There’s a lot of great money to be made doing food delivery for DoorDash. Many gig workers do DoorDash to earn a little extra cash on the side, or to consistently earn full-time wages of at least $500 every week.
Five hundred dollars a week works out to a little more than $2,000 a month and can be a nice stream of cash. While that figure might sound out of reach, the $500 figure should be more than attainable for a motivated DoorDash driver — even beginners.
This article will break down what you need to know to earn $500 or more every week gigging for this popular food delivery service app. We’ll cover how many deliveries you’ll need to make, completion and acceptance rates, finding the best neighborhoods, and more.
How to Make $500 or More a Week with DoorDash
Here are 6 proven ways to consistently earn $500 or more per week driving for DoorDash.
1. Work in the best areas
To maximize your earnings, make sure to work in the best parts of town. These are typically busy areas with lots of trendy restaurants and popular chain restaurants too. During peak hours — lunch and dinner — high dollar-amount orders with high tips are more common.
The best areas to DoorDash aren’t necessarily the ones with the most restaurants. Rather, they are densely populated areas where a number of restaurants are close to customers’ homes. This will minimize your driving time and maximize your earnings.
Working in these areas during busy periods will help you increase the number of delivery requests you get and are able to complete, and also your tips and total earning potential.
2. Prioritize weekends
People dine out or order in meals more often on the weekends. If you want to make $500 or more a week during DoorDash, this will mean making yourself available Friday evening through Sunday. Even the Friday noon lunch rush can be lucrative because if there’s one day of the week that workers will order lunch in at the office it’s typically Friday.
Busy times over Friday and the weekends are typically 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch orders and then 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the dinner rush. Many drivers also make nice money by working the after-bar rush too, if you’re willing to pick up a night-owl shift for extra money.
On the flip side, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally slower days for food delivery apps. If you’re planning to make a full-time go of DoorDash, these may be the best days to take off work or to work other freelance side hustles you may have going on.
3. Think like an entrepreneur
With the DoorDash app, think of it as your own business. And in a way, it is. You’re hustling for yourself as an independent contractor. DoorDash is just the mechanism to get work and clients.
This means you need to be mindful of how you spend your time. You want to work smarter, not harder, and be as efficient as possible with your time to make the most money.
- Track expenses like mileage, gas, and vehicle wear and tear.
- Keep track of DoorDash pay for tax purposes.
- Be smart with cashouts. You’ll want to minimize instant payouts, called DoorDash Fast Pay because there’s a $1.99 instant fee for each instant cashout. This may not sound like a lot of money, but if you cash out once a day five times a week that adds up to $517.40 a year. DoorDash will pay you weekly, via direct deposit to your bank account, for free.
- Make sure a delivery is worth your time. Target an hourly rate you want to earn. If an order will take 55 minutes to complete and pay you an estimated $7, it isn’t worth it. (That’s less than the federal minimum hourly wage.)
- Make sure the driving time is worth it. A lot of drivers like to make sure they can earn at least $1 for every mile they drive — if not a little higher given the steep gas prices. (Right now, the IRS standard mileage rate is just over $0.65 per mile)
- Know how many hours you need to work to profitably meet your weekly or monthly earnings goal.
4. Take advantage of any bonuses, peak pay, or guaranteed earnings incentives
DoorDash frequently runs incentives and promotions to offer you added pay or guaranteed earnings.
As an example, DoorDash has run bonuses in the past where it guarantees drivers at least $500 in total earnings for making at least 50 deliveries in the week. So if you had made 50 orders and earned $400 — from base pay and total tips — then DoorDash would kick in an extra $100 free for you to meet the minimum.
Peak Pay will give you the opportunity to earn an extra amount of money for making batched orders or single-order deliveries during periods of increased demand, like Saturday lunch hours. Peak pay is commonly an extra $1 to $3 more — added to base pay — for a particular window of time during a defined delivery zone or zip code.
DoorDash will let you know about Peak Pay and other earning incentives via email or text alert. Make sure that you opt in to receiving these notifications. At times, it can be higher.
5. Cancel orders when you must
Don’t be afraid to cancel orders. If it’s an order for a popular restaurant that you know is always running late or it’s a $5 order for a lot of driving, then it may not be worth your time.
This can also mean keeping track of restaurants you want to avoid. You can base this on your own experience as a courier and feedback from other drivers. Reasons to decline certain restaurants orders may include:
- Orders are frequently wrong (i.e. meat cooked to the wrong temperature) with customers complaining and then leaving less or no tip.
- Restaurants are slow and you spend a lot of time waiting in the lobby for the food.
- Requires you to go through a busy drive-thru to pick up the order.
- No (easy) parking to pick up the order.
- The restaurant is inside a shopping mall and may require 10-20 minutes of total walking to retrieve the order on top of drivetime.
- The restaurant cannot directly receive DoorDash orders through the DoorDash app. This means you must place the customer order at the restaurant, pay for it using a special DoorDash credit card (you are issued it as a driver), and then wait for the food to be cooked.
When you factor in fuel costs plus wear and tear to your car (which is currently pegged at a little over $0.65 per mile), you want to make sure that a delivery will pay you enough to make it worth your time. If a $5 order requires 9 miles of driving, you would actually be losing money. To break even, you’d need to earn at least $5.89.
To figure out what the break-even is for gas and wear to your car, take the total miles you’ll have to drive to complete the order (distance to the restaurant to the customer’s house and back to your starting point) and multiply it times $0.655.
That formula looks like this:
Total miles you have to drive X 0.655
Total miles you have to drive X 0.655
Here’s a cheat sheet for you to see the minimum pay needed to break even for deliveries that take 5 to 20 miles of driving:
|Total Miles to Complete Order||Minimum Pay Needed to Break Even (After Gas and Vehicle Wear and Tear)|
So if you were to take an order paying $12 that required 20 miles of driving, you would actually be losing $1.10 after you factor in gas and vehicle maintenance costs.
You could gamble that this customer will leave you a generous tip, but it’s risky. You need to be selective about the orders that you take.
While you do need a high acceptance rate to be in the Top Dasher program, most drivers see little economic gain from this recognition. You don’t earn any more base pay for being a Top Dasher and don’t necessarily get any better orders.
6. Use multiple apps
Using multiple apps, called multi-apping, will help you maximize your earnings. It’s a common practice by many gig workers and a very lucrative hack.
Many Dashers drive for both Uber Eats and DoorDash at the same time, switching back and forth between both apps to cherry-pick the best orders. You could even do three food delivery apps — Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub — at the same time.
Make sure you’re careful about how you juggle all three of these apps. It’s best to just take one delivery at a time instead of trying to make multiple deliveries for multiple apps within one trip. You don’t want to lose track of an order or be late delivering it — your tips and ratings will suffer.
Many DoorDash delivery drivers also talk about working for Instacart, Shipt, or Amazon Flex too. While you can work multiple gigs, you cannot work those grocery delivery gigs simultaneously. With those grocery apps, in particular, you have to commit to just one work gig at a time.
Since you shop and deliver orders, each order will take longer – but this also means you’ll earn more per order! Plus, you may be able to take advantage of Instacart's guaranteed earnings promotions that rotates through regions.
Is DoorDash Worth It?
Based on the DoorDash drivers I’ve talked to and the earnings that Dashers make — shared on salary boards, driver forums, and review articles — probably yes.
DoorDash drivers can make upwards of $20 to $25 an hour when you factor in tips. If $20 to $25 an hour is a meaningful figure, then you will probably find DoorDash a worthwhile way to make extra money — either as a part-time income or a full-time job.
But if you already have a full-time day job paying $50K a year, DoorDash may look less appealing. It’s all about your personal financial goals.
But as side hustles go, being a DoorDash driver is an easy one to break into. If you’re 18 or older, you need a driver’s license, a reliable vehicle, and the ability to pass a background check to start earning as a Dasher.
And DoorDash is one of the few jobs that lets you earn money and cash out the money within the same day — no waiting until a week from Friday to get paid. You can cash out immediately using Fast Pay. While we discourage this because of the $1.99 fee, if you really are in a jam it can come in handy.
Keep in mind that $20 to $25 an hour is available in some markets. In some areas, hourly earnings fall within the $15 to $20 an hour range.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to make $500 on DoorDash?
At an average hourly wage of $17.58 an hour, it would take 28.44 hours of work to make $500 through DoorDash. This would likely require 3 to 4 days if you worked only the lunch and dinner hours.
There are some Dashers who have completed $500-day DoorDash challenges. These drivers start early in the morning for the breakfast rush and work all day (12+ hours) and are able to earn $500 within one day.
This requires being strategic with the orders they take (high-paying orders and quick, low-paying orders), knowing the best delivery zones, and a willingness to shift to different zones throughout the day, and being in areas with lots of chain and local restaurants.
How much can you make with DoorDash in 3 hours?
You could earn $52.74 to $75 for three hours of driving for DoorDash.
- At an average of $17.58 per hour x 3 hours, that works out to $52.74.
- At $25 an hour (the higher end of what drivers make) x 3 hours, you would have $75.
How do I get a higher-paying order on DoorDash?
According to a DoorDash driver support article, Dashers with higher rates of order acceptance will have Priority Access to higher-paying orders.
Based on current criteria, Dashers must average a rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) and an acceptance rate of at least 50% to get Priority Access. And Dashers with acceptance rates above 70% will get even “more priority for high-paying offers.”
High-paying orders are not necessarily reserved for Priority Access, but drivers with the first right of refusal will see all orders (before non-priority drivers) and may have first dibs.
A diamond icon in the app is used to designate higher-paying orders. This means the order will pay more than the total dollar amount that is shown — because of any customer tip that drivers cannot yet view.
Can I sit at home and wait for DoorDash orders?
Yes, you could sit at home and wait for DoorDash orders to come in, however, this is not the most lucrative strategy. To earn the most money, you need to literally position yourself in the right areas.
Look for densely populated neighborhoods that are within a few miles of popular restaurants and eateries.
What pays more: DoorDash or Uber Eats?
Uber Eats may pay a slightly higher hourly wage than DoorDash, however, it has fewer delivery opportunities. DoorDash has a much larger market share, covering over 7,000 cities.
Really, it can come down to a coin toss in terms of hourly earning potential. The market you live in, more than the specific food delivery app, is what will determine how much you can make.
Some DoorDash orders do take longer to complete because you will need to place the order at the restaurant (for some restaurants, not all) and wait for the order to be prepped. However, you 3can learn which restaurants these are and decline those orders if you wish.
DoorDash does offer enough deliveries for most drivers to work full-time if they wish. For Uber Eats, drivers typically need to switch between food delivery and Uber rideshare in order to get full-time hours.
Can You Make $500 per Week with DoorDash?
It’s very possible to make $500 a week with DoorDash working only 20 to 30 hours a week.
As far as food delivery apps go, DoorDash is one of the highest-paying gig apps you’ll find. It offers the potential to work 40 hours a week or more and earn up to $20 to $25 per hour when you factor in tips. It also boasts some nice Peak Pay and referral bonuses.
Ultimately, the $500 sum is very achievable. But how long it takes you to reach the $500 will depend on your local market and your experience with the app, knowing what orders to jump on, which ones to decline, and the best parts of town to work.