Can you get fired from Doordash? Since Dashers can't really be fired (since we aren't employees to begin with) but it is possible to have our contracts terminated.
Doordash has a pretty specific deactivation policy. There are a number of common reasons a Doordash account can be deactivated. There are some other uncommon reasons, and there are specific things you should know can NOT get you deactivated.
We'll look into the Doordash deactivation policy, how it works, and how Doordash delivery drivers can work around that policy to ensure they can continue making the most money possible with Doordash.
Understanding the Doordash deactivation policy
I will give Doordash credit for being much more specific about what can cause deactivations than other food delivery services like Grubhub and Uber Eats. There are a couple of very clear metrics, and some other general items as well.
I said this earlier, but it's important to remember that this is not the same thing as getting fired. As independent contractors, Doordash delivery drivers are self-employed. In other words, as a Dasher, you provide services as a business and not as an employee.
That makes this a contract relationship instead of an employer/employee relationship. Doordash's deactivation policy is really about defining when you have failed to live up to your side of the agreement.
Very simply, it's Doordash saying you didn't do what you agreed to do.
At the same time, being an independent contractor changes the game. Doordash can't control how you do your work. They can't use the deactivation policy as a way of doing that. That also means there are some things they can not terminate your contract for.
The specifics in the Doordash Deactivation Policy
Doordash's has a page dedicated to their policy for deactivation. They list the “kinds of activities that can lead to your account being deactivated from the Doordash Platform.” The following are the five types of activities (in Doordash's words)
- Your ratings on Doordash
- Accepting and canceling orders
- Keeping the platform safe and secure
- Abusing the platform
- Violating the terms of your contract
We'll take a look at each of these.
Your ratings on Doordash.
Customers can rate your delivery on a scale of 1.5. Doordash requires that Dashers maintain at minimum a 4.2 average rating. This is one of two very specific metrics.
In more than four years delivering for Doordash, I've found it's not hard at all to keep the Doordash customer rating up. A 4.2 score is pretty easy to meet. In fact, Doordash's Top Dasher program qualification includes a 4.7 score (also pretty easy to maintain in my opinion).
Deactivation for falling below a 4.2 rating can not be appealed.
Accepting and cancelling orders
Doordash requires you to complete at least 80 percent of delivery orders that you accept.
I do believe “Accepting and cancelling orders” to be an intentionally misleading choice of words. This makes it look like acceptance rate can be a reason for deactivation.
You are free to accept and reject Doordash deliveries as you see fit, at whatever percentage makes sense to you.
But here's where accepting and cancelling comes into play. The Doordash Independent Contractor Agreement is a delivery by delivery thing. You're not under any kind of agreement or obligation until the moment you accept a delivery offer.
However, once you do accept an offer, that's when the contract goes into effect. At that point, you have agreed that you will pick up and deliver that merchandise or food order. To not complete that delivery is going against your agreement.
Doordash makes room for things that can happen. Perhaps you accidentally accepted an offer. Sometimes the information isn't accurate, or the restaurant is so far behind (with an incredibly long wait time) it doesn't make sense to wait. You can choose to unassign a delivery offer.
However, if you cancel out of or fail to complete more than 20% of offers you accepted, that is grounds for contract termination. This too can not be appealed.
Keeping the platform safe and secure.
A lot of this is just common sense. You could also say “don't do stupid stuff.” Doordash can deactivate you if they find you have created an unsafe environment for anyone on the platform (or the general public) while Dashing.
Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Violence or inappropriate behavior, including abusive language.
- Use of alcohol and drugs
- Discrimination or harassment
- Unsafe driving, biking, or scooting
- Failure to comply with the law or use of the platform for any criminal activity
- Failure to pass a background check
- Disclosing personal information without authorization
A lot of this doesn't need much explanation. If your activity while delivering makes customers, restaurant staff and customers or the general public unsafe, that could be the end of your Doordash delivery account.
And yet it's amazing how many Dashers don't think about these things. I've seen so many people post customer details on social media or boast about threatening merchants or customers.
I'll touch on the background check for a moment. To deliver for Doordash you have to meet certain qualifications. That includes passing a background check. Your agreement allows Doordash to run regular background checks on you, meaning a ticket or criminal conviction that happens after you start could eventually lead to account deactivation.
Abusing the Platform
Much of the Doordash platform rests on minimum business standards of integrety and fair dealing. We trust Dashers to use the app honestly and with integrity.“Abusing the Platform” section of Doordash driver deactivation policy
Much of this section of the policy is simply about not gaming the system. Some might argue there are parts of this that might take things too far or be controlling of contractors.
As of July, 2022, examples of abuse and fraud (Doordash's terms) include:
- Manipulating the referrals system or promotions
- Using red cards improperly
- Providing information that is fraudulent or inaccurate
- Tampering with deliveries or failing to maintain standards of food safety
- Disrupting the DoorDash platform
- Unauthorized access
- Third party rights
As I mentioned earlier, delivery companies can not control your work as an independent contractor. To get around that, many gig economy platforms including Doordash will use the term “fraudulent activity” to define things that are far from fraudulent. One example is under the tampering section, Doordash includes “failing to use an insulated hot bag.”
Many of these line items have been added in response to various issues. Some, I believe, was in response to the use of third party apps to try to get additional information on Doordash deliveries. You can see in the screenshots below how much this section has grown in less than three years.
Compare that to this screenshot taken July 28, 2022.
Violating the terms of your contract.
At some point, about May of 2020, Doordash started adding an element they called Contract Violations. In the ratings screen, one might have a listing that says they had one or more contract violations.
At this same time, Doordash added a section to the deactivatino policy entitled Violating the Terms of your Contract. “Violation of any of the terms of the Independent Contractor Agreement that you agreed to in order to create an account on the Doordash platform will serve as a valid basis for deactivation of the platform.
In plain English, it's saying you didn't do what you agreed to do.
But what exactly did you agree to do? This is what Doordash defines in this section. It boils down to two things:
- Marking a delivery complete when you did not complete it
- Failing to make timely or safe deliveries
The first one results from too many drivers just stealing the food, or not making enough of an effort to find the customer. The second one came from too many Dashers either delaying deliveries, or taking on several deliveries from other apps causing them to be extremely late.
I'm a big believer in an independent contractor's right to perform deliveries in the best way that allows them to make the best Doordash pay possible. At the same time, as a professional, I believe we have a responsibility to provide prompt and professional service. Because of that, I understand these provisions.
Things that can and can not get your Doordash driver account deactivated
I want to take a look at some specific things that can lead to deactivation from the Doordash platform. We'll do this in a question and answer format:
Will Doordash deactivate me for just one contract violation?
Doordash doesn't really say. I've seen examples of drivers with two or three violations showing up on their customer rating screen in the Dasher app. Generally that indicates they don't normally deactivate drivers for just one violation. However, that could be subjective, if the violation is severe or extreme enough (especially if they have customer complaints that you stole the food).
How many contract violations does it take to be deactivated from Doordash?
Doordash doesn't give any exact number. Comparatively, in February of 2022 Grubhub announced a three strikes deactivation policy where a third violation could lead to deactivation. I believe the lack of an exact number gives Doordash latitude to act more quickly on severe violations. From what I've seen of drivers who were deactivated, it's usually after three violations that Doordash takes action.
How long do contract violations last on Doordash?
When Doordash displays a contract violation on your ratings screen in the driver app, they say it's “Based on last 100 eligible deliveries.” You could conclude that it means it only lasts for 100 deliveries. However, Doordash doesn't indicate whether older violations (more than 100 deliveries ago) would factor into any deactivation decision.
How do I know if I had a contract violation?
Doordash will notify you of violations in the rating screen (screenshot above) how many violations you have. You can tap on the violations list to get details of the violation.
Doordash may contact you by email of an issue before listing a violation. For example I received this email after a customer claimed they did not receive their delivery. There was a place to click where I could respond and give them details of the delivery.
In this particular instance I responded immediately with details of what happened with the delivery. I had screenshots of my location on GPS and exact times that I dropped off the food. That delivery never showed up as a contract violation.
Can you be deactivated for being late?
Doordash won't normally deactivate your driver account for a single late delivery, but they may do so for a pattern of lateness. Extremely late deliveries are usually considered a contract violation and would show up under Contract Violations in the rating screen.
While Doordash never says explicitly how late a delivery has to be to be considered extremely late, the examples that I see of such violations seem to start at about ten minutes. That can be arriving to the store extremely late, or to the customer's.
You do have the opportunity to submit additional details to explain the situation. The good news is that Doordash generally provides specific details that allow you to know exactly which delivery this happened. That makes it easier to explain if you have documented your deliveries well.
Is a low On Time Percentage cause for deactivation?
Doordash does not use the On Time percentage as part of their account deactivation policy. They do state that “Dashers who repeatedly arrive at the merchant or customer significantly after estimated arrival times are eligible for deactivation.” It's not stated whether or how the on time percentage metric on the Dasher Ratings tab figures into this.
I can tell you from experience that the On Time percentage is the most unreliable of the Dasher ratings. When I did a special delivery challenge early in 2022, I documented every delivery including the due time and when I completed each delivery. The on time percentage on the app was about 13% lower than my true percentage for those last 100 deliveries.
Will Doordash deactivate me for multi-apping?
Doordash can not deactivate your account for working multiple applications such as delivering for Uber Eats or Grubhub at the same time. The Doordash independent contractor agreement says as much:
As an independent business enterprise, Contractor retains the right to perform services (whether delivery services or other services) for other businesses … nothing in this agreement shall prevent contractor or Doordash from doing business with others. Doordash does not have the right to restrict Contractor from performing services for Contractor's own business, other businesses, customers, or consumers at any time, even if such business directly competes with Doordash, and even during the time Contractor is logged into the Doordash platform so long as such services do not otherwise violate this agreement.Doordash Independent Contractor Agreement, Section II, Item 4.
You are free to work mulitple applications, even at the same time.
However, the last line in that quote is one to pay careful attention to: “So long as such services do not otherwise violate this agreement.”
It is possible to be deactivated as a result of multi apping. It's not because of the working multiple apps, but because while doing so the Doordash deliveries were not completed in a timely manner.
One of the risks of working multiple apps, particularly of stacking deliveries from more than one company at the same time, is to cause one or more of those deliveries to be extremely late.
If you accept deliveries from Doordash and Uber Eats at the same time, and have to wait a long time for the Uber Eats order to be ready, or if you drive way out of the way to complete the other delivery, that could cause you to be extremely late with the Doordash delivery you agreed to complete.
It's still possible to stack deliveries with different platforms, however one has to be extremely careful and picky about which deliveries to combine, so as not to risk contract violations or account deactivation.
Can Doordash deactivate you for low acceptance rate?
No. Doordash can not require you to accept any particular delivery offer. They also can't require you to accept a certain number or percentage of delivery requests. They can only expect satisfactory completion of the delivery offers you do accept.
Can I be deactivated for cancelling a delivery I've accepted?
Doordash won't deactivate drivers for changing their mind on a delivery, but will deactivate drivers for a pattern of doing so. In particular, if you complete less than 80% of accepted delivery orders, you can be deactivated.
However, if you have picked up an order and then cancelled after, if Doordash believes you've stolen the food you may be deactivated.
I had to cancel one of my first Doordash orders and my completion rate is under 80%. Will I be deactivated?
No. Doordash doesn't apply the 80% acceptance rate requirement until you've completed 20 orders. However, if you've cancelled more than four deliveries by the time that has happened, that would put you under 80% completion, which would put you at risk for deactivation.
Will Doordash deactivate me for inactivity?
Doordash can not deactivate you for not accepting orders or for failing to meet a minimum number of deliveries. They do not state anywhere whether your Dasher account would be deactivated after a certain period of time of no activity at all.
I've personally gone several months without delivering for Doordash without any issues. I can't say if that would be the case for everyone.
Can I be deactivated for getting a ticket or accident?
If these happened while on a delivery, depending on the severity, these may fall under “keeping the platform safe” provision of the deactivation policy. Usually this would be if there were severe negligence, unsafe driving, or other criminal activity.
If a ticket or accident would cause you to fail a background check, that may lead to deactivation the next time Doordash runs a background check.
Is asking for a tip grounds for deactivation?
While it's frustrating if a customer chooses not to tip, demanding a tip from the customer can be taken as threatening or abusive towards the customer or a form of harassment. All of these would be grounds for termination under the policy.
Will using the Para app get me deactivated?
A third party mobile app called Para had made waves by helping Dashers get more information than the offer screen gives them. The way it works is you log the app in to your delivery app account, and in real time it receives the same trip data from Doordash that is sent to your phone. Para then searches through that data for information that may not have been displayed on the offer.
The main data Para is looking for is if Doordash hid any of the tip amount. Doordash has done a lot to try to block that information.
Many believe the Para app violates the Doordash terms of service because of the provision in the deactivation policy about scraping.
Data scraping, in its most general form, refers to a technique in which a computer program extracts data from output generated from another program.Cloudfare article on What is Scraping?
Para uses data already being sent to your phone, so it might be difficult to call it scraping. There are also several apps like Gridwise, Solo, Buckle and others who use a similar process. Deactivating drivers for using one such app could open a can of worms.
In the end, it all boils down to whether Doordash considers the use of Para scraping. To date, I'm unaware of anyone being deactivated for using the app.
Will I be deactivated if my first Doordash customer ratings are low?
It's not unusual for a customer rating to be extremely low shortly after one first starts delivering. A one star rating right out of the gate needs several good ratings to bring your average up over the minimum 4.2. Fortunately, Doordash doesn't hold the 4.2 minimum against you until after twenty deliveries.
How to avoid Doordash deactivation
First and foremost, do what you agreed to do. When you accept a delivery, complete it in the best manner possible. Act like a professional, be reasonable with restaurants, be courteous to customers, and just avoid doing stupid things.
Usually that will take care of it. But not always. Unfortunately things happen that are beyond your control. Sometimes customers lie. I've had times that the due time at the restaurant was already passed when I received the delivery.
I wrote in more detail about how to avoid a wrongful Doordash deactivation, but here are the main points:
1. Shift your mindset about your role with Doordash.
Remember that you're not an employee and Doordash isn't your boss. You're providing services for Doordash as a business.
This means Doordash is your customer.
Think of this as a business trying to keep the relationship with the customer. The customer can walk away any time and the better value you provide for your customer, the better the chances of keeping that realationship.
2. Do what you agreed to do.
I'm amazed how many times Dashers seem to feel that being a contractor means there are no consequences. As a business person, when you agree to do something, good business means following through. Deliver the food or merchandise as you agreed, and deliver it well.
3. Don't be stupid.
Don't steal food, don't threaten the customer or get into a fight at the restaurant. Be a professional and use common sense. That alone will avoid a lot of issues.
4. Avoid traps.
Some situations can set you up to fail. A customer who decides not to tip is often more likely to complain about service or possibly lie and say they never got the delivery. Be selective with which offers you accept.
5. Keep up with the app.
Make sure you mark on the app when you arrive at the restaurant. Be especially sure that you mark when the delivery is completed. These are computers tracking whether you are extremely late or not and they use that activity to tell if you're on time.
Another piece of helpful advice is to make sure to indicate in the app when the restaurant is running late. After arriving at the restaurant, there's a spot on the app asking what's happening. If the food isn't ready yet or you can't get attention of the staff or there's a long line, make sure to mark that on the app.
I tend to go back to that every five minutes. Doordash says that the restaurant being late doesn't count against you, but I've heard of enough people getting violations for things like that I'm probably a little paranoid. It doesn't cost me any time and minimal effort, so why not?
5. Document as much as possible.
Since the Doordash contract violations system was implemented a couple of years ago, I've only had one issue pop up. It was the email I receive that I posted above. I could give exact details including screenshots on my GPS program that showed exactly what time I was at the customer's location.
Personally I do my best to have documentation of everything that happens when I'm on delivery. That includes:
- I use a dash cam with adjustable cameras. That lets me point the cameras at the customer door showing me delivering the food.
- My phone has a screen recording app called X-Recorder (free app). It records everything that happens on my phone including external sound. That gives me a record of interactions with customers.
- I use Hurdlr to record my mileage. Hurdlr records my driving in very short segments, so I can show exactly what time I was at a particular location. Triplog is another mileage app that takes it even a step further: Hurdlr shows starting and ending times, but Triplog will tell you exactly what time it was at different points along the way (these are affiliate links).
The thing to remember is that Doordash manages by algorithm as much as possible. Their computer may say you were late, but if you have a record of everything you did, you can prove your case.
6. Have a backup.
I've stressed this a lot about Doordash being your customer. What happens when a business loses its only customer?
Think about this as well: Any time you run a business of any kind, if the market changes, it can impact your earnings. At some points, you pivot. At other points you figure out that it's time to close up shop.
First and foremost, if at all possible I recommend that you have other customers. Sign up with other delivery services. it's up to you how much you rely on any of them, but if something happens to your Doordash account, you have other options. (Or if it's one of the many times the Doordash app crashes…)
What can you do if your Dasher account is deactivated?
There may be options if your account gets deactivated. You may be able to appeal. If an appeal doesn't work there may be legal options.
Appealing your deactivation from the Doordash platform.
You will be provided instructions for how to appeal if your account is deactivated. This review process will apply to deactivations from the DoorDash platform that were based on violations of the Independent Contractor Agreement or Deactivation Policy, such as abuse, fraud, or violating the safety of the platform. Appeals section of the Door Dash deactivations policy
Doordash won't consider an appeal for deactivations based on customer rating or completion rate. However, any other deactivation is subject to appeal.
They used to put the link to the appeal form on their deactivation policy. They no longer do so but instead say they'll give you instructions on how to appeal when you're notified of deactivation.
The good news is, Doordash is better than most gig platforms when it comes to giving you details that led to deactivation. That is unless it's something like a customer accusation.
The bad news is, you won't get a chance to actually talk to someone about it. All you can do is reply or fill out the appeal form, with as much detail as you can provide. There's no due process here, no opportunity to face your accuser or get any real answer.
All you can do is give your side. That's not always easy, especially if you aren't sure what you're giving your side of. And then it's a matter of waiting for their response.
If your appeal is unsuccessful or if it was based on ratings and you have a good case for why something is wrong, you might decide whether to take it further.
Bryant Greenling of LegalRideshare.com has been a guest on our podcast. They offer a deactivation letter service for a small fee, where they'll write a legal letter on your behalf seeking a response from Doordash or other gig companies.
This is always a good first step. At the very least it might give you a more specific reason for deactivation. They do not guarantee any results. You can go to their contact page and give your name, phone number, email and let them know if it's about a deactivation and they can give you details on what they can do.
The other option would be arbitration. If you feel like you have a strong enough case to show you were deactivated improperly and if Doordash is a significant source of income, it may be worth seeking arbitration.
What is the Doordash deactivation process?
Doordash doesn't really lay out the process. In practice it seems to vary.
Some Dashers report just being deactivated. They can't log into their account on the app and they get an email informing them they've been deactivated. This especially happens when you fail to meet the customer rating or completion rate metrics.
If there are contract violations, the app will let you know of the violation, and Doordash will usually email you to let you know. Generally you have a chance to respond and explain what happened. Doordash may or may not then remove that violation from your ratings screen.
When there are more serious charges or customer complaints, Doordash may pause your account while they investigate. Again, you usually have a chance to give your side of the story, although too often you don't get many details to help you know what the exact complaint is.
What we don't know is what goes on inside Doordash after things like this. Is there one or more people who review these things? Is it looked at on a case by case basis? Somewhere someone makes a decision, but no one knows how it happens.
Once that decision is made, all that's left is the appeals process. Once again, we have no idea whether it's the same person who made the original decision who reviews that, or someone totally different. Doordash isn't very transparent about that process.
Can I sue Doordash for wrongful termination?
Because you are not an employee, you don't get some of the protections such as the right to due process. This is a contract law matter, and not employment law. On top of that, unless you've opted out of arbitration, the contractor agreement waives your right to file a lawsuit against Doordash.
Understand, I'm not a lawyer and nothing in this is legal advice. If you feel like you have a legal case, you may want to consult your own legal professional for details about your own situation.
How long does Doordash deactivation last? Is it permanent?
I can find no indication that there's any limitation to deactivation on Doordash, and would assume therefore that it is permanent unless overturned by appeal.
Can I appeal a Doordash completion rate violation?
While Doordash does not offer an appeal for completion rate violation, that may not mean you are out of options. If you legitimately canceled out of more than twenty percent of your accepted deliveries, you probably have no options. However, if you can document that some incompletions were outside your control (orders canceled when the app was down, or stores closed and the app was not able to process your claim that it was closed) you may be able to present that evidence through a legal letter or by way of arbitration.
Understand that I said may. I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know of anyone who was able to successfully challenge such a deactivation this way.
Can I apply to Doordash after being deactivated?
At this point there does not appear to be an option to apply again for Doordash after being deactivated. There is no indication anywhere on their site that I can find that indicates they would accept applications after a certain amount of time.
Can I create another account and deliver for Doordash after deactivation?
Doordash's independent contractor agreement specifically states that a Dasher cannot have more than one Doordash account.
I've heard of many in Facebook groups and on Reddit who have claimed to have been able to create another account with a different email address and phone number and start Dashing again. I've also seen a number of people who did so and were eventually deactivated once Doordash figured it out. If by some chance you are able to create a duplicate account, it's likely only a matter of time before Doordash figures it out and shuts it down.
Doordash now uses a third party company called Persona to verify your identity when applying for an account. I don't know whether that additional layer allows them to better identify duplicate accounts.
Can I call driver support to reverse my deactivation?
Doordash driver support reps are not likely to be able to help you out. Doordash support often won't have the relevant information and don't have the authority to reverse any decisions made. The main thing that could help you is having another way to provide documentation of your side of the issue.
Is Doordash violating their own contract with their deactivation policy?
I have documented times where Doordash actually violated their own contract by updating the deactivation policy without advising Dashers that the change was made.
Doordash's contract states that Doordash can make changes to the policy. However, it also says “Doordash shall provide notice of any such changes to Contractor via email.”
This is one reason I use so many screenshots. It's one way of documenting what the policy was at a given time. As you can see from the screenshots above, Doordash has changed them many time.
Is Doordash crossing a line with their deactivation policy?
There's a fine line of control when it comes to the independent contractor relationship. Doordash is only allowed to require an end result. They can't say how you do the work or how often you work for them. You'll find that most of these policies are related to an end result, or they point to reasonable expectations (keeping the platform safe).
Wrapping it up.
What it boils down to for me is, if you do what you agree to do, you're going to be okay.
If you do an excellent job getting food delivered, You'll be able to maintain your relationship with your customer (Doordash) and continue to earn money from that relationship.
In the end, Doordash is just a customer. They can be a great customer in the right places, but they're still just a customer. Treat this as a customer relationship, provide the best service you can, and make sure you have other customers, and you should be fine.
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.
What are the most important tools, accessories, and apps you must have as a Doordash delivery driver?
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.
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.
Could this help someone else? Please share it.