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Is DoorDash Worth It For Drivers?

Last updated: August 19, 2021
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vector illustration of man holding his chin and wondering is doordash worth it for drivers

Over the past several years, DoorDash has become one of the largest food delivery services in the United States, Canada, and Australia with potential for more growth.

They deliver a large variety of groceries, fast food, and restaurant orders.

Becoming a DoorDash driver can be a great way to make some extra cash.

You can get to be your own boss, set your hours, and receive quick orders for delivery.

If you’re interested in becoming a Dasher, read further to see what the job entails, how much you should expect to be paid, and some of the pros and cons.

What is Driving for DoorDash Like?

Driving for DoorDash has changed over the past few years as demand increased during the pandemic.

They offer opportunities for Dashers, called DoorDash Bonuses, to increase their earnings a little more.

These come through promotions and incentives for making less desirable deliveries or driving during peak times.

Dashers keep 100% of tips, promotions, and the delivery fee with each order.

Customer ratings do matter as well as your rate of completion.

You need to have a completion rating of 100% or close to it, meaning you need to complete every job you take.

How Much Physical Work Does DoorDash Require?

DoorDash requires some physical work in picking up food orders and delivering them to doorsteps.

You may need some strength and stamina to carry larger groceries or climb stairs in apartment buildings, but most orders are not as physically demanding.

Overall, you don’t need to be particularly strong to be able to fulfill orders well.

How Much do DoorDash Drivers Get Paid?

vector image of a doordash courier riding bike and money falling out of the back to indicate how much do doordash drivers make

In the United States, the average pay rate for a DoorDash driver is around $14 or $17 an hour according to Indeed DoorDash reviews.

Glassdoor shows the average base pay for DoorDash drivers is $15 per hour.

However, drivers can earn more on top of their base pay depending on several factors, including how you deliver, your location, promotions, and tips.

As mentioned earlier, Dashers keep 100% of the delivery service fee, tips, and promotions or challenges.

Overall, DoorDash pays their drivers a little more than the average minimum wage.

How is DoorDash Pay Calculated?

DoorDash drivers are paid according to a new pay model in 2021.

Their total earnings are calculated by adding their base pay, promotions, and tips.

1. Base Pay

The base pay rate is the minimum payment you can expect, and it depends on the time, distance, and appeal of the order.

It can range anywhere from $2 to $10 or more.

An order’s appeal usually changes depending on how many Dashers regularly accept a specific order type or from a particular restaurant chain.

2. Promotions

There are three types of promotions, or “boosts,” that are meant to incentivize drivers to accept more orders.

The first type is the Challenges feature, which is a newer incentive to motivate Dashers.

Some Challenges include completing a certain number of orders within a specific amount of time to earn extra money.

If there is an active Challenge going on in your area, you are automatically enrolled in it.

Peak pay is another promotional feature that adds a little more to your total earnings if you deliver food during peak hours, like dinner time or in busier areas.

The last type of promotion is DoorDash Drive, which allows you to deliver large catering orders.

The minimum requirements you need to meet to qualify for DoorDash Drive orders are at least 100 deliveries, a 90% completion rate, and a 4.8 average customer rating.

They pay more than usual orders and can even earn you a bonus if you deliver the larger order early or on time.

How Much do DoorDash Customers Tip Drivers?

vector image of a woman handing a doordash delivery person their doordash tipping bonus before taking the food

The recommended tip amount for DoorDash drivers is 15% of the order’s total cost.

It is impossible to say exactly how much customers tip on average, but with great customer service, you are bound to receive a 20% tip or higher.

There are various types of tippers, from those who leave no tip to DoorDash customers who only like to pay in cash.

However, as mentioned earlier, you receive 100% of the tips customers give.

How Much Does DoorDash Take From Drivers In Fees?

Since DoorDash hires its own drivers, they do not take any fees from their drivers.

Drivers instead get to keep the full delivery fee, tips, and any boosts to their earnings.

Since drivers are DoorDash 1099 contractors, they do need to pay all of their own expenses for their vehicle and phone service.

During tax time, they also need to pay self-employment tax out of their own pocket because they are considered independent contractors.

It’s crucial to keep all expenses and income accurate when you report them on your taxes so you don’t end up overpaying.

Pros of Driving with DoorDash

There are a few benefits to working as a DoorDash driver.

The first is that you receive higher hourly pay on average than minimum wage.

You also have the ability to create your own schedule and set your own hours for driving.

However, you will want to schedule your shifts ahead of time to guarantee work.

Another benefit to driving with DoorDash is the frequency of payments.

You can opt to be paid on a weekly basis, which is standard, or you can use the Fast Pay feature and receive your earnings on the same day.

Lastly, DoorDash is not as strict with your vehicle type.

Other companies such as Uber have set standards vehicles must meet, but DoorDash provides more leniency.

In some densely populated areas, walking deliveries can even be an option.

Here’s a quick summary of the pros:

  • Higher pay than minimum wage
  • Flexible schedule
  • Same-day or week payments
  • Lenient vehicle requirements

Cons of Driving with DoorDash

Though working for DoorDash has its benefits, there are some cons to consider before becoming a Dasher.

One of the big ones is how much it costs to maintain your vehicle.

Your car will experience some wear over time as you fulfill deliveries.

You will need to pay for gas, insurance, and any maintenance out of your own pocket.

To see your real profits as a Dasher, you will need to subtract taxes, the cost of gas, and mileage from your earnings.

Another con is paying self-employment taxes.

As an independent contractor, you will need to report your income accurately and pay any necessary taxes.

DoorDash sends you the required tax form, but it is up to you to pay the required taxes according to your income and business expenses.

When driving for DoorDash, you also do not receive much growth for your earnings.

There is a cap on hourly pay and no opportunity for growth in the long-run.

That is one of the primary reasons why DoorDash driving is typically only good for supplementary income rather than a full-time career.

The last con is the sacrifice you may need to make to maximize your earnings.

Peak pay times are often when everyone is having fun and eating with friends or family.

If you want to earn the most money you can and see a high demand for orders, you may need to commit your weekends and evenings to driving for DoorDash.

Here is a quick summary of the main cons:

  • Costs for your vehicle
  • Self-employment taxes
  • No room for growth
  • Giving up weekends or evenings

Common Problems DoorDash Drivers Run Into

One of the most common problems Dashers face are delays in orders from the restaurant.

Delays may happen occasionally when restaurants suddenly become very busy or they just receive the order.

Waiting up to 15 minutes for the order is reasonable during a busy time, but if it goes beyond that, it may take up too much of your shift.

However, waiting for the order is still better than canceling it because you are guaranteed the pay, your DoorDash acceptance rate will increase, and you won’t be waiting around for another order that may or may not come.

Another common problem DoorDash drivers run into is not knowing the apartment unit number or exact location for the order.

In this case, the DoorDash driver app provides drop-off steps for you to follow.

The first step is to call and text the customer.

If they don’t answer, then you must wait for a specific amount of time for the customer to either show up or return your call.

After the timer runs out, you can drop it off at the best place you can, take a picture of it, and then you are free to go with your full payment.

How to Sign Up as an DoorDash Driver

vector graphic showing doordash driver on a bike while wearing a doordash bag on his back - header image for how does doordash work post

By now, you may have decided on whether becoming a DoorDash driver is right for you.

If you want to make some extra income as a Dasher, you can follow these simple steps to start the sign up process.

Step 1: Requirements

Before you can sign up to become a DoorDash driver, you must first meet the requirements.

Eligible drivers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Own an iPhone or Android smartphone
  • Have a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and car insurance with at least one year of experience behind the wheel
  • Complete the sign-up process

Drivers must also go through a DoorDash background check and pass with no offenses in the last seven years.

You also may not have more than three minor driving violations.

These can include speeding, failing to yield, and running red traffic lights.

If you meet all of these requirements, you can then start the sign up process.

Step 2: Signing Up

The next step is to visit the DoorDash website and submit your application.

You will need to provide your basic information such as your location, email, name, and vehicle type.

The application itself is rather quick and painless.

If DoorDash accepts your application, then they take you to the next step, which is the onboarding process.

If you live in a big city with lots of demand, chances are much higher for you to be accepted.

Step 3: Onboarding

When you go through onboarding with DoorDash, you need to first participate in a virtual orientation that teaches you how to use the app.

You also receive an activation kit in about a week that has your orientation manual, Red Card, and a food delivery bag that is insulated.

Once you receive your kit, you need to activate your Red Card, set up a direct deposit using one of your bank accounts, and fill out the W-9 tax form.

Once that’s finished, you can set up your driving schedule on the platform and start making DoorDash deliveries.

Conclusion: Is DoorDash Worth It?

The food delivery services industry is huge right now with the high demand continuously growing.

Companies like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates are constantly hiring new drivers to meet the need.

DoorDash is a great part-time job if you enjoy driving and you’re looking for flexible hours with a little income boost.

The bonuses are an added benefit to give you a little extra for the time you spend driving.

However, you won’t want to depend on DoorDash driving as a full-time job since deliveries are not predictable and there is a cap on your earnings.

So is DoorDash worth it for drivers? As a side hustle, it can definitely be worth it.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits outweigh the cons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions people have about driving for DoorDash.

Is DoorDash a better full time job or a side job?

With DoorDash, you can make a lot per week if you put in the hours like you would a full-time job and receive great tips from your orders.

The average pay is higher than minimum wage, and some drivers have made great money from it.

However, the work and pay rate is not consistent enough to act as a reliable full-time job.

Instead, as a gig economy job, you may possibly earn around $20 to $30 an hour if you are lucky with peak pay and tips.

Can you make $200 per day with DoorDash?

Making $200 with DoorDash is possible but would require you to work in a big city and put in at least 15 hours of driving.

The time can be less if you get lucky with promotional boosts, such as delivering during peak pay hours or receiving larger tips.

However, with an average base pay of $14 to $17, you would need to deliver orders for most of your day to earn at least $200.

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