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“The first week I did it, I paid off my whole credit card,” she told FOX Business.
Before the coronavirus hit the U.S., 20-year-old Hlad worked at an Equinox Sports Club in Manhattan.
However, to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Equinox -- and other gyms across the country -- announced March 16 that it would temporarily close all its locations, so Hlad relocated to southern New Jersey where she grew up.
Instacart is among the few companies doing well during the pandemic. As people try to follow stay-at-home orders and avoid public places, many have turned to the convenience of grocery delivery services.
In fact, there were reports at the end of April that Instacart had become profitable for the first time since it was founded in 2012.
And while many companies are laying off or furloughing their employees, Instacart has been hiring.
Hlad was among those hires.
Overall, she said she’s had a great experience, between the pay and the flexibility.
Instacart shoppers can choose what orders -- or batches -- they decide to fulfill. Hlad said she usually gets between $25 and $30 for a typical batch and between $30 and $45 for a batch from a wholesale retailer like Costco or BJ’s.
“The best places to get batches are hands-down Costco and BJs Wholesale Club, because you're picking up large quantities of items,” she said.
In fact, the most she’s ever gotten for a single batch was $80 for an order from BJ’s, which included a tip from the customer, she said.
According to Instacart, shoppers get paid based on a variety of factors, including how long the order is estimated to take and how much effort is involved in getting the items, packing them and delivering them. Weight, distance and the number of items in an order are also considered in the payment system.
The company told FOX Business the minimum payment for a batch is between $7 and $10, not including tips.
On an average day, Hlad said she makes between $100 and $120, doing about three to four batches a day.
She has also received promotions from Instacart because of the number of batches she completes in a day, she said.
Back in March, the company announced that some shoppers could “earn additional boosts on batches” based on their location and customer demand.
Hlad is also hoping to make even more money from a couple of referrals she’s made, including a friend in New York City.
She said that if her referral in New York completes 125 batches within a certain time frame, Hlad will get $1,500.
“I think [referrals are] one of the best parts about this,” she said.
Though some days are harder than others to get enough batches, Hlad said the competition where she is hasn’t been too bad.
“I’ve noticed that if you do it really early in the morning … it’s way better,” she said.
She said that when she started working for Instacart, she would take batches later in the afternoons and still make about what she makes today.
“If I did that now, it wouldn’t be happening," she said. “When the coronavirus first came, that’s when it was very easy. It’s pretty easy now, but I think it’s also the area I’m in.”
Another concern for many Instacart shoppers has been health and safety. At the end of March, many workers went on strike, saying the company wasn’t doing enough for shoppers during the pandemic.
Since then, Instacart has promised to send safety kits -- which are supposed to include face masks, hand sanitizer and a thermometer -- to all its shoppers.
Though Hlad did get a health kit, she said she only got hand sanitizer and a mask. She also said that every time she uses the app, it asks her about her temperature and if she’s traveled outside the country in the last two weeks.
And though she said she was a bit nervous at first, she isn’t really worried about getting the virus.
“I just protect myself,” she said. “I wear gloves, I wear a mask.”
Another benefit Hlad has enjoyed while working for Instacart has been helping people who need it during such a difficult time.
“It really feels good to help people since I can’t be doing my regular work right now,” she said.