How to Become a DoorDash Driver

Becoming a DoorDash driver is a great alternative to driving for Uber or Lyft.

Driving for Uber and Lyft is attractive because of the idea of being your own boss. People want to drive on your own schedule without anyone telling them what to do.

Unfortunately for some, being a driver for a rideshare company requires a certain level of customer service.

Drivers who are good at interacting with customers can make a lot of money driving for Uber or Lyft. But for people who are less sociable, it is not the ideal employment opportunity.

But driving for Uber and Lyft is not the only driving option in this booming gig economy.

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DoorDash is a great side-hustle opportunity. DoorDash drivers have many of the benefits of rideshare drivers, but without having to deal with customers.

In this article, we will review what it is like to work in the food delivery industry as a DoorDash courier, also known as a Dasher.

Although being a driver for DoorDash has a lot of perks, there is one major drawback we want to address up front. To-date, DoorDash is not available in many markets.

If you are lucky enough to be in the DoorDash coverage area, congratulations! Find out how you can start working for one of the best food delivery services in the nation below.


How Much do DoorDash Drivers Make?

Initially, DoorDash offered drivers a flat rate of $10 an hour plus 100% of tips. Unfortunately, that payment structure was eliminated back in 2017. Now, Dashers are paid based on the number of deliveries completed. The only exception is during peak time. During peak, drivers receive an hourly wage (which varies by market).

Peak time is similar to surge pricing with Uber. Basically, when there is a high demand DoorDash will incentivize drivers by paying them more. For DoorDash, peak times usually occur during the lunch hour and weekends.

Outside of peak times, Dashers report making between $8 and $15 an hour depending on their location.

Payment Breakdown

According to DoorDash, “Delivery pay is calculated as $1 + 100% of tip + pay boost” in most markets. Drivers are offered a guaranteed payment when they accept an order. The pay boost is based on:

  • Complexity of order (how much the customer is paying)
  • Approximate distance a Dasher will travel
  • Wait times

Deliveries that take less time to complete because a Dasher is quick still earn the guaranteed payment. On the other end of the spectrum, if an order takes longer than estimated, drivers earn more money than the guaranteed amount.

Just like every other service, drivers are entitled to keep 100% of tips.

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From reviews we’ve read, tipping is really hit or miss. Just like with Uber, some customers don’t tip at all. Overall, we’ve found that tipping is more common on DoorDash compared to rideshare apps. But rideshare drivers can typically complete multiple fares in the time it takes to complete one delivery order. So there are pros and cons to each.

DoorDash is very transparent about the payment structure and how it varies by market. For a detailed breakdown of how much you can expect to be paid, follow these links:

DoorDash Driver Payout Schedule

Drivers do not earn a salary or a standard weekly paycheck. Since drivers are paid per delivery, expect your pay to fluctuate.

Dashers get paid on a weekly basis after the first week of making deliveries. So, if you start working on a Monday you will not be paid on the Friday of that same week. Rather, you will be paid on the Friday after the week you start.

Fast Pay

For drivers that do not have the luxury of waiting that long, there is an alternative option. DoorDash offers Dashers a service called Fast Pay.

Fast Pay allows drivers to immediately withdraw earnings directly into their bank account. DoorDash does have a few stipulations in place to determine whether or not you can use the service.

Drivers must be working for DoorDash for at least two weeks total and have completed the bare minimum of 25 orders. If you meet these criteria and have an actual debit card, you qualify to use the Fast Pay feature if you want to.

Each transaction that is made via Fast Pay will cost $1.99 total. This small fee may be worth it in an emergency situation considering you receive the money instantly. However, using the service every day doesn’t make financial sense.

Fast Pay is only available in these markets:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • New York
  • Orlando
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh
  • Richmond
  • Tampa
  • Washington, DC

Becoming a Dasher

To apply to become a DoorDash driver, start by entering your information via this link.

Afterward, DoorDash will determine if you meet the necessary driver requirements (see below).

If you pass the background check and meet all driver requirements, you will be asked to attend an orientation which can be in-person or online. If you are in a location with in-person orientation, you will receive instructions once your application is complete.

Once you’ve completed the orientation you are essentially ready to go! Unfortunately, DoorDash does ask that drivers purchase some branded gear. We personally think items should be provided for free, but that is not the case. Drivers have to pay for the items out of their own pockets.

DoorDash Driver Requirements

There are not that many rules standing in the way of a driver becoming a Dasher, however, the following requirements must be met.

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • No major moving violations within the last 7 years, such as DUIs or Driving on a Suspended License
  • No major safety issues within the last 7 years, such as Homicide or Assault
  • Drivers cannot have more than 3 minor violations in the last 3 years, such as accidents. Bear in mind, an accident and violation occurring at the same time will be considered one incident

The above information is confirmed via a background check. DoorDash background checks in accordance with applicable federal, state, local laws and regulations.

DoorDash Vehicle Requirements

When it comes to what type of vehicle you make deliveries in, DoorDash is very lax. Basically, any working vehicle qualifies. This does include scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles in some areas. If you have any questions about this or any other topic, be sure to check out the DoorDash Driver Support.

Does DoorDash Pay for Gas?

DoorDash does not pay for their driver’s gas. Just like Uber, Lyft and every other freelancer driving gig, drivers are considered independent contractors. This essentially means that drivers are operating their own small business. Meaning drivers are responsible for all expenses including gas and vehicle maintenance.

Due to this financial hurdle, it may be challenging to make it through the first two weeks until your first paycheck.

Despite this fact, it is worth it to work as a Dasher.

Working For DoorDash

The Dasher process is pretty straightforward. The Dasher accepts an order, picks it up from the restaurant, and takes the food to the customer. But it is a little more nuanced than that. We’ve broken down the process to better explain what day-to-day work looks like for a DoorDash driver.

Accepting Orders

To work as a Dasher you need a smartphone with the DoorDash app installed. From there, Dashers pick the time slots they would like to work. Time slots are opened up weekly and Dashers usually have to be quick to reserve their spots due to heavy competition.

Once your scheduled time starts, successful Dashers will start making their way towards busy parts of town. For lunch shifts, this is typically around downtown areas where a lot of office workers might be ordering lunch. On nights, busy areas tend to be around college campuses. And weekends are busy most places based on driver feedback that we have seen.

Once a Dasher has made their way to a populated area, the next step is to log in and look for orders. If none are available or nearby, do not worry. DoorDash creates schedules based on when drivers are needed the most. So, if you are not seeing pick up requests, simply refresh your phone.

More than likely, they will start popping up so fast you will be staying busy for the next few hours.

Dashers can review these requests as they come in to see how much money they will be paid and if it is worthwhile to complete the order. Unless the request is miles away from your current location the orders that come in are usually worth it.

Bear in mind, if you can not decide whether or not to accept the order another Dasher will happily complete the task for you. So act fast or miss out. DoorDash is designed to create healthy competition among Dashers. This improves the quality and delivery speed for customers.

Picking Up Orders From Restaurants

After a driver accepts an order, they should make their way to the restaurant as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, restaurants have varying views on how to handle incoming orders. Some locations wait until a driver arrives before starting the order.

One of the main reasons restaurants opt to wait until a Dasher arrives is payment. Sometimes orders are not paid for until a driver arrives. As in, DoorDash drivers have to pay with a preloaded credit card on occasion. Known as a Red Card, this plastic medium for providing payment is loaded with the exact amount of cash needed to pay for the order before a Dasher arrives.

There is another reason behind why a restaurant may wait until a Dasher arrives to complete an order. Out of stock items. Sometimes restaurants will not have something that a customer order. When this occurs, drivers are required to contact the customer and ask if there is an alternative item they would like to get.

Drivers should always check the receipt. Make sure the order is correct and the total amount matches the app. You don’t want to get to the customer and realize you have someone else’s order.

Once this is all squared away, restaurants will begin to complete the order. Dashers are required to wait at the restaurant during this time. Don’t worry, wait time is factored into your pay.

Delivering the Food

When the steaming hot food is packed and ready to go, Dashers should head out to the delivery location.

Speed is essential.

You do not want the food to get cold before you arrive. If it does, your tips and ratings could suffer.

After finding your destination the next hurdle is parking. This can be very challenging, especially if you are working in the dark. Once you’ve been driving for DoorDash for a while, you will come familiar with parking.

Once you’ve parked, head to the door. On an average day, this is the only time during the entire trip that a driver will ever interact with the customer. Having said that, if you know that the delivery is late or that there was an issue along the way, brace yourself.

DoorDash provides some helpful tips on dealing with customers. Try to make the most of the interaction even if the customer is mad at you for something that was out of your control. By being personable, respectful, and lending an empathetic ear, you increase your likelihood of getting a tip.

DoorDash Driver Reviews

In general, most people agree that DoorDash is a great side hustle. There are, however, mixed reviews in regards to how DoorDash issues payments. Some drivers prefer the old payment structure. However, most drivers seem pretty happy with the new method. Other than that, we have come across a few mildly uplifting reviews in regards to restaurant wait times.

Apparently, some drivers have received free food from restaurants if the wait time is long.

Asking drivers to purchase branded clothing and food warmers really rubs some people the wrong way. And we understand why. Remember, it is not required. No rideshare or delivery company can force you to spend money on something if you do not want to.

In summary, DoorDash is a great part-time opportunity for people looking to earn some extra cash. We especially recommend DoorDash for people who want to drive for a living, but don’t want to deal with passengers in their car.

It is also a great opportunity if your car does not meet the vehicle requirements imposed by Uber and Lyft.

To get started today, download the DoorDash app and complete the application process. Once you passed a background check and complete orientation, it is time to start accepting orders.

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Last updated February 3, 2020


Brett HellingProfile Photo Brett Helling