You can make money in your spare time by doing something you already do- grocery shopping. There are several apps that make this possible and pay you an average of $15-$25/hour for your time.
How does professional shopping work?
Customers sign up to a grocery shopping and delivery service and then use that service to place their shopping order for specific items like produce, personal care items, and household goods. The orders go into the service’s queue and are sent out to registered shoppers. Available individuals who are signed up as shoppers read the order and accept or ignore it.
Once the shopper is verified by the service, he/she drives to the specified grocery store and buys the requested items. He/she then drives to the customer’s house or place of business and delivers the groceries.
The shopping services make their money by marking grocery items up a given percentage and/or by having customers pay a monthly/yearly subscription plan. Professional shoppers get a cut of this money after they complete their assignment.
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Being a professional shopper requires having a functional car and driver’s license and passing a background check. Once these requirements are met, the shopper is ready to take orders and deliver to as many as 10 (or more) families in a day.
Here are four services that currently accept professional shoppers:
This service allows shoppers to either shop for groceries only (i.e., in-store shopper) or to both shop and deliver groceries (i.e., full service shopper) to customers. You can make up to $20/hour or even $1,000/week.
Instacart is scattered throughout the USA and currently operates in the San Francisco Bay area, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and Boston. Shoppers are hired as either contractors or employees.
This service is probably the first one you think about when you consider personalized shopping and delivery, and little wonder: Peapod had been in business since 1989. It was also one of the first Internet startups back in 1996.
Peapod hires both part-time and full-time delivery drivers as employees and offers a comprehensive benefits package in addition to salary. As a part-time delivery driver, you need to be available to work between the hours of 5 am and 2 pm. Peapod operates in several major cities and geographic areas in the Midwest and East Coast USA.
Started last year, Shipt operates in nine states and is centered around major cities in (mostly) the Southeast United States. Customers pay a monthly or yearly subscription and shoppers are compensated on every shopping order that they fulfill. The going hourly rate for Shipt shoppers is $15-$25.
If you don’t want to wait for a shopping service to arrive in your town, or if you don’t even live in a town but a remote geographic area, then you may wish to partner with WeGoShop. This service partners with “associate owners” who pay a subscription fee for using the WeGoShop brand, toll-free phone number, technical support and credit card processing.
In return, these owners are assigned their own sales territory and don’t have to compete with any other associate owners for customers. They also keep all the profits of their customer orders and can price their grocery shopping and delivery services as they please.
WeGoShop is available in the USA, Canada, the Bahamas and Nigeria. A 12-month license costs $450 in the USA.
Start your own
If you’re not happy with the current online shopping and delivery services out there, you might consider starting your own grocery delivery service. You can market your services several ways (e.g., newspaper, Craigslist) and to specific audiences (e.g., homebound seniors).
The advantage with this approach is that the startup cost is low- you would need only a car and your cell phone to start shopping for people and delivering the groceries to their homes. In time, you could add a credit card processing service, business cards, business incorporation, website, etc.
The Bottom Line
What’s great about professional shopping is that the work hours are very flexible and range from 8 am to 10 pm. Shoppers are provided information about where their customers live or work, making it easy to coordinate several shopping trips in the same locale.
The drawback to professional shopping is that many of the services are still in startup mode and not available in every state and city. Being a professional shopper often hinges on living in a major metropolitan area.
Although it’s not a requirement, professional shopping is greatly helped by having access to a smartphone for taking orders and dealing with last minute changes, such as the grocery store being out of a particular item. In such cases, shoppers that have access to a smartphone can quickly text message their customers, let them know about the situation, and ask for further instructions.
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Professional shopping can also lead to other lucrative gigs. Consider that many of the customers who order groceries are probably short on time, homebound, or don’t have access to a car. Once you get to know your customers and are delivering groceries to them regularly, you might end up also doing their yard work, running errands, etc.