Is Doordash worth it?
Maybe you’ve been asking yourself this question, and you wonder if this is something you should try yourself.
DoorDash is one of the easiest ways to earn extra cash on the side. This side hustle allows you to decide which days and peak hours you’ll work.
The options are endless, but it starts with you.
I’m here to tell you that the effort and time you put into DoorDash may be worth it to help you pay off debt or save extra money.
Here are some ways on how to work smart and earn more towards becoming financially independent with Doordash.
Try a Side-Hustle Instead of Searching for One
If you’ve ever tried to pay off debt fast or save more money, you know there are many ways to achieve this.
Although there are many great side hustle ideas, sometimes the best ones are the most practical depending on your work style.
That’s why side hustles like Doordash are a great option because you can quickly earn extra money and know if it’s an excellent fit for you.
If you’re stuck in the side hustle phase, consider giving Doordash a try.
The best part is you can try this side hustle during your lunch breaks, immediately after work, or on the weekend!
What Is Your Purpose to Achieve Financial Freedom?
Your job guarantees you security, but it is not enough to achieve financial freedom.
The best solution is to get into a side hustle that will make you earn more on top of your regular job.
The extra income will allow you to save up and reach a financial goal. It could be investing in real estate or purchasing life insurance, or improving your credit rating.
Before considering any side-hustle, consider why you’re starting one in the first place. For most, the end goal is financial freedom.
Knowing why you’re starting a side hustle will help you determine if Doordash is worth trying.
Use DoorDash Maybe to Make Extra Money Fast
DoorDash is an easy and quick side-hustle if you want to treat it as a part-time job.
It doesn’t require you to be on-call the entire day, which gives you the flexibility to do other side hustles or focus on your regular job.
But it is a quick way to earn money with the early payment given a week after your previously accepted orders. That extra income is cash in your pocket that can be used to pay off your credit card debt or loans.
Although there are great online side hustles like starting a blog, they can often take months or years before generating sustainable income.
DoorDash Brief History
DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery service founded in 2013 with headquarters in San Francisco and active in the US and other countries like Canada and Australia.
Additionally, the DoorDash mobile app currently has 390,000 food partners and connects restaurants for customer deliveries.
How does Doordash work?
First, the customer places an order in one of the restaurants partnered with Doordash and agrees on a tip and delivery fee.
The DoorDash platform then offers the customer’s order to a Dasher (you) registered in the time slot.
Finally, the Dasher (you) will choose to accept or decline the order within 90 seconds.
As a Dasher, you’d pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to the customer immediately.
Getting Started with DoorDash
It is easy to get started with DoorDash, and in less than two weeks, you can start earning extra money.
Register with DoorDash
First, sign Up with DoorDash on their website. Enter your email, basic information, and mode of transportation (car, scooter, or bicycle)
Doordash will require you to share the type of car, proof of insurance, and driver’s license.
Once you finish entering your information, it will be reviewed by Doordash. DoorDash will send a starter kit within a few business days by mail if there aren’t any errors.
If an issue arises in the background check, an email will be sent to you with the heading Pre-Adverse Action notice before deactivating your application. You will see the findings and options on what you can do to dispute any information and provide additional information for reconsideration.
After receiving your starter kit, activate your Dasher account from the app store and Red Card.
Additionally, the starter kit will include an insulated bag to keep the food warm during pick-ups.
Scheduling a Shift
When you start with DoorDash, you may only find a few shifts available because this depends on whether or not you’re searching during peak hours.
Here are some tips to get into line without a scheduled trip.
It’s best to wait in a restaurant or mall area until you see red in the DoorDash app.
The red in DoorDash means there are orders taking place, and you can go online to be on standby.
Your area map will turn red during peak hours.
Peak hours happen mostly during dinner but can take place for lunch or breakfast rush.
To start Dashing, log into the DoorDash app and look at the scheduling tab. Here you’ll notice different shifts at certain times of the day within nearby cities.
You can choose your time and fulfill the order request on the shift by signing up.
DoorDash will send a text reminder 30 minutes before your signed-up shift.
Click “start Dashing” at the time of the shift, and go live on the app.
Or, you can go offline while on shift if you plan to drive an hour or two and stop earlier than your assigned slot without being penalized.
If you can’t click “start Dashing,” your shift is canceled and will go to another Dasher.
DoorDash Sends You an Order Request
DoorDash assigns you close distances between the restaurants and the delivery address to ensures the food is delivered warm and fresh.
Your dashes will be on average 10-15 minutes from the restaurant to the delivery address.
When you drive to the restaurant to pick up your food, you’ll see a red notification on the DoorDash app.
Here’s an overview of your Dashing experience:
- DoorDash will send a ping when an order is available for your take.
- Decide in 90 seconds to pass or accept the order.
- Once you accept the order, reviewDoorDash’s map to guide you to the restaurant.
- When you arrive at the restaurant, swipe the app to confirm that you have arrived at the pick-up location.
- Swipe the app again once you have the food on hand to let the app and the customer know that you’re on the way.
- When the food is delivered, you need to swipe the app to confirm the order as received.
- DoorDash will put you back online so you can accept future orders.
A Dasher’s total earnings will be an accumulation of their base pay, promotions, and tips.
Below is a breakdown:
(Photo by Doordash.com)
DoorDash uses a black-box algorithm that calculates the driver’s pay based on distance, effort, time, and other factors.
DoorDash launched an online market called DashMart that delivers snacks and groceries on hand to compete with Instacart and the other grocery-delivery services.
It is a virtual convenience store that carries household essentials and local restaurant favorites but is available in limited states only. It is an added perk for the driver because more choices given to the customers mean more in-demand deliveries.
Dash IPO Goes Public
DoorDash recently celebrated its IPO listing with an 85% market debut price of $102 per share but closed at $189.51 last Dec. 2020.
It boosted its market valuation to $60.2 billion, with investors basing the revenue basis at over 16 times its trading value, and has 390,000 merchants that use the app and services its customers.
DoorDash surprised its Dashers, who had over 5,000 deliveries with a $500 bonus on the earnings. This Is how they showed appreciation to its hard-working drivers, acknowledging the role played by the Dasher in strengthening the DoorDash brand.
Now that you have a better understanding of what it means to be a Dasher, let’s dive into the Doordash review!
There are a few requirements you’ll need to meet before you become a Dasher:
- Minimum of 18 years old or older.
- Driver’s license for car users.
- Social Security Number.
- Own a car, scooter, or bicycle in selected cities.
- Dedicated Smartphone.
- Give a Consent form to do a background check on your history.
Orientation and Training
As soon as you submit your DoorDash application, you can go online, choose a driver orientation, and complete all details in the app to get approved.
Training will last 1-2 weeks.
Ratings weigh heavily with DoorDash because it determines if you can continue to drive as a Dasher.
As much as you can qualify for special programs and incentives when you have good ratings, you can likewise get deactivated if your rating falls below 4.2.
Here are the following guidelines to keep in mind.
- Customers rate you on a 1-5 scale with a five as the highest.
- Your ratings depend on the last 100 ratings given to you.
- You have no direct feedback from the customer after the ratings.
DoorDash is always looking for drivers or Dashers that have the time and resources to begin deliveries. There are promotions and perks offered for those starting the DoorDash program.
Sign Up Bonus
You can collect your sign-up bonus if the application is from a Dasher referral. The bonus takes effect after completing 200 deliveries within 60 days.
It has rates from different states, some higher than others.
It would be wise to check the highest sign-up rate in a city near you before applying. This way, you can maximize your sign-up bonus.
As you begin as a Dasher, you can refer others when DoorDash gives you a referral code. A Dasher can refer many friends and earn more if the applicant uses his referral name and number.
You can earn an extra $1,500 if the person you referred completes 200 deliveries within 60 days.
New Customer Bonus
As a new customer, DoorDash will welcome you into the platform with a new customer bonus.
For starters, DoorDash offers free deliveries for the whole first month of joining DoorDash. You can enjoy those significant savings immediately.
Challenge Bonuses are rewards or incentives given to Dashers who meet specific goals for the week.
Remember to check the timestamp if the challenge is valid in your time zone.
A challenge is a live feed in the app, where the screen will show the number of deliveries required within a day or time and the location starting points where the challenge is valid.
When you deliver to any of these starting points, it will count towards the active challenge.
Once the challenge is complete, the screen will notify you after you finished the last delivery. It will also disappear from the Dash panel or the track progress.
Your weekly earnings will reflect the completed challenge information under the heading other under the dashes.
Dashers can sign-up to deliver during the Peak Pay for lunch or dinner on chosen dates, times, and areas included.
Active Peak Pay incentives are seen in the app so the Dasher can jump in and register.
The completed delivery on the app has a breakdown of base pay, peak pay, customer tip, and the total.
Sometimes multiple peak pay incentives are in different starting point locations. You will receive an incentive to start the Dash and get a combined peak pay if you delivered during that period.
DoorDash Drive is for large order deliveries that need special handling. A catering order, a large group order from an office or house get-together, or corporate clients that placed an order directly to the restaurant.
DoorDash Drive is offered to the highly-rated drivers who have successfully gotten a rating of 4.8 and a success rate of 90% for 100 food deliveries. Dashers eligible for this get paid for large orders, but there are requirements to get through successful deliveries.
Dasher Tips from Customers
The DoorDash platform has a customer’s tip box where the user can add a tip amount upon checking and order. A customer can also give a post-delivery tip, which increases your total earnings.
DoorDash encourages customers to tip when placing the order or once it is delivered. The platform has a default tip amount that comes in flat dollar amounts that vary with the size of the total bill.
Customers usually pay a $5 delivery fee, a 10% service fee, and an additional tip. The tips belong 100% to the Dasher when a customer pays.
DoorDash vs. Postmates
Choosing between Doordash and Postmates isn’t an easy choice since both offer about the same perks. However, since Doordash is more widely available, it may be the better option for most people.
Here’s an overview comparing the two:
|Earnings||A Dasher can earn $20+ per hour.||A Driver can earn $20+, but the rate may change if it follows Uber’s pricing after buying Postmates.|
|Driver Dispatch||A Dasher receives the order when the food is ready for pick up.||A Driver is assigned the order and waits while food is cooked.|
|Scheduling||A Dasher may schedule their trips and have early access scheduling.||A Driver can log in and out when they want but misses the chance for priority assigning.|
Is Doordash Worth It?
DoorDash has seen its rise in popularity and both merchant and customer confidence through the years. Its IPO showed its value jumping more than initially predicted, and with the trend of eating in, it’s expected to keep going up.
When deciding if Doordash is worth it, it boils down to your preference on a side hustle. If you’re new to trying a side hustle, you’re better off trying an online-based side hustle first.
However, if you’ve had little success with an online side hustle or have chosen one that takes time to build, like a blog, Doordash is an excellent option.
Once you complete all the requirements to sign up for Doordash, you can start earning extra money after your first week!
Top Cities to Drive Doordash
As of July 2020, DoorDash is the most used food delivery service in the US.
Among the cities that DoorDash has dominated, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas- Fort Worth, Philadelphia, and Washington DC are the top five cities with 48%-65% share sales.
Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles are the last five states with share sales of 31%-46%.
There are 4,000 cities throughout 50 states that have partnered with DoorDash.
Expenses to Calculate Net Pay
DoorDash does not pay for your gasoline or other expenses.
Dashers are responsible for paying for all work-related expenses.
It is advisable to track the expenses to avoid overspending or going beyond your budget.
Here are some helpful tips for cutting down expenses.
Save Money on Gas
You can save gas and be efficient at the same time while you do your DoorDash deliveries.
Here are some suggestions on how to save gas while you drive.
Use gas rebate apps, save up to $0.25 per gallon by claiming the discount in the app, and submit the receipt for cashback that goes straight to your PayPal account.
Here are a few more tips:
- Check on the Traffic Apps that will direct you to the cheapest gas prices near your location.
- Use gas rewards programs from groceries, Costco or Sam’s Club will give fuel rewards for that consumption.
- Keep a steady driving speed to avoid accelerating and slowing down.
- Shift to neutral if you’re driving a stick shift instead of leaving your foot on the first gear. This lowers your RPM and burns less gasoline.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes to keep from bumping the car in front of you.
- Use your cruise control option if you have it to make you drive at a steady pace without speeding up and slowing down that uses more fuel.
Wear and Tear of Your Vehicle
Your service vehicle or the car you use for DoorDash will go through many roads and weather while using it for business.
Depending on the type of vehicle and the frequency you will deliver, your car will go through its natural wear and tear.
Here are some recommendations:
- Avoid stepping on the brakes for a long time because it will faster wear out the brake pads.
- Keep your routine 15,000 miles regular maintenance for repairs, checkups, and fluid changeup to date.
- Regularly change your motor oil and oil filter because it lubricates, cleans, and cools down the engine’s temperature.
- Warm-up your car in the morning before driving out to warm the oil and keep the parts lubricated.
- Check your tire pressure and use the factory recommendation PSI. Tire rotation preserves the car’s suspension and gives a smoother ride.
- Use the parking brake to avoid putting stress on the car’s transmission.
As a Dasher, you’ll consume a lot of your phone’s internet data.
Avoid streaming videos and music while you are working to avoid using up the data.
If you plan to work regularly, it is advisable to get a larger data plan and claim it as an expense for your taxes.
You can get affordable plans from the mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) to get reliable service.
For 2021, the following phones are considered the most economical value for money plans.
- Mint Mobile 4 GB – monthly cost of $25 with 4 GB data, unlimited calls, texts, and hotspot capabilities.
- Google Fi Flexible – monthly cost of $30 with 6 GB, unlimited calls, texts, and hotspot tethering.
- Mint Mobile Unlimited – monthly cost of $40 with 35 GB, unlimited calls, texts, and 5 GB for hotspot tethering.
- Tello Economy- monthly cost $10 with 1 GB data, unlimited calls, texts, and hotspot capabilities.
Driving a lot as a Dasher means you’ll need commercial auto insurance because you’re not only driving for personal use.
There is also a higher risk for you to get into an accident or file car insurance claims.
Failure to declare your car use for business use may cause you a claim denial in the future if an accident happens.
DoorDash has commercial auto insurance covering the Dashers up to $1 million in bodily injury and property damages.
This applies during an active delivery when you are holding the ordered food from the restaurant in transit to the customer.
DoorDash insurance only covers an excess policy and kicks in after your auto insurance is exhausted.
Install Everlance to Track your Expenses
Everlance tracks your business expenses and mileage to pay less in taxes and maximize deductions.
It is an easy tool that is automatic and IRS compliant, saving you time from logging on paper mileage or holding a pile of receipts.
It is compatible with Apple and Google; with the first three months of free premium use, switch to the free plan in your Android or iPhone mobiles.
Just swipe a trip or transaction as work or personal, which has its own rules to classify and customize your needs.
When you dash for 100 miles, that is a $54 deductible on your taxes. You add your phone, data plan, health insurance, hot bags, and your ride.
Average Monthly Income with Doordash
DoorDash pay for drivers is calculated by base pay + promotions + tips = earnings. The base pay from $2-10 is based on the desirability, time, and distance.
Deliveries from restaurants that are not so popular have higher based pay and offer promotions to boost sales.
Dashers earn $20-25/hour, which is a big jump from the average state minimum wage that ranges from $8.75- 13.69 in the federal wage and hour law.
Dashers noted that in 2019 and early 2020, the earnings were slipping because of Dasher competition.
It increased during the second quarter of 2021 with a higher demand for people eating in because of the pandemic.
No Customer Interaction Required
A Dasher can request a no-contact delivery to the customer to ensure the safety of everyone. A no-contact delivery means there is no direct customer interaction when delivering food.
A no-contact delivery has to follow the DoorDash guidelines to avoid miscommunication.
Dasher and the customer agree on a safe, clean, and secure location to place the food.
- The Dasher submits a photo using the camera feature and sends it directly through the app.
- If the customer prefers a hand-in delivery, the Dasher must wait at a comfortable distance until delivery is received.
- As soon as the food is received, you swipe on the app as a delivered order, and you can accept new orders.
Quick Payments within One Week
Dashers are paid weekly for the deliveries completed from Monday to Sunday (midnight cut-off) of the previous week. DoorDash pays the Dashers via direct deposit into the registered bank account.
It takes 2-3 days for the payment to reflect on your bank account, but no later than Wednesday night to have funds available.
Another option is DoorDash Fast Pay, wherein you receive earnings on demand through DoorDash but with an extra fee of $1.99 deducted from your total collection.
You also have the option to cash out daily using a debit card instead of waiting for the one-week cycle to collect.
How to Increase Doordash Earnings?
Here’s a breakdown on the many ways you can increase your Doordash earnings:
Dash When It’s Busy
Drive on the weekends and during lunch and dinner hours, expecting multiple orders since people are eating in more often.
The busy hours of DoorDash can earn you $20-22 per hour, accepting orders with a $1 per mile rate.
In different states like Detroit, you earn $20-29 during peak hours of Friday and Saturday and dinner for higher earnings and better tips.
In Philadelphia, it is $20-25 per hour from Friday through the weekend, avoiding the toll roads and staying in the downtown area to earn more.
In San Francisco, Dashers make $21-30 driving throughout the weekend and dinner hours.
If you want to maximize DoorDash peak hours, here is a time breakdown of the hours you can jump in and earn.
6 am-9 am – The breakfast crowd is busy when people at work order in and take breakfast in the office.
11 am-1 pm – The lunch break is a short time slot but one of the busiest hours. There is no shortage of orders, and you will see an order request come in as soon as you complete your order.
5 pm-9 pm – Dinner is the busiest time where the restaurants are filled with orders. It is the best time to deliver because of the longer four hours delivery window.
After 10 pm – The after-dinner hours are not as active but the best time to earn more tips.
Accept More Than One Order at a Time
DoorDash deliveries make it efficient for the Dasher by sending out another order request in the same restaurant. You can be on your way to the restaurant when you get a ping for a new order while in the restaurant.
It would be wise to hit two birds with one stone, so accept the order, but make sure not to mix it up on your way to deliver. Doing multiple orders will help you save time, gas, and effort.
Avoid High Trafficked Areas
Once you sign-up, you can avoid traffic routes by using your GPS mobile apps like Waze or Google Maps to give you an idea of the traffic situation.
Take an extra minute to study the traffic app and figure out the fastest route from the restaurant to the delivery address.
Getting stuck in traffic will not only waste your precious time but also eat up your gas budget.
If possible, avoid orders from the downtown area where parking is scarce not to beand not stuck in the middle of the city.
Know the Areas You’re Traveling to Beforehand
Save yourself from wasting time by getting yourself familiar with where you’ll make your Dashes.
Driving in the wrong direction in a rush will only delay your trip and your turnaround time. It is also a waste of gas and mileage.
A helpful tip is to note the customer’s entrance tips whether they want you to deliver using the front, side, or back entrances.
Before arriving at the delivery location, look into the Dasher app to check the map. It distinguishes the correct building or the right apartment complex, which has its directories.
Find Creative Parking Spots
Creative parking spots are a nicely coined term for parking in loading zones, red zones, or reserved parking for a company. Since you will not take over five minutes to do a drop-off order, you will get away with this quick park.
But if the parking is questionable, it is best to switch on the hazards while you deliver so the waiting car will know it is a quick drop-off.
In some cities, there are free 10 minutes downtown parking spaces to help the take-out restaurants.
But if there is absolutely no other option, park in the nearest parking lot and walk to drop off your order. You will get the job done faster instead of wasting your time circling for an empty spot.
Prioritize Deliveries that save you Time
The key is to work smarter instead of working harder. This means you have to be selective with the orders you accept to maximize your earnings.
While DoorDash has a base pay of $2 per mile, you will want to go for orders above $7.
As a Dasher, you need to use the peak time to your advantage and get the highest earnings.
Delivery is not as simple as it seems because there are scenarios that you have to consider.
- Check if the delivery location is on a building with multiple floors and if an elevator will be required.
- Check if the drive-through fast-food restaurant has the food ready or if you will wait like everyone else.
- Check the restaurant location if it is far from the hotspots or popular areas.
- Check for a waiting parking area close to multiple restaurants, so you are a few distances away from your next delivery.
Provide Great Customer Experience for Higher Tips
You have been on the other side of the fence as a customer, and you know what you like and what you find irritating with delivery service.
Apply the same rules in reverse, and you will earn yourself a good amount of tips for your deliveries.
Consider the following:
- Arrive and Drop Off on Time
- Update the Customer on the delivery status and the estimated arrival time by text or message in the platform app.
- Be polite and communicate any delay or delivery problem.
- Grab some freebies from the restaurant like free utensils, napkins, packed sauces.
- Assure the customer that you have checked for missing or incorrect items.
- Request for an honest review for service improvement.
Tactfully Decline Unprofitable Rides while Prioritizing Large Orders
Once you accept an order request, you have to follow through and deliver so you don’t get penalized. This is why you should be selective with the orders you choose.
What may help someone make money, will net you very little depending on where you are located.
Use Multiple Apps
As someone using a smartphone with data, you need to work efficiently and save as much time as you can. That means using different apps that will assist you with saving money, saving time, and making the job easier.
The following are common apps used by Dashers:
- Mileage Tracking app – Stride.
- Gas Apps – GetUpside, AAA, Gas Guru, and Waze.
- GPS and Traffic App – Google Maps & Waze.
- DoorDash Drivers Tips and Tricks – www.reddit.com/r/doordash
Choose a Good Tax Software (Turbo Tax, Credit Karma)
Be prepared to be taxed a 15.3% self-employment tax if you earn more than $400 a year.
If you make more than $600, you’ll receive a 1099-NEC form from DoorDash’s partner Stripe and Payable.
You can use TurboTax’s free tax estimator to approximate what you owe the IRS for recurring payments throughout the year. You’re also able to deduct your overhead costs such as phone bills, gas, and mileage expenses, reduce your total tax bill, and get more refunds.
Another great option is Credit Karma’s free filing tax program, but you must know the basics of taxes to not miss out on lost deductions.
When you register to give your financial information, Aside from helping you with your taxes, Credit Karma will let you know your credit score.
Dashers were interviewed in the later part of 2020, and they predicted DoorDash would grow at a rate of $20-25 per hour.
There seems to be not enough time to make more trips because of the restaurant wait times.
But the demand for more Dashers is growing, with many restaurant merchants joining the platform.
Customers seem to accept that food delivery is part of their routine, and because of this, we should expect that Doordash’s future looks bright.
DoorDash for Businesses
Signing up your business with DoorDash allows you a far more significant customer base of at least 75% new customers than relying on walk-in customers in your restaurant.
It can also help increase your sales by 65% in times where restaurants have a limited seat capacity.
DoorDash offers the service of catering to companies.
DoorDash staff takes care of the catering details with the support team handling order inquiries, order issues and responds to unexpected occurrences with delivery and handling.
You will be asked to set your platform app in automatic recurring catering orders while DoorDash takes care of meal planning.
White-Label service with DoorDash simply means you keep your branding with no visible DoorDash label.
Instead of hiring staff to deliver, DoorDash takes care of the logistics and delivers your food.
DoorDash can integrate with your operations technology such as Square, Toast, Olo, Bringg, Redcat, NCR, 9Fold, and many others.
How to Sign Up?
DoorDash makes it easy for a restaurant to sign up as a merchant partner.
The first step is to sign-up in the DoorDash Merchant Portal.
Then, upload your menu, state your business hours, and give information on your sales history and business bank account information.
Once you have provided the following information, you can activate and deactivate your establishment in the app.
DoorDash integrations will send orders directly into your point of sale system with one of their POS partners, and once you have accepted all the terms, you are ready to take orders.
Start With DoorDash Today
DoorDash is an easy and hassle-free way to earn an extra income.
You determine your work time based on what is convenient for your lifestyle. You do not need any education credentials to qualify, just a simple SSS card and a clean record to be a Dasher.
It may be physically tiring with the pick-ups and the deliveries, but no hard work goes to waste. You can use this extra income to pay off debt faster or save extra money.
If you’re building an online side hustle that takes time to earn money, Doordash can be a great option.
Is Doordash worth it?
You now have the facts; I’ll let you decide.
Just remember every choice counts in your journey to financial freedom.