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Did Doordash Tip Their Hand on Possible Pay Models?

Over the next several days or several weeks, Doordash Dashers will be wondering what the new pay model is going to look like. You could say it ranges between anticipation and dread, depending on who you talk to. I watched one Youtuber just giddy about the fact that it's changing, though he seems to forget how giddy he was about Grubhub's new pay model before it actually came down.

Some people don't learn.

Doordash May Have Provided a Hint at the Pay Models They Could be Considering.

I don't have verification of this, this is information I've heard third or fourth or fifth hand. I have no idea how accurate this is but it's interesting enough in that it could give us a glimpse at a couple of options Doordash could be considering.

What I had heard was that Doordash presented some alternative pay models to some Dasher round tables. It appears they presented three models that seemed to be their finalists:

  1. A model that was either the exact same or extremely similar to their current model, complete with subsidizing low tip offers much like they do now. I don't know if it was the same $1 base pay or if they played with a slightly higher base.
  2. I'll call this the Postmates / Uber Eats model. It would have a pickup fee, dropoff fee, and payment for wait time and distance. Drivers would not know the restaurant name or dropoff location, so that makes this more the Uber Eats model than the Postmates model. I'm not sure on this model if tips are made by the customer after delivery, or if it's just that the tip amount is revealed after the delivery.
  3. A guaranteed pay amount plus 100% of the tips on top of the guaranteed amount (rather than being included in the amount). On the offer screen, an average tip amount would be presented but not the ACTUAL tip amount. Customers tip while placing the order but Dashers won't know the tip amount until afterwards.

Would Doordash consider one of these models, or were these just straw men for the roundtables?

I mentioned this back when Doordash sent out their email in late June but Doordash had provided a graph with the email that showed the main concerns of Dashers and guess what? The pay model wasn't on the list. It just so happens that the pay model wasn't listed as an option when drivers were surveyed.

That makes me wonder if these options were really a straw man. That's a term for a tactic people will use in a discussion or stating opinions where they set up a straw man and knock it down. In other words, they present opposing ideas in a way that is easy to attack. When you look at these options, is it possible that these were just presented as having a bad enough flaw that people are more likely to choose the existing model?

The other options had fundamental flaws

You can almost guarantee that an Uber Eats type model would be rejected out of hand. If there is one thing that drivers appreciate about Doordash and their offers right now, it's knowing where you are going and how far you are going. There's no way that Dashers are going to accept an option that does not provide the restaurant and dropoff information.

The second option would be a little more interesting, but the idea of presenting an average tip amount would be a definite turn off. I would rather not know the tip amount than have an average presented with the knowledge there's as much chance for it to be lower than for it to be higher.

So the question would be, if these were indeed presented as options, was it because Doordash was seriously looking at these as options or is it because they wanted to present options that they knew would be rejected by a majority of drivers?

My preference? A hybrid.

Do away with the average tip presentation, and don't take away the knowledge of where I'm picking up and dropping off. I like the idea in the one I called the Uber Eats model where you have a transparent formula for what the pay would be. Use that, and I would rather not know a tip amount than to have you present a number that as often as not will lead to disappointment. I can play the averages myself, don't play games with that average tip amount garbage.

I'll admit I like how you know the whole amount on Grubhub, but I'm pretty sure that's not the route Doordash will go. It lends itself too much to cherry picking. If you can't do the subsidized offers with the guaranteed amount like they are doing, the only other alternative really for ensuring more orders are delivered is to not display the tip amount.

That creates a model that is closer to Postmates and Uber Eats. If you hide the pickup and dropoff information, I can guarantee I'll cut way back on Doordash deliveries. If it's closer to how Postmates does it, with the way that Doordash customers tip, I could see Doordash getting a more significant portion of my delivery time.

At this point, it's just wait and see

I mentioned this yesterday, but I don't expect whatever model they introduce to be an overall pay increase, and probably not an overall pay decrease. Tony Xu mentioned that when they switched to the current model they average pay per delivery remained the same. That tells me they have a bucket of money they put towards driver fees, and I expect that bucket to be the same under the new model.

One last comment I have on that. During the really busy times, Doordash can have some really crazy per delivery bonuses. If they are using a fixed amount for deliveries, is it possible they take some away from those bonuses and beef up the base pay? It seems like if they do that, they won't need the crazy bonuses as much because there's less need to incentivize drivers to get out there in the first place.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

About the Author

Ron Walter made the move from business manager at a non-profit to full time gig economy delivery in 2018 to take advantage of the flexibility of self-employment. He applied his thirty years experience managing and owning small businesses to treat his independent contractor role as the business it is.

Realizing his experience could help other drivers, he founded to encourage delivery drivers to be the boss of their own gig economy business.

Ron has been quoted in several national outlets including Business Insider, the New York Times, CNN and Market Watch.

You can read more about Ron's story,, background, and why he believes making the switch from a career as a business manager to delivering as an independent contractor was the best decision he could have made.

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