How to Make More Money Driving for DoorDash

Driving for DoorDash is a great way to earn extra money. But what if you're not making enough? Follow these tips to increase your Dasher earnings.

Everyone loves a gig where they can make good money and enjoy the freedom that comes with choosing their own hours. So it’s no surprise that becoming a DoorDash driver is becoming one of the best food delivery hustles out there.

It works much the same way as driving for Uber or Lyft does – you start by opening the Dasher app and making yourself available to accept deliveries. The app will direct you to a specific restaurant where you’ll pick up the customer’s order. You’ll then drop off the order at the customer’s location and you’re done.

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It’s a simple business model that capitalizes on one person’s laziness and another person’s ambitions.

In this article, we will discuss how Dashers can optimize their ambitions and make the most possible money while delivering for DoorDash.

Tip: If you’re looking to make more money as an existing driver, keep reading. If you’re looking to sign up as a new driver, read our Guide to Becoming a DoorDash Driver.

Become a DoorDash Driver in Your City Today
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.
  • Great incentives for signing up to drive
  • Pay for food using the company red card — not your own money
  • Make money on your own schedule and get paid weekly


How Much Do Dashers Make?

On average, DoorDash pays drivers about $5 per delivery, plus drivers get to keep 100% of all tips they receive. The amount you make varies depending on the size of the order and whether or not you have to place the order in person. It’s also affected by the driving distance, wait time at the restaurant or store, and things like parking and traffic.

At the minimum, DoorDash guarantees that you’ll make at least $1 per order (though the average is closer to $5 after distance and time are factored in).

Dashers aren’t employees of the company – they work as independent contractors, which means you’ll have expenses to pay. The money you earn from DoorDash is not all profit – that’s just your gross earnings. So if you want to cover those expenses and make more than minimum wage, keep reading.

We’ve got 6 great tips for how you can maximize your DoorDash earnings.

Take Advantage of Promotions

The easiest thing you can do to maximize profits is to take advantage of DoorDash promotions. If you don’t, you’re just missing out on free money. There are a few promotions you can likely enjoy, but the best one is the driver referral bonus.

Sign up with a promo code and you get a cash bonus if your city is eligible. The bonuses vary from city to city, and aren’t guaranteed, but in the past we’ve seen them in active markets to be typically in the $300 range (though in some places they go as high as $750). You can get your promo code from an existing Dasher and you can both make some extra money.

So why does DoorDash offer referral bonuses? There are two main reasons. One, it’s a way for them to expand their service capability and operate in more and more cities. Two, it’s an incentive for drivers to want to make more deliveries. It’s a win-win situation for both the company and the delivery driver.

As a new Doordash driver, you won’t get your bonus immediately, you have to complete some deliveries first. The number varies from city to city, but every city has a set amount of deliveries that you need to complete within 30 days of signing up. Complete that many deliveries (or more) in your first month and you’ll earn your bonus.

After you’ve signed up and earned your first bonus, you can start signing up other drivers with your own referral link. Every time you get a new driver to sign up with your link, you’ll get an additional bonus. For every friend that you enlist as a driver, you’ll earn a payout – as long as the promotion is active in your city and the referred driver completes the required amount of deliveries within the time requirement as a Dasher.

There’s no pressure to recruit friends to sign up to drive, but if you get a few to do it, you’ll definitely see more money in your pocket.

Only Dash When It’s Busy

There’s no point in working when it’s not busy. You only make money for the number of deliveries you do, so if no one is placing any orders, there’s no money to be made. In general, you should aim to complete at least 2 deliveries per hour. If you’re only getting 1 request an hour, you should check Uber or Lyft instead (more on that later)

Work during busy hours and you’ll make more money. Lunchtimes and dinner rushes are the busiest, especially on the weekends when people want to be lazy and don’t feel like cooking for themselves. Fridays through Mondays are the most profitable days, but it’s also very busy when it’s raining or snowing out.

Most people don’t want to go out when the weather is bad. So if you don’t mind driving in the rain or snow, you’ll surely make good money – and probably some pretty good tips to boot.

Another great time to work is during big sporting events. During football season, you’ll see lots of orders placed on Sunday afternoons. There are also NFL games on Monday and Thursday evenings. If your local team is playing, you can expect it to be even busier.

The other benefit, besides more requests, is that you’re much more likely to get a pay boost during busy times. So familiarize yourself with the busy times in your city. A great way to do this is to keep a journal of busy periods. You can also always look back through your earnings report to see what days are times are the most profitable in your city.

Not sure where you can be a Dasher? DoorDash is currently available in almost every state and in almost every major city. Key markets include Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, San Antonio, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Boston, Phoenix, Cincinnati, San Diego, Portland, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Houston, Columbus, Charlotte, Toronto, Vancouver, and Dallas. Check out the full list of DoorDash locations for details.

Decline Low Paying Jobs

One great thing about the DoorDash app is that you’ll get to see how much you’re going to earn before you accept the order. Your earnings depend upon the size of the order and a few other factors, so you’ll have the option to accept or decline jobs depending on what they pay.

Declining jobs hurts your acceptance rate, but if you have to go a long distance to deliver a low-value order, it’s sometimes worth it. It is only worth declining a job if you’re confident that you’ll get another job request quickly.

When it’s slow, it’s best to accept whatever requests come in. But if you drive at busier times, you can decline the ones you don’t want and select the ones that’ll earn you a few extra dollars.

If you’re not busy, you may as well accept a lower paying job. It’s better to make a little bit of money than to be bored and make no money at all.

Track and Reduce Expenses

Keeping your expenses low is key to maximizing your profits. As an independent contractor, you have to provide the equipment necessary to do the job. That includes the cost of your vehicle, gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. All of those expenses eat away at your profits.

Independent contractors are also responsible for paying income taxes. That means you’ll need to hold money aside every week in order to make tax payments throughout the year. 25% – 30% of your earnings is what most drivers hold aside for taxes. However, as an independent contractor, you’ll also be able to deduct a lot of your expenses at tax time.

To deduct the proper expenses, you’ll need to keep track of them throughout the year. If you’re meticulous about reporting your earnings and expenses, you can save yourself a great deal of money when it comes time to pay the IRS.

You can keep track of your expenses yourself or use an app like Stride to help you keep everything in order. With Stride, you can see where your expenses are the greatest so you can figure out easily where you might be able to reduce your operating costs.

Use Other Apps During Downtimes

No matter your side hustle you have, you’ll experience some downtime. If you drive for Uber or Lyft, you know that there aren’t a whole lot of ride requests on certain days and at certain hours. And food delivery services, whether your work for GrubHub, Postmates, or DoorDash, are the same way.

You won’t find a lot of orders coming in at midnight. You might get some breakfast orders if you’re in a populated city, but there’s no question about it – driving during lunch and dinner is key. As a Dasher who uses your vehicle as your office, you have the option to maximize your profits by picking up another gig or two. And there are lots of other gigs you can choose from.

If you prefer to stick to delivery services, sign up for other delivery apps like GrubHub, Uber Eats and Postmates as well. If your vehicle meets the eligibility requirements, sign up to drive for Uber and/or Lyft.

If you can diversify your gigs, you’ll spend less time waiting for orders or waiting for passengers. Getting orders and getting passengers is the only way to make the most of your time and make some good money.

Avoid Late Night Delivery

If you prefer to drive in the middle of the night, DoorDash might not be the best job for you. You’ve got to be available for deliveries when restaurants are open and people are placing orders. And since most restaurants close around 10 or 11 p.m., you’ll need to do most of your driving between the lunch and dinner hours.

It can be tempting to stay out late delivering food, and if you’re in a big city with a lot of restaurant options or 24-hour places, you might be able to do so. But in most places, delivering past the dinner rush isn’t that profitable.

A good way to increase your profits as a Dasher is to do most of your driving when the more expensive restaurants are open. Sure, you might be able to get some late night orders for McDonald’s deliveries or other fast food joints, but those aren’t the highest paying orders.

When someone orders from a cheap restaurant, you’ll make less per delivery. When they order from an expensive restaurant, you’ll make more. Another reason to focus on delivering for more expensive restaurants is that you’re more likely to get better tips. And drivers get to keep 100% off all tips at all times.

Rather than driving for DoorDash (or GrubHub) late at night, consider switching over to a different gig, like driving for Uber and Lyft. When it’s late and the bars start closing, Uber and Lyft are very busy. You should be able to get plenty of passengers and you may even be able to enjoy surge pricing in certain areas on certain days.

The trick is to know how to balance your various jobs in order to make the most amount of money. Having one gig will limit your earning potential. By doing two or more gigs at the same time, you’ll stay busy. And busy means one thing: more money in your pocket.

Driving for DoorDash is a great way to make some extra money. Whether you do it as a full-time job or a side hustle, it’s a perfect job for a lot of different reasons. You can work comfortably out of your own car, make your own hours, accept only the jobs you want, and earn money on your own terms.

If you really want to be successful and see good profits, follow these six tips. First and foremost, take advantage of promotions, including the driver referral bonus. You can earn a bonus when you sign up and continue to earn bonuses for every additional driver you sign up and refer.

Stick to Dashing when it’s busy. Lunch and dinner hours are the best times of the day. Sporting events draw a lot of orders as do NFL games on Sunday, Monday nights, and Thursday nights. And avoid driving late at night. Most restaurants aren’t open late, so there’s no point in working when there are no orders coming in.

When it’s busy or you have several orders to choose from, decline the lower paying jobs. Unless it’s slow, it’s always best to grab larger orders from more expensive restaurants.

It’s also important to keep track of your expenses. There are lots of ways to reduce your expenses as an independent contractor. But to do that you’ll need to analyze your numbers so you can identify when and where to cut back. Apps like Stride make it easy to do that.

And if you really want to get out there and put a lot of money in your pocket, pick up another gig on the side. Driver for Uber or Lyft and you can stay busy most of the time. Do your DoorDash deliveries through dinner. Then, when the restaurants close, you can pick up those Uber and Lyft passengers looking for a way to get home from the bars.

Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to see more profits coming your way!

Brett Helling

Brett Helling is the owner of 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 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.

1 Comment

thank you for the information. Looking at DoorDash realized I would be doing the taxes as a independent contractor but didn’t know about Stride. This is going to save me time and money.