Does Doordash have a dress code for Dashers? Do you have to wear a certain uniform for Uber Eats or Grubhub or any of the gig economy delivery services?
No. In fact, those companies cannot legally require or enforce a dress code when using independent contractors. They're not allowed to control your work or appearance.
However, you may want to consider creating a standard for yourself. Appearance can make a huge difference in your profitability as you deliver for food delivery services like Instacart, Doordash, Uber Eats and others.
We'll talk about that today. I'll share my thoughts on having a dress code or uniform as a delivery professional in the gig economy. We'll talk about:
Wearing a Doordash uniform (or anyone else's)
As an independent contractor, you are certainly free to wear Doordash gear, a Grubhub polo, Instacart T-shirt or whatever you feel works best for you. And you are free not to.
In fact, I refuse to wear a Doordash uniform. I won't wear the Grubhub log or Uber Eats gear when I'm on deliveries.
When I signed up for Grubhub, they gave me a couple of pretty nice shirts and a hat. They were actually pretty good quality and looked good. When I was one of those new Dashers, they gave me a decent Doordash t-shirt. My first time out, I asked myself, should I wear the uniform?
I choose not to. That said, I respect drivers who do. I know a lot of people who make fun of them for being employee wannabe's, etc. But the truth is, their decision to wear the logo means they care about what they're doing. That makes me more comfortable that they'll take care of my food.
But I won't wear wear the uniforms myself. This is why:
1. I am not a an employee of Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, or any other gig company.
I'm not being paid to wear their uniform. This isn't a delivery job where I work for someone else, it's MY delivery business.
Our contract with any gig economy food delivery service is on a delivery by delivery basis. It begins the moment we pick up an order. It ends when we drop it off.
Doordash is not my employer. Grubhub is not my boss. Neither is Uber Eats The bottom line is, they are my customers.
I don't wear my customer's uniform.
2. I'm not paid to advertise for these companies.
Advertising is the job of employees of the company or of any agency they hire to advertise.
We already established that I'm not an employee. There's nothing in my contract about advertising for these companies.
You see advertising on my site. I get paid for that.
At times I recommend products or companies I believe in, whether I get paid or not. I'll wear gear for companies I respect.
And that's the thing – it's about respect. While I appreciate the business from my customers (Doordash, Uber Eats etc) there's enough that I don't respect.
They haven't earned the right for me to wear their gear.
3. I deliver for several companies.
Having only one customer is a bad idea. It just is. That's how I look at Doordash, Grubhub and Uber Eats, as my customers.
I drop off a Doordash delivery and I might be picking up for Uber Eats next. Every once in awhile you get one of those unicorns where Grubhub and Doordash might have deliveries from the same restaurant going to the same general area.
If I walk into a restaurant to pick up an Uber Eats order while wearing a Grubhub shirt, that can create confusion.
Following any Doordash dress code while delivering for Uber Eats, or a Grubhub dress code while taking a Doordash order is just counterintuitive.
Why I Wear My Own Uniform
I do have a uniform that I wear. I impose a strict dress code on myself.
It has evolved a bit over time. I started out with this.
My uniform consisted of a red dress shirt, a fedora, a bow tie (sometimes) and some decent slacks or khakis.
I still do the fedora. Sometimes the bow tie, but I've updated to some custom shirts that have my own Independent Delivery Professional logo.
It has nothing to do with Uber Eats having a dress code. It's not because Doordash wants me to.
I created my uniform or dress code for one reason:
A good uniform or personal dress code can improve your bank account.
Okay, but most delivery companies have the customers tip when they place the order. Tipping with these food delivery services usually has nothing to do with service level.
So how does a good dress code bring in extra cash for me as an independent gig worker?
How your own dress code can make you more money with Doordash, Uber Eats, etc.
Here are a few ways I've found that my dress code is a good option for me, and how I think it can help you make extra money.
1. Your uniform often gets you priority treatment with the restaurants
A ton of restaurant owners and managers are hesitant about using on demand food delivery service. I've talked to several who manage local restaurants. They hate that they cannot control the customer experience.
Drivers give them attitude. Some drivers just look like crap.
Presentation is huge for local businesses like restaurants. Especially with the best restaurants (the ones whose customer’s tips are typically higher). The food has to look good. The servers have to look good.
Many mangers tell me the reason they do third party delivery at all is exposure to new customers. The customer gets a good first impression of the food, they'll be more likely customers place orders AT the restaurant the next time.
That's when they make their money.
If Doordash delivery drivers or Uber Eats couriers come in looking like they just crawled out of the dump, restaurants don't want to deal with them..
A good uniform makes you memorable. Owners and managers begin to recognize you. They know you care about what you're doing and that you're a professional.
And they'll trust you to handle their food a lot more readily.
One driver told me he thought of his unique look as a form of branding. It went a long way to creating a good relationship with the restaurants. They know him and it makes a huge difference.
When you walk into restaurants, you're often competing with other drivers and customers for the attention of staff. You want to get your order and get out of there. When the staff knows, respects and trusts you, you start to get their attention faster.
2. A uniform gets you in and out of restaurants faster
I cannot tell you how many times there will be a group of drivers waiting at the restaurant or in the dining rooms, and when the host or counter person comes to serve us, I'm the first one they go to.
It's not unusual for me to be the last one in and the first one out.
One of the biggest challenges at too many restaurants is, the team members at the restaurant don't know if you're a delivery driver or a customer. When they think you're the customer, you get stuck waiting with the other customers.
Usually, between what I'm wearing and the delivery bag, they know immediately I'm there for a delivery.
I'm not sure you could say that my fedora is standard delivery gear, the kind of thing that screams out “I'm here for a delivery.” But what I wear stands out. It sets me apart.
Time is the most important factor to increasing your profits. The estimated time of delivery is more important to me in accepting an order than the dollar amount.
The faster you get done and the shorter the delivery time, the more food orders you get. One more delivery equals one more delivery fee. I know that getting in and out of restaurants more quickly because of my dress code has increased my earnings.
3. A good uniform can speed up the drop off side of the delivery.
Think of how many times you have to deal with a concierge at a hotel or apartment complex.
I don't have to explain to people who I am. It's obvious what I'm doing there. The concierge isn't going to have as many reservations about letting you in to complete the delivery when you look decent.
When I walk into a business with a delivery for a customer, I look the part. That means I don't have to waste time explaining why I'm there.
Many of my deliveries wrap up with the customer coming out to meet me. When it's clear that I'm a delivery guy, they're heading my direction to get their food.
It might only be seconds saved, and it may only happen a few times. But it's your own time and time is money. Every minute saved is worth 50 cents as I figure it. If I can shave a few minutes off of my delivery times, I can usually squeeze one more delivery in. That's more money.
4. A good uniform makes your customer feel better
As I mentioned earlier, most customers tip in advance. It's generally not going to make a difference in your customer tips (though sometimes it happens).
These days with contact free deliveries, the customer often doesn't see you.
But when they do, it makes a difference.
Think about it. You're carrying someone's food. How you look matters.
But if you're not getting a bigger tip, how does this increase your gross earnings?
How people respond to you begins with that first impression. If you look like you care about getting their food to them, that can go a ways to diffuse difficult situations that can hold you up.
Delivery platforms are paying more attention to customer satisfaction and complaints. A bad Doordash driver review can make the difference in a deactivation. A complaint to Grubhub or Uber Eats could reduce your earning potential.
In an age when drivers can lose their ability to deliver due to unhappy customers, great service and a great impression makes a huge difference in keeping your revenue streams open.
Here's how I see it. It's not about the base pay or the tips. It's the total earnings that count. My pay model is to get as much money as I can in the least amount of time. One of the best ways to do that is to increase the number of deliveries I can complete. When the customer is happy, I can do that more easily.
5. A good uniform makes you feel like a professional
Here's the deal: You ARE a professional. Treat your work that way.
How you dress does impact how you feel. When you choose to look the part of a professional, you feel the part.
Sometimes, that feeling can make all the difference between going on when the day gets frustrating, and calling it quits and heading home.
How to create your own dress code for Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Instacart or any other gig app
What should you wear for Doordash? What's the best uniform for Uber Eats or Grubhub?
There's no one answer. I've been teased a lot that I need to lose the fedora. It may not be the answer for you.
Is it okay to wear the red Doordash t-shirts or a Grubhub hat? A lot of people in driver forums will give you grief for being an employee. Ignore the twits.
I have no problem if someone wants to wear the logos for the delivery companies. It shows a professionalism and it can accomplish many of the benefits above.
Because I choose specifically not to wear their gear is not a reason for you to pass. If the reasons I gave above resonate with you, then maybe you choose something else. If you deliver exclusively for Grubhub or Doordash or whomever and it makes sense to wear their stuff, that's your decision.
Here are the things I would suggest thinking about.
1. Wear something nice.
This is important.
Stay away from ratty jeans, beat up t shirts or tank tops.
I recommend business casual clothing. You don't have to go all suit and tie or wear a dress or anything like that. But if you have something that just says you are willing to put the extra effort into what you wear, that goes a long way.
If nothing else, look good.
2. Find a way to stand out.
That's what the fedora is for me. I've been told no one wears a fedora any more, and that's precisely why I wear it.
It may be out of style, but it stands out.
I got the idea when I read about a study that said women who wear a ribbon in their hair earn significantly more than those who didn't. I didn't want to do a ribbon, but the fedora works.
Maybe the reason the ribbon works is that it's just something that stands out. It's an extra that makes them memorable.
For me, the fedora isn't the kind of thing a normal customer is wearing. There's something intentional about wearing it.
What can you do that stands out a little?
3. Consider something red.
Red stands out.
Red also is associated with a lot of delivery companies. Grubhub and Doordash give out red shirts (or Grubhub did until they were bought out). I found that even without their logos, my wearing red was often enough to suggest that I'm here to pick up a delivery.
In fact I have some red polos with the Independent Delivery Contractor logo.
I have had a couple of times where someone mistook the red for Doordash. Usually that's an issue with an Uber Eats delivery where there really isn't an associated color. Even then, the shirt did its job – it communicated that I was there for a delivery.
The bottom line is, getting noticed is huge, especially in busy times.
And by that I mean, bring your delivery bag with you. Having the right equipment adds to the look.
I'm not sure my look is always enough just by itself to say for sure I'm a delivery person. When combined with the delivery bag that I'm holding up in full view, there's no doubt.
Whether you believe it helps actually keep the food warm or not, restaurants believe it. It's one more thing that communicates you're taking care of their order and their customer.
And, it tells the customer you're taking care of their food. It's the exclamation point to your uniform.
Frequently asked questions about what to wear for Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Instacart etc.
Can delivery companies require independent contractors to wear a uniform?
No. Gig economy companies cannot legally control how contractors work or what they wear. Requiring a certain uniform or dress code is seen by the IRS as evidence of an employee relationship.
Does Doordash have a dress code?
No. Section IX of the Doordash Independent Contractor Agreement (as of July, 2022) says “Contractor and their personnel shall not be required to wear a uniform or other clothing of any type bearing Doordash's name or logo.”
Do Doordash drivers get a shirt?
Doordash no longer gives a new Dasher a shirt as part of the Doordash activation kit. At one time they did so but have since changed that practice. Doordash shirts can be purchased from the Doordash driver gear shop.
Do I need a uniform to Doordash?
No. As a Doordash Dasher, you are free to wear what makes the most sense for you. There's no such thing as “the right Doordash gear.” You may decide that wearing Doordash branded gear or a uniform of your own making might make business sense, but that is a decision that is totally up to you as an independent contractor.
Can you wear the Doordash shirt on Uber Eats or Grubhub deliveries?
Yes. There is no restriction on what you wear from any of the delivery companies. You will want to evaluate whether your decision to do so will cause confusion, however that is your own decision to make.
Does Uber Eats have a dress code?
No. Uber Eats has no requirement as to a dress code, nor do they require an Uber Eats uniform.
Do Uber Eats drivers get a shirt?
No. Uber Eats does not give out shirts to drivers, and have not at least since I started delivering for them in early 2018. In fact, branded shirts are not even available for purchase in the Uber Eats driver shop.
Do you need a uniform to deliver for Uber Eats?
No. There are no official uniform requirements. What you wear is entirely up to you as an Uber Eats independent contractor. Your appearance can make a difference in how deliveries go, but that is entirely up to you what to wear.
Does Grubhub have a dress code?
In their driver FAQ's Grubhub states that “Grubhub drivers can choose what clothing they wear while delivering.” Their only comment is that drivers do need to follow CDC guidelines about wearing PPE (personal protective equipment).
Do Grubhub drivers get a shirt?
No. Grubhub only sends out delivery bags and the Grubhub Driver card to new drivers. At one time they provided t-shirts and polo shirts with the Grubhub logo, however now any apparel must be purchased from the Grubhub driver shop.
Can you wear a Grubhub shirt on Uber Eats or Doordash deliveries?
Yes. There is no restriction by any of the delivery companies as to what you can wear. You may want to consider whether a Grubhub shirt while delivering for Doordash, Uber Eats or someone else would create confusion for the merchant or customers, however in the end that is your decision to make as an independent contractor.
Does Instacart have a dress code?
No. There is no mention of a dress code, uniform or any other dress requirement in their independent contractor agreement.
Does Instacart give their drivers a shirt?
I've heard many reports that Instacart has provided a bright green shirt as part of the onboarding kit. I am unaware if they continue to do so.
Can I write off my delivery uniform?
You may be able to claim certain delivery branded apparel as a business expense, as it is not clothing that would normally be taken as normal street wear. You should confirm with a tax professional if that's the case. Delivery drivers can not simply write off whatever clothing they wear, as one, a particular uniform is not required, and two, the IRS won't allow writing off clothing that might normally be worn as street wear.