How to book the right Instawork shifts for you

One of the things Pros love about Instawork is that it puts them in control. At most jobs, you have to follow the schedule assigned to you by your manager. But with Instawork, you get to choose what you do, who you work for, and when you work.

"This is a fantastic way to work with flexibility and when your schedule allows," said Instawork Pro Catherine T. "I have an entrepreneurial spirit and [am] enjoying being my own boss!"

But with so many different shifts available — serving, food preparation, warehouse work, and more — it can be hard to narrow down your choices.

So how can you find shifts that are a good fit for you? Here are some tips.

Getting started

First things first — make sure that your profile is complete and ready to go. Once you’ve downloaded the Instawork app, remember to fill out the basic components of your profile:

  • Contact info
  • Name, location, and date of birth
  • Work experience
  • Recommendations
  • Profile picture

Once your profile has been reviewed and approved, you'll be able to see open shifts near you. Check them out by clicking the "Shifts" icon in the lower left-hand corner of the app.

Choose the right jobs

When you sign up for Instawork, you'll be asked to select which positions you're interested in. Think about the experience and skills you have, and if they're relevant to any jobs you see listed, add them.

"[With Instawork], I'm able to showcase my talents as a culinary cook with a culinary degree."

- Instawork Pro Farhana K.

More skilled positions (like bartending) may require you to pass a quiz, but they should be easy as long as you have experience. Other jobs may require certifications, like a Food Handlers card or alcohol server training. If you have them, make sure to upload them. If you don't, though, know you can often find affordable certification programs online.

Some positions may not require previous experience, as long as you prepare for them in advance. Many employers are open to booking warehouse workers that are new to the field. You can find how-to resources for warehouse shifts here or on the training tab of the Instawork app. Review the training materials and pass the quizzes, and it will show up on your profile. In the end, this strengthens your profile and gives you access to more jobs.

Ideally, you should sign up for shifts that you're not just qualified for, but also enjoy doing. If you're a social butterfly, for example, you might want to work as a server. If you like working with your hands and being active, you might want to try warehouse work. If you love making food, look into positions where you can work in a kitchen.

Review ratings

You'll notice that many shifts posted to Instawork have a rating out of five stars listed. These are all reviews from Instawork Professionals who have worked these shifts before. Read a few of these to get a feel for the job and work environment. A few questions you may want to keep in mind:

  • What are the co-workers like? What about the managers?
  • Is it a social environment, or will you be working heads-down?
  • Will you receive hands-on support, or be expected to figure things out on your own?
  • Is the work physically demanding or technically challenging?
  • Does the shift require any equipment or attire?
  • How fast-paced is the work?
  • Is it a formal environment, or more relaxed?

After reading reviews, think about how they match up with your own preferences.

Work around your schedule

The best start time and length of a shift completely depends on your unique situation. If you're a parent, for example, you may want to only work when your kids are in school. If you already have a part-time job on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you may want to only look at Tuesday and Thursday shifts. If you're a student, you may want to work shorter shifts between classes.

“I can choose shifts whenever I want to work and it’s very convenient for me, especially due to the fact that I’m retired and [Instawork] helps me with extra cash.”

- Instawork Pro Brenda S.

Before you sign up for a shift, double-check the start time and length to make sure they fit your schedule. And don't forget to factor in the time it takes to get there and come back. If your shift ends at 3:00 PM but you have an appointment at 3:15 PM across town, you might not have enough time to get there. You can also filter by date so that the app only displays shifts that work for you.

Target your earnings

Some Pros work Instawork shifts on the side to earn some extra money. Others make it their full-time source of income. Think about your financial situation — what's your current income? How much are your expenses? Is there anything extra you're trying to save up for? Based on that information, you can come up with a goal of how much you want to earn on Instawork.

Then, compare that to your schedule. How many hours do you want to work each week? Based on the pay rates you're seeing, how many hours would you need to work to hit your goal? How many shifts does that work out to? Is there a minimum hourly pay you want? Once you answer those questions, it will be easier to screen shifts that help you meet your goals.

"Instawork is great for individuals looking for work on a tight schedule that offers a living wage."

- Instawork Pro Robert C.

Consider the commute

Shifts are often located all across metro areas. Some will be easier to get to than others depending on where you live and your mode of transportation. If you live in the city center and don't have a car, you may want to stick to shifts that are close by or easy to get to via public transit. If you have a car, you'll likely be able to work shifts in more places. As a bonus, shifts outside of the city center often pay better since they can be harder to get to.

Search for shifts to see where they're located and determine whether that works for you. The app will even show the travel distance and how to get there. Don't forget to factor in commute time when signing up for a shift. When you open directions in Google Maps or Apple Maps, you’ll see how long it takes to get there, so build that into your schedule. It never hurts to be extra cautious, though. If a shift taking place at 5:00 PM usually takes 20-30 minutes to get to, you may want to leave at 4:15 to be safe.

Sealing the deal

When you’re ready to commit to a shift, click “Book.” Next, agree to the terms. Now the shift is yours! Remember to always confirm your shift 24 hours before it begins.

To stay in good standing, make sure that you only sign up for shifts you know you can commit to. We get that things come up, but we owe it to the companies that trust us not to leave them short-staffed. Canceling can also limit the shifts you're able to see and take you out of the running to be a Top Pro that month. If you do have a last-minute emergency come up, cancel through the app and give as much notice as you can.

Finding work you love is all about personal preference. What’s perfect for one person may not be a good fit for another. But with such a variety in roles, work environments, hours, and location — not to mention great pay — you’re sure to find an Instawork shift that’s right for you. It may take a while to figure out what works best, but once you do, you'll be thriving in no time.