7 min read

    7 min read

    Is it still worth it to drive for DoorDash in 2020? Senior RSG contributor and Dasher pro Dash Bridges shares his DoorDash driver review of how DoorDashing has changed over the years, and what you can expect as a Dasher in 2019.

    I started Dashing in September 2015. Do you realize how long ago that was? Our country was immersed in ‘Straight Outta _____’ memes. Kids demanded us to watch them both whip and Nae Nae. Alabama sat at #2 in the college football AP Poll after an upset loss in a bowl game. Oh well, not everything changes.


    Regardless, I’m now in the cagey old veteran stage of my dashing career. I’ve been working for DoorDash for almost 5 years! I’ve completed thousands of deliveries and hundreds of shifts.

    In the past, I’ve written about the differences between Dashing now vs. Dashing then. So to add a fresh wrinkle to the subject, let’s break up my DoorDash driver review into 1000-delivery periods and compare the numbers. There are a few trends to discuss.

    Ready to sign up for DoorDash? You can sign up using our DoorDash affiliate link here.

    Hourly Earnings Trends with DoorDash

    Below, you can see my completed DoorDash deliveries broken out into roughly 1000-delivery increments, rounded to the closest dash. I delivered my first 1000 orders in just over a year, averaging $20.99/hour.

    I don’t say that as an anti-corporate rant! When establishing the brand, they needed to earn customer loyalty by providing a good experience. They likely made many decisions favoring Dasher availability and incentives to support demand, damn the cost.

    A couple of takeaways from my experience: other than a recent bump, which I’ll explain later, my hourly earnings are slipping. I’m as good and as focused a driver as ever, but the money isn’t there like it used to be. After several years experimenting with a variety of test payment and incentive programs, DoorDash knows where to save on labor costs and boost their bottom line.

    For example, in early October 2016, with the SF Giants and the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs, and nightly Trump/Clinton election fireworks, TV viewing was at a local high. We had a week where several hours each night DD guaranteed $20-$25/hr earnings. If you didn’t earn that amount through regular deliveries + tips, DoorDash would guarantee the rest.

    Can you expect those trends to come back, now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and an election year? I’m no Magic 8 Ball, but if I had to guess, I’d bet on DoorDash becoming more profitable for drivers in the near future, not less!

    Sign up to drive for DoorDash here.

    On their actual website, DoorDash breaks down earnings by area you live in. Go to this link and click on your city to see how earnings are for you. In the Minneapolis area, this is what they say about pay: “Delivery pay is calculated as $1 + 100% of tip + pay boost. The pay boost amount will vary based on a variety of factors including the complexity of the order, distance to the restaurant, and orders you place yourself.”

    Similar to Uber and Lyft, DoorDash offers added incentives during peak times to encourage their drivers to get out and deliver when they are needed most.

    Get In, Get Out: The Case for Quick Dashes

    One reason my earnings popped back up to $19.49/hr over the last year is that I’m driving more often for less time. It took me 228 official dashes (shifts) to reach 997 deliveries, vs. 178, 132 and 162 going backwards.


    Ready to sign up for DoorDash? You can sign up using our DoorDash affiliate link here.

    DoorDash Changes the Pay Structure in Late 2019

    In November 2019, DoorDash significantly changed the way drivers are paid. In sum:

    • 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.

    Is Doordash still worth it? 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.

    My First 100 DoorDash Assignments

    I kept detailed notes of my first 100 assignments in the new system to see if Doordash is worth it. I knew I’d have to decline a lot more orders (low paying ones in particular).

    100 Assignments: The Stats

    doordash driver pay

    Prior to the new system, I had a 92-95% acceptance rate.

    More takeaways from these orders:

    DoorDash’s average base payout was $4.79. Discounting one strange $25.20 payout for a modest order (glitch?), the base payout averaged $4.52.

    • 29 of 78 deliveries included peak pay bonuses.
    • 33 of 78 deliveries (42%) included a greater tip than DD base payment
    • 23 of 78 deliveries (29%) included a greater tip than the total DD payout (base + bonus)
    • 13 of 78 deliveries had a $0 tip.

    Only 7 of 100 assignments were completed deliveries with $0 bonus and $0 tip. I kicked myself for accepting a couple of them, as they ended up being time-wasting duds. The point is, DoorDash doesn’t plan to pay you a living (or minimum) wage. You need bonuses and/or tips to earn enough to remain afloat!

    Additional Notes About the New DoorDash Pay Structure

    • Customers now have the option to tip (or add to their tip) for a couple of hours post-delivery. It’s great if you fancy yourself as a Dasher who might earn additional tips for your outstanding service. On the other hand, someone might withhold their tip until after delivery, then either find disappointment or forget, and tip $0. Apparently tips are added without text or email notification. In my 2+ weeks of Dashing in the new system, I’m not aware of any customer who tipped extra.
    • Dash earnings are up to date! In the past, at least on my iPhone 7, your daily earnings were always one order behind. After three $6 orders, it would say you’ve earned $12. Now, it displays the full $18. Anyway, it’s a long-term bug fix. Thank you, DoorDash coders!

    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    My delivery frequency, which is calculated as time dashing / completed orders, remained relatively consistent over time. DoorDash has an excellent ability to keep its labor supply and demand in good balance. It would probably increase back to 1.9/hr or higher if, as I suspect, DoorDash hadn’t expanded their map of available restaurants.

    Here in the compact suburbs of Silicon Valley, I’ve always determined a ‘reasonable’ delivery distance as 10 minutes (without traffic) from the restaurant to the delivery. In the first couple of years, I’d usually have a 7-10 minute drive, sometimes inching up to 12 minutes or more for the infrequent deliveries up in the hills. Here are three consecutive deliveries from one night recently:

    No traffic. No unusual circumstances. It’s not like my deliveries were for the lone Greek-Bolivian fusion restaurant in Northern California. It was sushi, burgers, and Indian food. There are numerous choices of each within a smaller driving radius that wouldn’t detract from a customer’s options. It’s unnecessary and annoying.

    Heaven’s Kitchen

    Finally, I want to give a shoutout to the restaurants in the area. Restaurant wait times, the bane of my dashing existence, dropped significantly over the years. The DD-restaurant systems must be better. The staff is more experienced. Many locations have specific pickup stations for delivery services. Most of them are impressively efficient. Boston Market installed this in their locations:

    Pretty cool, right?

    Those are some of the differences between 2020 and 2015. While I enjoy dashing, it’s getting to be a bit of a drag. So I’l leave it up to you if you think Doordash is worth it. God help me if I submit an article 5 years from now talking about how I’m consistently driving 35 minutes to deliver a pizza. You have permission to pry my warming bag from my cold, dead hands!

    For sample-sized dashing fun, you can find me on Twitter @DashBridges. Ready to sign up for DoorDash? You can sign up using our DoorDash affiliate link here.

    Drive safely, everyone!

    Do you have questions about DoorDashing, then and now? Do you think Doordash is worth it still? Let me know in the comments below!

    -Dash @ RSG

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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!