Are you a DoorDash driver?
Did you sign up to drive with the app after seeing an ad that promised you could make at least $1,000 every week while choosing your own hours?
Forget $1,000 — are you now struggling to earn even $100?
If so, you’re not alone.
Plenty of people who become independent contractors for DoorDash, otherwise known as “Dashers,” are under the impression that they can earn a living as full-time employees when they sign up to drive for DoorDash.
These ads can be seen all over cities like Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C., Nashville, Indianapolis, Houston, San Antonio, and Charlotte — all promising the same thing.
The company, after all, says that drivers can “bring home the bacon” as a Dasher.
Of course, it doesn’t usually work out that way. Between gas, taxes, low tips, and high delivery fees, most DoorDash drivers are left struggling to make ends meet at the end of their shift.
But, this isn’t always the case. There are a few people who make at least $700 a week driving for DoorDash.
To do that, however, you have to work hard. And you have to work smart, too.
There are a few simple things you can do to minimize your expenses and maximize your profits to make money with DoorDash.
Although they take some time and effort, you’d be surprised at how much money you can earn.
We’ve listed a few tips below. Take a look:
Memorize Your Delivery Area
The better you know the area you deliver in, the easier it’s going to be to drive around, and subsequently, complete more deliveries.
If you don’t know the area, you’re going to waste a lot of time driving down the wrong streets and turning around, mainly if you live in a busy city like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, or Atlanta.
Getting familiar with your city will also help you to learn where you can (and can’t) park. That way, you’ll be able to hop out and make your deliveries with ease.
Of course, the more you drive around during different times of the day, the more you’ll learn about traffic patterns. And, if you can bypass traffic by taking a different route, you’ll be able to deliver more food and spend less time stuck behind other cars.
One way to avoid this issue is to use a trusted GPS app like Waze. Waze is a popular alternative to Google Maps.
Whereas Google usually gives you the quickest route (or the route with the shortest distance), Waze accounts for traffic and lets you know the most efficient route depending on the time of day.
It updates in real-time, too, so you can always be sure you’re getting the best directions.
This app is great because it’s always altering your route to get you to your destination as quick as possible. Because of this, using it may take you down streets you wouldn’t have gone down otherwise, which can help you become more familiar with the area.
Decline Out-of-the-Way DoorDash Orders
One of the biggest mistakes that newbie delivery drivers make is taking every order that comes to them.
If you do this, you’ll end up wasting valuable time on orders that don’t pay very well.
Instead, you should assess the value of the order (in dollars) against the distance you have you drive, and the time it’s going to take you to complete the order.
For example, if you’re offered a $5 order where you have to pick up the food at a restaurant three miles away and then drive four miles in the opposite direction, it may not be worth it for you (especially if there’s heavy traffic).
When it’s all said and done, you’ll probably end up losing money in the end.
So, we’d recommend declining an order like that and waiting for a closer, better-paying one to come in.
We understand that it gets slow sometimes, especially in suburban areas, and that there may be moments where you’re happy to get an order. In those cases, it might be smartest to take work when it’s available.
But, during rush periods, only take deliveries that are close by and that you can knock out quickly before moving onto the next one.
Grab Your Rain Jacket (and Snow Boots)
This is for our readers who live in places that experience all types of weather.
If you want to bring in some extra cash as a DoorDash driver, you should be prepared to work similar to a mail carrier in that you’ll be making deliveries in all kinds of weather.
After all, people hate leaving their house in the rain or snow when they don’t have to.
So, it’s likely that you’ll get more orders during inclement weather — especially if people have the day off of work due to snow.
Remember, all DoorDash drivers work on their own time. Therefore, you’ll probably find that a lot of Dashers take the day off when given the opportunity because they don’t want to go outside either.
On rainy or snowy days, you might find that there are way more orders to deliver AND fewer people to compete against.
Of course, it’s important to stay safe, so don’t push yourself too hard. It’s quite dangerous to rush around in icy weather or get too much exposure to freezing temperatures.
But, as long as you’re dressed for the weather and your vehicle can operate in less-than-desirable conditions, inclement weather could be an excellent opportunity for you to make some extra money.
Take Advantage of Guaranteed Minimums
DoorDash offers a “guaranteed minimum” incentive to encourage Dashers to work when they’re needed most.
During the times when a guaranteed minimum is offered, DoorDash drivers will be paid a certain amount even if they don’t complete enough orders to earn that amount.
In other words, if you work during one of these periods and your total pay for that shift doesn’t meet the guaranteed minimum, DoorDash pays you the difference.
Typically, they offer this incentive for a few hours during lunchtime and dinnertime.
The exact period varies from city to city and may even change each day.
To get the guaranteed minimum payment, you must work for the entire peak period.
For example, if the city’s peak hours are 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM on Wednesday afternoons, you must work for that entire two and a half hour period to receive the promised payment.
If you log-on to the Dasher app too late or too early, you’ll get paid as if it were a standard shift.
Furthermore, you must accept 90% of the deliveries offered to you to keep your acceptance rate high. So, you can’t just log in for the shift, reject every order, and expect to get paid. The guaranteed minimum amount varies depending on where you live.
But, some Dashers claim that the minimum in their city is between $9 and $10 per hour.
Compared to the $5 per hour rate that some report making, $10 per hour is a pretty solid rate.
Stay on Top of Televised Event Schedules
When there’s a big event on TV, you can be sure that your Dasher app will flood with orders.
If people are getting together to watch an event like the World Series, the Oscars, or the season finale of a popular TV show, it’s likely that they’re going to order some food to enjoy while they watch.
And these days, a good percentage of customers use an on-demand food delivery app like DoorDash to place their orders.
During last year’s Super Bowl, for example, nearly 14% of all customers who ordered takeout used DoorDash to place their orders.
Given the fact that the average Super Bowl customer spent roughly $105 on their order that night, you can imagine that those Dashers were probably pretty happy (and well-tipped!).
So, it’s crucial that you plan your schedule around events like this. If your local team is in the championships, you’ll probably see an influx of customers.
It’s a bummer that you might have to miss the game for work, but it’s a surefire way to boost your earnings for that week.
Utilize the Hotspots Feature
The most successful DoorDash delivery drivers limit themselves to a small radius that they refuse to leave.
That way, they can always be sure that they’re moving quickly from one order to the next. And they cut down on their gas expense for the shift, too.
Typically, these Dashers build their routes around a “home base,” or somewhere that has a cluster of favorite restaurants nearby. This could be a mall, a plaza, or a busy street with many restaurants and bars.
If you take note of these places, it gives you ample spots to return to whenever things get slow. That way, you’ll be in a convenient location when the next order comes in.
Luckily, DoorDash makes it very easy for you to choose a good home base by providing a “Hotspot” feature in their app.
Mainly, this feature lets you know where the best place to wait for orders is, which can help minimize your actual wait time.
Hotspots, or areas that get frequent orders are marked with a red and white flame icon on the DoorDash map.
If you park your vehicle near one of those locations, you’ll probably find that orders come in much more frequently.
Don’t Take Late Orders!
Occasionally, DoorDash will offer you an order that is running late if you aren’t currently in the process of completing an order.
It happens due to a variety of factors — the restaurant is backed up, another delivery driver logged off during the middle of the delivery, a delivery driver forgot their Red Card, etc.
Unfortunately, you’ll never know why the order is late. BUT, you should avoid these orders at all costs.
Again, don’t touch them with a ten-foot pole.
If you receive an order at 9:00 PM that was supposed to be delivered at 8:00 PM, it means a customer, who is probably upset (and hungry), is still waiting for their order.
They may have already called the DoorDash office and complained, but they’re still waiting for their food.
Now, this customer doesn’t know that you received the order an hour after its estimated delivery time.
So, when you show up with their meal, they’re going to assume that it’s your fault the order is late.
Of course, the customer is probably not going to tip you very well. And if we had to guess, they aren’t going to leave a good review, either.
Therefore, no matter what DoorDash does to compensate them for the mistake (i.e., credits, refund, etc.), you’re ultimately going to be the one that suffers. And it wasn’t even your fault!
Bottom line: Pay close attention to the estimated food delivery time and reject anything that you won’t be able to deliver on time.
Making Money on DoorDash is Tough, But Not Impossible
As with most ridesharing and food delivery service jobs, the key to being a successful Dasher is efficiency.
In other words, you have to move as quickly as possible from one order to the next.
If you want to make the most money possible as a DoorDash driver, you’ll have to work quick, smart, and often.
By mapping out your territory, knowing which orders to take, and working during the optimal times, you may be able to earn more money than you’re making right now.