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How To Be a DoorDash Driver – What You Should Know

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By: Kaylyn McKenna
Feb 17, 2021 • 6 min read

How To Be a DoorDash Driver – What You Should Know

DoorDash is a popular food delivery app that allows users to order food from local restaurants for home delivery. The app is available in most major cities across the United States. The food is picked up from the restaurant and delivered by independent contractors called Dashers in their personal vehicles. The app launched in 2013, and as of 2021, DoorDash delivery is available in over 4,000 cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Doordash is popular as a flexible job and side gig for anyone looking to make some extra money. This guide will help you learn all about the wondrous world of DoorDash! 

brown paper bag on gray concrete floor

Requirements for Becoming a DoorDash Driver

One of the major benefits of working for DoorDash as a delivery driver is that it is easy to qualify and get started. To be approved as a Dasher, you will need:

  •     A reliable vehicle: Unlike Uber, DoorDash does not have any specific requirements regarding the make, model, or year of your vehicle. As long as it runs reliably, you can use it for DoorDash. In select urban markets, bikes are also an option.
  •     A valid Driver’s License
  •     Be age 18 or older
  •     Consent to and pass a background check

That’s it! As you can see, there are not many requirements to become a DoorDash driver, making it ideal for those with little experience, such as college students or people trying to start a new job quickly.

How to Become A DoorDash Driver

Signing up to drive for DoorDash is a relatively quick and simple process. Follow these steps, and you’ll be fully activated in 1-2 weeks:

  1. Download the DoorDash app or visit this link to see if DoorDash is hiring drivers in your area and to start the sign-up process from a computer.
  2. Complete your Dasher profile. This will ask you basic information such as your name, address, proof of car insurance, and Driver’s license information.
  3. Consent to a background check (and a driving record check if using a car or motorcycle – in some cities DoorDashing on a bike is possible)
  4. Schedule an orientation or request an Activation Kit to be mailed to you. The Activation Kit includes your Red Card and the Red DoorDash-branded hot bag.
  5. Activate your Red Card. The Red Card is the credit card that you’ll use to pay for food at restaurants. Many deliveries do not require a Red Card as the food will be ordered and prepaid before your arrival for many restaurants and chains.
  6. Set up your direct deposit
  7. Start Dashing! Once you’re ready to go, navigate to the main “Dash Menu”, select your region, and hit “Dash Now” to start your first dash shift.

man riding bicycle near vehicles

Driver Compensation

DoorDash drivers are paid a delivery fee and tips rather than an hourly fee. There can be a lot of earnings variation based on your market and when you choose to dash.

During peak hours, DoorDash may offer bonus incentives to drivers. These often come in the form of a flat dollar amount added to each order’s delivery fee. Though DoorDash will also sometimes offer bonuses for completing a certain number of deliveries on a specific day or time period. The main incentive offerings are as follows.

  • Peak Pay: When DoorDash is receiving or expects to receive many orders during a time period, peak pay is put into effect to incentivize people to dash and meet extra consumer demand. Dashers earn extra money on top of tips and the normal fee for each delivery. Peak pay can range from $1 extra per delivery up to $10. The high range of peak pay often occurs on holidays or busy days like Superbowl Sunday. Peak pay opportunities are often announced in advance in-app under “Promos” so that you can schedule to dash during peak pay periods and earn more.
  • Challenges: DoorDash Challenges typically involve completing a specific number of deliveries in a set time period to earn a bonus. For example, a challenge might ask you to complete 15 deliveries during a peak weekend. New drivers also often receive special challenge incentives.
  • Drive: Drive orders are larger orders with higher rates. They can be catering orders from restaurants or large grocery orders.
  • Referral Bonuses: Occasionally, DoorDash will offer incentives to Dashers for referring their friends. This is most common in busy markets.

Benefits of Driving For DoorDash

Driving with Doordash comes with several benefits and flexibilities not offered by a traditional 9-5 job. Here are some of the things to consider if you’re on the fence about signing up with DoorDash.

Flexibility

The main benefit of driving for DoorDash is the flexibility. DoorDash drivers can choose their schedule, start time, and end time at their own convenience. This makes it a great fit for students, people with family responsibilities, those with chronic health concerns, or those who are currently employed but looking for a flexible second job/supplemental income. Dashers can also take weeks off without needing to put in a vacation request or notify DoorDash.

Quick Sign-Up Process

Getting started driving for DoorDash is quick and easy. There is no interview required, and drivers can start as soon as their background check and driving report have been cleared. This makes it a great quick fix if you are in-between jobs or need to earn money to handle an unexpected expense.

Pay Frequency

DoorDash pays its drivers weekly instead of the standard biweekly pay schedule that most employers follow. So, drivers have a steady flow of income, and new drivers do not have to wait long for their first payout. Even better, DoorDash also offers Instant Payouts for a small fee. Drivers can have their earnings balance instantly transferred to their debit card for a $1.99 processing fee. 

How To Be a DoorDash Driver

No Experience Required

You can’t get experience without a job, and you can’t get a job without experience, right? Well, not with DoorDash. No experience is required, as long as you have a valid driver’s license and access to a safe and functioning vehicle.

Portability

Once you’re up and running as a DoorDash driver, you are free to accept deliveries wherever you want. You can work while on vacation, seamlessly switch regions when you move, and work at home during breaks from college.

Other Considerations

Now that you’ve explored the benefits of driving for DoorDash, there are a couple more items to consider. The list below is not necessarily a con list, but these are important points to consider. The flexibility of driving for DoorDash also comes with a cost in some areas. We will explore these possible concerns below. 

Cost of Gas

One downside to using your personal vehicle for deliveries is that gas expenses can add up, and there will be extra wear and tear on your car. Be careful to only select deliveries that pay fairly for the amount of miles covered. When you are alerted to an available delivery in the app, it will show the delivery’s total mileage.

Taxes as an Independent Contractor

Dashers do have to pay taxes. However, taxes are not withheld from their pay. DoorDash drivers are classified as Independent Contractors. This means that employees are responsible for their own taxes, health insurance, and business expenses. DoorDash does not contribute payroll taxes for the dasher and does not reimburse for mileage or provide health insurance. The exception to this is California, where DoorDash does provide a health stipend to eligible drivers, guaranteed earning minimums, partial mileage reimbursement, and some additional protections following California law. If you plan to dash in the state of California, visit the Prop 22 Help Center to learn about these benefits.

How To Be a DoorDash Driver

Idle Time

DoorDash Drivers can spend a lot of time waiting. If you dash during off-peak hours, there will likely be a wait time between receiving delivery requests. You are not paid for this time, so it’s best to avoid spending too much time waiting for deliveries. To avoid this, you’ll want to drive during peak times such as lunch and dinner periods so that you aren’t accumulating too much unpaid time just sitting around in your car.

DoorDash also recommends driving to delivery hotspots while you’re waiting to increase your chances of being offered a delivery. On the other hand, when you dash during peak hours, you might get a new order right after dropping off the previous order, but the wait time at restaurants to pick up the food could be lengthy. All-in-all, make sure that you have an audiobook, podcast, or something to entertain you with all this time stuck in the car.

DoorDash In-Store Shopper Jobs

An alternative to driving for DoorDash is applying for one of their in-store shopper roles. These roles are similar to InstaCart shoppers or Whole Foods Amazon Prime Now associates.

In-store shopper roles are not yet available in all markets. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Inventory Tracking: conducting inventory scans and verifying that items are in-stock.
  • Picking, Packing, and Staging: picking items in customers’ orders, packing items in bags, and preparing them for handoff to the drivers.
  • Customer Service: Communicate with customers to make substitutions, and do whatever it takes to provide a high-quality experience.
  • Operations Improvement: provide feedback and ideas to improve customer experience.

This is an option for people that do not want to put miles on their car and want a more consistent schedule and income.

How To Be a DoorDash Driver

Is Doordash Right For You?

It is ultimately a personal choice whether driving for DoorDash is right for you. Many people work for DoorDash to supplement their existing income. For others, it is their full-time job. The flexibility of the app is the primary draw for individuals. Still, since it is a very flexible and independent role. So, you need to be self-motivated to make money with DoorDash.

The sign-up process to become a DoorDash driver is quick and easy, so we recommend signing up and trying it out even if you’re on the fence! 

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