A lot of people start working on DoorDash because they want to make a little extra money on the side in addition to their other income and earnings.
That's great as far as it goes and is one of the biggest advantages of working the gig economy, but it's different if you're looking to make a living off DoorDash.
Making a living usually means putting in more hours, thinking more about how you make your money, and making more strategic decisions to make more money from DoorDash.
Put simply; it's a lot of hard work.
But, if you're dedicated and really think that DoorDash is the best way for you to make your living, it is possible.
Here's what you need to know to decide if it's possible for you to make a living off of DoorDash, and how to maximize your earnings as a Dasher. Let's get started!
How Does DoorDash Work?
If you want to be a DoorDash driver it's important to know how the food delivery app works and how you're going to make your money. Knowing that you'll be able to work on your own schedule and deliver food for money isn't enough. You need to know about the company and the pay structure to decide if it's worth it before you get started.
The basic system is relatively simple to understand. DoorDash drivers sign on to the app and wait to get a delivery order. You have the choice to accept to reject the order, but you're only paid for delivery orders you accept.
When you accept an order you go to the restaurant, pick up the order, and bring it to the customer just like any other food delivery service. Customer tips make up a big portion of your DoorDash pay, and you'll usually make more money if the customer gives you a cash tip than if they tip through the DoorDash driver app.
Once you've made a delivery you're eligible for other orders, but not every DoorDash driver will get an order right away. Sometimes there's some waiting time, or you'll need to drive closer to restaurants before the app will send you an order.
It's also important for DoorDash drivers to know that the app has a ranking system for their drivers. Drivers that do well tend to get more orders, but they might also be paid less for those orders at the same time.
You should also know that DoorDash pays more for deliveries during peak pay hours, or hours when there is a lot more demand for food delivery.
DoorDash delivery drivers also get ratings from their customers. Favorable reviews can help increase your income, making it worth it to earn a full-time income, but negative reviews can make it harder to get a customer's order and make money.
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What Does DoorDash Pay?
Figuring out what DoorDashs pays can be a little more difficult that you might expect. DoorDash themselves advertise hourly pay ranging from $10-$25 an hour for their drivers. But drivers themselves report closer to $7-$10 per delivery and not usually more than 3 deliveries in an hour.
That's reasonable base pay, but you need to remember that not all drivers make the same money and new DoorDash drivers usually make less than more experienced drivers.
That might sound like reasonable income if you're looking for extra cash, but it might be a little harder if you want to pay bills with your income as a DoorDash driver.
It's also important to know that your DoorDash pay is highly dependent on customer tips. Better tips mean more income above your base pay and can make the difference between making minimum wage and making a sustainable income.
There's also no guarantee that you'll make minimum wage with DoorDash. If you're working as a DoorDash driver you're considered an independent contractor. That means that you're responsible for your own income and the company isn't required to pay minimum wage.
So, inconsistent income can be another big challenge as a DoorDash driver.
The good news is that driving during peak pay hours and getting a few tips an hour isn't that hard, and is a good way of making money quickly.
Payments are delivered via direct deposit to an account you set up when you sign up to be a DoorDash driver. Most of the time you'll get paid on a regular schedule, and pay from DoorDash is accepted by almost every financial institution. However, in some cases you may be able to earn money instantly instead of on a schedule.
What Expenses Do You Cover As A DoorDash Driver?
The other complication to making money on the DoorDash app is that there are some expenses that you need to take care of with your DoorDash income if you want to succeed.
For instance, gas and vehicle repairs are the responsibility of the DoorDash driver. The company doesn't help cover those costs, and you can't earn more than base pay for deliveries that cause more damage to your vehicle.
So, if you want to earn more money on DoorDash you also need to think about all the money you're spending to be a DoorDash Driver.
Gas is the most common expense, but you also need to think about the wear and tear on your vehicle, the extra maintenance it needs, and any repairs you need to get because you've been driving to deliver food.
If you need any food yourself while you're driving, that's also an expense of being a DoorDash driver. Plus, any non-free media you consume while you're driving, and any comfort devices you get to make it easier to drive for long periods of time.
There are a lot of different costs involved with driving, and your per-hour earnings need to cover the cost of car maintenance and other expenses to be worth it.
Your bank account will thank you if you think about your driving costs and factor those into your budget.
What Kind Of Pay Can You Expect From DoorDash?
Everyone who signs up to deliver food with DoorDash is looking to make money, but there are a lot of different factors that can make it easier or harder to make money.
We've already talked a little about how much most DoorDash drivers make on the platform (about $7-$10 per delivery, with an average of 1-3 deliveries per hour).
Some drivers make significantly more money than that, though, while others might struggle to get a delivery an hour depending on their driver rating and location.
Driving during peak pay, when you'll get paid more per delivery, is also a good way to increase your earnings and get a better base wage than you start with. However, not everywhere is going to have peak pay available, and even when peak pay is available that doesn't mean it'll be hours or a location you can reasonably work.
All of those factors make it hard to calculate how much money you're likely to make with DoorDash. Their upper estimate is about $25 per hour, which is a reasonable wage, but some drivers make more. At the low end of the estimate, where you're only making $7-$10 per hour, that's good for putting a little extra cash in your bank account but not much more.
Your reviews also have a big impact on your earnings, and there isn't a way to guarantee favorable reviews on when you're using DoorDash.
So, your actual earnings will vary a lot depending on your average hourly pay, location, and expenses per hour of driving.
It's also important to remember that you're responsible for paying self-employment tax when you work for DoorDash, so you'll need to put aside some money for tax time.
Requirements to Drive For Door Dash
Like almost any service provider, DoorDash has some requirements for drivers.
For instance, you'll need to pass a background check to work with the company. You might be allowed to make your first few deliveries before the background check comes back, but your account will be deleted if you don't pass a background check.
You're also required to be the only person delivering food on your account. That means you can't have someone else create a DoorDash driver account for you, though you can have other people in the car with you keeping you company if you want to.
Door Dash also requires all drivers to have a valid driver's license. That means you can't drive with a learner's permit, even if you have a licensed adult in the car and can legally drive.
Interestingly enough DoorDash doesn't have any requirements for the kind of car you can drive, unlike a lot of other driving apps that want a certain type of vehicle. You can even rent a car if you need to to start delivering.
As long as you can make the delivery within a reasonable amount of time and have a good driver rating and a reasonable acceptance rating, DoorDash doesn't really care how you get the job done.
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Ways To Make Extra Money On DoorDash
If average dasher payouts aren't enough for you to make your monthly payments, or if you want to earn a little more to pay off student loan debt faster, there are a few ways to make additional earnings on DoorDash.
Remember, you're working as an independent contractor, and independent contractors can't be told how to do their job as long as they get the job done.
That means you actually have a lot of freedom to find ways to make a better hourly wage and complete deliveries faster for the company.
Minimizing the time waiting and increasing your hourly rate are the best ways to increase how much you earn on any driver app, but DoorDash makes it a little easier than a lot of their competitors.
Here are some important tips and tricks to help you maximize your earnings on DoorDash.
Avoid Working In High-Traffic Areas
It might seem counter-intuitive, but avoiding working in high-traffic areas has a lot of advantages.
For one thing, a lot of drivers tend to cluster in high traffic areas around dinner time. That means that it will actually take longer to get an order, even if you're in an area that's getting a lot of orders.
The only exception to that rule is when DoorDash is offering peak hours in that area, in which case you'll usually make enough orders to make it worth delivering there.
But the main reason you want to avoid high traffic areas is that you won't be able to complete the same number of deliveries in an hour if you're spending half an hour on the road stuck in traffic.
Traffic delays can cause major issues for drivers and make it harder to make enough money even during busy times of day.
So, instead, look for areas that have a reasonably high rate of ordering food, but less traffic and shorter driving distances. That way you'll be able to make more deliveries in less time, increasing your net earnings and making each hour more profitable.
Get Your Sign-Up Bonus
When it comes to making money on DoorDash one of the easiest ways is to look for a good sign up bonus when you want to get started.
Sign up bonuses are usually relatively small, so most people don't think about them very much when they want to start delivering food for money. But, if you can get a promotional sign up bonus, or time your signup bonus at a tight part of the month, it can actually make a big difference.
Just remember that you'll only ever get one DoorDash sign up bonus, so you need to make the most of the extra money.
Related: How to DoorDash for the First Time
Make Money From Your Referral Bonuses
One advantage of working for DoorDash is that you can get a referral bonus. Better yet, the DoorDash referral bonus is good for you and the person you refer. It can help them get a better sign up bonus, plus it's a good way to make a little extra money yourself.
There aren't caps on how many people you can refer to DoorDash, so getting referral bonuses is actually a really good way to increase your earnings on DoorDash.
Just remember that there are only so many people you're going to be able to refer. You don't want to treat DoorDash like a pyramid scheme, it won't work and you'll run out of income very quickly.
But, if you aim for getting 1-2 referral bonuses in your first few months of driving it will increase your income significantly.
Related: Does DoorDash Pay for Gas?
Drive During Peak Pay Hours
Driving during peak hours is one of the best ways to increase your earnings and make a full-time income. Peak pay is significantly better than the base rate, and can sometimes double your hourly pay on a busy night.
Looking for peak pay hours and areas can even be worth driving a little further to get to higher traffic areas. That's an important consideration because it takes a little more planning to try and take advantage of peak pay.
That said, the planning almost always pays off when the app is working properly. There is a small risk that too many drivers will respond and flood the area, but 9 times in 10 looking for peak pay is a good strategy.
Related: Best Times To Doordash
Double Up On Driving Apps
It might feel a little disloyal to double up on driving apps, but it's actually one of the best ways to guarantee that you'll have income when you need it.
That's because you're an independent contractor, which means that you can offer your services to multiple clients unless they make you sign a non-compete agreement. Right now, since making you sign a non-compete makes it harder to claim that you're a contractor and not an employee who needs to make minimum wage, that's incredibly rare.
So if you want to drive for DoorDash and GrubHub because those are the two most popular apps in your area, go ahead.
Live somewhere without a lot of restaurants? Why not sign up to drive for DoorDash and Uber?
It might take a little practice to figure out how to balance different driving apps and to figure out which apps are active at different times of the day or parts of the week, but it's consistently one of the better ways to maximize your gig-economy income.
Another option is to register with a grocery delivery service like Instacart. This can be a simple way to increase your earnings as a delivery driver.
How Does DoorDash Compare With Other Driving Apps
Choosing the right driving app for your needs is a bit part of making sure you're making as much money as possible. Here's a quick comparison with some of DoorDash's competitors so you know what to expect from each app.
GrubHub vs. DoorDash: GrubHub pays its drivers a little differently than DoorDash. Drivers make a small fee per delivery, plus 100% of the customer's tips on the order. Doordash has a similar payment schedule, but the lack of transparency in their tipping system makes it harder to guarantee that drivers will get 100% of the tip. However, DoorDash also has peak pay and other incentives that can help drivers earn a little extra money on their app.
DoorDash vs. Instacart: Instacart is a little different in that you're not picking up orders from a restaurant, and you need to fulfill the order yourself. Instead of just delivering food, Instacart workers also shop for grocery orders. Driving is optional, but you can usually make more money if you're willing to deliver orders after shopping for them. The potential to earn is a little higher on Instacart, but it's also more work-intensive and less consistent than DoorDash in most cases.
UberEats vs. DoorDash: UberEats is another popular competitor for DoorDash, and many drivers actually have experience with both companies before deciding which one they like more. However, one major difference is that UberEats has a more complicated payment system that can make it a little harder to anticipate how much you're going to make on a delivery.
The big advantage of working for UberEats is that their payment system is broken down into three parts. You're paid for picking up the food, the mileage you drive between the restaurant and the delivery, and for delivering. Drivers also make 100% of their tips on UberEats, though they have similar transparency issues to DoorDash.
So, UberEats is sometimes a better option in places where there's a lot of distance between restaurants and homes, but DoorDash is sometimes more profitable in places where pickup and delivery locations are closer together.
Related: 36 Apps That Give You Free Money
Final Thoughts on Can You Make A Living Off DoorDash
A lot of people find themselves asking if they can really make a living off of DoorDash and other gig-work apps.
The truth is that it's difficult, but there are plenty of advantages to working for DoorDash or another gig job as your primary source of income.
It's not just that you get to work on your own schedule, or that the work is often easier and more rewarding than more traditional jobs. Working for DoorDash also gives you a lot more flexibility and freedom. You can work anywhere and any time you want to.
Need a little extra cash one month? You have the flexibility to put in a few more hours to earn a little more that month.
Working for DoorDash is a great opportunity for motivated self-starters who want the freedom to work on their own schedules. It's even a good way to help fund your lifestyle and business efforts while you're working on getting started as an entrepreneur or an independent artist.
As long as you remember that you need to pay taxes on your DoorDash income and that you need to pay more for vehicle maintenance and other costs of driving, you'll do well on DoorDash.
Just, maybe don't expect to replace your full-time job your first week as a driver. It takes a little while to figure out how to maximize your income and earnings.