DoorDash Driver Review 2023: How It Works, Pay & Is It Worth It?
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Picture this: You’ve just had dinner from your favorite restaurant delivered to your door by a friendly face – and you didn’t have to fumble with your wallet to pay for it.
That’s the experience offered by food delivery apps and the reason those friendly faces can make extra money working for them part-time.
One of the most popular services to deliver with is DoorDash.
Thousands of drivers are earning extra income every month driving for DoorDash. This DoorDash driver review is here to answer your questions and help you decide if it’s a good fit for your next side hustle.
What Is DoorDash?
DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service where drivers, also known as Dashers, deliver food from local merchants.
It’s similar to Uber Eats or Postmates, if you’re familiar.
What sets DoorDash apart from similar services is its focus and commitment to making sure every delivery is worth the time for every Dasher.
Liz Eischen has been delivering with DoorDash in the West Portland area for three months and has done over 100 deliveries. She’s come to prefer DoorDash over other delivery apps for that exact reason.
“I know what to expect for every single delivery before I hit accept, whereas with the others you don’t see the full picture,” she said.
DoorDash Driver Eligibility
To become a Dasher you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have no major moving violations in the last seven years
- Have no more than three accidents or moving violations in the last three years
While owning a car isn’t a requirement in all cities, a valid driver’s license, insurance, and a clean driving record are. You can use almost any type of transportation, including your feet, to actually deliver.
How Does Driving for DoorDash Work?
Customers are able to order from an extensive list of restaurants in the DoorDash app. Once an order is placed, it shows up in the Dasher app and any driver can accept or reject the delivery.
Once the order is accepted, it’s picked up and delivered to a location specified by the customer. All transactions are made in the app, so there’s no cash handling needed.
If you meet the initial eligibility requirements, you’ll start by filling out an online application including your name, phone number, location, and information required to do a background and motor vehicle history check.
Once you pass the background check, you’ll get an Activation Kit by either going into a DoorDash office for a Dasher Orientation or having the kit shipped to you. The kit includes an insulated bag and a prepaid debit card also known as a Red Card.
The Red Card is a prepaid card loaded by DoorDash. You’ll use it to pay for food should you need to, but most drivers report rarely having to use it. You’ll mostly need it to activate your account in the DoorDash Dasher app.
DoorDash Driver App
The DoorDash Dasher app is available for Apple and Android phones. Instructions for downloading and setting it up come with the Red Card.
In it, you’ll see announcements, schedule dashes, review previous deliveries, and see your ratings and earnings on their respective tabs.
While you’re Dashing, the app will show the areas with the most orders, and it will even suggest the most suitable orders for you based on location and type of transportation.
Working for DoorDash
To start Dashing, you can schedule a shift in advance on the Schedule tab or, if available, start immediately by clicking “Dash Now” on the Dash tab. Only areas highlighted in pink or red are available to Dash Now, to ensure there are always enough deliveries to keep all pre-scheduled Dashers busy.
The scheduling feature is unique to DoorDash, and a feature Eischen was hesitant to use at first – but now she loves it. Scheduled blocks of time limit the number of working Dashers, keeping the competition for deliveries much lower.
You can schedule a time block up to a week in advance or as quickly as the day of. There are also fewer in-person orders to place with DoorDash, meaning less time sitting around in restaurants and more time for taking deliveries.
“I very rarely ever wait for anything,” Eischen said. “I usually just walk in, grab an order, and walk out.”
DoorDash Driver Pay
There are currently three ways for drivers to earn income with DoorDash for each order.
- Base Pay
- Promotions (Peak Pay and Challenges)
The way DoorDash keeps pay enticing and fair for Dashers is by showing a Base Pay amount for completing each delivery before you accept it. The Base Pay amount is based on factors like the size of the order, whether you have to place it in person, driving distance, traffic, etc.
Additionally, DoorDash allows customers to allow Tips on all orders, and drivers get to keep 100% of their earned tips.
Lastly, Promotions — like Peak Pay and Challenges — help you earn more per delivery when it’s busy. Challenges let you earn extra money for completing a certain number of deliveries in a set amount of time.
That’s why Eischen can be selective with the deliveries she chooses. “I often only pick up deliveries where I’m likely to earn double digits.”
Dashers get paid weekly for deliveries made Monday to Sunday of the previous week. Paychecks come via direct deposit and payment is usually available within 2-3 days.
If you need your money a little faster, there’s the aptly named “Fast Pay” option.
Eligible Dashers can collect earnings daily using Fast Pay for $1.99 per cash out. Dashers must be in an active Fast Pay market, have completed 25 deliveries, and Dashed for at least two weeks to begin using Fast Pay.
Like with any business, there are start-up and maintenance costs associated with a DoorDash gig. Tolls, parking, vehicle costs, your smartphone and phone plan are all costs that DoorDash doesn’t cover.
Other optional expenses include accounting and bank costs, depreciation of your car or motorcycle, thank you cards and gifts for customers, and software to track miles or income.
Keep track of all DoorDash business expenses, even if you also use the product or service personally, because all or part of the costs can be deducted come tax time.
Now that you know the basics, let’s get into the details. Here’s what you really want to know about delivering with DoorDash.
How can you make more money driving for DoorDash?
The Base Pay feature is nice, but the opportunities to earn extra money makes Dashing stand out over similar driver apps.
Dinnertime is consistently the busiest shift for Dashers, with Friday and Saturday being the busiest nights of the week.
Look for Peak Pay Incentives. On busy days, DoorDash incentivizes drivers to Dash with an extra earnings per delivery if you:
- Deliver in a particular time and area
- Accept a minimum percentage of deliveries
These bonuses are in addition to the guaranteed pay and can be stacked on top of each other if there are multiple Peak Pay opportunities at the same time in one area.
“The other day I was delivering and it was +$1 and +$2, so it was really like three extra dollars per delivery,” Eischen said. “When that’s happening, I’ll just accept everything that comes through.”
Eischen sees Peak Pay opportunities up to three times a week in some areas and only once or twice every couple weeks in others.
Does DoorDash offer phone support to drivers?
You can chat instantly with a DoorDash support agent through the Dasher app. You can also contact support on the DoorDash website if the app is down.
What are the benefits of driving for DoorDash?
DoorDash also has an impressive benefits package that may be reason enough to sign up. They partner with Stride Health to help its drivers find affordable health, dental, and vision coverage.
DoorDash also offers three free months of Everlance Premium, a mileage and expense tracker, to stay on top of business expenses for tax time. Everlance even has a free basic version if you decide not to pay for Premium after your trial is over.
Who Should Consider Driving for DoorDash?
Anyone who wants to make money delivering food in their city should try out DoorDash. It doesn’t matter what city you live in – every city has an area where deliveries are common. Eischen herself is proof you can stay in the suburbs and still do well with DoorDash.
“I’m not in downtown Portland, mostly because Portland doesn’t have great parking,” she said. “I’m in the Beaverton-Hillsboro area and for me, that’s still fantastic. We have Nike over here, we have Intel, we have a bunch of places there and still, quite a few orders come in.”