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How To Make The Most Money On DoorDash

Last updated: December 20, 2021
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From DoorDashes’ first delivery on the Stanford University campus in 2013 to its global expansion in over 7,000 cities,

DoorDash is the leading food delivery service surpassing other platforms like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Postmates.

DoorDash really makes delivering for them seem like the best of both worlds.

Who wouldn’t want to earn money from simply driving from point A to point B?

And, on top of that, you can choose your own hours and be your own boss?

It almost seems too good to be true.

Yet, as we know, it is, with over one million gig workers earning money by delivering food to millions of hungry users.

While DoorDashes’ flexible opportunities are attractive, you might be wondering how much can I actually earn as a driver?

Or, if you’re already a DoorDash driver, then maybe you’re wondering how to make the most money on DoorDash?

While it’s relatively easy to make money as a DoorDash driver, there are ways to ensure you’re not earning less than what you’re spending on gas.

So, here are 15+ ways drivers can make at least $15 to $25 an hour Dashing.

How Much Can You Make on DoorDash?

How much money a driver can earn delivering for DoorDash boils down to three things:

  • your location,
  • order quantity, and
  • time of day.

According to DoorDash, in the United States, a DoorDash driver earns an average hourly pay of $25.

This estimated hourly wage comes from base pay, DoorDash tip, and promotions like Peak Pay and Challenges.

15+ Ways to Make the Most Money on Doordash

vector graphic of a delivery driver looking at his DoorDash schedule on a calendar in front of him

1. Work During the Most Lucrative Hours for Dashing

The first and easiest way to make the most with DoorDash is to deliver during the best times to DoorDash.

In general, the busy times are during lunch, 11 am to 2 pm, and dinner, 4:30 pm to 8 pm.

Remember, more Dashers on the road at these times means less demand for drivers.

According to DoorDash, a way to claim those hours is by scheduling five days in advance.

So if you know your availability, consider scheduling your Dash times during these peak hours.

If scheduling isn’t your thing, locate hotspots in your area where you can jump right in by clicking “Dash Now” in the app.

If there are no hotspots, you may have to move to an area surrounded by local restaurants to receive more orders.

DoorDash indicates hotspots on the map with a red border.

Note that hotspots refresh every ten minutes and frequently change, so don’t rely on one area for a consistent surge of orders.

2. Know Which Deliveries to Avoid

Try to avoid low profit, low quantity orders.

For example, if you receive a request to pick up one medium french fries, it’s best to pass the order on, especially if the delivery location is out of your highlighted zone.

Additionally, with low-profit orders, you may actually lose money completing the order and, on top of that, receive a fifty-cent tip, if any.

According to Reddit, avoid orders from fast-food restaurants like Chipotle and Taco Bell because they start making the order when you arrive, which means longer wait times.

However, remember, not all fast-food restaurants operate the same.

3. Take Advantage of DoorDash Promotions & Incentives

New Driver Signup Bonuses

In specific areas, new drivers qualify for DoorDash’s Guaranteed Earnings Incentives.

These incentives are similar to Challenges because you have to complete a certain number of deliveries within a specified time.

However, earning incentives doesn’t mean making extra money.

Instead, it states the lowest amount a driver can earn if they complete the task.

Only some areas are eligible for the new driver incentives.

If it’s available in your area, the sign-up page will let you know by offering a unique link to a different sign-up page.

The next option is if you have a friend or relative who is a Dasher.

They most likely have some referral codes (max 15) to give out.

Unfortunately, and for a good reason, DoorDash makes it rather impossible for someone to make dozens of fake accounts to receive multiple bonuses.

DoorDash does this through its sign-up requirements making applicants pass a background and vehicle check.

Moreover, to successfully receive the bonus, the new Dasher must complete the specified number of deliveries within 30 days of applying.

Note, the bonus amount differs based on location and how much DoorDash is offering at that time.

Challenges

Challenges are a way to earn extra cash by delivering a specific number of deliveries within the stated time frame.

Drivers can look for active Challenges on the app through the heatmap and accept the challenge by clicking “Dash Now.”

Peak Pay

The company’s Peak Pay is when it sets a surge to earn extra money in areas where it’s busy.

Through the app, drivers can find these opportunities in the promotions tab.

From there, Dashers can schedule to work during the listed date and time or, if available, click “Dash Now.”

It is possible to have two Peak Pay promotions active if there are multiple opportunities at the same starting point.

Also, if available, drivers can profit from Challenges and Peak Pay simultaneously.

Driver Rewards

DoorDash rewards its top drivers every month with benefits like letting them work anytime and being the first to receive high-value orders (orders of $30+).

To qualify, a Dasher must meet these requirements by the last day of the month:
  • Customer rating of at least 4.7
  • Acceptance rating of at least 70%
  • A completion rating of 95% or more
  • 100 completed deliveries
  • Have at least 200 completed deliveries altogether

Drive Program

The drive program offers experienced Dashers opportunities to deliver large orders, like catering or group orders.

Qualifying early access drivers can claim deliveries every day at 7 pm, while new drivers can pre-claim these orders at 8 pm.

Qualifying early access Drive Dashers have:
  • Complete at least four Drive deliveries, and
  • Have an on-time rating of 70% or more for the last 20 deliveries

According to tips from season drivers on DoorDash, they recommend setting a reminder to check for Drive deliveries at their qualifying pre-claim time.

In addition, restaurants or merchants can request a specific driver to run their orders.

Stores usually repeatedly request drivers who went above and beyond.

So the point here is, always remember to provide excellent customer service and not just for the Drive Program.

There is also a chance to receive large orders while Dashing or periodically checking for them in the scheduling tab of the delivery app.

4. Complete the Orders You Accept

screenshot from tutorial about how to sign up for doordash

If something happens and you can’t deliver, don’t worry.

DoorDash accounts for this by requiring dashers to maintain an 80% completion rate.

Aside from that, if you want to keep earning as a Dasher, you must maintain the required completion rate.

But, more importantly, try to aim for a completion rate higher than the bare minimum if you want more opportunities to make more money, like qualifying as a Top Driver.

5. Be Wise When Declining Orders

While we previously discussed some of the orders Dashers should avoid accepting, it’s also important to be mindful when declining orders.

Luckily, DoorDash doesn’t punish its drivers for a low acceptance rate.

However, remember that when you reject an order, it gets passed to the next driver.

Consistently declining received orders affects other Dashers since it gives them less time to complete the order.

6. Take on More Orders at Once

Taking on multiple orders is a great way to make the most money on DoorDash.

However, make sure you have a strategy before you start stacking deliveries.

The goal is to complete these orders as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind when stacking orders based on Youtube creator Doordash Diaries:

  • Knowing when to accept an additional delivery based on:
    • distance from restaurant to restaurant,
    • distance from restaurants to customers,
    • distance from customer to customer, and
    • distance from all to your current location.
  • If the restaurant is slow, decide if you should keep the order or complete another order in the meantime.
  • Carry a sharpie to write customers’ names on the orders to avoid confusion.
  • Deciding what to deliver first based on the contents of the order.

7. Maintain Accuracy When Delivering

The idea of accurate delivery is to spend the least amount of time on drop-off and more time available to claim more orders.

To maintain accuracy, read any delivery instructions from the customer while waiting to pick up their order to help save time, recommended by DoorDash.

Some places are hard to find, so read the restaurants’ pick-up instructions.

This will help reduce time spent finding parking and navigating where a store puts their DoorDash orders.

Before delivering an order, pay attention to the drop-off building.

For example, most apartments have complicated layouts with many hallways, which makes these buildings hard to navigate.

Memorizing the apartment number can help ensure a seamless delivery.

8. Dash in High-Income Areas

vector graphic showing a customer saving money by using a DoorDash promo code

Credit for the following three tips goes to Youtube creator Limitless Level Up.

Let’s be honest, typically, customers in high-income areas tip higher simply because they want to, and they can.

If your first thought is that wealthy customers live in metropolitan areas, think again.

Dashing in congested cities involves a lot of wasted delivery time navigating an apartment and looking for parking.

It might benefit most Dashers to avoid big cities altogether.

The best way to make the most money on DoorDash is to:

  1. Deliver in during peak hours and…
  2. Dash in high-income residential areas

Every city has a high-income neighborhood, so if you’re not sure where a quick search on Zillow will point you to the right area.

9. Don’t Go The Extra Mile

If you’re thinking, shouldn’t it be “go the extra mile?”

No, no, it shouldn’t.

Here’s what I mean when I say, “don’t go the extra mile:”

Don’t accept orders where the delivery location is out of your highlighted zone.

This is because you will have to drive all the way back to your previous site to receive more orders.

However, one of the only times you should accept orders out of your zone is when you’re planning to stop Dashing soon.

By soon, I mean you’re planning to complete a few more deliveries before you head home.

So with that, here’s a tip for drivers who dash away from their homes:

For your last few orders, try to accept and complete deliveries that loosely follow your path home.

You can do this by accepting an order outside your current Dash area.

Then, through the app, stop Dashing and change your Dash location to the site of your new order.

Remember to stop and change your Dash area to the new area.

That way, you’ll get orders from your new location instead of driving back to the old location for more orders.

If possible, continue accepting orders and changing your Dash location until you’ve made it to your neighborhood.

10. Don’t Chase Orders

Many Dashers succeed in chasing orders to make the most money on DoorDash.

But they’re failing to account for wasted time and gas.

The best way to make money Dashing is to work during a peak hour, sit back, and let the orders come to you.

11. Factor in Delays Like Weather and Traffic

Bad weather and traffic can help you decide if it’s worth it to Dash.

For example, if you’re Dashing in a city on a weekday at dinner time, expect heavy traffic.

If a factor like traffic is in question, consider how much time it usually takes you to get from point A to B.

Then, account for the added time from traffic.

Ultimately, your decision should boil down to if you’re going to make money or lose money trying to Dash during rush hour.

12. Be Proactive in Communicating with Customers

doordash driver happy because he has a high doordash completion rate after doing a delivery

Here are some tips for effective communication with customers that will, hopefully, land you with an excellent customer rating:

  • Let them know that you picked up the food and are on the way.
  • Let them know of any delays.
  • Confirm that everything is in order. This is important because, unfortunately, customers may end up blaming you for missing items.
  • Message them when you’ve arrived
  • If it’s a no-contact delivery, let them know you’ve dropped off their order. And, maybe, add something simple like a smiley face.

13. Get a Helper to Ride Along With You

Having a ride-along while you’re Dashing is the most efficient way to save an enormous amount of time.

All I can say is I’m having trouble thinking of a friend who would provide their physical labor free of charge.

But, if you have a friend willing to offer their services, then you should absolutely accept.

Having a helper will maximize efficiency.

For example, one could navigate the app while the other focuses on drop-off and pick-up.

14. Contact Support if You Need Help

If you need help during delivery, you can tap the “HELP” or “?” icon in the app.

In addition, DoorDash has options for live support and contact forms.

DoorDash explains that drivers should only use live support for urgent issues.

And use contact forms for things unrelated to deliveries like payment issues.

If you need help, first communicate with the restaurant and customer.

Then, resolve the issue through the “HELP” option of the app.

15. Use the Dasher Discounts

DoorDashes’ partners offer drivers Dasher Discounts for gas, vehicle maintenance, filing taxes, and more.

Some of these discounts include:

  • 2% cashback on gas with DasherDirect,
  • $20 off Turbo-Tax-Self-Employed, and
  • $20 towards car maintenance with CarAdvise

Gas is the most expensive fee incurred by Dashers.

Costs for gas could be why you’re not making as much as you should be delivering food.

While there’s no way around paying for gas, you can reduce expenses by combining other gas discounts with DasherDirect.

16. Maximize Tax Write-Offs Like Mileage

hand writing on doordash 1099 form with other tax documents in the background

In the U.S., DoorDash requires drivers to manage their taxes through Stripe Express.

For the 2021 year, Dashers that make over $600 through the app have to report their earnings.

A perk is that drivers can deduct miles driven while Dashing to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to No. 510, there are two ways to write off your mileage: standard mileage or actual expenses.

The standard mileage is the more straightforward way to deduct your mileage by claiming 57.5 cents per mile.

In contrast, actual expenses require a record of total costs incurred from Dashing.

The record includes gas, oil, repairs, tires, and insurance costs.

Remember that an estimate won’t suffice if you plan to claim actual expenses.

Therefore, Dashers need a comprehensive report of every expense made during business hours.

Suggested Read

DoorDash 1099: Critical DoorDash Tax Information and Write-Offs

Go Make Some Money

Wow, that was a lot—hopefully, these tips on making the most money on DoorDash will help improve your Dashing endeavors.

The most important tips to keep in mind are:
  • Dash during peak hours to earn peak pay.
  • Navigate to hotspots around you.
  • Accept challenges, especially when there is also peak pay at that time.

With that, make sure to follow our tips to help you make at least $15 to $25 an hour.

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