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Does Doordash Pay Overtime? (The FAQ Series)

Does Doordash Pay Overtime? Note: This is part of a series of articles that addresses common questions that get asked about various delivery platforms in the gig economy.

The short and fast answer is, no. Understand that as a driver for Doordash, you are an independent contractor and not an employee. Therefore, employee guarantees like minimum wage and overtime do not apply.

Does Doordash pay overtime? As an independent contractor, you are not covered by wage laws
Does Doordash pay overtime? No, as an independent contractor you are not covered by wage laws

Understand how payment works as an independent contractor

Unfortunately, Doordash does not do a good job explaining the fact that their couriers are independent contractors, and what exactly that means. They put enough references in their contract and signup process to cover themselves but they don't go the extra step of making sure that their contractors really understand what that means. As a result, drivers get started delivering for Doordash with the thought that normal wage rules apply.

They don't.

So understand this: You are an independent contractor. You are not an employee. Read more here on what it means to be an independent contractor. In a nutshell, that means that you are contracting with Doordash as a business. Legally, you are a business owner, and you will be taxed like a business owner.

Your payment with Doordash is on a delivery by delivery basis. I won't get into the Doordash pay model, because that is expected to change sometime soon after this writing. Typically there are two things involved in what you are paid, sometimes as many as four:

  • Your delivery pay, paid by Doordash.
  • Your tip from the customer, if they leave one
  • Peak pay or bonuses per delivery that sometimes occur during busy periods
  • Larger incentives that are sometimes offered such as a bonus for completing so many deliveries

Does Doordash Pay Overtime? Understand that there is no time component to your pay

You are not paid hourly. You also have the freedom to switch over at any time and deliver for another company, or just stop delivering altogether at your discretion. This freedom makes it difficult for any company to pay based on time.

Many independent contractors for Doordash are what I call Accidental Business Owners. You never really planned to be a business owner, but here you are. You also have to understand that what you make with Doordash is not the money that they pay you. As a business owner, your earnings are your profits – the money left over as expenses. You are on your own for expenses such as your gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, all of that. There is no reimbursement.

Is it an unfair system?

It is and it isn't.

If you go into it intentionally with a business owner mindset, it is a fair system. It's what being a business owner should be. Personally, I prefer this to employment.

Where it can be unfair is that too many couriers still think this is a job even after the signup. Doordash does not do an adequate job of making it clear, and I believe that is intentional. If people understood what being an independent contractor really means, Doordash wouldn't get enough people to cover their deliveries.

Does Doordash pay overtime? No. Understand that now. That doesn't mean it's not a good way to earn money. However, when you understand that, you also need to embrace the fact that you are not an employee and Doordash is not your boss. That can open the door to greater earnings for the whole time you are working, not just from hours 41 and forward.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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