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How to Become a DoorDash Driver: Complete Dasher Guide

Want to become a DoorDash driver? It's a great way to make extra money. But how do you become a dasher and how much money do you make? Find answers here.

Everyone loves the convenience of food delivery. Whether you’re too tired to cook or are just looking to mix things up, getting a bite delivered is the perfect solution. These days, it’s easier than ever to get food delivered with one of the many food delivery apps on the market.

Behind every food delivery app, however, are the delivery drivers that make deliveries happen. With DoorDash, one of our favorite food delivery apps, this is no different. Each of those hungry people out there represents an opportunity for you to make money delivering food, all while setting your own hours and earning tips.

Disclosure: Ridester.com is supported by our users. We may recieve compensation from the companies whose products we write about, test, or review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Like Uber and Lyft, driving for DoorDash is an easy and lucrative way to earn extra money on the side while you set your own schedule.

We’ve already examined how much DoorDash drivers make. So for this post, we wanted to go deeper, looking at the signup process and what you need to know to apply to drive for DoorDash.  Step-by-step instructions are provided at each stage of the vetting process.

Let’s dive right in.

Become a DoorDash Driver in your City
DoorDash is a food delivery app that can help you earn money by driving, biking or even walking food orders from restaurants to local customers.
Highlights
  • City-specific incentives for applying and driving
  • Pay for food using the company red card — not your own money
  • Make money on your own schedule and get paid weekly

Jump to:


What Do Drivers Do When Working for DoorDash?

DoorDash drivers, bikers, and on-foot deliverers — officially known as Dashers — are responsible for picking up food orders and delivering them directly to customers. That’s really all there is to it.

Once you’re an approved member of the independent contractor team, you can start getting food delivery requests through the Dasher app. When you accept a request, you’ll get all the information you need about where you’re heading.

The job itself is not hard to learn, and there’s no real need for orientation. Once your application is approved, you can begin setting your work schedule on a daily basis or set the dates weeks in advance. There is a lot of freedom of choice, because there is no minimum number of deliveries to make or hours to log.

The only additional step that Dashers may need to take is swiping their Red Card — which is a DoorDash-provided prepaid debit card — on select orders. This occurs (and is noted in the app) when an order won’t be paid for by the time you arrive at the pick-up location. In these cases, drivers simply need to use their Red Card at the checkout counter and continue with the delivery as they normally would.

But working for DoorDash is not for everyone. It’s not a physically demanding job, but you need an outgoing personality and the ability to stick to a schedule. This is because you will deal with customers in person and represent the brand. Since there are thousands of drivers across the country, it is possible that someone else’s bad reputation can affect your work, too.

Related:


DoorDash Requirements

DoorDash is available in a variety of cities across the United States and Canada. Here are just a few of them:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

Regardless of which city you’re applying in, keep in mind that on your DoorDash driver application, it’s important to know the requirements the company has for its delivery personnel. These requirements are in place to keep Dashers, customers, and restaurant partners safe.

Driver Requirements

To drive for DoorDash, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age to drive, or 21 in some cities to deliver alcohol
  • Submit to and pass a background check. This is very similar to Uber’s background check
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S. (with either a Social Security number or valid work permit)
  • Own an iPhone or Android smartphone that can support the DoorDash app and future updates

In order to pass your background check, your criminal record should be free of felonies and violent, sexual, or drug-related crimes. DoorDash uses Checkr — the same company that conducts Uber and Lyft background checks — to get your information, so if you’ve previously been approved as a rideshare driver, you should have no problem passing this requirement.

The most important requirement to drive for DoorDash is that you are at least 18 years of age, though some states specify you should be 21 to make deliveries involving alcohol. You will be notified of the exact age requirement for your location once you apply.

There are no physical requirements to work at DoorDash. Since orders rarely require heavy lifting, the only tiresome activity is actually working long shifts.

Furthermore, as you continue to work as a DoorDash dasher, you’ll want to make sure that all of this information remains up to date. Be aware that changes in things such as your criminal history or driving record could result in you being removed from the DoorDash platform, even if you met the requirements when you applied.

DoorDash will spot check these things, and you should always report any changes to the company; it’s better for you to be upfront about it than for the company to find out from a third party.

Vehicle Requirements

You don’t have to own a vehicle to apply. Depending on your city, you may be able to make deliveries using a car, bike, scooter, or even your feet.

You’ll need to check the Info On Your City page at DoorDash.com to find out exactly which modes of transportation are eligible. Note that this may change for some future cases, as DoorDash has mentioned they may later tap into the grocery delivery market.

DoorDash has a stricter policy than other companies in the on-demand delivery services when it comes to a driver’s driving record. To be considered for a position with DoorDash, you cannot have had any major traffic violations in the past seven years, and no more than three accidents in the past three years.

If you’re planning to drive a motorized vehicle for your delivery gig, you do need to meet a few additional DoorDash driver requirements. Whether you’re driving a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or electric scooter, you must:

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and auto insurance policy
  • Have a valid auto insurance policy
  • Have a clean driving record free of major moving violations
    • Haven’t had any major traffic violations in the past seven years
    • Haven’t had more than three accidents in the past three years

If you’re interested in being a delivery driver, you won’t have to worry about your car model or any cosmetic requirements. DoorDash has absolutely no vehicle requirements. As long as your car is in good working condition and is covered by your insurance policy, you can be approved to start delivering.

However, we do recommend using a larger vehicle if you have one, as this may help you get matched with larger orders that allow you to earn more in less time. If you only have access to a motorcycle or scooter, make sure you have a comfortable and secure way to store your food orders, so you can drive safely and don’t miss out on tips.

The variety of transportation options makes it easy to deliver no matter what kind of vehicle you have available to you. This makes working for DoorDash advantageous when compared to driving for another platform like Uber, which requires you to have a car. With DoorDash, you could have the chance to get out and stretch your legs or spin your wheels.


How to Sign Up for DoorDash

If you meet all DoorDash requirements and are still interested in joining the team, you can start your application process today.

To sign up for DoorDash, follow these steps:

1. Head to doordash.com/dasher/signup.

2. Enter your email address and tap “Next.”

3. Enter your phone number and ZIP code, then tap “Continue.”

4. Enter your first name, middle name, last name, and preferred password, then tap “Continue.”

5. Select your vehicle type, then enter your driver’s license information and confirm that you have auto insurance. Tap “Continue” once complete. This step will look slightly different if your market allows bike or on-foot deliveries.

6. Enter your birthday and Social Security number, then tap “Continue.”

7. Read through the background check disclosures and authorization message. If desired, you can also opt to “Receive a free copy of my background check report.” Then, tap “Continue” to authorize the required background check.

Most DoorDash background checks are processed within 5-7 days. Once you’re cleared, you can return to the sign-up page, tap “Already started signing up?,” and enter your email and phone number to continue to set up an orientation, during which you’ll be able to learn more about the Dasher gig.

You’ll have the option to schedule an in-person orientation for a specific time, drop by your local DoorDash office during open orientation hours, or simply request a DoorDash Activation Kit instead. If you choose the latter option — which is sometimes the only option — you’ll be able to skip the traditional DoorDash orientation and simply read a manual instead. This manual will be shipped to you, along with a complimentary hot bag and your DoorDash Red Card.

Once you’ve completed your orientation, you can download the DoorDash Driver app from the App Store or Google Play store, log on, and start receiving requests.


How Much Do Dashers Make?

Hundred-dollar bills fanned out

Though DoorDash has promoted the delivery gig as a $15-$25 per hour opportunity, the average DoorDash driver makes about $13.85 per hour. This average is just a hair above the average Uber driver’s earnings, though there may be some variation based on your city and mode of transportation.

Earning $15-$25 isn’t impossible by any means. Sometimes, you may experience high demand or receive large orders that quickly drive up your base pay. When promotions are available, you can further increase your income by completing challenges or driving during peak hours. However, the part of the DoorDash pay model that has the greatest impact on your hourly earnings are your tips — 100% of which always go to you.

While this decent pay is possible, don’t forget that you are an independent contractor, rather than an employee. This means that you are your own boss and simply contracted by DoorDash to do deliveries. As a result, you get immense flexibility, but you’re responsible for covering your own car maintenance (or bike maintenance) expenses.


How Does DoorDash Pay?

DoorDash pays all drivers on a weekly basis via direct deposit. Although they transfer earnings made between Monday and Sunday, it can take up to three days for the money to show in the driver’s account. This means that earnings from the last week should be available by Wednesday the following week.

A financial advantage to being a DoorDash dasher is that while these independent contractors don’t earn an annual salary, they receive the full amount of their earnings. DoorDash doesn’t withhold money for tax purposes, so drivers are responsible for declaring their earnings and paying taxes on them.

Another advantage to working for DoorDash is the opportunity to earn “Busy Pay.” This is extra pay for when delivery demand is especially high, and the amount you’ll receive depends on how busy it is.

Pay Boosts and Bonus Incentives

While smart referral tactics can help you boost your income with DoorDash, the platform is still about deliveries at the end of the day. You can increase your delivery earnings significantly when you pick up deliveries during the busiest hours. These are the times when people are ordering lunch and dinner, and you’ll get additional compensation for the increased order demand.

DoorDash refers to this incentive as “Busy Pay.” The amount varies based on current demand, but you’ll be able to see its amount before you accept a delivery, as you can see in the image below:

Things Every New DoorDash Dasher Should Know

It can be a pain to deliver during these peak hours, as they often see increased traffic and heightened levels of activity at the restaurants where you’re picking up food. It’s worth it, however, for the extra money you can earn due to the higher volume of orders. The screenshot above shows a Busy Pay bonus of $1.50, but it can go even higher in some cases.

Plus, the more deliveries you’re making in a given amount of time, the more you’re earning overall. This is especially true when you consider that the more deliveries you make, the more opportunities you have to earn tips.

Of course, you should never let the quality of the service you offer suffer in a quest to complete deliveries more quickly. This will just lead to lower ratings and lower (or no) tips. Only take on the number of deliveries that you can reasonably make without any errors.

DoorDash Driver Tips

It’s important to remember that a big part of a dasher’s income comes from tips. Customers have the choice to tip through the app or cash. And like Instacart’s tipping policy,  100 percent of the tips go to the dashers which can help them increase their hourly pay.

When customers’ tips are made via the DoorDash app, the drivers cannot see them individually. Rather, they will only see the entire amount of earnings at the end of their shift. The tips received via the Dasher app will be transferred with all other earnings for that week.

Set Aside Money for Taxes

When working as a DoorDash dasher, you’re responsible for filing and paying taxes on the money you earn. All DoorDash drivers are independent contractors, which means that DoorDash doesn’t withhold any taxes from your delivery earnings.

This can make your taxes a bit more complicated, but this is also the arrangement that gives you so much freedom as a DoorDash driver. If the company had you as an employee, it would make your tax situation a little simpler. On the other hand, the company would then be able to dictate your work hours, making DoorDash less appealing as a part-time, flexible gig.

The exact amount you’ll need to pay in taxes will vary based on your income and state. In all cases, however, you’ll at least need to pay the federal taxes that cover Social Security and Medicare (these are called FICA taxes). It’s unlikely that the amount of taxes will be very high, especially if you’re using DoorDash as a source of supplementary income. Still, you do need to keep these taxes in mind, as not saving for them could mean a rude surprise at tax time.

To determine how much of your income you should set aside in your bank account each month, check out our guide to self-employment taxes. We also suggest speaking to an accountant for more specific guidance.


DoorDash Driver Support

A DoorDash dasher usually receives all the information he or she needs via the app. But additional support may be required for situations that involve an order payment issue or an insurance claim.

For instance, if the company red card — a prepaid credit card given to dashers — doesn’t work at a restaurant and you have to pay for the order yourself, you can contact driver support for a reimbursement. You can do that through the app and follow the provided steps.

DoorDash also has a $1 million commercial auto insurance policy to help drivers when necessary. However, because of so much over-hiring, they have strict requirements for insurance support eligibility.

Although it seems like DoorDash driver support is always available, you might find it difficult to get assistance when it comes to dealing with clients. Because there’s a direct line of contact between you and the customer, you are encouraged to ask the customer directly for additional information. This may not always be speedy, but it does free up the DoorDash driver support to deal with more urgent situations.


DoorDash Driver Reviews

Sometimes drivers will complain about the new model of payment for deliveries (DoorDash used to pay an hourly wage on top of delivery fees and tips). These grievances usually come from people who have been dashing since the beginning. Newcomers have no other experience to compare it to, so most of them are generally pleased.

Although most people choose to become a DoorDash dasher as a part-time gig, some will try to make it into a living. These career-bound dashers will often complain about the excessive competition created by over-hiring.

While they do have a point, it’s important to understand that to satisfy all customers, the company needs to have as many dashers as possible at their disposal. Some also take competition as an incentive to provide the highest quality of service.

DoorDash, like any other company that provides on-demand deliveries, will not be able to compensate all drivers equally.


DoorDash Driver FAQ

As long as you meet each of the simple DoorDash requirements, applying online is the final step you need to take to start earning. Still, you can learn more about becoming a Dasher with these frequently asked questions.

Does my car need to pass a vehicle inspection before I can start driving for DoorDash?

No, vehicle inspections aren’t necessary to drive for DoorDash. As long as your car is in good condition and can reliably get you to your assigned pick-up and drop-off locations on time, it’s fit to drive. Vehicle inspections are typically only required by rideshare companies because of the extra liability of having a rider in your car.

Can I be a full-time Dasher?

DoorDash isn’t just for earning extra money. You can definitely work for the company on a full-time basis. While you’ll still be classified as an independent contractor, which means you won’t have access to benefits or guaranteed pay, drivers are free to pick up enough shifts to work 40-hour weeks with the food delivery service. However, be aware that you won’t always have back-to-back requests, especially when you’re not driving during peak hours.

Does DoorDash pay for gas?

Because working as a driver or dasher for DoorDash makes you an independent contractor, you will be responsible for your own vehicle. All the money for fuel and maintenance will come out of your pocket.

This is one of the reasons why it’s hard to establish an average income for DoorDash drivers. Fuel consumption and maintenance differs from driver to driver, not to mention not all drivers own their own vehicles. In some areas of operation, deliveries may be longer and use even more fuel. In these situations, DoorDash usually increases the delivery fee to compensate for the extra fuel.

Where are DoorDash jobs available?

DoorDash gigs are usually available wherever the company operates, though you may be put on a wait list if supply happens to be higher than demand in your area. The food delivery brand currently serves over 850 cities in North America and Australia, including major cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. You can browse the company’s markets on this page of DoorDash.com.

Here are just a few of the cities that DoorDash operates in:

  1. Denver
  2. Los Angeles
  3. New York City
  4. Atlanta
  5. Dallas
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Phoenix
  8. San Antonio
  9. San Diego
  10. San Francisco
  11. Seattle
  12. Columbus
  13. Miami
  14. Orange County
  15. Fort Worth
  16. Chicago
  17. Sacramento
  18. Palo Alto
  19. Nashville
  20. Minneapolis
  21. Boston
  22. Houston

Do driver reviews matter?

Your reviews and ratings are extremely important and can come from both customers and restaurants. Accumulating too many bad reviews can affect your ability to earn tips and significantly reduce your earnings. Too many customer complaints can also cause DoorDash to remove you from their network without notice.

Although you may try hard to impress, it’s possible that some people will give you a bad review without reason. It’s also possible that a minor mistake on your part can result in a very harsh review that is not necessarily accurate.

Can I earn money any other when when I drive for DoorDash?

Savvy dashers know that the delivery fees and tips you get from delivering food are just one part of the DoorDash earning equation. The other part consists of referral bonuses you can earn when you get other people to sign up to deliver for DoorDash. The precise amount you can earn depends on your city, with higher bonuses available in cities where DoorDash is new or looking to grow its operations. Be sure to take advantage of these bonuses, as they can really boost your income.

While there are a couple ways you can refer friends to DoorDash, by far the most effective method comes from using the Dasher app on your Android or iOS device. Just open the app and tap on “Invite Friends.” From there, choose your preferred referral method:

Five Things Every New DoorDash Dasher Should Know

As you can see from the image above, you have the option to refer friends via SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger. We recommend leveraging platforms with larger reach such as Facebook and Twitter for maximum coverage (since you can reach beyond just people whose personal contact info you have). You don’t have to stop there, though. You could also print out your referral code and hand it out to people.

Or, if you drive for another service such as Uber or Lyft, you could even have it available inside the vehicle itself. This could be a bit risky, since these companies would rather you focus on their service and not on advertising. But it can be a good way to get more visibility for your referrals.

To learn more about how to make the most of this code, check out our guide to DoorDash driver promo codes.


DoorDash Delivery: A Good Way to Earn Extra Money

Working as a DoorDash delivery driver is a legitimate way to earn extra cash. The requirements for the food delivery service are common sense and not that different from what other companies require. In addition, you have the freedom to choose your work hours.

It’s nice to have no cap or minimum on the amount of hours you can put in. You get to keep all your customer tips, and you can deliver orders on your vehicle of choice. You can even use a bike or walk as long as it doesn’t take too long. If you’re interested in an active lifestyle and meeting new people, give DoorDash a try.

We hope you now have a better understanding of what you can do to make the most of your DoorDash deliveries, including how to boost your income. DoorDash is just one of many food delivery platforms available. We suggest consulting our guides to delivering for Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Instacart., especially if you’re in a city where DoorDash isn’t available.


Brett Helling

Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.

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