Whoever has the highest rating and the fastest fingers gets the job, Carrizoza said. After an order comes in, if none of the highest-rated shoppers opt for that delivery, other shoppers get the option to take the job.

Money and perks

Shoppers earn a flat rate on each order in addition to a percentage of the total order amounts. They also get free grocery delivery service from Shipt. Some Shipt Shoppers make it a full-time job. Others drop in and out of work as they wish.

Shoppers get access to training materials that instruct them how to choose the best produce, fulfill orders and serve customers.

How it works

They can also use the Shipt app in a way that organizes their trip through the store as they fulfill the order, Nooga.com says, explaining how Carrizoza could see photos of the items requested by the shopper. “When she finds the item, she checked it off on her app to make sure she got everything she needed.”

Nooga.com says Carrizoza enjoys her contacts with grocery store employees and the customers she meets.

She shops and takes care of items as if she were shopping for herself, and she is thoughtful about who she is helping. For example, she knows she might be one of the few people some elderly customers see, she said. And she looks forward to making contact with them and others.

Other companies, other options

If shopping for groceries sounds like good work, you’ll find other options as well. Depending on the company, you may be hired simply to deliver groceries, or you could fulfill orders too, shopping in grocery stores and delivering goods to a customer’s home.

  • Instacart, a grocery delivery service in cities scattered across the United States, advertises that it pays driver-shoppers $20 an hour. Open positions are posted on the company’s website. “Get paid weekly. Top shoppers make $1,000 a week,” the website promises applicants.
  • Peapod, another grocery delivery service that operates in parts of the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard, employs drivers in staff positions. They offer “comprehensive benefits package, competitive salaries and the opportunity to grow within our company.” Other companies, including Amazon Fresh, Safeway and NetGrocer, which take orders and deliver groceries to customers’ homes, also hire drivers to work for the company, not as independent contractors.
  • WeGoShop has a different twist on grocery shopping for money. It partners with “associate owners” who pay for access to branding, credit-card processing and other back-end support, and who are allotted a specific territory in which to start their own business.
  • Be your own startup: You also can start your own grocery shopping business where you live, advertising for customers and fulfilling orders. This blog — all about running your own grocery delivery service — has loads of tips on how to build up a client base, meet people’s specialized requirements and grow your profits.

Would you be willing to jump into the grocery delivery business? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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