Hello, and welcome to my blog where I document our family’s journey to a positive net worth. Currently I’m reliving my misadventures in side hustling because I’m all about self-deprecation and it makes for good story telling, so why not?
In late September on my commute to work, on a rare occasion I had the radio playing. Even rarer there was a commercial on and I listened absently. They were advertising a grocery deliver service called what I thought was Shipped. Wonder how that works? I thought and promptly forgot all about it.
A few days later I was scrolling my Instagram feed and saw a post asking if anyone had any side hustle suggestions. I quickly read through the comments because I’m always looking for extra income. At the time I was still waiting for my dreaded haunted house side gig and not looking forward to it.
One of the commenters gushed about Shipt. Aha! That’s what it’s called! I forgot I wanted to look in to that! I thought. Through further reading I learned that this woman made $5 per delivery + 7.5% of the order total + tips. “It adds up quickly!” she added. Hmm.
I found out that Shipt was hiring in my area so I applied online. In a couple of days I had an interview where I recorded myself answering a couple of questions. There were some essay questions: “Imagine a customer has organic raspberries on her order but all you see in the organic section is one carton of organic raspberries with a bit of mold. Please write a text to the customer explaining the situation.” One of the dreaded recorded questions: “Why do you think you would make a good addition to the Shipt team?”
After about a week I received a welcome packet which included a Shipt tee shirt and a company credit card. I was excited about this last bit because I figured that I would be buying the groceries and being reimbursed. I had plans to set up a separate bank account with $500 in it to replenish with reimbursements and to take my profits from once a week.
I was happy to learn the process was much easier than that. All I do is grocery shop with the app, scan the bar codes to make sure I have the exact item the customer requested, pay with the company card, and collect my paycheck once a week! It’s all very seamless.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, of course. That’s why I’m writing this post! Now, I want to mention that while there is definitely a learning curve to being a personal shopper I feel as though some of these things I didn’t know could have been learned through research or reading the weekly newsletters sent out instead of just jumping right in like I did.
What I didn’t know right away was that when you add yourself to the delivery schedule, the hour window is the hour of delivery not the hour worked. For that reason, I was very late on my first 2 orders.
I also didn’t know that the items on the grocery list give you a location ID which corresponds to the aisle, the shelf, and the position on the shelf. Had I known this I wouldn’t have been near tears in the freezer section desperately looking for chipped beef. I had no idea what chipped beef was much less have the ability to locate it in a grocery store and deliver it to a customer.
Now I can find anything as long as it’s in stock!
My absolute worst experiences with Shipt involve not being able to locate the customers to deliver their orders. This story I’m about to relay is extremely embarrassing, and I really don’t want to share it.
I received a pretty simple order: A bunch of diet coke, bleach, and sugar. The customer was not responsive to my text messages but that was okay since the order was easy. We have some standard text messages we send out: I like to first thank the customer for their order, and let them know what to expect in terms of contacting them if I have problems with their order. I then shop the order, ask about substitutions if some of their items were out of stock, check out, and then let them know I’m on the way. I sent all these messages with no reply.
A lot of our Shipt orders deliver out to the country. Our customers are pretty savvy because not only are they saving time by not doing their own shopping, but many of them live pretty far from the store so they’re also saving on gas.
That was the case with this order as well. I was looking for a house number and having the hardest time finding it. By process of elimination, I narrowed it down to a little yellow house, but the house had no house number on it.
There was a car in the driveway so I knocked at the door. No answer. I tried contacting the customer again by text and phone but got no answer. I went to a neighbor’s house and asked if they knew where I could find the house number on my order but they weren’t sure either. They thought it could be the little yellow house because there was a little old lady that lived there, but her name didn’t match the name on my order.
They advised me that there was another house behind the house on the other side of the yellow one (boy this is getting hard to follow even for me and I lived it!). They advised me that there was a dirt road I would have to take to get to the home in the back. So, off I go to the other side of the yellow house and found a young man working on a car in the driveway. I asked him if the dirt road next to his house leads to another home behind his. He said yes, so off I go on the dirt road.
God, this is embarrassing.
I drove down the dirt road and it’s horribly rutted. I prayed my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud and that I wouldn’t bend the frame of my vehicle taking this “road”. I glanced behind me and noticed the young man standing there watching me and a woman has joined him. His mother. The guy jogs up to me and says “Um, this is our back yard.”
After completely dying inside, I apologized profusely and proceeded to leave these people’s yard as their dog attacked my car.
Eventually I got a call back from the customer. The story was the customer put in an order for her grandma and forgot to let grandma know to expect someone at the door. The customer then went back to work and forgot about it. Grandma was a bit of a recluse and was hiding from me in her little yellow house. Granddaughter let grandma know I was safe. She let me in and offered me ice cream and beer 🙂
I have learned a lot about Shipt shopping since that mortifying night. I now allow myself one shop a day after work. It’s quite relaxing; I compare it to doing a puzzle. I look where I need to go, find the product, scan it, and get a satisfying ‘beep’ and the item disappears from my list.
As long as I allow myself plenty of time it’s really a fun job. Any time I stray from that rule I get super stressed out and start shaking from the anxiety!
What happens if I’m late to deliver an order? Well, the customer often doesn’t mind at all. But Shipt keeps track of how your customers rate you, how often you reject orders that are offered to you (so you aren’t picking and choosing only large ones with a bigger payout), and how often you are late. The worse your stats, the less shops you are offered.
I like this rule because it makes you desperate for any offer you finally get (I’ve been there!) so that you will do anything to not screw it up.
If you are considering becoming a Shipt shopper, you are probably doing your research if you’re reading this. Good for you! Once you become a shopper, join the Shipt Shopper lounge immediately. There’s so much great information there.
A gem I learned recently is that once I have an order I should remove myself from the schedule so I don’t have to reject more orders that come in while I’m shopping the first one. Remember, rejecting orders would hurt my rating. That’s good information because if I accept the offer to prevent damage to my acceptance rate, I’d probably be late on both which would do much more damage to my ratings.
I’m so glad I have most of the kinks worked out now. When I get paid from Shipt I put 30% back to save for income taxes (Shipt is a 1099 employer), I fill my gas tank, and the rest goes toward Navient.
If you follow me on Instagram you will see a breakdown every pay day of how much I was able to send to Navient.
I’m so grateful I came across this side hustle, I really enjoy it.
Thanks for reading.