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DoorDashed and Confused: Making Sense of Why the DoorDash Waitlist Takes So Long

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Key Takeaways

  • DoorDash waitlists new drivers to manage labor supply and demand, and avoid saturating the market with too many drivers.
  • The duration on the waitlist varies by location and can range from a few days in busy areas to longer in less active markets.
  • Monitoring the status of your DoorDash background check via Checkr’s Candidate Portal can provide insights into your waitlist status.
  • While waitlisted, consider applying in different markets or exploring other delivery services and side hustles for income.

Why You’re Waitlisted by DoorDash

The DoorDash waitlist refers to the limbo state in which drivers find themselves after applying to become Dashers, where they’ve received initial approval to deliver but can’t yet take any orders.

DoorDash waitlists new driver sign-ups for two main reasons:

  • To carefully manage labor supply in each local market.
  • To maximize earning potential for existing DoorDash drivers.

If DoorDash were to flood small markets with too many Dashers, it would spread the limited order volume thin. This would result in frustrated drivers who are barely getting any deliveries.

The waitlist gives them time to analyze order volume trends and strategically add just enough workers to meet the demand without oversaturating the market.

With that in mind, we can deduce that the reason why you’re currently waitlisted may be:

  • Driver Saturation: If you’re competing in a delivery market that has the maximum number of active Dashers to handle the day-to-day volume of orders, you—along with other applicants in that particular market—will be waitlisted when there’s a need for more drivers.
  • Limited Market Availability: DoorDash may not yet be offering delivery services in your area, which means you’ll be waitlisted until they decide to expand into your market.

It’s worth pointing out that DoorDash hasn’t yet provided any public information or statements about the specifics of its waitlist system.

How Long is the DoorDash Waitlist?

The amount of time you’ll have to wait to get off the waitlist and start earning is undefined, as it varies considerably by location based on the local state of supply and demand.

In normal conditions where there’s a steady need for prospective drivers, the duration of the waitlist is typically 3-5 days. This is often the case in major metropolitan areas, where there’s high demand and a steep turnover rate.

In smaller cities and rural areas, the waitlist’s duration can be much longer because the demand isn’t high to begin with—with some exceptions, of course.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

Some cities don’t have a waitlist, like New York City and St. Louis.

It’s important to underline that the DoorDash waitlist is constantly in flux. Waitlisted drivers often stumble upon other opportunities while they’re waiting, but their names will remain on the waitlist.

Those drivers will be contacted by DoorDash at some point, but they may no longer be interested in the opportunity. This, in turn, pushes newer drivers up closer to the top of the list.

So, if you’re on the waitlist, don’t get too frustrated and wait it out. Things are constantly changing, so just because you’re on the waitlist now doesn’t mean you’ll still be there tomorrow.

How to Check If You’re Close to Getting Off the Waitlist

Because there isn’t an official waitlist duration, DoorDash doesn’t give you a simple way to check your status. You’ll have to wait for an email notification from DoorDash, and this can be frustrating.

There’s a way around this—sort of.

One thing you can do to gain a bit of insight into your waitlist status is to look at your background check. “But wait a minute; the waitlist and my background check are two different things!”

That’s true, but there are two things to keep in mind here:

  1. DoorDash uses Checkr—a third-party consumer reporting agency—to run background checks.
  2. A typical DoorDash background check takes 5-7 days.

In other words, if you keep tabs on the status of your background check and find that it’s completed within 5-7 days, then chances are the waitlist isn’t backlogged and you’ll get an offer soon.

On the other hand, if your background check is taking longer than the typical 5-7 days to be completed, it’d be safe to assume that the waitlist is backed up and you’ll have to wait longer than usual.

How to Check Your Status

Log in to Chekr’s Candidate Portal using the information you provided the company with during your DoorDash application process.

Once you’re logged in, you should be able to see your status as well as any actions you need to tackle.

Note: For non-American candidates, you need to log in to the International Candidate Portal. And for those based in Singapore or the Philippines, visit this dedicated portal.

Besides keeping tabs on your background check’s status, make sure you haven’t missed any step in the application process.

You can do so by visiting the Dasher page and clicking the “Already started signing up?” button.

Another thing you should do is check your email on a regular basis because, in some cases, DoorDash may require more information from you, which they’ll request via email.

What You Can Do While on the DoorDash Waitlist?

There are a few options you can try while on the DoorDash waiting list:

1. Sign Up in Another Nearby Market

If you’re set on working as a Dasher, try reapplying using a different zip code. Make sure you pick an area that’s not too saturated with too many active drivers so that you don’t end up on the waitlist again.

The downside to this workaround is that you’ll need to drive to another city/area, which will add to your expenses in terms of fuel consumption. It can also wear you out quickly.

With that in mind, make sure the zip code you choose isn’t hours away from where you live. Otherwise, it might not be worth your time.

2. Try Other Delivery Services

DoorDash isn’t the only food delivery service out there. There are many alternatives that offer similar pay within the $15-$20/hour range, including Grubhub, Uber Eats, Shipt, and Instacart, to name a few.

Considering the sign-up process and requirements for these services are pretty much the same as DoorDash’s, we recommend applying for as many as possible and going with whoever gives you a suitable offer first.

3. Consider a Different Side Hustle

From dog walking and rideshare driving to taking paid surveys and doing freelance work such as writing, translating, and video editing, there are countless ways you can make money outside of delivering food and groceries.

Don’t limit yourself to just one side hustle!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Skip the DoorDash Waitlist?

There’s no way to skip the DoorDash waitlist or get instant approval. If you’ve been waiting for a few weeks, we recommend trying another food/grocery delivery service or a different side hustle altogether.

What Other Services Have a Waitlist?

DoorDash isn’t the only service that has a waitlist. Other examples include Instacart, Grubhub, Lyft, and Uber. What they all have in common is that the duration of their waitlist is undefined and varies based on location.

Can You Get Rejected From DoorDash?

DoorDash can reject your application based on the results of your background check. In that case, you should receive an email explaining the reason behind your rejection.

Wrapping Up

While frustrating for many aspiring Dashers, DoorDash’s waitlist is necessary because it helps the company balance labor supply and order demand in each local market.

To maximize your chances of getting out of the waitlist quickly, we recommend applying in less saturated areas. We also recommend not pinning all of your hopes on DoorDash.

Having backup income streams through other delivery services and side hustles ensures you can start earning ASAP.

Good luck!

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