Is it still worth it to drive for DoorDash in 2021? 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 Doordash Driver in 2021.
- Is it worth it to drive for DoorDash? Yes! DoorDash drivers are making $20-25/hour
- How do you sign up to be a Doordash driver? Click here!
- There are strategies to earning more! Drive on the weekends and during dinner hours
- DoorDash couriers are busier than ever due to COVID and more people eating in – depending on your city, expect to receive multiple orders
I have been driving for DoorDash for over 5 years now, and in that time I’ve learned enough to be able to answer the question: Is driving for DoorDash worth it? While the answer to that question has ebbed and flowed over the years, I can say with certainty now: It is worth it to drive for DoorDash in 2021.
I’m going to go through the DoorDash sign up process, my strategies over the years and the best strategy for 2021 and on, plus how to boost your ratings and ways to earn more through promotions and more.
Ready to sign up for DoorDash? You can sign up using our DoorDash affiliate link here.
Think now’s not the time to sign up and Dash with DoorDash? Think again! Here are 7 DoorDash Tips to Make Money During the Pandemic:
DoorDash Goes Public
DoorDash recently went public on the stock market to a lot of fanfare. Around the same time, Dashers who had been on the platform for a while or had accomplished a certain, high number of deliveries, were greeted with the following news:
Wow very cool of dd! https://t.co/QhVQGTBLgR
— Harry Campbell (@TheRideshareGuy) December 9, 2020
Yes, that’s right – DoorDash sent this driver $500 to celebrate the over 5,000 deliveries he had made. Is this DoorDash showing appreciation for the hard work of their drivers, which helped lead them to a successful IPO? Could be – and it could be a good sign that DoorDash recognizes the work drivers do.
This is another great reason to sign up for DoorDash now!
DoorDash Sign-Up Process
DoorDash has a similar process to many on-demand companies, but they actually have looser requirements than a lot of the rideshare companies.
DoorDash Driver and Delivery Partner Requirements:
- 18 or older
- Any car, scooter, or bicycle (in select cities)
- Driver’s license number (only if you’re using a car to drive with DoorDash)
- Social security number (only in the United States)
- Final Step: consent to a background check
- You’ll need a smartphone for this job!
DoorDash Sign Up Bonus
There’s a driver sign-up bonus if you apply with a referral from an existing driver. For instance, fellow RSG writer Paula found that in the Minneapolis area right now, there is an offer to earn $100 extra after completing your first 200 deliveries within 60 days (note: these sign up bonuses are subject to change).
On the other hand, if you’re a DoorDash driver in Minneapolis, the referral amount you could earn is significantly more. For referring someone, at the writing of this article, the existing Dasher could earn an extra $1,500 when the person they refer complete their first 200 deliveries within 60 days of applying.
My Experience Signing Up for DoorDash
In the past, DoorDash orientation was a lot more in-depth! Nowadays, it’s pretty easy. After you submit an application, choose a driver orientation (all online) and complete the app/get approved, you’re ready to go!
I was interviewed by Harry on my experiences driving for DoorDash – listen to the podcast episode here: RSG054: Dash Bridges on Delivering Food For DoorDash
Depending on how quickly you go through the orientation, you can be on the road within a week, max two weeks.
Here’s a preview of what you can expect using the DoorDash driver app: How to Use the Doordash Driver App: Guide & Tutorial For New Dashers in 2020
In the past, DoorDash orientations took place in person, depending on where you lived. Now, they will all be online.
Here’s what you’ll need to know about DoorDash orientation:
- Order an Activation Kit: Request an Activation Kit to be mailed to you so completing orientation in-person is no longer necessary.
Hourly Earnings Trends with DoorDash
Wondering what DoorDash drivers made in 2020? It’s a busy market right now, but can you really make $20-25 an hour?! We break it down below: Doordash Earnings 2020: Can You Make Between $20 And $25 An Hour!?
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.
In 2019 and early 2020, I saw my earnings slipping due to more drivers and lower overall pay. That trend has reversed because of COVID – while overall pay may be lower, it’s overshadowed by demand – which keeps earnings up.
Can you expect that trend to keep up, considering there’s no current end in sight for this pandemic? 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!
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.
Driving for DoorDash in 2021 and Beyond
We interviewed several drivers about what it’s like driving for DoorDash in late 2020, and what their predictions are for DoorDash in 2021.
According to driver Mike P., the only downside of driving for DoorDash is not having enough time! As he says, “the problem with DoorDash is you can only make so many trips due to grocery and restaurant wait times!”
Mike is currently earning $21 an hour with DoorDash, which is “the best earnings by far in a long time” and 75% of his earnings come from DoorDash. Mike diversifies with other food delivery services, too.
Another driver, William L., reached out to us to say he only drives for DoorDash during lunch and dinner hours. He stated he “consistently makes $20-22 an hour” and he only accepts orders if he’s getting paid $1 per mile. At the moment, he says DoorDash pays better than Uber and Lyft – a consistent comment among most drivers we talk to!
Finally, a recent Gridwise study confirms grocery (and in conjunction, restaurant delivery) with increased earnings after the pandemic hit the US:
The average earnings per trip on a grocery delivery trip was a whopping $22.39, compared to rideshare’s plummeting $10.61 an hour.
Driving for DoorDash in Detroit, MI
Interested in becoming a DoorDash courier in Detroit? According to DoorDash drivers in Detroit, DoorDash couriers earn $20-29 per hour, depending on when and where to drive. Keep reading for our best strategies to increase your DoorDash earnings, but Detroit drivers say driving during the peak hours (Fridays, Saturdays and dinner hours) are key to higher earnings and better tips.
Driving for DoorDash in Philadelphia, PA
Considering becoming a DoorDash driver in Philadelphia? DoorDash couriers in Philly say they earn $20 – 25 per hour, and that’s not even counting peak pay! DoorDash drivers in Philadelphia recommend driving on Fridays and throughout the weekend, avoiding toll roads as much as possible, and staying close to downtown to earn more.
Driving for DoorDash in San Francisco, CA
Want to drive for DoorDash in San Francisco? DoorDash drivers in San Francisco report earning $21-30 per hour, not including tips! Drivers in San Francisco recommend driving during the weekends, and dinner hours, to earn more and to also communicate with your customer, especially if their order is running late, to increase tips.
The 10 Best Tips & Tricks When Delivering for Doordash: Increase Your DoorDash Driver Earnings!
Over the years, I’ve collected data on my Dashing experiences. In addition, I’ve also paid attention to what drivers out there are experiencing, and from all that info, I’ve put together the top tips every DoorDash driver should know below.
Check out even more ways to earn more with DoorDash in the video below: 5 Things New DoorDash Dashers Should Know to Make More Money
1) Turn Orders!
Some food delivery companies pay an hourly wage to their drivers, regardless of order quantity. DoorDash is delivery-based. The more deliveries I make, the more payouts I collect. Therefore, I need to turn orders, and turn them quickly. Get to the restaurant. Get the food. Deliver food. Repeat.
Historically, I’ve averaged 1.8 deliveries/hour. Knowing this, it’s my goal to average two deliveries per hour, or 30 minutes each. Here are some ways I compress my delivery times in order to squeeze in an extra delivery or two per shift.
2) Dash When It’s Busy
I dash when it’s busy. Even during the coronavirus, this is still true. Reader Joe told us he’s making $25 an hour driving for delivery companies, including DoorDash. Right now, he says the busiest times are still lunch, dinner and the weekends.
Remember though, Dashing has a number of variables specific to YOUR metro area.
All of my experience is in Silicon Valley, which has high discretionary income, very tech-savvy, and an insane work culture, which all affects the volume of orders throughout the week, month and year.
3) Know Where You’re Going
Driving the wrong direction to a restaurant or a customer’s house is a huge waste of time. When I started dashing, in my hurry to begin my drive to my next destination, I’d get in the car and start moving before I knew my exact directions. Too often I’d realize I’m going the wrong way.
Then, depending on traffic or other factors, I can’t get on the right road, or I’m stuck on the freeway without an exit for two miles, and it’s just a frustrating, self-inflicted waste of time.
Now, I take an extra 30 seconds before starting my car to review my route and read any additional customer instructions, i.e. “my building is closest to the entrance at the corner of Oak Street.”
I encourage you to trust Google Maps. Take the route it suggests, then when you’re within a block, go back to the Dasher app and check their map. It’s extremely precise and will often distinguish between buildings within an apartment complex.
Speaking of which, apartment complex directories are your friend! DON’T hop out of your car and just start looking. You wouldn’t believe the strange logic of some building numbering systems.
Not sure about Google Maps vs Waze? We go over the pros and cons of both: Google Maps vs Waze: Which One Is Better For Lyft & Uber Drivers?
4) Find Creative Parking Spots (for informational purposes only)
I practice ‘creative parking’. In popular downtown locations, parking can be a bear. I’ve been known to bend local parking laws in order to get a convenient spot. Loading zones, red zones and ‘parking for customers of XYZ company only’ are all spots that I consider when parking. If the spot is questionable, I’ll flip the hazards on when I leave.
Right now, some cities are making downtown parking free (or free for 10 minutes) to encourage people to pick up with local restaurants. If this is true in your city, then you’ve just scored!
Also, I want to clearly state that I DO NOT park in accessible spots nor in private driveways. It’s one thing to take a risk with parking illegally, it’s another thing to be a bad citizen. If I look nearby and still don’t have a legal-ish option, I’ll cede the nearby parking lots to the masses in favor of parking farther away and walking the extra distance. Often, walking from a further spot is faster than circling. Plus, exercise is good for you.
5) Tips Per Delivery
This subject has become somewhat more tricky in recent years. When I started, the pay system was very straightforward: flat fee + tip. Prior to acceptance, your order would look like the below screenshot. You knew you’d earn the flat $5-$6 fee, plus the customer tip.
Since I first started Dashing, the way Dasher pay is calculated has changed a little bit. It’s more straightforward:
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.
Bonuses are flat amounts placed on top of other earnings and offered during some peak times and locations. They’re never entirely predictable, but they typically fall into heavier times of the day, lunch (11:00am-1:30pm) and dinner (5:00pm-9:00pm).
Sometimes they pop up spontaneously, to encourage Dashers to get out and work. And sometimes they’re promoted in advance, so you can schedule your shifts.
7) Practice the Art of the Selective Decline
When you accept your DoorDash order, you’re committed to it AND you’re unlikely to receive additional orders until you’ve completed the order. Each time you receive a DoorDash order request, the app tells you the restaurant, guaranteed earnings, order value and your current distance to the restaurant.
It also provides a map showing your location, restaurant location and delivery location as well as a 90-second timer for you to decide if you want to accept or decline the order. So when does it make sense to decline DoorDash delivery orders? Let me break it down for you:
- Time and distance – how far is this from you right now? How much is it offering?
- Location – will this put you in a better location to get more delivery requests?
- Ease – is this a large order and do you have the ability to accomplish it? There’s no shame in not wanting to deliver 5 bags of food and 8 sodas to someone if you’re not comfortable with it!
Reader Joe also endorses the method of selection declining – while you’ll want to accept all deliveries during peak times and drive in bonus zones, you definitely want to focus on higher paying deliveries and efficient driving. You’ll still want to save money on gas, after all, so take requests that are closer to you in order to minimize driving.
8) Dash when it rains… or during a heat wave, or cold snap
People naturally want to stay indoors in bad weather, and are happy to pay for the privilege of doing so. Put on a jacket, grab an umbrella and get out there!
9) Drive for DoorDash during sporting events
Dash during live sporting events, particularly involving your home team. While this tip is less useful right now, people are still staying at home, binge-watching TV and preferring to order in vs. going out. This is especially true on the weekends and Friday nights!
10) Make sure you’re using cash back apps!
Use cash back apps – save money on gas, groceries, and other purchases using these popular cash back apps. Cash back apps don’t seem, at first, to be part of a DoorDasher’s repertoire, but trust me – they come in handy when you’re out looking to save money on gas, meals out, and more.
The DoorDash Rating System
Why is the DoorDash rating system so important? Basically, ratings help determine if you can drive for DoorDash! They also help you qualify for special programs and incentives on the DoorDash platform.
You can be deactivated from the DoorDash platform if your rating falls below a 4.2.
Here are a few specifics to the DoorDash rating system:
- 1-5 scale (5 being best)
- Average of your most recent 100 ratings
- Ratings under 4.2 subject to deactivation
- No direct feedback received
If you Dash, you have your own score, which looks like this:
Looking for ways to improve your DoorDash rating? We go over 5 ways to improve your DoorDash customer rating here:
Can You DoorDash with Someone Else in the Car?
In short, yes, you can DoorDash with someone else in the car! Most people use someone as a ‘runner’ (the person who gets out to pick up the delivery and make the delivery) and someone is the driver. The driver can circle the block if necessary while dropping off the runner to avoid paying for parking downtown, and the runner can get in and get out without wasting time looking for parking.
The Benefits of Tandem Dashing
Convenience! I was dropped off in front of the restaurant and never had to walk more than a few yards to either an established parking spot or pickup. My pickups/drop-offs were more efficient and I didn’t have to stop and start my car twice per order.
Let’s not understate the social benefits, either. I got 3.5 hours of uninterrupted conversation time with the Dash Gal. We don’t normally get that much time together. We both have kids. Some of us have jobs. We have responsibilities. It was pretty great to have some talk time while earning some $$$.
The Drawbacks of Tandem Dashing
The tandem Dash requires more communication than you might think. Typically I do all the customer communication and navigation myself, and I have a system that works for me. I turn on a podcast, adjust my phone holder and laser beam onto the job at hand. That routine gets upended when it involves another person.
We’ve all played navigator and relayed instructions to a driver, but typically that’s for a single destination. During this dash I did it 14 times (restaurant and residence for 7 orders) over the course of 3.5 hours with someone who, justifiably, doesn’t want to talk hardcore dash strategy. It gets old.
DoorDash Bike vs Car
If you want to DoorDash with a bike vs. a car, there are a few things to note:
- You’ll deliver shorter distances
- It will be more dangerous
- If you’re using an ebike, your battery life will limit shift length
- You’ll earn less!
Some additional challenges to delivering on an e-bike:
- Orders are typically smaller at lunch because people often order only for themselves
- Shorter pay peak periods
- Driving in the rain or snow is dicey!
On the other hand, some pros of Dashing on a bike include:
- Not paying for gas
- Not given huge orders that are hard to manage, or are very far (helpful if you want to stay in a particular area or Dash on your lunch break)
- No car needed!
- Don’t have to stress about finding a parking spot
After all was said and done, my earnings were as follows:
If you’re earning $1.78 less per order and you’re trying to get two orders per hour, it’s significant. In addition to the reduction in earnings by using an e-bike vs a car, you’ll also find these cons (and one pro!).
If Dashing With an E-Bike, You’ll Want These Items
- A phone clip. Similar to a window or dashboard clip in your car, you MUST use a handlebar clip. You absolutely do not want to fish your phone out of your pocket while you’re riding along a busy street.
I don’t have any specific brands or styles to push, but something from Amazon here will do the trick.
- A towel. I keep one in my car, and it served me well on the bike. I use it to fill space in the surprisingly cavernous delivery bag. The goal is to reduce food movement inside.
In conclusion, I’m not giving up my Prius anytime soon. My comfort level is highest when I’m in the seat of my car. Of course, my experience may have been different in a more densely populated area. Also, if I was a more seasoned city biker, I might have fared better. Thankfully, there are others who prefer using a bike, and I shall cede the short orders into their care.
DoorDash Promo Codes for New and Existing Users
Are you looking for DoorDash promo codes as a new user or existing user? Here’s what you need to know:
Being a DoorDash customer comes with a lot of perks. If you use promo codes and shop deals, you’ll get your food delivered with discounted or no delivery fees. You can even get special discounts sent from DoorDash to get a percent or dollar amount off your order.
As of the writing of this article, the current new DoorDash customer deal is “Get $10 off each of your first 3 DoorDash orders over $15 when you sign-up using our DoorDash consumer link. New customers only.”
As far as DoorDash promo codes for existing customers, you can get discounts, too! I’ve been emailed for the past several weekends from DoorDash reminding me to shop local restaurants. During the pandemic, those are the ones that are hurting the most.
Here’s one of the ads I received:
How to Apply DoorDash Promo Codes
To use your DoorDash promo codes, it’s very simple. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Open your app. And find the restaurant you want to order from.
Step 2: Pick out your food and add to your cart.
Step 3: Open your cart and scroll to the bottom. There you’ll see “Promo Code.”
Step 4: That will bring up a separate screen where you can enter your promo code.
Once you’ve used your new customer DoorDash promo code, you’re now a DoorDash existing customer. This means you can share your referral code with friends and family to earn more – and get a DoorDash sign up bonus if you decide to drive for DoorDash, too.
My DoorDash Promo Code Doesn’t Work!
If for some reason your promo code doesn’t work, double check to make sure there aren’t any expiration dates attached to it or any other restrictions, such as a minimum purchase. Also, keep in mind promo codes are case sensitive.
If you believe you’ve met all of the criteria and it’s still not working, go into your app, click on Account and scroll to Frequently Asked Questions. From there, you’ll be able to either start a chat with a DoorDash support agent or you can search through the frequently asked questions to find an answer that may help you.
There’s even one specifically geared toward your promotion code not applying correctly. You’re able to click on that question and file a support case if their steps to resolve it do not work.
This will likely only work if you do continue to place the order despite not having the promo code discount. You’re to take a screenshot of the promotion and terms and to submit information about the date and restaurant of the order.
Save More with DashPass
DashPass is a way for you to save more if you intend on using DoorDash at least 3 times a month. For $9.99 a month you receive free deliveries on orders from eligible restaurants. In my experience, all restaurants in my area participate or are eligible, but keep an eye out for this in your area.
Your first month is completely free and then there will be a $9.99 a month fee from there.
Without DashPass, delivery fees vary from restaurant to restaurant. There are some restaurants that allow free delivery all the time. Some only charge $2.99 per delivery. Others are upwards of $6.99 per delivery. And others still charge a premium delivery fee during peak business times (think lunch and dinner hours).
With DashPass they sometimes cut the service fee down as well, giving you even more of a discount. This makes it an epic DoorDash promo code, of sorts!
An order with DashPass – the delivery fee is gone and the service fee is reduced
As you can see in these examples, the delivery fee was removed and the service fee was cut down by more than half. They were not identical orders, so that is why the total is slightly more on the DashPass one—we were extra hungry that day.
If you want to use DoorDash as a consumer, make sure to sign up using our referral code to get a discount on your first orders! Sign up using our DoorDash referral code here.
DashPass for Chase Cardmembers
To go a step further, if you’re a Chase cardmember, you’ll receive exclusive DashPass benefits when you link and use an eligible Chase credit card to your DoorDash account.
Benefits may vary depending on which Chase credit card you add. To find out more, you can go under the Frequently Asked Questions in your Account and search “DashPass for Chase Cardmembers.”
According to the FAQs section, each type of Chase credit card is broken down into what you will receive when using that card for your DoorDash purchases. The most common benefit among those cards is free DashPass benefits on eligible orders. For more information and to find your specific Chase card benefits, visit DoorDash for Chase Cardmembers here.
DoorDash vs. Postmates
There are a few key differences between Postmates and DoorDash:
- Driver Dispatch: On Postmates, you’re assigned an order as soon as it is placed. This makes you wait for it to be cooked! With DoorDash, you receive the order once the food is almost ready, meaning you’re not wasting time waiting for food that might not be cooked. DoorDash gives you more time to turn orders!
- Scheduling: With Postmates, you can either schedule the times you log on or you can log on when you want, although scheduled drivers are given priority. DoorDash also allows you to schedule, and gives those with Early Access Scheduling even more opportunities. Between the two, DoorDash is slightly better where I drive for DoorDash, but this primarily depends on how busy your city is.
It makes sense to sign up with both platforms to see which one is busier in your city! Sign up for Postmates here.
What is DashMart?
DoorDash has launched an online market called DashMart that will have snacks and groceries on hand, competing with Instacart and other grocery-delivery systems.
DashMart is a virtual convenience store and is currently only available in:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Columbus, Ohio
- Dallas, Texas
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Phoenix, AZ
- Redwood City, California
DashMart is a new type of convenience store, offering both household essentials and local restaurant favorites to our customers’ doorsteps. DashMart stores are owned, operated, and curated by DoorDash. For drivers, this is beneficial as it gives you more access to opportunities to earn with these new virtual convenience stores.
For Businesses: DoorDash’s White Label Service
If you’re a restaurant looking to take some to outsource some of your delivery logistics, DoorDash offers a White Label service for you.
DoorDash’s white label service powers direct delivery for any food business, including being Walmart’s largest last-mile logistics partner for grocery delivery.
Take a look at the images below – in the first one, the CEO of ChowNow (a food ordering platform that connects customers to local restaurants) stating that this customer purchased directly from the restaurant’s website.
In the image below, you can see ChowNow has outsourced the actual delivery from the local restaurant to DoorDash.
An article on TechCrunch states, “DoorDash began delivering from a wide range of convenience stores earlier this year. Fuad Hannon, the company’s head of new verticals, also noted that a number of grocery stores are already part of the DoorDash Drive program, a white-label service where DoorDash handles last-mile delivery.”
Why Would DoorDash Provide a White Label Service?
DoorDash likely chose to offer white-label services in order to grow revenue. Businesses that sign up with their white label services owe fees associated with their accounts.
The white-label service also allows DoorDash to have access to more businesses, even if it’s in the background and not in the customer’s face that they are placing an order through DoorDash (as the images above showed). As their pool expands, DoorDash will be able to continue with the momentum and continue expanding their services and business.
Sign up to become a DoorDash courier here.
How to Become a Part of DoorDash’s White Label Service as a Restaurant
It’s actually very easy to sign up to be part of their White Label Services. Start at the DoorDash Drive website and click on any of the buttons that say “Get Started”.
From there, you’ll be asked to fill out basic information about yourself and your business:
Then, you’ll be asked more detailed questions about your business, such as your industry, how you’re currently accepting deliveries, and who powers your delivery service.
You’re then asked the number of locations of your business, estimated number of deliveries per location and average price of a delivery order.
Lastly, they bring you to a confirmation page to assure you they’ve received your information and it is currently under review.
Here’s what happens next according to DoorDash Drive:
- Consultation: They’ll assess your delivery needs in detail and recommend the best plan for your business.
- Custom pricing program: Whether you need a few deliveries a week or a few hundred, they will find the pricing structure that works for you.
- Set up: Start powering delivery with the flip of a switch with their integrated technology.
As a business, by joining their white label service, you’ll be doing business directly through your website; it’ll just be powered by DoorDash and deliveries will be completed by their driver fleet, so you won’t have to worry about hiring drivers of your own.
Through the DoorDash website, you’ll have a merchant portal where you’ll be able to build your ordering service and manage everything related to the services DoorDash will be providing to your business.
As a merchant, this makes a lot of sense – you can still rely on DoorDash’s fleet of couriers, but have a certain level of control over how you advertise your restaurant. If you’re a business that wanted to offer ordering, but either didn’t have the tech know-how or the fleet of drivers to deliver orders, DoorDash’s white label service provides a solid option.
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!
Earn up to $20 an Hour with Postmates!Postmates is growing like crazy right now and offers plenty of no-contact delivery options, from convenience store items, restaurant delivery and more. Sign up here.
Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
- Is driving for Doordash worth it?
- Postmates Driver Pay
- Instacart Shopper Pay
- Uber Eats Driver Review
- Best food delivery service to work for
- Rideshare insurance
-Dash @ RSG with additional reporting from Paula Gibbins