Doordash's latest promise to Dashers has been that they’ll give priority on high paying orders if you accept more offers. Dashers with a minimum 4.5 customer rating who accept 50% or more of their delivery offers supposedly get priority access to high-paying orders.
Many Dashers have figured out that one of the best ways earn more on Doordash is to be selective with what delivery offers they take. When a high acceptance rate can reduce your earnings, is it really worth it to take more orders to get better offers? Or is this just a carrot Doordash is dangling without any real benefit?
After Doordash introduced this benefit in my area, I put it to the test. I decided to track all offers I received. I’d look at the orders I get with a high acceptance rate and compare them to orders when my rate is under 50%. Would my orders get better when my Doordash acceptance rate is higher?
If you’re like me, you might be skeptical whenever Doordash promises something. They said Top Dashers would get better orders, but my results proved otherwise. They promised they’d pay more for longer trips, and said they’d take care of Dashers when gas prices went up, but then Doordash reduced pay for longer deliveries.
Whenever I’ve dug into Doordash promises, I’ve found them to be misleading at best, and lies at worst. Did they do the same thing this time?
I checked it out for myself.
Keep reading, and I’ll share my findings. But here’s the short version of it: My results were the opposite of what Doordash promised. I received better offers when my acceptance rate was low (under 50%) than when it was higher. I certainly didn’t see any evidence of offers getting better when my acceptance rate went higher. We’ll talk more about the details, including:
The offer from Doordash
Doordash has rolled this program out in several markets. When they sent it to me, they called it a trial. They appear to have offered it in most of the country, and current information on their site no longer refers to it as a trial.
As Doordash introduces this program, they give drivers the opportunity to reset their acceptance rate. This gives Dashers a fresh start, letting them benefit immediately from the program. For two weeks after resetting their acceptance rate, Dashers are told they’d get priority on high paying offers regardless of their acceptance rate. Once the two week grace period was over, Dashers would get priority based on whether or not their acceptance rate was over 50%.
In my market, Doordash defined “high paying orders” as those that pay at least $1.75 per mile.
Priority access makes it more likely that you’ll receive high paying orders, which currently pay at least $1.75 per mile during delivery in total pay (including base pay, peak pay and tips). Dashers like you with a high customer rating can unlock priority access by resetting your acceptance rate.Doordash email offering high-paying orders to Dashers with higher acceptance rates
Doordash’s definition of “high paying orders.”
I’ve noticed that different markets have different parameters for “high paying orders.” I’ve seen screenshots that were $1.50 per mile and others that were $2 per mile.
Doordash has dangled the idea of getting better orders to Dashers in the past. At one time, they promised priority on “high value orders” to Top Dashers (who, among other things, had a 70% or higher acceptance rate). At that time, they defined high-value as a customer order amount of $35 or more.
Many Dashers evaluate delivery offers based on dollars per mile. Doordash seems to recognize that Dashers will a promise of more dollars per mile appealing.
What does Doordash mean by “high priority?”
An important point is that Doordash never promises more high paying offers. They only promise to give you priority over other drivers on those orders. What exactly does that mean?
Doordash doesn’t really say. The only clue is what they said in their earlier promotion where they promised high priority on high value orders to Top Dashers.
This new Top Dasher perk will prioritize nearby Top Dashers for high-value orders (those with subtotal value above $35). This means that if we have two nearby Dashers who can take on a high-value order, we will break the tie in favor of the Dasher with the Top Dasher status.Doordash promise from May 2021 promising priority on high value orders to Top Dashers (you can see the screenshot here)
Doordash announced this perk for Top Dashers in May, 2021. They have since taken this information down from their site. I think it’s fair to assume that the same definition for “priority” is being used this time around: If a qualifying Dasher (above 50% A/R) and a non-qualifying Dasher are tied for an order, Doordash breaks the tie in favor of the qualifier.
I theorized this in the past, and believe it to be true today: I don’t believe there is such thing as a tie. Doordash has their algorithm so finely tuned as to how they determine which Dasher to offer a delivery to that I’m not sure there are any ties.
If there’s no tie, then “priority access” is meaningless.
If there is such thing as a tie, I doubt that it happens very often. Therefore, priority access still doesn’t likely give Dashers many more “good orders.”
In early 2022, I tested whether orders would get better once I made Top Dasher and found no evidence that they were better. I wondered if I’d see the same results under this new program.
The timeline in my market
I received the email on September 27th,2022, which gave me until October 4th to opt-in. On October 3rd, I opted in. The opt-in button took me to what looks like a Google form where I entered my Doordash account information and said I wanted to opt in. On October 5th, my acceptance rate was reset.
I kept track of my orders in the days leading up to the reset. During that time, my acceptance rate was mostly in the 15-20% range. I kept a screenshot of every offer I received. When the reset happened, my acceptance rate went to 0%, but with the first offer after, it shot up to 100%.
For the two weeks following the reset, my acceptance rate stayed in the 50-70% range. Once again, I tracked every offer.
I now had a good number of offers to compare, both before and after getting to the 50% acceptance rate. However, I wanted to see if orders would get worse if I dropped below the 50% rate, so I decided to do another round.
I let my acceptance rate drop below 50% and tracked all offers between October 19th and November 5th. At the end of the 5th, I was back at 50%, and I tracked all offers through November 26th.
This gave me two significant periods of time operating below the 50% acceptance rate level, and two periods above. That allowed me to see if the pattern I noticed the first time would repeat itself.
How I measured delivery offers
Doordash says we get priority on high paying orders if we have a higher acceptance rate. There’s no way to really prove whether that’s true or not without knowing how often there’s a tie with other Dashers.
To me, the more important question is, do offers get any better when your acceptance rate is up? Is it really worth it to take more deliveries? And how do you measure it?
I decided to use three different measurements.
- First, I chose to use Doordash’s definition of “high paying orders.” What percentage of delivery offers were more than $1.75 per mile?
- Second, I used an overall average of dollars per mile offered. Adding up all offers and using the mileage shown on the Doordash offer screen, what was the average dollars per mile of the delivery offer?
- Because I measure my progress by hourly rate, I decided to measure the anticipated hourly rate. Using Doordash’s “deliver by” time to estimate delivery time for an order, I calculated how much one could expect to make per hour if taking everything
Understand: this is not a scientific study. It’s far from that. It’s impossible to control all the variables. Was the overall volume of orders higher on the nights that I was below 50% than the nights I was? I know that with weather getting colder lately, there was more peak pay this last group of orders (a period when I was above 50%) than the others.
The sample size is far too small to draw any definite conclusions. It’s impossible to prove that orders are better or worse based on one person’s data.
What I can tell you is, there’s no evidence that orders were any better. The three things that I measured all had better numbers when my acceptance rate was lower than when it was higher. Here’s what the numbers look like:
Round 1: Acceptance rate in 10-20% range.
45.5% of offers were what Doordash called “High paying offers ($1.75 per mile or more).”
The average dollars per mile were $1.39.
- 19.4% of offers were less than $1 per mile
- 22.6% were between $1 and $1.50 per mile
- 9.7% were between $1.50 and $1.75 per mile
- 22.6% were between $1.75 and $2 per mile
- 22.7% were $2 per mile or higher.
Finally, I calculated estimated hourly rate. This isn’t the greatest measurement because it’s only based on Doordash’s delivery by time. If Doordash sent an offer at 5 PM and said deliver by 5:15, I would use that to estimate 15 minutes. Doordash’s deliver by time is often inaccurate. However, I think it can still be an indicator because I’m assuming there’s a consistency in how Doordash estimates the deliver by time.
Based on the deliver-by time, the average earnings would come out to $15.14 per hour.
Round 2: Acceptance rate between 50% and 70%
This was after the acceptance rate reset. That’s how I could jump from 20% one day to above 50% the next.
29% of offers were paying $1.75 per mile or more.
The average dollars per mile were $1.35
- 20% of offers were less than $1 per mile
- 33% of offers were between $1 and $1.50 per mile
- 15.6% were between $1.50 and $1.75 per mile
- 8.9% were between $1.75 and $2 per mile
- 22.2% were over $2 per mile
My estimated hourly earnings for all offers, based on offer screen information, was $14.19 per hour.
Round 3: Acceptance rate between 35% and 50%
Instead of getting better, it felt like orders were getting worse. That made me wonder if there was an anomaly. With the program being announced in my area all at once, and the way that Doordash was giving everyone who did a reset two weeks of priority access, maybe that wasn’t a fair comparison.
What happens if I drop under 50% again? If half the town is eligible now, maybe my numbers will get a lot worse this time. So I decided to give it another shot at a lower acceptance rate, then qualify again.
Once I dropped back under 50% (and thus was supposedly not getting priority access), 42.9% of my offers paid $1.75 per mile or more. That’s a 12.5% increase.
The average dollars per mile were $1.49
- 17.5% were less than $1 per mile
- 27% were between $1 and $1.50 per mile
- 12.7% were between $1.50 and $1.75 per mile
- 9.5% were between $1.75 and $2 per mile
- 33.3% were over $2 per mile
The average estimated hourly earnings were $16.92 per hour
Round 4: Acceptance Rate between 50 and 60%
I considered trying to get up to 70% to see if Top Dasher status would make a difference. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept enough offers to make that happen. Having said that, the drop off between round 3 and 4 wasn’t as much as it was from round 1 to 2. However, statistically there still was a drop off.
38.9 percent of offers were $1.75 per mile or more.
Average pay per mile on the offers was $1.47.
- 16.4% paid less than $1 per mile
- 27% paid between $1 and $1.50 per mile
- 16.2% paid between $1.50 and $1.75 per mile
- 8.1% were between $1.75 and $2 per mile
- 32.4% were $2 per mile or more.
The estimated average hourly rate of all orders was $16.86 per hour.
Weather was worse during Round 4. Peak Pay made up 17% of my earnings during Round 4, compared to 8.3% in Round 3, 5% in Rounds 1 and 2. Overall the numbers in Round 4 were pretty similar to Round 3. Numbers were still slightly worse for that last round, when acceptance rate was higher. If you factor in Peak Pay, they would have been even worse. There definitely was no improvement in order quality as my acceptance rate increased.
Any way that you measure it, it was clear that I did not get more “good orders” when my acceptance rate was over 50%. I think there’s a case to be made that order quality actually dropped, which is just the opposite of what Doordash suggest wants us to think would happen.
Keep in mind: Doordash never promises we would get more good orders if your acceptance rate is over 50%. They only say we’ll get priority over drivers who don’t have a high acceptance rate if there’s a tie.
Do you actually get worse orders if you have a higher acceptance rate? I believe it’s possible. Think about it: Doordash needs to get orders accepted. If someone has shown they’re more likely to accept bad orders, who do you think is going to get those offers that they can’t get anyone else to accept?
My results don’t prove that you get worse orders if you accept more orders. This isn’t scientific, and the number of orders is too small to be conclusive. However, numbers suggest it could be happening.
I see absolutely no evidence that orders were better when my acceptance rate improved.
Based on the numbers I’ve seen, I’m more inclined to think that acceptance rate doesn’t seem to impact order quality either way.
My thoughts on whether you should accept more to get better offers
Doordash has proved multiple times over that they make promises without delivering.
They promised better orders for Top Dashers. It never happened.
Doordash promised better pay on longer distance deliveries. They ultimately slashed delivery fees for long-distance trips.
There is no noticeable difference in the quality of offers when my acceptance rate is higher than it is lower. If anything, orders are worse.
Doordash has even flagged orders as “high paying” that were less than their $1.75/mile criteria. This order (see the screenshot) offered $1.12 per mile. However, it also says the “total will be higher.” Do the math: Doordash says $1.75 is a high-paying order, and this offer was for 10.7 miles. That makes it look like it should pay over $18. Actual pay was $12.50, or $1.17 per mile.
That’s enough to tell you that they can’t be trusted to follow through on their promises. For that reason, I can not advise anyone to accept more offers now in the hopes that orders will improve.
The thing that I’ve learned is that your best strategy is to identify what works best for you, and stick with that plan. I’ve found that being selective with delivery offers makes a dramatic difference in my earnings rate. I make far more at a 20-30% acceptance rate than at 50% or higher. Doordash has yet to demonstrate that offers are actually better when the acceptance rate is higher.
In the end, how you choose to operate your delivery business is entirely up to you. You’re the boss of your own business. However, I’ve done this several times where I tracked orders to see if Doordash was delivering on their promises. This time, like all the others, they haven’t.
Do with that what you will.