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8 min read

    8 min read

    Amid the recent news of DoorDash tipping and pay to couriers, DoorDash’s new Community Council may have been overshadowed. RSG contributor and Dasher extraordinaire Dash Bridges shares what the Dasher Community Council (DCC) is, how to become a DCC member, and suggestions for the DCC when it meets.

    For those of you outside of the food delivery game, here’s a quick update: DoorDash is ROLLING. Recent industry news shows that in November 2018, DD overtook Uber Eats as the 2nd most popular (by sales) food delivery service. Then in May, with a 32.0% overall market share, it surpassed GrubHub to go #1. That same month, it was revalued at $12.6 billion.

    doordash

    Furthermore, in past days news emerged that Postmates is exploring a sale. Potential buyers include none other than DoorDash itself. As expected, the food delivery segment of the gig economy is consolidating, and DoorDash is rising above the rest.

    I’ve been delivering for them since 2016 and have noticed a lot of changes to driver pay and how they assign orders, so if you’ve thought about giving DoorDash a try, now’s a great time to sign up to be a Dasher!

    You can read more about the sign up process and what it’s like to be a Dasher here.

    Of course, it’s not all short delivery distances and generous tips for DoorDash. #1, they’re not profitable. #2, or rather #5 is AB 5, the California Assembly bill which proposes classifying gig economy participants (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, etc.) as employees instead of independent contractors. This reclassification would grant drivers new protections and benefits unavailable in the current system. These employee benefits include overtime pay, workers’ compensation, minimum wage, parental leave, etc.

    Among other expenses, do you think DoorDash wants to reimburse me $4.25 ($0.545/mile) for THIS ridiculous 7.8 mile, 19-minute delivery?

    No way! To be honest, I’m more annoyed by the 19-minutes than the 7.8 miles. Either way, DoorDash doesn’t want that obligation.

    DoorDash Recognizes the Need for More Transparency

    Not coincidentally, on June 27 DoorDash CEO Tony Xu posted this blog entry. We analyzed the blog post and upcoming changes to DoorDash policy here. In it, he described the company’s efforts to “continuously listen to and collect feedback from all members of our community,” which in this case is corporate-speak for online surveys.

    The first section of his blog was dedicated to the survey results of Dasher priorities, which were rankings of various well-known desired improvements to the Dasher experience. If you aren’t a Dasher, you may not recognize some of them.

    Dashers, however, are well-aware of all the topics. By a significant margin, the two biggest priorities were: 1. Make earnings more transparent (i.e. show pay breakdown) and 2. Make longer-distance deliveries more worth their while. (Note: Higher pay was NOT provided among the options, because of course that would be Dashers biggest priority!)

    Sign up to become a DoorDash courier here.

    The DoorDash Community Council

    Somewhat deeper in the article, Xu announced the creation of a Dasher Community Council, or DCC. He explains it by saying, “DCC members will help shape DoorDash’s future by testing new product features and acting as a sound board for ideas. The DCC also helps strengthen the Dasher community by voicing community concerns and planning community-building events.”

    In a subsequent email, this group was described as a ‘diverse group of nine volunteer Dashers who will advise on key issues.’ The initial group will have this status for six months, which includes an all-expense paid trip to DoorDash’s San Francisco headquarters for a kickoff event in late July.

    To apply, active Dashers needed these eligibility requirements as of June 26, 2019:

    • Customer rating of 4.7 or higher
    • Completed 500 deliveries
    • Completion rate of 90% or higher

    DoorDash provided a link and a week to apply for the position. The application consisted of these four questions:

    1. Why would you like to join the Dasher Community Council?
    2. We’d love to learn a little bit about you. What is your unique story and what motivates you to keep dashing?
    3. As a DCC volunteer, you will help represent the voice of the Dasher Community. How do you currently connect with the broader Dasher community?
    4. What are some ways you would suggest we work together to build a stronger Dasher community?

    Common Among Major Players

    The idea of a driver-based voice isn’t exactly new. Uber runs a group called the Driver Advisory Forum and Lyft has their own Driver Advisory Council, although Uber’s was more of a one time thing in 2018 and Lyft’s has been ongoing and quite in-depth.

    What can we expect from the council? I’m sure Dasher reps will see a little razzle dazzle and warm welcome from corporate. There will be lots of smiling group photos that will make their way into blog posts and press releases. After all, this is a great PR opportunity. Once through the pleasantries and platitudes, I’d expect roundtable discussions, visits from C-level executives for fireside chats and direct question-and-answer sessions. And lots of furious notetaking from mid-level staffers.

    To be clear, this IS an outstanding opportunity for Dashers to give thoughtful, valuable feedback to people who can do something with it. I know that DD corporate employees make deliveries from time to time, but the folks making 20, 50, 100 deliveries a week notice things that others can’t. You’d be shocked at what infrequent Dashers don’t notice, big and small. How your Dasher field knowledge is utilized by corporate, well, that depends on how seriously Dashers present their observations and how much weight DoorDash chooses to place on this feedback.

    There’s at least one precedent for success. After an outcry from their Driver Advisory Council, Lyft cancelled a promotion called Taco Time, which allowed late night riders to request a trip through Taco Bell. Members of the Lyft DAC cited the minimal upside and an infuriating time suck/mess potential. How did that terrible idea get a green light? As it turned out, the promotion was designed by a team who never drove for Lyft.

    Suggestions for the Dasher Community Council

    If I were part of the Dasher Community Council, I’d recognize that pleading for higher pay is a) obvious and b) a dead end. I don’t expect base pay to increase anytime soon. However, I DO think there are inefficiencies that lead to wasted time, longer turns, fewer deliveries and less pay. Here’s what I might bring up:

    1) Get the app to work 24/7/365.

    2) The amount of time spent on outages, crashes, non-responses and freezes is exceptionally high. Work screeches to a halt, and once the app comes back online, customer support is overwhelmed.

    3) Notifications for multiple orders.

    4) Most Dashers agree that multiple (two orders close to one another) or stacked (two orders from the same restaurant) are serendipitous. It eliminates a dead ride. BUT, if you look at an order and think it’s not worth it, you may decline it, not knowing that another one was potentially right behind it. If there’s a way to notify Dashers, “Confirm this order and we’ll confirm a 2nd one immediately after”, that will decrease declines and create order efficiency.

    5) Vigilant menu upkeep

    6) A sure way to kill your Dash momentum is to arrive at a restaurant only to learn an order isn’t ready because a menu item doesn’t match the item in the app. You call the customer to alert them of the issue, and the customer asks about other options and replacements. What a mess. Dashers need DD operations or account reps to maintain accurate menus to eliminate these delays.

    7) Region switching

    8) Dashers sign into certain regions and tend to stay within them. Sometimes an order will take a Dasher several miles into a neighboring region. Once the delivery is complete, the Dasher needs to drive several miles back into their given region to pick up their next order… all because DD sent them somewhere regionally-inconvenient. What if the app suggested/asked if the Dasher would like to proactively change to the region where they’re currently located? They could receive most convenient orders ASAP.

    None of these suggestions involves paying us more money per delivery. They all involve increased efficiency so we can deliver orders more quickly.

    Imagine if Dasher Community Council suggestions lead to a total time savings of six minutes per hour. Isn’t that like a 10% raise? So instead of Xu’s stated current average earnings of $17.50/hr, wouldn’t we streamline ourselves into making $19.25? That’s the goal we share. We all want to make more money. As a grizzled, veteran 15-20 hour/week Dasher, I’m hopeful both sides will take this opportunity seriously.

    Did I apply to the DCC? Heck yeah! If I get in, I’ll discuss as much as I can without violating the NDA we inevitably sign. If YOU get in, I want to hear about it! DM me through Twitter. Confidentiality respected.

    Did you apply to the Dasher Community Council? Why or why not?

    Interested in becoming a DoorDash delivery driver? You can sign up to become a DoorDash courier here.

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    -Dash @ RSG

    Dash Bridges

    Dash Bridges

    Hey! I'm an independent contractor in Silicon Valley working Door Dash as a side hustle to my day job. I sincerely enjoy my work as a Dasher, but let there be no doubt, I am here to maximize earnings!

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