Are DoorDash orders getting worse? Why else would a Top Dasher reject 10 straight DoorDash delivery requests in a row? RSG contributor and DoorDasher extraordinaire Dash Bridges covers how the January DoorDash slump almost broke him below.
As Dashers go, I describe myself as a Company Guy. Although I don’t wear branded gear, I carry a warming bag, dress appropriately, and send ETA/update texts. I also default to accepting orders instead of declining them. Over the last several months, my acceptance rate remained around 80-85%, which is higher than the average Dasher.
When I dash, my personal goal is to make $20.00/hr, which I break down to $1 for every three minutes required to complete. For instance:
For the above Chipotle order, I tried to determine if it will take me 18 minutes (3 mins x $6.00) to complete. I saw that it’s one menu item at a restaurant located right next to my parking location, and the delivery is only 1.5 miles away. I was confident I could complete it in my timeframe, so I accepted it.
Recently, I’ve felt that orders have been pretty lousy. Looking back on it, I was right.
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DoorDash January Slump
From Jan 2-25 (you can’t count New Year’s Day, because everyone’s hung over and watching football and the whole day is a deliver-fest) I earned $853.63 in 45.2 hours ($18.89/hr), which is a little light but not entirely unexpected.
January is a bad Dashing month for a couple of reasons:
1) People are broke from overspending during the holidays
2) New Year’s Resolutions often include increased home cooking or healthier meals
3) San Jose State University didn’t start classes until the 21st , which could mean additional Dashers were vying for orders.
But finally, a couple of Sundays ago, my DoorDash orders finally broke me. After a few hours of meh earnings on a traditionally good night (Grammys were on TV), I received a couple of lousy orders and declined them.
Then a couple more.
Then a couple more. It was ridiculous! I took a few screenshots. Here are some examples:
How could I ever finish this order in nine minutes? I’ve completed a nine-minute order no more than ten times in 5600 deliveries. My mantra for a $3.00 order: Only accept it if you’re already at the restaurant…and the customer is ALSO at the restaurant.
Here are more examples. On the surface, $7.50-8.00 is an average payout. However, these orders travel 7-8 miles, and it’s via slow city streets, not freeway.
Furthermore, these deliveries send me deep into different dashing regions, meaning I’d need to drive a couple of miles back into my region before receiving another order.
Do you think I can go to the restaurant, pick up the order, drive to the customer, drop it off, and THEN drive back into my region in 22-24 minutes? No way. Decline.
Finally, after realizing I declined TEN (10!) straight orders, I called it a night and went home.
Is DoorDash Trying to Break Dashers?
“Hey Dash, I decline orders all the time. Who cares?”
Point taken! Unlike poor customer ratings or completion rates, Dashers cannot be deactivated for low acceptance rates. Of course, there’s an incentive to keep your acceptance rates high: Top Dasher status.
Around the time DoorDash revised its payout policy, it also instituted a system called Dasher Rewards. This program provides benefits for Dashers who qualify.
This monthly certification allows you to a) sign into any region at any time, and b) receive priority when orders are slow. Basically, more opportunities to earn money. Qualifications can change, but for now, they are (based on the previous month):
- 4.70 customer rating
- 95% completion rate
- 70% acceptance rate
- 100 deliveries completed last month
- 200 lifetime deliveries
I’ve kept Top Dasher status for all 5 months it’s existed, but acceptance rate is the most difficult to maintain. How am I (or anyone) supposed to maintain a 70% acceptance rate and make any money accepting orders like this?
We all know the algorithm assumes the customer will tip a few bucks, and calculates that into its own payout.
For dismal orders like these two, it’s pretty clear the customer tipped either $0 or very close to $0.
After paying a delivery fee and the 11% service fee, this person doesn’t have enough money to throw in a couple bucks for tip? With all due respect, sir, pick up your own tea!
Clearly I’m not alone in this observation!
Should Dashers Refuse to Take These Lousy Orders?
As a member of the larger Dasher community, I feel these orders don’t respect Dashers’ time and I can’t reward the system by accepting them. It will only encourage a race to the bottom.
And please, shed not a tear for the customers. These orders will get delivered. Once a Dasher declines, DD sends it to the next available Dasher until someone accepts. If no one does, they’ll tack on a dollar or two and send it around again. The invisible hand always finds the intersection of labor and wages.
There’s really no disincentive for DD to start at a rock bottom amount other than a few extra minutes for the customer to wait. The key is to know the top DoorDash tips and tricks so that you don’t get stuck with the low-paying orders.
That’s not to say I’m too good for a small order if it makes sense. Check this one out:
I received this order from a well-known restaurant that almost always has orders ready to go. I saw that the destination was nearby, and it was during a period of minimal traffic.
I thought I could knock this one out in 12 minutes (3 mins x $4.00). I completed the order in 10 minutes, 2 minutes ahead of my $20.00/hr goal. I’d highly prefer two $10 orders in an hour, but I can tolerate five $4 orders if I must.
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What Happens When a Dasher Declines Too Many Requests
Back to my January quandary: Due to the deteriorating quality of orders offered, my acceptance rate dropped into the 60s.
On January 31st, I only had a couple of hours available. With my acceptance rate sitting at 68%, I knew I had to accept everything to raise my rate to 70%. You can probably guess what happened:
Walmart! 74 ITEMS! Although there was no way I’d finish that order in 23 minutes (even with items pre-bagged), I had no choice but to accept.
With a $2 tip added post-delivery, I earned $9.84 for 40-ish minutes of work. I accepted the next three offers through the remainder of my available time and ended up with….
Still 68%. I didn’t make the cut. The next day I received this email:
Because I’m no longer a Top Dasher, I can’t dash at any time, nor will I receive priority offers when it’s slow. I guess I have all of February to see if these benefits actually matter. Maybe I should go the opposite way and only accept the best of the best orders and see how it shakes out.
Drive safely, everyone.
Dashers, how do you feel about Top Dasher status? Is it important in your city?
-Dash @ RSG
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