Doordash drivers can not see the amount of the tip before completing the delivery. However, in most cases there's enough information for them to have a pretty good idea how much the tip is on a given order.
If you've ordered from Doordash, you probably have noticed that Doordash asks you to add your tip when you place your order through the Doordash app or the Doordash website. How does this affect your delivery?
As a Dasher, I'll share what we can and cannot see when we are offered a delivery on Doordash. I'll let you know how we can figure out what the tip is. And I'll raise the curtain on how a lot of Dashers make decisions based on the tip amount.
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In this article we'll answer the following questions:
When do Dashers know how much the tip is on a delivery order?
The only time a Doordash delivery driver knows for sure how much was tipped via the app is after they have completed the delivery.
When a Dasher receives a food order, Doordash tells them what a delivery will pay. However, there is no detail of how much of that is paid by the food delivery service and how much is the customer's tip.
Once the food has been delivered, the Dasher marks on the app that the delivery has been completed. At that time, the Dasher mobile app gives a breakdown of the pay. That breakdown tells how much was base pay (the delivery fee paid directly by Doordash), how much was tip, and in some instances how much was extra pay (called peak pay).
What do Doordash couriers see when they are offered a delivery?
Doordash displays details about a delivery when offering it to a Dasher. One screen will show the following information:
- The pay total of Doordash pay plus customer tip. It does not say how much is each.
- The restaurant or store where the delivery is to be picked up
- Estimated miles total to be driven
- How many items will be delivered
- The due time for the delivery
- A map that shows both the pickup location and the drop off location.
Doordash also makes a widget available that can display further information including the customer address and the items on the order.
Doordash delivery drivers are independent contractors. This means that we are not employees of Doordash but instead are providing delivery services as a business. Because of this, a delivery offer is like a bid for our services, and we have the right to accept or decline such delivery requests.
How do Dashers know what the tip is if they can't see it?
Drivers don't know the exact amount of Doordash tips but often know within a dollar or so how much of the pay total is from the customer. That's because of how Doordash pays drivers.
It's important to understand that the delivery fee a customer pays to Doordash has nothing to do with what Dashers get paid.
Instead, Doordash pays a $2.50 minimum base pay to it's Dashers that gets added to the customer tip. In some areas, the minimum pay has been as low as $2.25.
Doordash says that they increase that base pay, depending on distance, duration, and desirability of an order. Personally, I've had several long distance Doordash orders (between 5 and 10 miles) where Doordash still pays only the minimum.
Because of that, Dashers have figured out that the part that comes from Doordash is almost always going to be just $2.50. Maybe they'll bump it up to $3, $4 in extreme circumstances.
Dashers have figured out that out of the amount that is offered for a delivery, only about three dollars is coming from Doordash. Sometimes during peak delivery times there's an extra amount per delivery called Peak Pay.
In the end, it's simple math. If a delivery is offering $2.50, Dashers know there's no tip. If the pay offered is $6.00, it's pretty easy to tell the tip is probably around three dollars.
How will a low tip (or no tip) impact your delivery?
Hopefully, it doesn't impact your delivery at all. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case.
A large percentage of Dashers will reject a delivery offer that's only paying $2.50. The average time involved to go to a restaurant or store, wait for the order to be ready, then take it to the customer is right around a half hour.
Chances are if someone offered you $2.50 to do a half hour of work for them ($5.00) you would probably turn that down as well. Especially if you have to use your own car and pay your own costs to perform that work.
This can mean several drivers are presented with that delivery, all turning it down. After awhile, Doordash may bump the delivery fee up a little to make it more desirable. In the end, the order could sit for awhile before someone decides to accept it.
The worst case scenario is that if no one is accepting the offer, the order can be canceled.
I might be incorrect when I call that a worst case scenario. That's because unfortunately there are too many drivers out there who are less than professional, and they can let the low pay impact the way they deliver.
My personal philosophy as a delivery driver is, if the pay isn't enough, then I just don't accept the delivery. However, once I accept something, I've given my word that whatever I've been offered IS enough and it deserves excellent service.
There's no excuse for drivers who are rude or mishandle the food because they're unhappy with the amount of tip. Unfortunately, it happens far too often.
Isn't it the Dasher's job to take orders?
No. Dashers are not employees of Doordash. As independent contractors, they provide services as a business. That means they have no minimum wage protection, no guaranteed pay, nothing like that. With the high cost of fuel and of operating a car, accepting minimum pay for deliveries that can take a half hour or longer can mean operating at a loss.
This is the model that Doordash chose. It was their choice to use contractors and bypass things like insurance, payroll taxes, minimum wage and other guarantees that go with hiring employees. If someone chooses to contract with food delivery apps like Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Instacart and others, they need to treat it like a business in order to avoid losing money.
Finally, because it's an independent contractor position, Doordash cannot legally control the behavior of its contractors. They can't require Dashers to accept deliveries, tell them when or where to work, or even prevent them from delivering for other companies (having other customers).
Will a higher tip guarantee a quicker delivery?
A higher tip might avoid the problems we just discussed. However, there's a quirk in how Doordash does things that limits the effectiveness of a higher tip.
That's because while Door dash delivery drivers can tell if a tip is really low, they can't always tell if it's a much more generous tip. Doordash's hidden tip practice means that the amount of the offer that Doordash displays is often capped.
Here's an example: A customer adds a $15 tip. The Doordash base pay is $2.50, which means the Door Dash driver is going to get $17.50. Doordash might hide a part of that, and only tell drivers that the pay will be $7.50 instead of the full amount.
If you choose to add a big tip to your order, it may backfire. Instead of someone jumping on the order right away, drivers may believe it pays less money than it actually does and reject the offer. Adding extra to the tip doesn't necessarily mean it will get accepted more quickly.
Aren't drivers paid by Doordash well enough without my tip?
No. A large percentage of deliveries only have a $2.50 (or $2.25) base pay. Sometimes it gets as low as $2.00. The time involved to complete a delivery means that base pay from Doordash alone isn't enough to make delivering worthwhile.
This is frustrating to a lot of Doordash customers AND delivery workers. Doordash charges a delivery fee AND a service fee that's often 15% of the order total or higher. You can pay $20 or more in fees and out of that the driver might get three bucks.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, driver pay is not related to what the customer pays in any way. As a result, from the driver perspective, tipping is not simply a gratuity given for good service. Drivers have significant expenses and delivery for Doordash could not be a profitable endeavor if relying only on what Doordash pays.
Is tipping required by Doordash?
No. When you place an order, Doordash does add a tip by default. You can change the tip amount or choose not to tip at all.
Is tipping expected by Dashers?
There are obviously a lot of Dashers who do expect a tip. They feel insulted, disrespected and take it personally if there's no tip.
Personally, I don't expect a tip. However, I'll probably reject a delivery if it doesn't have a tip. My rejection isn't because there's no tip but because the delivery doesn't pay enough.
I DO expect a delivery to pay enough to cover my time and expenses in completing that delivery. If the total earnings are enough for that, I'll accept it. I decline the ones that aren't.
The way I look at it, it's up to Doordash and the customer to get together and come up with an offer. If that offer is enough, it's enough. It doesn't matter how much money was paid by Doordash and how much was paid by the customer.
To sum it up, I don't expect a tip. I do expect reasonable compensation for my time and expenses. If Doordash pays it all and it's reasonable, I'm fine with that. But here's the thing: if you know Doordash doesn't pay enough and you choose not to add enough to make it reasonable, you have no more right to expect me to deliver food than I have to expect you to just hand me money.
Can you change the tip after a delivery?
Supposedly, you can change the tip amount after a delivery is completed. Doordash doesn't make it easy, and chances are it won't actually impact the Dasher.
If you're unhappy with your service, you can ask customer support to adjust your tip. More than likely the only thing that happens is you get a refund for your tip. In more than four years with Doordash I have yet to see a Dasher get pay taken away because a customer changed their tip.
If the tip amount is increased, supposedly Dashers do receive that later. I've had it happen a few times but there's no way for us to know whether we get the pay every time it happens.
Is it better to tip cash than through the app?
This is a personal decision. If you look at a tip as a gratuity that's tied to the service you get, a cash tip probably makes more sense. Most Doordash delivery drivers will tell you they appreciate a cash tip because it's an unexpected bonus. You can adjust your tip accordingly, which may feel more fair to you.
However, if you choose to only tip by cash and not through the app, you must do so with the understanding that Dashers may not accept your delivery. There's a risk that you may never get the opportunity to offer that cash tip if no one accepts the delivery.
A good in between alternative might be to add a tip through the app, and then let the level of customer service determine whether you tip additionally once the order is completed.
Will Dashers get the full tip if it's done through the app?
Yes. To the best of my knowledge, I've always received every dollar that customers have tipped through the app.
Didn't Doordash get caught stealing tips?
No. In an older pay model, Doordash supplemented lower tip orders so that Dashers received a minimum total amount of pay per delivery.
At that time, Doordash paid $1 plus tips. However, if that total didn't match a guaranteed minimum amount (usually about five to six dollars) Doordash made up the difference.
Doordash was actually sued on behalf of customers for that model and settled out of court. If a customer tipped $4 and the Dasher was paid $5, OR if the customer didn't tip at all and the Dasher still received $5 because Doordash made up the difference, the end result is that the Dasher actually isn't getting any more money because of the tip.
Technically Doordash wasn't stealing customer tips, but in the end it still came off as deceptive. Ultimately, they were forced to change the model to the new model around September of 2019.
What if a driver demands a larger tip?
If a driver has accepted your delivery, they made an agreement that the pay was enough. At that point, whether or not there should have been a good tip is irrelevant.
There is no situation where a driver should harass or bully or deny services because of what they perceive was too low earnings. It's not acceptable. Period.
If you are being harassed or threatened by a driver, document the actions. Record whatever is happening in any way possible. Immediately contact Doordash support and let them know what's happened with as much detail as possible.
Doordash doesn't tolerate that kind of behavior. That type of thing is a complete violation of the agreement that the driver made with Doordash.
I know some people would say you shouldn't report it because someone could lose their job. A driver can (and in my opinion, should) have their contract deactivated for behavior like that. However, this is not a job. This is someone running a business in a way that no one should run a business. They definitely shouldn't be rewarded for that behavior.