Hey everyone, Dash Bridges here to give you an insight into the life of a DoorDash driver. One of the reasons why I first signed up to do food delivery was because I wanted a gig to work during the slow rideshare times. It turns out that Sundays are the busiest day of the week for delivery drivers and today I will walk you through a typical Sunday delivery session including details about how much money I made.
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Doordash Pay & My Experience
Last week my editor suggested I bring readers with me on a doordash shift, describing what a Dasher does on a specific night and how much money you can make. In previous articles I’ve talked about maximizing dashing efficiency, and I’ve reviewed a year’s worth of job data. Those are all high-level reviews. Today, let’s focus on a single shift. I kept detailed records of my two Dashes last week, and I’ll cover my Sunday experiences in a running diary format. Let’s go on a Dashalong, if you will. So hop in and let’s get to it!
A Day in the Life of a Dasher
Sunday, December 4
4:46 p.m. – I always Dash on Sundays. Based on my own data, it’s the most lucrative Dashing night of the week. Lots of large orders for family dinners. Minimal traffic. Optimism abounds on Sunday nights. I’m scheduled to start at 5 p.m., but I’m within the boundaries of my chosen region (Palo Alto/Redwood City) and have the ability to sign in immediately.
4:47 – BOOM. Right away I receive a $58 (approximate customer meal value, average is about $25) order for Kara’s Cupcakes. Specifically talking about the restaurant pickup portion of the job, cookie/pastry shops are near the top of the list. The food is likely packaged in a convenient bag or box, i.e. no waiting. It doesn’t smell up my car. It’s not temperature sensitive. It’s more package delivery than food delivery. On the bottom end of the scale we have restaurants where we have to manually place orders, creating a built-in wait (I’m looking at YOU, Five Guys and Starbucks!), smelly/leaking food and spillable fountain drinks.
4:48 – Sushi House order in the same shopping center. Perfect start!
4:54 – Begin the juggling act… I tried to grab the sushi first, but it wasn’t ready yet, so I had to walk around this large outdoor mall to find this pasty shop I hadn’t picked up from before. As expected, the cupcakes were ready immediately. Now do I drop off them off, or wait for the sushi? Check the map to the customer’s house. Nope, 9 minutes each way. Too far. I put the cupcakes in the car and go back to Sushi House. Based on the app, I’m supposed to deliver the cupcakes first but the sushi customer texted twice to ask about delivery status. Both orders have similar promised delivery times, so I reverse the delivery sequence on my app and drop off the sushi first, then go the half mile to deliver the cupcakes. Traditionally, I average 30-ish minutes per order. I’ve already completed two good-value deliveries in just 42 minutes!
6:11 – $37 medium-sized pasta order. Medium-distance but, looking at the map, I can see the delivery is up in the hills towards Hwy 280, meaning I’m going to climb up these steep hills. I might lose cell service up there, which would freeze my app updates. I’ll have to drive over 10 minutes to get to a deep residential area, and another 10 minutes to get back to civilization and close to restaurants. Can be a momentum killer. Kind of a toss up whether to take it or not. Ehhh, I’ll take it.
6:39 – Completed that order in 28 minutes. Now to drive back down the hill. I’ll call it a wash.
6:50 – Yesssss, just received instructions to pick up an order from Spasso, which is across the street from an existing order at The Cask. But wait, where did the Spasso order go on my app? I accepted it. I had it. Now it… disappeared. Did I get it? Did I lose it? I don’t know. The Dasher app does this sometimes.
7:08 – After picking up from The Cask, my ‘missing’ Spasso order reappears. I walk across the street and pick up my order. Love these stacked orders (i.e. two pickups in very close proximity)!
7:35 – Looks like the next one is for Little Madfish, a convenient restaurant on the main street. Just let me click ‘Accept Order’ and… ‘Accept Order’. ‘Accept Order.’ Hey, it’s not giving me the order. The 60-second acceptance timer continues to count down and I’m. Trying. To. Accept. The. Order. I quickly close the app and turn it back on. Nothing. I click it. Slide it. Nothing. The timer runs out. AHHHHHHHH, DAMN YOU FLAKY APP! YOU COST ME AN ORDER!
As all Dashers will tell you, the app can get slow and unresponsive during peak ordering hours. Usually, the app sends an order notification both through the app and through a text. They arrive almost simultaneously, but other times the text comes through and you wait several minutes before the actual order appears. If you’re having a busy shift and you don’t receive orders for 10-15 minutes, sometimes you SUSPECT the app is down. It can mess with your head. “Hey, is the app working? Is it mad at me?” It’s totally frustrating.
In this particular case, it’s like when a flaky computer suddenly freezes or blue screens. You just have to kinda restart it and move forward. Or in this case, simply wait for the next order. Many Dashers complain about the app issues negatively affecting their acceptance metrics, but in my experience it doesn’t happen enough to hurt your scores.
7:38 – Good news, the app seems to be working again! New order for Thaibodia, accepted immediately. As it happens from time to time, this customer asked that that I simply leave the food at the front door. No doorbell or knocking. As a customer service and covering-my-butt move, I always place the food on the front step and then text a photo to the customer. Like the photo on the left.
8:43 – $16 order for Starbucks. I don’t know about this one. Quick assessment. Pro: Night is slowing down. It’s been 13 minutes since my last delivery. When will the next one come? Con: Small order. Have to place order myself and wait for it. Long delivery drive. Drinks can spill. I take a risk and decline it. Survey says?
8:55 – Ehhhhh. I waited another 12 minutes for my next order. Night has slowed to a crawl.
9:02 – While I’m picking up my P.F. Chang’s order and get a second P.F. order as I’m walking out. Usually great news, but the restaurant host tells me the order just came in. It’s gonna take 15-20 minutes. Hmmmmm… I decide to leave with the first delivery, knowing I have another one lined up.
9:56 – 16 minutes after my 2nd P.F. Chang’s delivery. We’re starting to circle the drain here. Now a $36 fast food order. UGH! Do you know how messy a huge fast food order can be? How many drinks? How complicated a drive through order might be? With great reservation, I just decide to go for it.
10:18 – Good decision. No spills and done in 22 mins.
10:47 – After a final order that took me past my 10:30 shift end, it’s time to sign out. Hot start. Slowed down at the end. 6 hours. Overall, it FELT like a good night. I’ll guess I exceeded my $20/hr good-night threshold. Survey says:
Salary/Income: How Much Do Doordash Drivers Make?
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!
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.
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