If you have a reliable car and a smartphone, the possibilities for using them to earn extra cash are endless.
Uber and Lyft may be the perfect fit for a lot of side hustlers, but driving strangers from place to place isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
While you could deliver food for your local pizza place, that type of job doesn’t always offer the most flexibility, and it could limit your earning potential.
Enter DoorDash. With delivery services booming (especially in light of COVID-19), you could earn some serious cash as a Dasher, delivering food from a massive lineup of restaurants.
In this DoorDash driver review, we’ll break down how DoorDash works, what you can earn, and whether or not the app is right for you.
What Is DoorDash?
DoorDash is a delivery service that was started in 2013 in San Francisco. Today, it is available in more than 850 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
DoorDash is one of the most popular food delivery services, allowing customers to order food from their favorite restaurants and have it delivered to their door for a small delivery fee.
DoorDash is simple: Customers can access restaurant menus and place their order in the DoorDash app, setting their tip amount and payment method.
From there, Doordash alerts nearby Dashers who are currently on the driver app.
As a driver, you can accept an order, then pick it up at the restaurant and deliver it, using the instructions in the app.
How Does Driving for Doordash Work?
Considering driving for DoorDash? DoorDash has two apps, one for customers and one for drivers.
You can download the app on iOS and Android devices.
Here’s how to start driving for DoorDash.
Signing Up to Drive for Doordash
To get started, you’ll need to download the DoorDash driver app and work through their registration process. DoorDash will ask for your:
- Driver’s license number
- Car insurance and vehicle information
When you submit this info, you also consent to a background check.
Once you’re approved, you’ll be mailed a Dasher Activation Kit, which includes a hot bag for food, a company credit card, and a guide to getting started.
All you need to do before you start driving is to submit a W-9 and provide DoorDash with your bank account info so you can get paid.
As long as your background check is cleared, you can start making some deliveries before your activation kit comes in.
The background check could take up to a week, or it could be completed in an hour.
You can accept deliveries anytime you’re in the “red zone,” a busy area, with DoorDash’s “Dash Now” feature.
You can also schedule shifts for yourself and get notifications reminding you of upcoming shifts.
When an order gets placed in your area, you’ll get a notification and can choose to accept or decline it.
If you accept, you’ll get details on the pickup location, linking to your navigation app of choice.
When you arrive at the restaurant, you can check to make sure that the order is correct. Once you have the order in hand, you’ll be given the customer’s address.
When you complete a delivery, you’ll see a screen with a receipt of your payment.
DoorDash pays its drivers weekly by direct deposit.
Payments are made on Monday for the previous week’s deliveries, ending with whatever you’ve made by midnight Sunday.
Your payment should show up in your bank account by Wednesday night, but it often comes earlier.
How Much Do DoorDash Drivers Make?
So how much do DoorDash drivers make? It depends on when, and how often, you work. Overall, Dashers earn the following:
- Base Pay: Your base pay is the delivery fee, which you get to keep all of. The app will tell you how much this is before you accept a job. It’s calculated using the time, distance, and desirability of the delivery location.
- Promotions: During busy hours, Dashers can earn extra Peak Pay. DoorDash also rolls out Challenge Bonuses that reward drivers who go the extra mile.
- Tips: In addition to your base pay and promotions, you’ll get to keep 100% of the tips you earn from customers.
Rather than profiting off your earnings, DoorDash charges the restaurants it partners with to stay in business.
In the past, DoorDash has marketed its drivers’ ability to make between $15 and $25 an hour on average.
While they don’t tout that number as openly anymore due to the fact that you have to factor in some expenses and there are differences in earning potential based on your location, it’s a reasonable claim based on actual Dashers’ reviews.
Dashers who maximize their hours, mileage, and promotions could make that amount or more, while new drivers might make a bit less.
How to Maximize Your DoorDash Earnings
To get the most out of your DoorDash hustle and earn closer to $40 an hour than $20, here are a few tips:
- Be Picky: The larger the order, the more your customers are likely to tip. Be selective when it comes to the size of the orders you choose to take on if your goal is to get larger tips. However, you could also shoot to pick up as many orders as you can.
- Go for Peak Pay: If your schedule permits, schedule yourself to drive during peak hours like lunch and dinner to get more orders and higher pay.
- Location is Key: Keep in mind that heavily trafficked areas can slow you down. You might also have to pay for parking, depending on where you deliver.
- Learn From Drivers: Online forums like Reddit have tons of reviews and pointers from current drivers that can give you real insight into how to maximize your earnings.
- Double Up: There’s no need to limit your earning potential to just DoorDash. Put your phone and car to even better use by driving for other services like Uber and Postmates, too.
Pros and Cons of Driving for Doordash
DoorDash is a great way to make money. Here are the biggest advantages, and a few potential disadvantages of working with DoorDash.
- Quick signup process
- Flexible work hours
- Ability to earn extra with peak hours and hotspots
- Ability to decline or accept orders
- Pay is by delivery, not hourly
- Work must be scheduled or at a busy time
- Not available everywhere
While DoorDash is available in all 50 states, you should make sure it’s active in your city before applying.
Alternatives to Driving for DoorDash
If you’re looking to compare a few more car-based side hustles, you might want to start with the ones below:
There’s a lot of money to be made by combining rideshare and delivery services like DoorDash and the ones above.
DoorDash Driver FAQs
Is DoorDash legit?
DoorDash is a completely legitimate food delivery job, with close to 5 million customers across the United States and Canada. It partners with countless reputable restaurant chains and local businesses.
What costs do you have to cover yourself with DoorDash?
When you drive with DoorDash, you’re responsible for all of your own expenses. We’re talking:
- Car Insurance
- Phone/Data coverage
- Vehicle Maintenance
How does DoorDash handle taxes?
DoorDash doesn’t withhold tax money. When you become a Dasher, you’re essentially a self-employed contractor.
If you make more than $600 annually with DoorDash, they’ll mail you a 1099-MISC.
It’s important to track your expenses and keep receipts as you could get deductions for mileage, auto insurance, parking fees, and your phone plan.
What ratings does DoorDash consider?
DoorDash rates its drivers to ensure they are up to the company’s standards. As a Dasher, you’ll be rated on your:
- Acceptances: DoorDash looks at what percentage of orders you decline and accept.
- Completions: To drive for DoorDash, you must have at least a 70% order completion rate, ideally higher. (If the customer or restaurant cancels, it’s not on you).
- On-time deliveries: DoorDash may not have a threshold for early or prompt deliveries, but you’ll earn higher customer ratings for them.
- Customer reviews: Customers rate you on a scale of 1 to 5, and DoorDash expects you to keep at least a 4.2 to keep dashing.
Is Driving for DoorDash Worth it?
If you’re looking for an easy way to earn more money using your car and phone, keep DoorDash on your list.
The app couldn’t be more flexible, letting you pick and choose the orders that fit your schedule and goals for earning.
While you can’t guarantee that you’ll earn a set amount of money each week using the app, it’s a great short-term strategy for making money or a long-term addition to your other jobs, be it full or part-time jobs.
As the app continues to spread to more cities across the U.S. and partner with more restaurants, it will present even more opportunities to earn on your terms.