The Ultimate Guide to Driving for DoorDash: How to Sign Up, Requirements & Tips to Maximize Earnings From a Two Year Pro

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Perhaps you are reading this looking for some answers about DoorDash because you are a new Dasher, and unsure of how to go about things. Or, perhaps you have thought about doing this type of work, and just aren’t sure how to start. Or, perhaps you already do some type of driving for a living, and wonder how DoorDash delivery driving works. Whatever the reason, this handy guide will help you get a head start on it, and will be a good reference for use.

One thing to remember is that when one does this kind of work, one is not an employee. Rather, they are an independent contractor. That means they have a predetermined contract with a company (in this case, DoorDash) to do a specific task or set of tasks, for a pay to be determined prior to accepting the task. In layman’s terms, a Dasher has complete control over the work. A Dasher can choose days to work, and how long to work on those days. There is no minimum or maximum – but one may be limited by what they are able to schedule. That will be covered later. While working, one has complete control over whether or not to accept an offer for delivery. The pay offer, restaurant, delivery address, and mileage will appear on the screen, and the Dasher can decide whether it is worth it to take the delivery.

No micromanagement, no schedules to stick to, no boss to answer to, no uniform (but dress reasonably), and you get to just drive all day and listen to your tunes in your car? Sound good to you? Here’s what you need to know.

Requirements to Deliver for DoorDash

  • You need to be 18 or older.
  • You need to pass a background check and a driving record check. Too many at-fault accidents, too many moving violations, and any felony can be grounds to disqualify. This also then includes the need for a Social Security number and a Drivers License.
  • You need to have access to a vehicle. Some urban markets will allow for a scooter or bicycle.
  • You must have current auto insurance in your name. You might want to check your policy as far as requirements regarding use of the vehicle commercially.
  • You must have a smart phone and good coverage.
  • In some markets, you will be required to go to an in-person orientation at a local office. In some markets, there is no local office, and an orientation will be done online. In even other markets – there is no orientation at all, you just sign up and wait for your welcome packet to arrive.
  • You need an insulated bag.

The contents of the welcome packet may vary as well. Some say they get just a “red card” (a type of debit card used to pick up orders at some restaurants), while others say they get a red bag (insulated bag) with the packet. A bag is required. It is covered in contract agreement each Dasher signs with DoorDash, that the Dasher will follow food safety standards and use a hot bag to keep the food warm.

If you work in a market where you get no orientation, watch some videos online to get an idea of what to do. Much of it is self explanatory, but you will greatly benefit by watching the videos on YouTube.

You say you meet these requirements? Great! The next step is signing up.

Sign Up to Deliver for DoorDash – Become a Dasher

First, if you have a friend who drives for DoorDash, ask them for a link. That way, you and your friend will earn a bonus if you meet certain requirements (this usually involves delivering a certain amount of orders in a time frame).

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Clicking on the link will then lead you to a page where you can complete the sign-up process. Your friend’s name will be listed as the one who invited you. If you don’t have a friend driving for DoorDash, sign up here and scroll to the bottom of the page. There you will find the sign-up link:

You will then be taken to the page to begin the process. It is very simple. Just fill in your information and send, and wait to hear back from DoorDash. They might call if more information is needed. Make sure you actually read the two links on that first page, which explain the Dasher Privacy Policy and the Independent Contractor Agreement.

You will also be told to Download the Dasher Driver app. Make sure you choose the right one – the normal DoorDash app simply allows you to order food. You will need the Driver app, and once you open it, it will also guide you through the process of entering your information.

This is important! If your market requires and in-person orientation, you will not hear from DoorDash even if you go through the process of signing up and downloading the app. You will need to check the hours of your office, and go for an orientation. All that you’ll need can then be explained at that point.

You will also fill out a 1099. This is a tax form, for IRS purposes.

When your app is working correctly and you can schedule a Dash, it should look something like this (with your city replacing Charlotte, of course).

How much will I make as a Dasher?

Well, that all depends. It depends on the days one dashes, the hours, and what your ratings look like. You can generally expect about $12-$15 an hour, and more when you dash on a busy day. There are also sometimes peak pay bonuses which guarantee more per delivery.

The DoorDash Pay Structure

You should understand the pay structure before you take any job or contract. In this particular one, you will generally be paid $1 for each delivery by DoorDash, plus all tips. So, if a person tips $10, you should get at least $11. Most markets also have a minimum pay, and it varies from market to market, but it protects someone from only making $1 if a customer does not tip at all. In Charlotte, for instance, it is $4.50, so that is the lowest a Dasher can be paid for any delivery. Usually there is a small bump in pay for certain things, such as how long the order might take, how complex the order is (is it one the Dasher has to place, or is it just a pick up?), and what the distance is.

Quick Point About Tips

There are fliers that some Dasher’s hand out to customers, asking customers to always tip in cash, because the Dasher makes more money on a cash tip. While this is true, don’t hand those out. It’s unprofessional, often misguided, and all around bad business practice. If you are asked, by all means, mention that cash tips are better for us – but don’t offer unsolicited advice about how people should tip.

Should I Accept All Delivery Offers?

Every order shows the offer pay from the start. If it seems too low, no one is forced to accept it. A Dasher can decline and move on with no ill effects.

Some orders may be worth more than the offer guarantee. DoorDash tends to show an offer for less than its full pay in order to discourage cherry-picking … that is when a Dasher declines all other offers, waiting for the super-high ones, and only accepts those. So, you might accept an offer for $7 and be pleasantly surprised to learn it is actually $12 after you deliver it. You will never find that it is worth less than the offer, however.

Do you wonder how much money full time (and part time) Uber drivers make? Be sure to check out our article ‘So How Much Money Do Uber and Lyft Drivers Make in 2019‘.

How Can I Make More Delivering for DoorDash?

Just going out without any pre-planning and strategy is not going to get one very far, but with a little knowledge one can do much better on bringing in money.

Know the Schedule

First – you must understand the schedule. Open the app, and notice the four lines in the upper left hand corner. When you select that, a drop down menu appears. On that menu, select “Schedule”. What comes up will look something like this, tailored to your own market area.

At the top are all the dates for the next week – you can select any of them to see what slots are open to be claimed. On the line below that are your filters – you can select whether you use a car to deliver, or a bicycle, and you can select the specific areas in which you are willing to deliver. Then the schedule will only show what is open in those areas.

If you are new, you won’t get Drive order offers. Those you are invited to after getting a set number of deliveries. They are more like catering orders – large orders and a little set-up required.

Scheduling ahead can be very important in order to get the good time slots. You can just wait for the area you are in to turn red and use “Dash Now”, with no pre-planning in mind at all, but you will be much less likely to do well. In fact, there is no guarantee that the map will turn red – meaning there are already enough Dashers to fulfill the area orders, in which case you are not needed and won’t be working at all.

When you first start out, it may be hard to get time slots on the schedule. You must have 200 deliveries before you are able to get early scheduling. However, if you don’t get any available slots, keep checking back through the week. More may become available as other Dashers are editing their own hours. As a last resort, watch for the map to turn red and use “Dash Now” to raise your delivery number.

Best Times to Dash (Deliver for DoorDash)

Obviously, the best times to dash are going to be the times when people are eating. That is lunch time, which usually runs from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and dinner/supper time which runs from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Usually the lunch hours take you to offices, and the dinner hours take you to homes. These are the busiest times, and if you are looking for your map to turn red, look during these hours.

The best days are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, especially the evenings of each day. You will also find you do better when you during big televised sporting events – especially if you station yourself near wings restaurants. The NCAA basketball tourney, the NBA Finals, Bowl Games, MLB playoffs, and NFL playoffs all figure in to get lots of orders.

Now, if you can’t get any dashes in those hours, don’t fret! A lot of Dashers will only go for those time periods and ignore the rest. So, if you take those other slots, you might have a lot less company out there and you may get more deliveries because of that. There’s a delicate balance to recognize.

Take Advantage of Delivering in Bad Weather

Bad weather means good business for restaurants. So what does that mean for you? Dash during bad weather events! If it is snowing or raining hard, nobody wants to go out. Everyone thinks, “Let’s order delivery!” We Dashers live for the bad weather events that keep most people off the roads. If you have confidence to drive in bad weather and be safe, this could be just your niche.

Be Friendly to Restaurant Staff

Be nice to the people who work in the restaurants. They rate you at restaurants that partner with DoorDash, and they can request that DoorDash no longer send you. Customers also rate you, so be nice to them as well. Your rating does figure into the algorithm that determines who gets what orders. If two people are the same distance away, and one has a higher rating, that one will get the offer first!

Dress Professionally

One thing a lot of people who do this job say they like is that there is no uniform. Fair enough, but don’t go out there in your pajamas (true story!) Customers and restaurants will rate you bad, and rightfully so. Just consider what you would want a person delivering your food to look like, and follow that example. If you do get a DoorDash shirt or hat, it can be helpful, because you’ll be noticed faster at the restaurants.

Use the Darn Bag DoorDash Gave You

Use your hotbag! This can not be stressed enough! There are many Dashers who seem to be angry about this. There is no reason to be. It is not hard to put the order in an insulated bag, and your ratings will be better overall if you do. Besides that, it is now covered explicitly in the agreement a Dasher signs with DoorDash. It is part of handling food safely. To top it off, more and more restaurants are stating that if you come in without a bag – you’ll leave without food. Some of us would say – it’s about time.

Review What Works for You

Finally, you might want to take a few notes and sit down once a month and consider how things are going. Is it really worth it to get orders from THAT restaurant, when every time you pick up there it takes 40 minutes? Should you really be driving 15 miles for $5, or are you losing money doing that when you factor in gas prices?

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Last Piece of Advice to Maximize Your Efforts as a Dasher

Above all, keep a good attitude. Every night you will run into some problems: a customer entered the wrong address, nobody answered the door, a dog chased you, you couldn’t find parking, a restaurant worker was rude… We who have done this a while tend to talk about these bad things and complain so much that we forget why we love this job in the first place. One might even wonder why we are still doing it if it is so bad? Keep the good points in mind and realize you must always take some bad with the good. In the end, it is worth it, if you have the right fit for the job.

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