Looking to make some extra money? Don’t lock yourself into a fixed schedule when you could make your own.
The gig economy is full of jobs that let you decide when and how long you want to work.
DoorDash is one such gig opportunity that lets you mold your work life to fit your schedule and financial goals.
Now, let’s start at the very beginning and walk through everything, step by step. Don’t get overwhelmed, becoming a Dasher is super easy.
Here’s the quick version how to become a Dasher:
The first step is to head to the DoorDash website and scroll all the way down to the footer and click on “Become a Dasher.”
Next, you will have to submit some very basic information and consent to receiving messages from DoorDash:
After this, you will be asked to sign in to your DoorDash account (if you have one), or create one (if you don’t). Next you will be asked to confirm a few more details:
After you hit “Continue,” the next step is to consent to the background check. First, you will have to select your “Vehicle Type.” The two options are a bicycle and a car.
On this page you will be asked to provide:
The reason you have to provide all of this information is so DoorDash can run a driver history report and background check. The check is run by a third party company called Checkr (the same company used by Uber and Lyft).
When you consent to the background check, you agree to the Disclosure and Authorization terms:
You will have to wait a little bit for your background check to come back. It isn’t instant. The timeline ranges – some Redditors report that it takes less than a day while others say it takes up to two weeks.
The other piece of information you’ll need to provide is your bank’s routing number and your account number. All payments to drivers are made via direct deposit right into your account.
When your background check is approved, you’ll get an email from DoorDash with the results. If you’re accepted, they will invite you to schedule a time to attend orientation.
DoorDash orientation takes place either online or in-person at one of their home offices, depending on where you live.
If you go into one of the offices, the orientation will be a rundown on everything you need to know to be a successful Dasher. They also give you the option to purchase DoorDash gear but you do NOT need to.
If your orientation is online, you simply need to watch a few videos about the delivery process.
It’s not rocket science, and many Dashers have reported that no orientation was required at all.
This is an example of one of the beginning Orientation slides.
You have to complete orientation before you’re able to start driving. If you think you might miss it, you can reschedule it at any time on the app. However, you can’t drive a shift until the orientation step is complete.
When you’ve completed all of the steps above, DoorDash will send you an Activation Kit in the mail. This kit contains some t-shirts, a hot bag, and the Red Card. Now you’re ready to start driving!
It’s generally pretty easy to become a DoorDash Dasher, but there are a few requirements the company maintains for all its drivers.
To driver for DoorDash, you must:
The DoorDash background check is pretty straightforward and typical of other background checks.
Background problems that will get you disqualified from DoorDash:
DoorDash doesn’t even require that you have a particular kind of vehicle. It’s dependent on your local laws. You could drive a car, or a scooter, or a bicycle. In some cities, if you’re fast on your feet, you can even walk.
DoorDash is a great option for people who don’t have a nice car because they don’t have any cosmetic requirements. As long as your car operates and you have all the necessary documents (valid driver’s license, insurance, etc.), you’re good to go.
So, if you wanted to drive for Uber or Lyft but can’t meet their vehicle standards, DoorDash could be a great option for you.
The only thing they really require is that you tell them what car or vehicle you are driving on the job. You can change vehicles or modes of transportation (i.e. switching from bike to car or vice versa), but you must notify DoorDash when you choose to do so.
This is for your safety and so that customers and (in unforeseen events) law enforcement can identify you.
Related: How to Become a Drizly Driver
When you want to change vehicles, just go to the “Update Vehicle Info” tab.
There’s one vehicle requirement for bicycles. You have to have a basket to transport the food.
DoorDash could be a great option for people who lack access to a car. However, even those who live in densely-packed cities might find themselves walking too far and cutting into their final paycheck.
DoorDash is up and running in more than 300 U.S. and Canadian cities. In some cities, like Fort Worth and San Jose, it’s the most popular food delivery service available.
If you want to be a Dasher, you have to live in one of those cities or be able to get there in order to work. DoorDash provides a list of cities where DoorDash is available – check it to see if DoorDash is available near where you live.
Dashers can switch cities too. So, if you go on vacation or you’re a digital nomad, you can earn extra money when you’re on the move. People always overspend on vacation but DoorDash delivery drivers have a way to make up the difference!
You can only work in one city at a time, but since you can’t be in two places at once, that makes sense. To switch your Dash city, all you have to do is notify DoorDash customer service that you’re working in a different city.
DoorDash is expanding rapidly. In a recent blog post, they predicted that they would triple the number of DoorDash cities by the end of this year. It’s not wishful thinking – they’ve got $535 million to back up the claim.
So, if DoorDash doesn’t operate in your city right now, there is a huge chance that they will in the future!
As side-gigs go, DoorDash is an excellent option. If you strategize well or do it in addition to another side-gig, you could conceivably quit your day job.
Here are some of the perks:
The short and sweet version of a Dasher’s job (which is covered in detail during orientation) is to provide on-demand delivery for people who order food through the DoorDash app.
One key difference between some competitors is the DoorDash allows Dashers to schedule shifts (Postmates recently stopped offering shifts and Uber Eats never had shifts to begin with).
Some Dashers work the same set of hours every week and schedule their shifts ahead of time. Other Dashers pop in whenever they have a few hours to fill. DoorDash is cool with either option.
When Dashers are ready to work, they use the Dasher app to check out available deliveries in the area. When Dashers start their shift, they log onto the delivery app and then drive to the area where they most want to deliver.
To help Dasher’s find buys areas, the company published a list of their busiest areas to help drivers make more money.
When an order comes in, Dashers are notified through the Dasher app. It will tell them to go to the restaurant and pick up the food. When the driver arrives at the restaurant, they transfer the food to a “hot bag” to keep it hot in transport.
Then they pay. Some orders are prepaid and some are paid for with a Red Card. The Red Card is a card that looks like a credit card and is issued by DoorDash. The money used on the Red Card comes from DoorDash, not out of your pocket.
Once the food is in hand, the rest is easy: drive to the customer, call them up, and drop off the food.
It depends on the area, the time of day, and the size of the order. At a minimum, a delivery is $1.00 plus tip. While that sounds low, but when you consider how much people tip, it adds up quickly – and you get to keep 100% of those tips.
It’s always up to you whether or not you want to pick up an order. DoorDash knows that and wants to make all orders worth your while. If an order comes in that isn’t very big, DoorDash increases the amount you can make on it to make it fair.
When you see the available jobs in the app, you will see a guaranteed amount of money you will make on that order. If you make the delivery and the $1 plus 100% of the tip don’t reach that guaranteed amount, DoorDash makes up the difference with a Pay Boost.
DoorDash also ups the delivery fee during prime time hours when orders come in rapidly. Drivers who work during busy hours (usually at lunch and dinner) get increased pay called Busy Pay. These drivers tend to make the most money.
In the event that DoorDash promises you extra money for a delivery and you don’t make the underlying guaranteed amount, you bump your pay up to the guaranteed amount and give you the extra cash promised on top of that.
It is important to note that like most delivery and rideshare jobs, Dashers are independent contractors. That means drivers are responsible for all of their expenses.
DoorDash runs incentive programs and bonuses from time to time. Right now, they’re offering a signup bonus. They also sometimes run challenges in which Dashers try to achieve milestones for bonus pay.
DoorDash is now working to offer more perks like affordable health insurance access. This is huge because health insurance is something gig workers struggle to get.
They can also get you a discount on Everlance so that you can track your mileage and write it off your taxes.
It’s not hard to become a DoorDash Dasher. The loose vehicle requirements make it much easier than some other gigs. As long as you can pass the background check and carry some food, you should be good to go.
The benefits are numerous: you make your own schedule, work when you want to for as long as you want to, you’re not tied to one place or one city, and how much you make is up to you. It’s a job with freedom.
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.
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.
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.