Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. A while ago, I tried my hand at the Side Hustle: Shipt. I promised to write my impressions of Shipt, and here they are.
In theory, it seems like a good idea. Get pinged to pick up groceries and deliver them, just like Uber or Lyft, but substituting groceries for people. Yeah, not so much. I have several beefs with Shipt.
Before I get into them, let me start by saying that Shipt, and other food delivery services like Shipt, provide a valuable service to their customers. Based on my discussion with Bryn, my Shipt Orientation Specialist, most of the customers are older folks or young moms who have a hard time getting out of the house (though I am sure they would love to, sans kids!).
As I mentioned in my previous article about becoming a Shipt Shopper, the online application process moves along quickly. However, there is a video part of the application, where you will have to record your responses to specific questions. That was a little nerve-wracking, but it’s only about a third of the application process and the rest of the questions are pretty much common sense.
Once you’re approved, you can start making money by scheduling your availability to accept orders. This is a very squirrely process. Since you can schedule up to 7 days in advance, it is not an “on-demand” type of position. Instead, you make yourself available for “Delivery Windows”, which means that all of your shopping needs to be done before the window begins.
This also means that you have to be able to shop the whole order, go through checkout, load up your car, and get to the customer by the beginning of the Delivery Window. Shipt expects its drivers to hit the beginning of the Delivery Window every time. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen! At least initially.
Another beef I have is with the estimated shopping time listed for each order. This time estimate appears to be for an experienced shopper, who can whiz through the store on Rollerblades and have all of the items magically jump into his or her shopping cart! For beginning shoppers, the accuracy of this time estimate, in my experience, is closer to double the time listed. Not only does this make hitting your Delivery Window almost impossible, it also cuts your hourly wage in half!!
You can choose to shop at the store closest to you. That’s a bonus. Not many jobs let you pick a location close to home to work from. In a related story, the Meijer that I chose to work from is just down the road from the recently re-opened Fraser, Michigan Sinkhole! A story that just made national news for the third time!! A nice feature of Shipt is that you can easily change your store if your selected store happens to be on the edge of a sinkhole (that swallowed up one house and damaged many others)!
I get it, you say, “But what about the actual shopping?” The app has 2 ways to shop for the items. In a list, or by flipping through each item, one by one. Let me say this to be fair. This Meijer is not where I do my grocery shopping, so I don’t know the store layout as well as the Kroger where I normally do my shopping. That said, I had a very tough time with the shopping process. Between substitutions, where you have to get in touch the customer (about eight times on my first order), and racing around the store trying to find that elusive last item, I started to feel like a game show contestant on the worst game show ever!
Ok, you say, “But I bet you made some good money!” Uh, no. I only shopped two orders. The first order paid me a whopping $15 and it took over two hours to shop and deliver the order, so I was late. On the second order, I did better. It took me only one hour and forty-five minutes to shop and deliver the order to a very pregnant young mom. That paid me a massive $12! All I could think of was how much money I could have made driving for Uber or Lyft, during the same time!
To be fair to Shipt, they are a great company, that is providing a valuable service to their customers. However, in my case, I found that I would have a hard time replacing my driving income by only shopping for Shipt. Also, since it took such a large chunk of time just to shop one order, it would cut into any other money-making Side Hustle I might be working as well. I’m sure I would be able to speed up and make more money by becoming more familiar with the store. However, the prospect of shopping an order of $200 or more (I did orders of $70+ and $50+) was terrifying! It would probably take me five hours or more to shop it!!
All in all, I decided that Shipt was not for me. And that was before the sinkhole opened up down the street. I just couldn’t see how I could earn enough money. Plus, filling a huge shopping order would require a lot more work than a smaller order. Driving someone to the airport requires that I hang onto the steering wheel and keep my foot on the gas. In other words, no additional effort. I am not afraid of hard work, but I think that spending endless hours in a grocery store would be my version of Hell!
I hope this review of becoming a Shipt Shopper has given you some insight into how it all works. It appears to be a young person’s game since I did notice many young women shopping orders. Unfortunately, since nobody is going to confuse me with a 20-year-old, I have decided to look elsewhere for another income stream.
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