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.
After signing up to become a DoorDash driver, what comes next?
This post will walk you through what to expect when driving for DoorDash.
What Does a DoorDash Driver Do?
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.
How Much Do DoorDash Drivers Make?
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.