Delivering for DoorDash is one of the most sought-after side hustles for plenty of good reasons. As a dasher, you’ll enjoy the flexibility of deciding when, where, and how much you work.
The sign-up process is easy, and no work experience is necessary. What an exciting opportunity!
But, what if you find yourself on the dreaded DoorDash waitlist? This middle ground between applying and dashing can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re eager to start earning.
Luckily, waitlists are only temporary, and the sooner you understand how DoorDash’s waitlist works, the better.
This guide has everything you need to know about waitlists, including why they exist, how to get off one, and alternatives to try while waiting.
- Why a Waitlist Exists
- How the DoorDash Waitlist Works
- Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist
- Alternatives While Waiting
- Preparing to Dash Once Accepted
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why a Waitlist Exists
DoorDash is one of the largest food delivery services in the United States. Over 20 million customers place their orders on the app each month! As a result, the platform needs more than a million drivers to make daily deliveries.
However, new Dashers can sometimes find themselves on a waitlist, where they have to wait for DoorDash’s go signal before they can start completing orders. But, why?
Manage Market Demand
A waitlist serves the important purpose of managing DoorDash’s pool of incoming drivers based on market demand.
Areas with a huge number of orders will require plenty of active drivers. Meanwhile, rural towns and small cities with limited orders will have a low demand for drivers.
The goal is to have the right amount of drivers to fulfill all orders. This means that drivers are more likely to get waitlisted in areas where DoorDash isn’t available or widespread.
Avoid Driver Saturation
A waitlist also prevents DoorDash from having too many active drivers in one place, known as driver saturation.
It allows the platform to match an area’s day-to-day order volume with the number of active drivers. So, you’re more likely to get waitlisted in areas with sufficient Dashers.
If there are more drivers than orders, the competition gets tough, making it hard for everyone to earn a decent income. A balance between deliveries and drivers is the key to optimal operation for DoorDash and maximum earnings potential for Dashers. A win-win situation for everyone!
How the DoorDash Waitlist Works
To understand how the waitlist works, you’ll need to be familiar with the Dasher Signup Process. Here’s a quick overview of the steps in applying for DoorDash:
1. Profile Creation: Download the app and input your vehicle type and personal information
2. Identity Verification: Upload a valid ID and take a selfie to prove your identity
3. Background Check: Submit a background check to DoorDash’s partner, Checkr
4. Sign-Up Completion: Choose your payout method and provide your bank details
If you live in an area with too many active drivers or limited DoorDash availability, you’ll receive the following message on your Dasher app after sign-up completion:
“Thank you for your interest in DoorDash! Unfortunately, we’re not accepting new Dashers in your area at the moment. Not to fear! This is only temporary. We’ve added you to our waitlist, and we’ll send you an email as soon as this changes.”
Expect to be on the waitlist for three days to three months depending on current driver demand. Your location also matters—the lower the order traffic, the longer the waitlist.
This is often the case for rural areas and small towns, but not for major cities like New York and Los Angeles. You’ll know that the wait is over when you receive a welcome email notification from DoorDash.
Another possibility is for your application to get delayed during the background check. Your Dasher signup account and Checkr Candidate Portal will display one of the following status messages: Consider, Pending, Suspended, or Disputed.
Background checks typically take 5–7 business days. They can take longer if Checkr requests additional info or an internal review or because of DMV delays. You’ll receive a “Clear” status and confirmation emails from Checkr when it’s done.
Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist
Here are some of the best tips and tricks to help you stop waiting and start dashing:
1. Regularly Check Your Application Status
One of the most common reasons for a delayed application on DoorDash is a pending background check. This process can take only a few hours or a full day. However, some Dashers’ background checks last one week or even longer!
In some cases, Checkr will ask you to provide additional information or documentation to continue processing your application. The key is to regularly check your status on your Dasher signup account and submit additional documents ASAP to get off the waitlist.
You can also log in to the Checkr Candidate Portal to view your background check status. Here’s what each status means:
- Clear: Your background check is complete and you can now move on to the final steps of the application process. Once you receive a welcome email from DoorDash, you’re out of the official waitlist!
- Consider: After processing, Checkr shared your background check with DoorDash for an additional internal review. This review usually takes 5 business days.
- Pending or Suspended: Checkr is still processing your background check and will potentially need additional info to complete it. If so, you’ll receive an email with instructions from [email protected].
- Disputed: You’ll see this status if you’ve disputed the accuracy of your background check and Checkr is reviewing it. Unfortunately, background check disputes can take up to 30 days to process.
2. Prepare for the Next Steps
If you’ve already submitted the requirements and are still waiting for your background check, you can spend time preparing for the next steps to ensure that everything else goes smoothly.
The more familiar you are with the onboarding process, the sooner you can start dashing!
Decide in advance what your preferred payout method will be. You can receive your earnings weekly using any bank account, or you can get paid instantly using DasherDirect.
If you choose the latter option, prepare the following details:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Home address and zip code
- Social security number
You’ll also need a mailing address to receive DoorDash’s free welcome gifts: a Red Card and an insulated hot bag.
If you’ve missed any of the steps, click “Already started signing up?” to continue the signup process.
3. Stay Informed About the Delivery Market
Your local delivery market is a huge factor in determining how long your waitlist status lasts.
Being aware of the market helps you decide whether to wait or switch to another area. This tip will help you learn the best times to drive for DoorDash, too.
If there are too many Dashers in your city or if you live in a rural town where DoorDash isn’t widespread, expect to be on the waitlist until the driver supply goes down or the order demand goes up.
Many Dashers successfully leave the waitlist by applying to nearby zip codes with high populations, so it’s worth a try!
Alternatives While Waiting
Still stuck on the waitlist? No worries! There are plenty of ways to earn extra money while waiting for open driver positions on DoorDash, such as:
1. Try a Different Food Delivery App
The good news is there’s no shortage of grocery delivery and food delivery services you can engage in. DoorDash isn’t your only option!
Have you tried Instacart, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Shipt, and Cornershop? These delivery gigs are similar to DoorDash, so you’ll likely be qualified for them, too.
Applying to multiple platforms increases your chances of landing a well-paying gig. It also allows you to compare rates and flexible hours, so you can choose the best fit for your needs. Plus, it enhances your stability, as you don’t have to depend on just one source for your income.
2. Sign-Up in Nearby Markets
Did you know that DoorDash allows you to dash in different cities? You’re not confined to one geographic area, so make the most of it by signing up in neighboring markets!
All you have to do is input nearby zip codes on DoorDash to see if they’re accepting new Dashers. Choose a zip code, ideally from one of the major cities, reapply, and hope for the best.
There can be a few downsides to this, as you’ll need to spend more money on transportation costs. If your zip code is far from home, you’ll also have to start driving at an early time of day to get to your dashing location on time.
3. Explore Other Gig Economy Jobs
It’s never too late to try another side hustle! The gig economy is overflowing with money-making opportunities outside the food delivery industry, including:
- Content creation and video editing
- Dropshipping and affiliate marketing
- Online tutoring and translating
- Paid online surveys
- Writing and proofreading
- Pet walking and babysitting
Preparing to Dash Once Accepted
Congrats, you’re finally off the waitlist—what’s next? Preparing for your first day on the road.
Being mentally and physically prepared will give you confidence as you hop from one order to another. It helps you stay safe, deliver efficiently, and maximize your total DoorDash earnings.
Here’s some advice from expert Dashers to help you get started:
The Dasher App is the central hub where you can access your earnings, complete delivery services, and contact DoorDash Support.
Navigating the app is easy. Tap “Dash Now,” pick a delivery zone, accept an order, confirm pick-up, and contact the customer upon your arrival.
Pay attention to your app’s Hotspot and Peak Pay notifications to increase your income! You’ll also earn more if you dash during meal times, especially lunch and dinner.
Your first few deliveries will be “Instant Dash,” which means no additional gear is necessary—only your phone and vehicle! After that, you’ll receive a Dasher activation kit which contains a food warming bag, Red Card, mask, and hand sanitizer.
You can also choose to bring snacks, water, medications, sanitary wipes, a phone charger, and personal care items while dashing.
Some of DoorDash’s most important policies include accident coverage, bike safety, and severe weather protocol, accessible via the Safety Portal. There are also rules on food safety, alcohol orders, and resolving issues with customers, which you can view here.
Follow the policies on keeping your motor vehicle and criminal history report clear to avoid getting deactivated on the platform.
Getting waitlisted at DoorDash isn’t as serious as it sounds. It’s merely the result of two significant factors at play: driver supply and customer demand.
Whether you’ve signed up in a remote region or a saturated city, there are several things you can do to get off the waitlist soon. Regularly check your application status and the state of the delivery market. You can also try your luck on another delivery app, zip code, or side hustle.
While waiting, grab the chance to brush up on DoorDash policies. Don’t forget to review the Dasher app and prepare your Dasher gear, too. Most importantly, stay positive. Waiting lists are temporary—you’ll be on the road in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s some more useful info on DoorDash and its infamous waiting list:
Does DoorDash Pay Me for Waiting?
DoorDash doesn’t pay prospective drivers who are on the waitlist, but it pays active drivers who are waiting for an order at the restaurant or merchant if they select Earn by Time Mode. Under this option, your total pay will include your hourly rate multiplied by the total delivery time.
How Do I Know If I Was Approved for DoorDash?
You’ll know that you’re approved for DoorDash when you receive a message on your Dasher signup account.
The first one will indicate a successful background check, allowing you to finish the remaining steps of the sign-up process.
After that, you’ll receive a welcome message, an email, and gifts from DoorDash.