What accessories and tools are absolutely necessary to Deliver for Doordash? There are two “can't do it without these” items you have to have: a smart-phone and a car. Maybe a bike, scooter or just your feet depending on where you are.
That's the bare minimum. There are other things that I believe are absolutely necessary to be successful with Doordash (and other food delivery services).
Having the right stuff is absolutely essential to do well as a Doordash delivery driver. In this article, we'll cover:
What Doordash equipment is provided for new Dashers?
Doesn't Doordash provide the things you need to deliver for them?
When you sign up for Doordash and have met their driver requirements and cleared your Doordash background check, they do send out a welcome kit. That activation kit includes a Red Card (a pre-paid debit card that Doordash will have you use to pay for orders on some deliveries), an entry level delivery bag, and a driver's manual.
Many delivery companies provide absolutely nothing. That's for two reasons.
- As a delivery driver for Doordash, you agreed that as a Dasher, you are self-employed and providing services as a business, not as an employee. What that means is, you are responsible to provide your own equipment and tools.
- As one of their tests for whether using independent contractors in place of employees is appropriate, the IRS says that providing tools for the work performed is a level of control that indicates an employee relationship.
In the past, Doordash also provided shirts and what they called a space blanket, which was about a 30 square foot mylar blanket that you could wrap around larger food items to keep it insulated. Doordash may change if and what they provide for new Dashers over time.
Nine Must Have Doordash tools and accessories for a successful delivery business
These are the things that absolutely no Dasher should be without.
There are a lot of things that are helpful. We'll list many of them later on. But these eight things are, in my experience, absolutely essential to running your delivery business profitably.
Share this Image On Your Site
Click on the text box below to copy the code. Please include attribution to EntreCourier.com
Here are the eight most necessary Dasher tools and accessories:
- Business Mindset
- Reliable Vehicle
- Efficient Phone Holder
- Insulated Delivery Bags
- Mileage Tracker
- Other Gig Economy Options (Customers)
- The right insurance
#1: A Business Mindset
When you agree to Doordash's Independent Contractor Agreement, you agree that you are providing services for Doordash as a business, not as an employee. That's what it means to be an independent contractor.
That's why the most important tool in this list is a concept rather than a tangible item.
You are running a business. You may not have planned to do so. But that's the nature of your relationship with Doordash.
It's an incredibly freeing thing once you grasp this idea and adopt a business mindset instead of an employee mindset. When you realize that Doordash is your customer and not your boss, it opens the door to more freedom and control over your own success. It means:
Run this like a business. Think of this as a business.
The Deliver on Your Business podcast started with a series called the Courier MBA: Mastering your Business Attitude. It's a great way to get started
#2: A way to get around.
You have to find a way to get to the restaurant you are delivering from, and then of course you have to get that food to the customer.
The best way to get around depends based on where you are. In some of the most densely packed metropolitan areas, some couriers deliver by food. For a lot of areas, a bike or eBike might get you through traffic and parking better than with a car.
For most of us, it's about using our car. Using your car can be an awesome way to use what you already have to help you earn some extra money. It can also be a great tool for earning a full time income if it makes sense to Dash full time.
If you drive, your choice of a car is extremely important. The cost of operating your car for deliveries is much higher than simply the cost of gas. In fact, there's a lot more to it than just gas costs. Even with the high gas prices, there are other factors to finding the right car that are just as important.
I wrote about what to think about when choosing a car for delivery work. In that article, I mentioned four questions to ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy driving? Is it easy to spend a lot of time in it
- Is the car designed to let you be more efficient and complete deliveries quickly?
- Is it reliable?
- What does it cost to operate?
#3: A Smart phone
Delivery offers are sent to you via the Doordash driver app, known as the Dasher app. You use the app for virtually everything on your Doordash deliveries:
- Accepting or declining deliveries
- Finding instructions for how to handle deliveries
- Contacting customers and merchants as needed
- Chatting with Door Dash support about issues with deliveries
- Marking that the order has been completed
- Updating your account such as entering details for how you get paid.
Therefore it's important that you have a smartphone that can operate the app, as well as a cellphone and data plan that covers you wherever you go.
My advice for getting started is, use what you have. If it's an Android or iPhone that can run the Dasher app, it should work. I don't advice that you go out and get another phone just for deliveries until you have a feel for what it's like and how much you want to commit to more deliveries.
You can get the Dasher app at the Play Store or in Apple's App Store (I receive no compensation for downloads of these apps).
However, if you put a lot of time into delivery, you may find that you are running a lot of other apps at the same time, for navigation, mileage tracking and other things. It may be worth upgrading if those things are slowing your phone down.
In my opinion, your wireless carrier is a more important decision than the particular phone you use. If your provider has a lot of dead spots, that can create some major issues. If you deliver much, it may be worth paying more for whoever the most reliable carrier is in your market.
4. Efficient phone holder (and charger)
We use our phones a LOT on deliveries. Because they are so critical to the operation of our delivery businesses, it's important that you have the accessories that let you maximize the use of your phone.
The Dasher app provides GPS guidance to restaurants and to the customers (or links to Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps if you prefer). For safety purposes it's better to have your phone mounted where you can follow the guidance without taking your view away from the road.
The other important thing is that because you take your phone with you into the restaurants or merchants, and then again at the customer location, it's very helpful to have a phone holder that lets you easily and quickly attach and un-attach your phone.
I've had bad luck with vent mounted phone holders. It just comes undone way too easily. I'm also not fond of the spring loaded mounts as it can take too much time up fiddling with getting the phone in and out.
Personally I prefer a magnetic mount. I have a phone holder with a metal plate attached. That lets me quickly and easily just stick my phone to the magnet.
If you drive many hours at all, then a way of keeping your phone charged is absolutely necessary. Whether it be a battery pack or car charger, you want to make sure your phone doesn't run out of power in the middle of a delivery.
#5: Insulated delivery bags.
Doordash does provide a delivery bag as part of their welcome kit. It's not a good one. The material is flimsy, the zipper doesn't usually last very long.
Some drivers deliver without a delivery bag. It's possible to do, but in my experience it's not a good idea.
A good delivery bag is especially useful, for two reasons.
The first one is, it protects the food. This is especially true in extremely low temperatures. An insulated bag can keep the food from getting too cold too fast while en route to the customer.
In my opinion, the more important reason is that it communicates that you're out there as a delivery person. When you walk into a restaurant to pick up an order, you will often run into a crowd of people, some being customers and some couriers, all trying to get the attention of staff. Many drivers get frustrated waiting in line at restaurants.
Holding a delivery bag communicates immediately that you're there to pick up an order. It also tells the staff that you're taking the delivery seriously. I've had several deliveries where the moment I walk in, someone at the restaurant is asking who the pickup is for, only to find that other Dashers have been waiting in line for awhile by the time I arrive.
As a bonus, there's a third reason: the bag tells the customer that you care about their food. It's one more small thing to keep your customer ratings up.
I've found it very worth while to purchase my own bags for deliveries. Good bags often make it easier and faster to transport food, especially with larger delivery orders.
#6: A Uniform
I am not talking about Doordash branded gear. Personally, I refuse to wear the Doordash logo. Doordash is not my employer or my boss, they don't pay me to advertise, and they frankly haven't earned the right for me to wear their branding for nothing.
I am however talking about dressing in a way where it's clear that you are a professional and that makes you identifiable to both merchants and customers.
You don't have to buy anything special here. You can often make up a uniform out of what you already have.
Personally, I wear a red dress shirt, a fedora, business casual slacks, and often a bow tie. Red is known to get attention and is often associated with delivery. The fedora and bow tie stick out and restaurant staff remember me.
Your appearance says a lot to customers and to the restaurant staff. People feel better about entrusting their food with you when you look like you care about what you're doing.
#7: A Mileage Tracker
Failure to track your miles when delivering can cost you thousands of dollars.
There are several ways to track miles. You can use a GPS app, a spreadsheet or pen and paper. What is important is that you find the tracking method that will most accurately keep track of how many business miles you put on your car.
Here's what it boils down to: Every mile you drive for delivery lets you write of 58.5 cents as an expense. As someone who's logged nearly 100,000 delivery miles, I can tell you that adds up to a pretty huge tax deduction.
Tracking your miles and expenses is the best way to keep your Doordash taxes under control.
The IRS requires you to have a written record of any miles that you claim. That record must include:
- The date of your business trip
- Where you went
- The business purpose of your trip
- The number of miles you drove.
Many prefer to use a GPS app like Hurdlr. Sometimes it's easier but could have accuracy issues. Others keep a written record, but if you forget to record miles, that can be a problem. Find the method that fits your personality and habits best. You can read more about how to track miles here.
#8: Accounts with other Gig Economy Apps
There are two important things to remember that we brought up earlier:
- You are contracted to Doordash as a business
- That makes Doordash your customer
It's dangerous for any business to be fully dependent on one customer.
This does not mean you need to try to operate more than one app at a time. Having said that, Doordash even acknowledges in their Independent Contractor Agreement that you are allowed to do so. But there are several reasons that it's good to have other platforms to fall back on:
Check into other delivery services. Sign up and get approved. Try a few deliveries with each. You might find another app pays better. Or you could get confirmation that Doordash is the best option in your area. Somewhere along the line you may get proficient and working multiple applications, where now each app is bidding for your services until you accept an order from one of them.
The main thing is, make sure you've got a backup in case anything happens and Doordash isn't working well for you at the moment.
#9: The right car insurance.
If you drive your own car when you deliver, this is critical. There's an extremely high chance that you are uninsured while delivering.
Most personal auto insurance policies put language in the policy that says they will deny the claim for any accident that happens while using your car for livery (transporting goods or passengers for hire) or commercial use.
And Doordash doesn't have your back with car insurance either. They do carry a liability policy if your insurance doesn't come through, but that policy will not cover you or your car.
Seriously, do not drive a single mile on a Doordash delivery until you've made sure you are covered. There are three things you can do here:
- Check your policy or ask your insurance to see if delivery is excluded from coverage.
- If it's covered, ask if there's an endorsement or add-on that will cover delivery
- If they don't have any options for delivery, either switch to a policy that will cover you or quit driving for Doordash deliveries. Driving uninsured is not an option.
An independent insurance agent can compare several policies. You can also look into hybrid commercial policies that will cover you for personal and for gig economy work.
Be the Boss and Give Yourself the Tools to succeed.
You see the difference all the time between the businesses that are just existing, and the ones that mean business. Some do just the minimum, and you can see the results.
Delivery work can be a great opportunity. You might be amazed at how well you can do with this gig. Taking these small steps and assembling this small list of tools will give you a great head start.
And from there…. it's up to you. Go out there and be the boss.
The introduction to the Doordash Delivery Series: An overview of all the things involved with delivering for Doordash as an independent contractor.
Doordash pays on a delivery by delivery basis, not hourly or on a salary. We look at the breakdown of base pay, incentives, and customer tips that make up Doordash pay.
What it means to be an independent contractor for Doordash and the realities of self employment.
What are the requirements to deliver for Doordash? What can disqualify you from Dashing? We look at Doordash driver qualifications and background checks.
We look at the process to apply at Doordash to be a delivery driver, what to think about before signing up, and tips to get off on the right food.
We look at how to figure out the best times for delivery for you in your market, looking at things like peak hours, events, and how to avoid driver saturation.
You make some good money when you deliver for Doordash, so you wonder if it makes sense to do it full time. We look at questions to ask yourself when thinking about it and some tips to help you be successful if you do go all in.
Understanding if you are at risk of being completely uninsured while delivering for Doordash. How Doordash insurance works and why most personal policies won't cover you when delivering.
How the Doordash Top Dasher program works, what the requirements are, the perks, and whether Top Dasher is worth it.
When is a delivery worth accepting, and when should you turn it down? We look at acceptance rate, how it works and if it matters.
63 different strategies that may help you increase your profits as a Doordash delivery driver.
Doordash taxes are different because you are a self-employed independent contractor and not an employee. This is the first of a series of articles on different aspects of taxes for Dashers.
We talk about how Doordash driver support works, how to contact support, and what situations where you might need some help from the Dasher care team.
Customer rating is an important part of being able to continue delivering, and an important qualification for Top Dasher. We look at tactics to help you improve your rating.
Dashers are not employees, however you can have your contract deactivated if you don't do what you've agreed to do, which is deliver the items in a satisfactory manner.
I give my thoughts on what it's like delivering for Doordash after more than four years as a Dasher including pros and cons of delivering for Doordash.