12 min read

    12 min read

    DoorDash Pay: How Much Do DoorDash Drivers Make?

    One thing everyone wants to know: How much do DoorDash drivers make? Before we get into that, a few things you must know: every DoorDash city will be different! However, for the most part, you’ll make the most at lunch, on weekends and on Sundays all day.

    Below, I’ll break down what a typical DoorDash shift looks like so you’ll know what to expect. I’ll also cover how much I made delivering for DoorDash.

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    DoorDash not as popular in your city? Try these other delivery options:

    • Postmates – similar to DoorDash but more popular in other cities
    • Instacart – primarily for grocery delivery, although you can also be a shopper (and not have to do delivery!)
    • Caviar – usually higher end delivery opportunities – aka more tips!
    • Uber Eats – very popular in almost every city, easy to get started with

    DoorDash Pay & DoorDash Review

    Your DoorDash pay will depend on a variety of factors, including where and when you deliver. However, DoorDash drivers can expect to make between $12-18.

    I have covered DoorDash tips and tricks before, mostly talking about what it’s like overall being a DoorDash courier. However, below I wanted to go in-depth on what it looks like to be a Dasher and what DoorDash pay is like.

    Want to be a DoorDasher? Learn more about DoorDash and DoorDash orientation.

    I’ve been dashing for several years now, and in this time, Dasher earnings have changed dramatically. I’ll cover how much money you can make driving for DoorDash below, with a few caveats.

    doordash pay

    How Much Do DoorDash Drivers Make?

    The Dasher market is always local. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, customers have high disposable income (good), a tight labor market (good), and a culture that embraces techy things like ordering delivery through your phone (good).

    I imagine that our area is one of the highest-earning markets for Dashers, if not THE highest.

    Our area is busy enough that I can ‘Dash Now’ — spontaneously sign into a region – 99% of the time. Apparently, around here there’s ALWAYS a need for a few extra Dashers.

    There are other US markets where Dashers need to schedule their shifts several days in advance in order to secure a slot. It would make sense that those areas would earn somewhat less than what we’re making.

    As such, even though DoorDash drivers can on average expect to make $12-18, I consider a successful shift here in San Francisco to be $20 an hour.

    How Much Can You Expect to Earn Delivering with DoorDash?: How Much DoorDash Delivery Drivers Make

    In 2019, DoorDash said average DoorDash driver dasher pay would be $18.50 per hour. However, from talking to DoorDash couriers and our own experience, we’d say the average earnings for DoorDash drivers is $12-18 an hour. 

    It’s a tough to question to answer either way, because how much you earn depends on where you drive!

    If you’re driving 20 minutes to pick up food with DoorDash and then 20 minutes (whether due to traffic or to sheer distance) to deliver, you’re likely only going to be able to accomplish 1-2 deliveries an hour. This cuts into how much you can make delivering with DoorDash!

    This is why I highly recommend DoorDashers who do not live in compact cities only take the highest paying orders they can. You can’t guarantee the tip you’ll get, but at least you can somewhat control how much you may earn.

    On the other hand, DoorDash drivers we’ve spoken to recently have noted earnings are going up. This is probably due to one major, new event: coronavirus.

    You’ve probably heard, but the coronavirus is here and is affecting drivers. People aren’t just magically becoming cooks overnight – many people are doubling down on ordering, and DoorDash (and more of the best gig jobs) are capitalizing on that demand.

    Right now, there’s no better time than to sign up for DoorDash and get started dashing.

    How DoorDash Pay is Calculated

    doordash driver pay

    DoorDash driver pay is calculated as follows: base pay + promotions + tips = earnings

    Base pay ranges from $2-10 depending on the following factors: time, distance, desirability. Deliveries that are less popular with Dashers, for instance, will have a higher base pay.

    Promotions give drivers an opportunity to earn more, but aren’t guaranteed for every order. When it’s busy, peak pay could be in effect, which means you’ll earn more money on each delivery.

    Tips are pretty self-explanatory: you keep 100% of the tip a customer leaves.

    Can Dashers Earn $18.50/Hour?

    I wanted to see if I could earn what DoorDash claimed, $18.50 an hour, in one of the most profitable cities for Dashing: San Francisco.

    I had some good shifts, and some bad shifts too. Let’s add them all up:

    Yikes! $16.59/hour. This is less than DoorDash’s statement in 2019 and, remember, we’re in the Bay Area people! We know the Bay Area is one of the top-paying markets so I just don’t see how an average of $18.50 per hour is feasible.

    However, YOU don’t need to Dash at 6am, nor at 11pm. So let’s look at my own earnings from January – that early Friday, May 3 shift listed above.

    Ahhhh, that’s more like it. $20.50/hr. I’ll take it. It’s not a living, but it’s okay for some extra cash.

    One more note: All things being equal, I strongly encourage you to work during the bonus periods. Watch what happens if I delivered without earning bonuses:

    $14.79/hr. Unacceptable! Similar to how drivers should only drive during surge or other bonus periods, Dashers should do the same. Work at lunch. Work at dinner. Work sports and Sundays. Work when they offer bonuses. It adds up.

    Salary/Income: How Much Do DoorDash Drivers Make?

    In the experiment below, I decided to DoorDash on Sundays – typically a higher earning day to Dash. In total, I spent 6 hours making 12 deliveries. I made a total of $143.76 ($72 in delivery fees + $71.76 tips).

    My pay came out to $23.96/hour.

    I made nearly as much money in tips as I did in fees, which is rare. Thank you, wealthy people of Silicon Valley! That’s a good Sunday Dash!

    Doordash earnings statement

    Doordash pay: How much money I made


    Above is a table of all my Sunday deliveries. In my first year of Dashing, I averaged just over $18/hour in December, easily my lowest-earning month. So this Dash and my $23.49/hour on Thursday, 12/1 was a pleasant surprise. I received some high-dollar orders and good tips, but I was surprised by the short wait times.

    The Wait (mins) column in the above table is DEAD time that kills productivity. Sunday’s orders averaged a 2 minute wait and throughout last week, I only had one 10-minute wait in 21 deliveries. There’s no way to prevent or avoid restaurant waits. They happen or they don’t. I’m a good Dasher, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

    Changes to DoorDash Driver Pay

    In 2019, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu announced a major change to the controversial Dasher payout program. I wrote about the anticipated changes to driver pay here. Throughout September, DoorDash began implementing their new pay system in markets across the US. It finally reached Northern California on Monday, September 23.

    There is a new era upon DoorDashers, and it’s not all bad news.

    In summary, here are the changes:

    • DoorDash’s per-order minimum contribution increases from $1 to $2.
    • DoorDash will not ‘level up’ payment for poor tips.
    • Tipping allowed after delivery completion.
    • Better compensation for longer deliveries.
    • Exact DoorDash contribution + tip (combined) listed before order acceptance.

    With this new DoorDash pay structure, it’s all been laid bare. You know exactly what you’re going to make per order. No hopes and dreams (or disappointment) of an above-guarantee surprise. Even busy period bonuses are added to the initial acceptance screen.

    I find the new payout system both cold and refreshing. The beginning is (and has been) a shock, when Dashers see appallingly low corporate value placed on a delivery, and customers fail to tip.

    It’s OUR job as Dashers to tell corporate and customers that, no, we won’t spend 15, 20, 30 minutes on an order paying $3.00. We’ll reject it and wait for the next one. Who’s going to deliver that $3.00 order? I don’t know, and it’s not my problem.

    The laws of supply and demand will find a balance. If no one accepts low-paying orders, guaranteed payments will increase. Conversely, if Dashers start earning $25/hr., more drivers will log on and orders will thin out. This harsh transparency of these upfront payouts is, in a way, exactly what we wanted and asked for. Transparency.

    That doesn’t mean we’ll like what we see.

    Costs Associated with DoorDash

    DoorDash driver expenses, if you use a car and not your feet or a bike, are similar to Uber driver expenses. They include:

    In addition, you may be subject to taxes depending on how much you earn. DoorDash views Dashers as independent contractors and not employees, so make sure to check out our rideshare taxes guide to learn what you need to prepare for at tax time.

    Why Do People Like Driving for DoorDash?: Pros of Driving for DoorDash

    People enjoy driving for DoorDash and other food delivery companies for the same reasons they like driving for Uber and Lyft:

    • Flexibility – What other job will let you earn money whenever you want?
    • Opportunity – DoorDash and other food delivery companies don’t have a lot of requirements, nor does it typically take long to get approved. You can be out earning in a week or less – what other job can say that?
    • No need for a car – With many food delivery companies, you can deliver on foot or with a bike.
    • Ability to earn a ton of money quickly – If you’re willing and able to put in the hours and hustle, you can earn a lot of money driving for DoorDash and other companies. Check out how this Lyft driver earned over $4,000 in one week.
    • Contactless delivery – Even before COVID-19, DoorDash and other food delivery services are pretty interaction-free. If you prefer to not talk to your passengers, food delivery is great!
    • Ability to bring along family members – A lot of Dashers dash with family – either kids in the car or with a spouse to maximize drive time. I even did it as a ‘date night’ with my girlfriend! It’s not the worst way to spend a date 🙂
    • Quick pay – Need to make $50, $100 or more in a day? Drive for DoorDash and use Fast Pay to cash out the same day.

    Cons of Being a Dasher

    While there are a lot of positives to driving for DoorDash, there are a few downsides, including:

    • Parking fees and parking in general – Depending on where you Dash, finding a quick space to park and pick up your food (or deliver it) is a challenge. It’s easier if you make more suburban pickups and deliveries, but I know for a fact DoorDashing in San Francisco is a challenge!
    • Scheduling – Not every time is going to be a good time to Dash, and good hours to Dash can get competitive.
    • Reliant on tips – As with most gig company jobs, your DoorDash earnings are reliant on tips.

    How to Earn More as a DoorDash Driver

    We do have some strategies for how you can earn more than the average Dasher. While the pay algorithm for DoorDash has become more opaque in the last year, you can still beat out the average and earn more by following these tips:

    • Only accept large orders – tipping is based on the percentage system, so a bigger order should naturally net you a bigger tip. You can be picky up to a certain point – use it wisely!
    • Drive during big nights – is there a big game going on in your city? A huge television event, like the Grammys? Have we discovered another Game of Thrones that enthralls the whole country? Those are your money-making nights (you can always record the game/event for later!)
    • Drive strategically – much like how being a good rideshare driver depends on knowing where to go, being a good DoorDash courier and earning more than the average courier depends on you driving efficiently. I personally don’t take certain restaurant orders because I know parking is horrible – I’ll have to park and walk to pick it up, taking huge chunks of my efficiency. Pass!
    • Use multiple apps – the most successful Dashers aren’t just Dashers – they’re Uber Eats drivers, Postmates couriers, Instacart shoppers and more. Be a mercenary when it comes to earning money – take the biggest, most profitable orders from any company and turn off the others until they start earning you more!
    • Plus, you can save money using cash back apps

    Here are even more DoorDash tips and tricks, including information about maximizing your tips and more!

    Drive safely, Dashers!

    Have you started driving for DoorDash yet, and what has been the most successful driving day of the week for you?  If you’d like to sign up for DoorDash, please click here.

    -Dash @ RSG

    Related DoorDash articles:

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    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!