With claims of allowing you to “earn extra money for your goals”, delivery app DoorDash seems like a great side hustle. But how does it fare when it comes down to the dough? This DoorDash driver review aims to find out.
Looking for a side job? Delivering goods for customers is becoming one of the most popular side hustles in today’s gig economy, thanks to the rising popularity of delivery apps like Postmates, Instacart, Uber Eats, and Caviar.
It’s easy to see the appeal in online delivery jobs – after being assigned a delivery task, you pick up the items, deliver them, and get paid. Easy peasy.
No specializations needed – just a working vehicle, driving skills, and a knack for being on time.
DoorDash is one of the most popular delivery apps in America, racking up the most customers in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Houston.
But what’s it like working for DoorDash and how much do DoorDash drivers make?
If you’re looking to make money, this DoorDash driver review has all the important details you need to know before diving into DoorDash delivery.
What is DoorDash?
Much like other delivery platforms, DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service that functions much like Uber Eats. Headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 2013, this popular food delivery service allows anyone to order food from a plethora of restaurants through the DoorDash mobile app.
Currently, DoorDash is only available in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
According to consumer analytics firm Second Measure, DoorDash is the most popular app-based food delivery service in America, way ahead of GrubHub and Uber Eats. It serves 35% of the food delivery market as of 2019.
Customers only need to sign up through the DoorDash app in their iOS or Android smartphone to secure the delivery service, while restaurants who want to make their food available to DoorDash users need to apply as a ‘Partner” in the company’s website.
The platform has over 300,000 local and national partners across the U.S. and Canada.
Apart from appealing to customers, DoorDash also allows eligible workers to sign up as a food deliverer which the company playfully calls “Dashers”.
Dashers deliver food and get to keep 100% of the delivery fee, including the customer’s tips.
How does DoorDash work?
Much like other delivery apps, DoorDash’s food order delivery service is straightforward. Customers must place an order through the DoorDash app at any of their preferred restaurants while agreeing on a tip and delivery fee.
The platform then pushes these orders to delivery drivers who are logged into the app and ready to accept assignments. The Dasher may opt to take the order or wait for a better one.
Once a Dasher accepts an order, he drives to the restaurant, places the other, and delivers the food straight to the customer. Directions for delivery are also included in the DoorDash app.
|Hourly Pay||Tip %||Delivery Volume||Next Steps|
|$10-$14/hour||100%||Excellent||SIGN UP||Read Review|
Who can become a Dasher?
Potential Dashers must be 18 years old or older, have access to any to a truck, car, scooter, motorcycle, or bicycle, and own an Android or iPhone smartphone.
Drivers must also have a driver’s license with at least one year of experience driving, as well as valid insurance with their name on the policy.
All Dashers are required to take an initial online or in-person orientation.
How to sign up for DoorDash
More than one DoorDash driver review will tell you that registration is easy and straightforward. After signing up through the company’s website, you’ll be prompted to enter your telephone number, email address, zip code, and number.
You’ll also have to go through a background check with requires your Social Security number, birth date, and your vehicle type.
DoorDash will spend a few days reviewing your application. If approved, you can log into the DoorDash driver app to accept available drop-offs or pick-ups.
If you choose to accept an order, you must arrive at the restaurant during the allotted pick up time, confirm your arrival via the app, and check off each item in the delivery list.
After doing so, you must drive to the delivery address.
Exemplary drivers may qualify for DoorDash Drive, which handles large catering orders and pays more.
Only the highest-rated drivers, those who have completed a minimum of 100 deliveries with a 90% completion rate and a 4.8 average customer rating, are eligible for the program.
How much does DoorDash pay?
Here’s where things get a bit tricky. It’s hard to pin down the average DoorDash driver pay since the income depends on a variety of factors. Aspiring drivers must also be forewarned: a lot of DoorDash driver job reviews have blown up numbers.
The DoorDash website says that the base pay for Dashers ranges from $2 – $10 per delivery, depending on the distance, duration, and desirability of the order (it’s worthy to note that this number doesn’t account for the driver’s expenses just yet).
DoorDash also said in 2019 that the average DoorDash driver can earn around $18.50 per hour.
While employment-related search engines such as Indeed.com can confirm this, we discovered that this number can go even lower after reading a handful of DoorDash driver reviews.
Here are some factors that may affect how much you earn.
Understanding the DoorDash pay model
DoorDash’s strategy on calculating a driver’s pay is based on a black-box algorithm, which the company claims accounts for distance, time, effort, and a variety of other factors. Most DoorDash delivery driver reviews will say this too, but let’s discuss this further.
- Customers are encouraged to tip. DoorDash encourages customers to tip upon placing an order or when the order is delivered. The platform suggests default tip amounts, which usually come in flat-dollar amounts that vary with the size of the bill. Generally, customers must pay a standard $5.00 delivery fee, as well as a service fee of 10%, along with a tip.
- Promotions may reduce your income. DoorDash promotions that offer discounts to customers may reduce these charges with rates that are ever-changing and service fees that are different from each restaurant. Restaurants must also pay a percentage of the total food order to the platform.
- Some pay details are hidden from the driver. Every time a job is sent to the worker, a guaranteed amount is displayed – this includes the total DoorDash pay and any of the tips the customer paid up-front. Details such as restaurant name and its total distance from the driver’s current location and the total distance from the restaurant to the delivery location are also included.
Here’s where things get tricky: the guaranteed amount is not divided into separate figures for pay and tip; it only becomes revealed once the Dasher completes the delivery. In several cases, the platform shows the driver a lower guaranteed amount, only revealing a higher total pay once the job is completed.
Dashers only have around 30 seconds to accept an offer, and if he rejects, the delivery will be offered to a different worker (possibly on a higher price).
We assume that this is to incentivize the driver to accept lower-paying assignments in hopes that they may ultimately score a high-paying job.
Promotions allow Dashers to earn even more. Here are some of the platform’s promotions:
- Challenges: Challenge Bonuses reward active Dashers who meet specific earnings goals for the week.
- Peak Pay: Dashers make extra money when they deliver during peak hours. The extra amount earned is added to the total earnings when a Dasher is offered a delivery.
- Drive: Those who are eligible for DoorDash Drive get paid more for deliveries large orders that require special handling.
DoorDash’s tipping policy has undergone a massive rehash in 2019. Before this change, tips that went through the app went mostly to offset the platform’s contribution toward the guarantee instead of increasing the Dasher’s pay.
DoorDash claims that this policy was made to keep all worker’s pay consistent whether the customer tipped or not.
For example, if the platform guaranteed a worker $5 and the customer refused to tip, the $5 would go directly to the worker. However, if the customer tipped $2 through the app, DoorDash would pay the worker only $3 so the worker would still get only $5.
As of 2020, the DoorDash support website now claims the following:
“100% of tips are yours on top of base pay and promotions. The amount DoorDash pays will never vary based on the tip amount. For example, for two identical deliveries where one customer leaves a $3 tip and another customer leaves a $6 tip, one Dasher will earn $3 more than the other.”
While this is good news for most Dashers, a new concern erupted: some delivery drivers feel like the platform would pay them less just to make up for the revenue it would lose after not being able to subsidize labor costs with tips.
This means that if the customer tipped, DoorDash would offer them a lower guarantee fee.
What our research shows
After going through countless reviews and studies, we discovered a few noteworthy things. Our DoorDash driver review will tell you what you need to know.
- A study found an inverse relationship between what DoorDash pays and what customers tip. After assembling 229 job-level pay reports throughout workers across America, it discovered that jobs with higher tips included less gross pay per hour from the platform, less net pay after expenses, and less gross pay per mile. This means that Dashers who got paid higher tips may not actually earn more.
- The same study also discovered that the platform pays the average Dasher just $1.45 an hour once costs of mileage and additional payroll taxes have been subtracted. Out of the survey participants, only 11% of jobs paid more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour right after expenses have been subtracted, and only 2% met the standard of $15 plus expenses.
- Indeed.com estimates the average DoorDash delivery driver salary to be around $18.59 per hour, based on more than 215,000 respondents working for DoorDash. This is in line with DoorDash’s claim, but this doesn’t account for expenses just yet.
Dealing with expenses
As independent contractors, Dashers are responsible for shouldering all work-related expenses.
The platform will not reimburse your vehicle maintenance and fuel costs, as well as other one-off expenses such as parking fees, road tolls, traffic tickets, and parking tickets.
You can reduce the cost of these one-off expenses by parking and driving responsibility, as well as applying DoorDash’s in-app toll-avoidance suggestions.
Personal vehicle expenses will also make a dent on your gross income.
Exactly how much you spend on vehicle wear and tear depends on the type of vehicle you have, how often you Dash, the make and model of your vehicle, and the condition of the roads you frequent in.
It’s also important to know that DoorDash doesn’t without tax from a driver’s payouts, which means that Dashers are completely responsible for managing their own income tax liabilities, making quarterly estimated tax payments, and setting aside funds for tax obligations.
If you’re earning more than $400 a year, you may be subject to self-employment tax, which is around 15.3% of a Dasher’s income.
So, is driving for DoorDash worth it? This DoorDash driver review has concluded that it’s worth a try, but there are no guarantees. Our studies found out that Dashers can make anywhere between $18.50 before expenses and as low as $1.45 after expenses are subtracted.
That range is vast, but it’s only because there are so many factors that influence a Dasher’s pay. Geography, demand, promotions, and expenses all play a part in determining your DoorDash pay, so there isn’t one solid answer to this question.
While DoorDash’s payment model is subject to widespread criticism from more than one DoorDash driver review, the platform does express plans on continuing to make its model better.
During the end of October 2019, the number of offers where DoorDash would pay less than $3 was reduced to 4% of total offers.
The platform also claimed that its hourly earnings were constantly increasing, with a 12.5% average increase during October 2019.
Not interested in earning income through DoorDash? This step-by-step email course is absolutely free and has everything you need to know about increasing your income online.
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