How to Work For DoorDash as a DoorDash Delivery Driver
Last year, I was trying to diversify my 1099 income so I looked into doing deliveries. Among the delivery services, being a DoorDash driver rose to the top from my research. I wanted to work for DoorDash because it was the good paying delivery service with a lot of flexibility. Being a Postmates driver is a close second in terms of income but it can be less stressful than being a DoorDash driver.
How to Work For Doordash as an DoorDash Delivery Driver
The first step to work for Doordash is to sign up to be a Doordash Delivery Driver, also called a Dasher. To start your application with Doordash, you can use the Doordash referral link to start signing up for Doordash:
You will also need to install the DoorDash Delivery App. You can use the below link to get the DoorDash Delivery app:
How Do I Download the DoorDash Delivery Driver App?
Make sure that you sign up for Doordash before downloading the DoorDash Delivery App. You will not need the DoorDash Delivery app until you get an email from DoorDash about the onboarding session. Once you have gotten an email from Doordash and still do not know where to download the Doordash Devliery app, below you will find a link to do so. DoorDash doesn’t give out the application publicly, so make sure to click the below link to get the DoorDash Delivery app:
What is DoorDash?
Doordash is a food delivery service. DoorDash customers place orders online and Doordash delivery drivers go to various restaurants to pay and deliver the food. Doordash provides a red PEX card so that you can pay for food at almost any restaurant. Couriers that work for Doordash are called Dashers. Doordash orders vary between being prepaid and order/pay with the red PEX card. The orders could be prepaid to orders at Taco Bell where you have to pay for the order with the PEX card, so they vary quite a lot. However, they claim that 96% of their customers tip, which is very high. When someone delivers you Taco Bell, they may be more inclined to tip you since they know there is no other way to have it delivered.
The advantage of food delivery is that drivers tend to drive less miles, can use any car, and also be 18 and above. Rideshare services require drivers to be 21 and over with a minimum of 1 year driving history.
Introduction to DoorDash
Like Postmates and Caviar, they let their couriers walk or ride a bicycle. They claim that their algorithm only allows certain orders for walking or biking couriers. Below are the different types of transportation you can use:
- car – any
Like Postmates and Caviar, they allow couriers to schedule their hours in any given week. However, they also allow couriers to sign on whenever they like, assuming there is demand. There is always a cap on how many couriers are online at any given time to ensure a base level of earnings. If there is little demand, unless you are scheduled, you will not be able to sign on to DoorDash. If there is some demand, you will be given an option to instantly schedule yourself, typically up to the next half hour. Lets say you start at 5:20, then you will be “scheduled” until 6pm. You can work more than that, but only if the system allows you to schedule beyond 6pm. During peak times, you may be able to find another block right at 6pm until 6:30. They may change their availability as the night goes on so if you really want to work, you can try again later.
Below is a list of locations for DoorDash, and what types of transportation you can use in each city:
Why Delivery as a DoorDash Delivery Driver?
Some delivery drivers like these positions over that of Lyft and Uber even though rideshare positions typically pay more. Some delivery drivers don’t like to drive people around, but don’t mind delivering groceries and buying them. Also, peak delivery demands usually coincides with lower demand on rideshare, so if you are a full time 1099 worker, it can be a good balance to do both if there isn’t enough demand on Lyft or Uber.
You also don’t need a 4 door car to work for DoorDash. People with a 2 door car or even a smart car can work for DoorDash, so people that can’t be rideshare drivers can be delivery drivers. There also isn’t a year limit on the car either, so if your car is very old, you can still work for DoorDash.
How to Sign up for DoorDash
Use the below Doordash referral link to sign up for Doordash and see the below post on how to sign up for Doordash:
- Sign up for DoorDash and earn up to a $500 Signup Bonus after 100 deliveries in 75 days!
- How to Sign up For DoorDash and Online Onboarding Session
Once you are signed up and download the DoorDash Driver app, you can start delivering on DoorDash
Doordash Delivery Zones
In each market, Doordash breaks up each market into separate zones. The dash map will also show how busy it is, with grey not being busy to dark red being very busy. Right now, it is pink so it is moderately busy. The pickup location of the order will be inside of this zone, but the delivery location could be anywhere, either inside or outside the zone. Most of the time, the delivery location is somewhere inside or close to the zone but I have had a few long deliveries. Here is what the dash zone map looks like in Seattle:
Below is the list of available zones to work in when you press on the “Dash Now” button:
If it is not busy in some zones, they will not appear in the “Dash Now” screen. You will only see zones you can work in. When it is very slow, you will only see one or two zones. Last year, I remember not seeing any zones during the middle of the day. Even if you want to “Dash Now,” you need to choose a zone to work in before you start. It does give dashers a lot of flexibility in deciding when to work, but if the zone isn’t available, it can be frustrating to drive to another zone.
Seattle is 13 zones and while I don’t expect every market to be broken up into that many zones, I believe that they are broken up in a few different zones. The busiest zone is typically the downtown core but it is pretty quiet on the weekends when no one is at work. Keep this in mind when you schedule your zones. I would suggest you try a few neighboring zones in both weekdays and weekends and see if you earn more in other zones. While it may not be as busy in other zones, it may be easier to find parking or get larger orders. For some, parking is a huge issue and they avoid the downtown core during the work week.
Scheduling a DoorDash Shift
Doordash allow couriers to schedule their hours in any given week, like Postmates and Caviar. However, they also allow couriers to sign on whenever they like, assuming there is demand. There is always a cap on how many couriers are online at any given time to ensure a base level of earnings. If there is little demand, you will not be able to sign on to DoorDash unless you are scheduled for that shift. If there is some demand, you will be given an option to instantly schedule yourself, typically up to the next half hour. Lets say you start at 5:20, then you will be “scheduled” until 6pm. You can work more than that, but only if the system allows you to schedule beyond 6pm. During peak times, you may be able to find another block right at 6pm until 6:30. They may change their availability as the night goes on so if you really want to work, you can try again later.
Below is what the scheduling screen looks like. You can see a variety of available shifts in a few zones for today.
Typically, I can usually get whatever shift I like a few days out. It is busiest during lunch (11am-2pm) and dinner (5-8pm) so try to work those shifts. I find that weekday lunch shifts are a bit better because there are less potential dashers online and traffic is a little better than trying to deliver during the evening commute. Parking is usually better during the evening commute as people are going home, but traffic can be very bad.
Beginning of your DoorDash Shift
Before your shift, you will get a few notifications that your shift is starting. Make sure that you are near the zone you are working in or inside the zone at the start of your shift. This will reduce the time needed to drive to the first pickup location, which may increase your earnings. Once your shift starts or press “Dash Now” and find the zone you want to work in, you will wait for an order request in the DoorDash app.
I typically drive away from many fast food restaurants in my zone and try to be in front of busy DoorDash high end restaurants. You won’t know which ones they are until you have worked a few shifts so if it is your first few shifts with DoorDash, accept every order and see what the payouts are. While I typically avoid small fast food orders, customers may be inclined to tip you better for a small order. In my experience, these small orders don’t tip as well due to the dollar value of the order.
Accepting your DoorDash Order
When a order request comes in, it will be a popup screen and it will look something like this:
You will have a minute to accept the order request. You can see that it shows the pickup restaurant, order items and total, guaranteed pay for the order and how many total miles it will take you to deliver the order. I typically take into consideration restaurant, order total and distance. I will accept long deliveries only if the order total is high. I typically don’t accept orders from fast food restaurants like Taco Bell or Mcdonalds since I don’t believe these orders tip well. I try to accept expensive orders as often as I can, but sometimes all you get are small orders. Guarantee pay makes smaller orders more profitable, especially if the customer tips well and the distance is very low.
Picking up your DoorDash Order
When you accept the Doordash order, you will drive to the restaurant and wait for the order. The app will tell you if the order has already been placed or if you need to go into the restaurant to place the order. I always go into the restaurant to double check that the order is correct and placed so I can minimize any wait time. If the order has already been placed, all you need to do is settle the bill with the hostess if you need to pay for it. There are a few restaurants who are directly integrated with DoorDash that don’t need Doordash dasher to pay for the food. If the order hasn’t been placed, you will need to place the order according to the order list and pay careful attention to their notes. If they have complicated notes and you order it correctly, you can get a large tip.
One very important thing is that you need to have an insulated bag for food safety. You can use one you already have or go into the local DoorDash office to pick one up. If you have any concerns about the quality of your hot bag or are looking to replace a hot bag contact your local office. Find this information here, then select your market for next steps. In regards to transporting food just as any aspect of dashing please use your best judgement.
Here are some recommended best practices from our top dashers you can use to help maintain top-level quality of your hot bag and the orders you pick up.
Picking up food from the restaurant
- Count the items in the bag and confirm the items via the app.
- Don’t open food containers to inspect items; the restaurant staff will do that for you.
Transporting the food
- Keep food at its current temperature so that it does not spoil in transport.
- To keep food temperature constant, wrap the food in a space blanket and carefully place the food in a hot bag.
- Note: The “hot bag” is just an insulated bag and helps maintain the food quality of the food, whether the food is hot or cold.
- Put extra padding, if applicable, so food doesn’t slide around during delivery. If extra padding is needed to prevent the items from sliding, make sure the padding is clean.
- Do not dash if you feel sick or like you are getting sick. Your customers, merchants and other Dashers will appreciate knowing that they are regularly working with people who are healthy.
Hot bags last longer and retain their function better if you keep them clean. Before your next dash, review these best practices to keep your hot bag clean:
Wipe your hot bag with a recommended household cleaner for kitchens.
Use a clean towel or paper towels with water and wipe the cleaner residue.
Use a new clean towel or paper towels to dry the hot bag.
DoorDash Driver Delivery and Parking Tips
In a perfect world our clients would all live in houses with driveways to park on when we deliver their groceries, or at least in neighborhoods with an abundance of street parking. Unfortunately in an Urban jungle, you won’t always find this parking scenario. Especially in LA, half of my clients live in apartment buildings, lofts or large residential buildings. If it’s a large apartment building or resident community, there is usually guest parking with elevator access and the client will leave directions on their account. But this doesn’t always ensure an easy or quick delivery. Sometimes, the client will leave a note to give them a call, so they can meet meet at the front door to receive their order. Other times, it’s a huge order, and i have to load everything in/out of elevator and their unit may be a distance down the hall. This is when I’m definitely hoping for a large tip!
If it’s a regular apartment building, I try to find metered or street parking as close to the front door as possible. Often, I have to double park, put on my flashers and deliver. I don’t recommend this for long periods of time or taking chances by parking in the red. Also, make sure and pay your parking meters! I’ve received a couple of tickets by taking chances, or forgetting to pay and it’s definitely not worth it! Some large buildings have loading docks, but check with the clients because depending on where they are located in the building, this may not be the smartest place to unload.
Another option is to use backpacks and large insulated bags so that you can carry large orders in one trip. Large orders don’t happen very often on DoorDash so I wouldn’t worry about it that much. Most orders are just one or two bags of food.
There are more items that I use or recommend in this post about what DoorDash Delivery Drivers should consider getting.
DoorDash Pay Structure
Before accepting the order, you will see what is the minimum amount you can make with the order. . This is how DoorDash calculates your payout:
- $1.00 + pay boost + 100% of tips.
Depending on the location, Doordash guarantees a minimum payout of $6.00 per order, which is a bit mysterious when you look at how they calculate your payout. If the customer tips you $5 and there is no pay boost, you can get $6 for the order. If the customer don’t tip you $5, you’ll get a “boost” of $5 and make the minimum amount of $6 for the order. While it isn’t a clear attempt to use tips to pay drivers, it can be seen that way, just like how Instacart persuades customers to pay a service fee instead of a tip.
Once you look past this little issue, the pay on DoorDash is fairly clear when you accept the order.
There is a menu on top of the app and press Earnings to see what you have earned this week, in addition to previous weeks.
If you press the bank icon on the top of the application, you can change your bank information:
In my personal experience as a Dasher in Seattle, I made about $17 an hour including tips, which wasn’t too bad. I typically rejected orders from fast food restaurants and focused on more premium restaurants but I had a shift where I had to accept a fast food order since it was the only order I received in 30 minutes. Your luck may vary with ignoring fast food restaurant orders.
You can find your ratings in this screen. It has a brief summary of your performance, including your overall rating, acceptance rate, completion rate and number of lifetime deliveries:
As you can see, mine rating isn’t that good. I must have missed a few ketchup packets on a few of my orders. The two metrics DoorDash cares about is rating and completion rate. They don’t necessarily mind that you skip a lot of orders, but make sure to complete the orders you accept.
The only setting you can change in the DoorDash application is the navigation preference.
You can choose from Google Maps or Waze on Android, which is almost the same as Lyft. I personally have switched to Waze since it seems to run faster on my phone. Google Maps has been crashing very often lately to the point that it is unusable.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions