If you’re an eager side hustler, there is no shortage of restaurant delivery side hustles available. One popular company hiring gig workers is DoorDash.
You can make money shopping for and delivering groceries when it fits your schedule.
But is DoorDash worth it?
The answer can be a little complicated.
In this DoorDash Driver Review, I’ll let you know what it’s like to drive for DoorDash, your earnings potential, and other facts you’ll want to know. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What Is DoorDash?
- What Are the Qualifications for DoorDash Drivers?
- How Does DoorDash Work for Drivers?
- DoorDash Payment Options
- How Much Does DoorDash Pay?
- What Are My Expenses with DoorDash?
- How To Sign Up for DoorDash
- How Can I Earn More with DoorDash?
- 1. Work During Peak Hours
- 2. Refer Other Drivers
- 3. Earn Top Dasher Status
- 4. Only Take Larger Orders
- 5. Target Bonus Offers
- 6. Avoid High Traffic Areas
- 7. Be a Great Dasher
- DoorDash Pros and Cons
- DoorDash Alternatives
- DoorDash FAQs
- Is It Worth It to Work for DoorDash?
- Final Thoughts
What Is DoorDash?
DoorDash is based out of San Francisco, California, and opened its doors in 2013. It’s the largest food delivery app company in the United States.
DoorDash serves over 4,000 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The company contracts over 1 million drivers for delivery.
DoorDash provides food delivery services to nearly a half-million restaurants within its reach. Its market share for delivery is currently over 50%.
That fact makes DoorDash an attractive option for gig workers.
What Are the Qualifications for DoorDash Drivers?
If you want to deliver for DoorDash, you do need to meet a list of qualifications the company requires:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must use a car, motorcycle, scooter, or (in some cities) bicycle for deliveries
- You’ll need a valid driver’s license and active insurance policy
- You will need to provide your Social Security Number (in the U.S. only)
- You’ll have to consent to a background check
If you meet these requirements, you can sign up to be a Dasher for DoorDash.
According to DoorDash, signing up to be a Dasher takes just a few minutes. Applicants are approved to Dash in just a few days.
After you’re approved, you’ll need to complete a short driver orientation online and then finish your application.
How Does DoorDash Work for Drivers?
Once you’ve completed the Dasher orientation and signup, you’ll download the DoorDash Dasher app onto your phone.
The app will show you two options for working: Dash Now and Schedule a Shift. You might like the Dash Now option as it allows for more flexibility; you can start and stop as you wish.
However, if there are plenty of Dashers in your area during the time that you want to work, you won’t be allowed to choose the Dash Now option.
For that reason, scheduling a shift could be a better option. It gives you a guaranteed “in” during your scheduled hours, meaning you’ll have a higher chance of earning cash.
When you’ve opted to work, whether via Dash Now or Schedule a Shift, you’ll see orders pop up on your screen when they become available.
Each available order will show you important information you need to make an informed decision as to whether or not you’ll take it, such as:
- The route from the restaurant to the delivery location
- The number of miles you’ll drive
- What time you need to deliver the order by
- How many items will be in the delivery
- What your pay will be
You can use that information to determine whether you can logistically complete the order on time, and whether or not you want to take the order.
If you want the order, click “Accept” and be on your way. Note that you have 45 seconds to accept an order before it goes away and is offered to another driver.
What Happens After You Accept An Order?
Once you accept the order, the app will direct you via GPS to the restaurant. You’ll confirm your arrival at the store or restaurant and confirm the pickup of the order.
Note that some orders are prepaid, and some require you to pay with your DoorDash Red Card.
The Red Card is DoorDash’s money and not yours, so you don’t have to worry about having to eat the cost of the order if, for some reason, the client doesn’t pay it.
Once you arrive at the delivery destination, you drop off the order and go. And once you’ve completed the order, you’ll be eligible for payment.
DoorDash Payment Options
DoorDash pays via Direct Deposit to your bank account. The pay period runs Monday through Sunday, and you are paid the following Wednesday.
Note that some banks may take longer to process the Direct Deposit payment. Some banks and fintech companies, such as Chime, will get your paycheck up to two days earlier.
There is a payment option called Fast Pay that will give you your Dasher pay right away. You can use Fast Pay daily; however, a $1.99 fee applies every time you use it.
How Much Does DoorDash Pay?
Ahh, the all-important question: How much does DoorDash pay?
Is DoorDash worth it?
How much you are paid per delivery will vary from order to order. How long it takes to complete an order will also vary from order to order. Finally, how much the customer tips can play a big role in how much you earn. Many factors are involved, so the answer is that it’s complicated.
If you are picky and only select orders that meet your earning criteria, you can increase your earnings. For example, alcohol deliveries earn more per order compared to restaurant orders. Actual earnings may differ and depend on several factors, like the number of deliveries you accept and complete, time of day, location, and any costs.
Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over 90 days and includes compensation from tips, peak pay, and other incentives.
Tips are a factor too. Clients have the option of adding a tip to the order so you can see what it is right away. Or they can decline to add the tip to the order and pay you cash when you get there, but tips are not guaranteed.
DoorDash does have a few incentive programs that could increase your earnings. We’ll talk about those shortly.
What Are My Expenses with DoorDash?
You will have to pay for your car’s gas and other expenses if you work as a Dasher.
That includes toll fees, parking fees, tickets, maintenance, and everything else.
However, the upside is that you can deduct the mileage you put on when you file your taxes. The current 2021 mileage deduction is 56 cents per mile.
How To Sign Up for DoorDash
Signing up to be a Dasher with DoorDash is easy. Head to the DoorDash website and click on the Become a Dasher tab at the top right-hand side of your screen.
You’ll answer the questions listed on the application, which takes just a few minutes. DoorDash typically approves Dashers within just a few days.
How Can I Earn More with DoorDash?
So, you’ve decided to think more about becoming a Dasher with DoorDash. But you’re concerned about how many orders have a low base pay. Not only that, tips aren’t guaranteed.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help you earn more money as a Dasher. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Work During Peak Hours
DoorDash peak hours can vary based on the locale, aside from the obvious ones: the lunch and dinner rush, nights, and weekends. You may have more earning potential if you’re willing to schedule a shift during peak hours.
2. Refer Other Drivers
DoorDash does offer referral bonuses when they need more drivers in a particular area. If a referral bonus is available, you’ll see a banner that says “Refer Friends” on your account homepage.
However, your referral has to complete a specified number of deliveries before you are eligible to receive your bonus.
3. Earn Top Dasher Status
DoorDash’s Top Dasher program allows you to earn more money as a Dasher. DoorDash analyzes your Dasher stats on the first of each month. If, in the previous month, you’ve met the following qualifications, you are considered a Top Dasher and will qualify for the program:
- Customer rating of at least 4.7
- An acceptance rate of at least 70%
- Completion rate of at least 95%
- 100+ completed deliveries in the last month
- 200+ lifetime completed deliveries
If you’ve achieved Top Dasher status for the month, you will have 24/7 Dash Now availability even if there are enough Dashers in the area. In addition, you’ll be prioritized over other Dashers when deliveries become available.
4. Only Take Larger Orders
Typically, larger orders with more items have a higher pay rate. Taking these larger orders can earn you more cash.
5. Target Bonus Offers
DoorDash occasionally offers bonuses to Dashers. See your account page for details on any bonus offers.
6. Avoid High Traffic Areas
High-traffic areas can be disappointing for Dashers. The longer it takes to deliver your order, the less money you make because you’re spending more time in traffic. As you work, learn driving routes to help you work around high-traffic times and areas to maximize your income.
7. Be a Great Dasher
And finally, be a great Dasher. As with any service job, excellent service often results in higher tips.
Be as timely as possible while still navigating traffic safely. Check the order before you leave the restaurant to be sure everything is there. And bring your delivery with a smile.
DoorDash Pros and Cons
- You choose your own schedule
- You choose which orders you take
- You keep 100% of your tips
- You are independent
- You’ll need to keep track of income and expenses
- Earnings vary depending on the location
If you’re interested in grocery delivery as a side hustle, DoorDash is not your only option. Depending upon where you live, you may also be able to find work with the following DoorDash alternatives:
Grubhub sets a per-order pay rate based on how much time and mileage you’ll put into a trip.
As with DoorDash, Grubhub lets you keep 100% of your tips, and they pay weekly via Direct Deposit.
While vehicle requirements are similar, you have to be at least 19 years of age to work for Grubhub.
Learn more about Grubhub.
Instacart drivers get paid to deliver groceries. In most cases, you need to shop for groceries as well.
Pay is per order and varies based on the order. You get to keep 100% of the tips with Instacart, and DoorDash will pay you weekly.
Learn more about Instacart.
Shipt shoppers get paid to shop for and deliver grocery orders. The Shipt website says their shoppers earn an average of $22 per hour between pay, tips, and bonuses.
You must be 18 to work for Shipt, have a valid driver’s license and insurance, and drive a 1997 or newer reliable vehicle.
No. You can use any car you want to make deliveries. You need to have a valid driver’s license and current insurance.
No experience is needed. Anyone with a reliable vehicle, driver’s license (if required), and insurance can qualify.
No. When you work for DoorDash, you are considered an independent contractor. Therefore you are responsible for keeping track of all income and expenses and reporting that information when you file your taxes.
Is It Worth It to Work for DoorDash?
The answer to that question depends a lot on your situation. The gas mileage of the vehicle you drive, the area you live in, and your available working hours are all factors that affect your earnings.
And as with any job, the more experience you have, the more you can perfect your Dasher skills and (hopefully) increase your income.
Grocery delivery is a legitimate gig job that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. DoorDash drivers can make a decent income provided they work to take higher-paying jobs, work during peak hours, and minimize expenses. New Dashers may find that the per-hour earnings are low. For that reason, giving excellent service to help maximize the potential for tips is essential.