Delivering for Doordash can be a good way to make some extra money. Some have found that getting delivery offers on the Doordash driver app can be a great part of a full-time income strategy. There can be a lot to like about Dashing.
There can also be some challenges if you don't understand what you're getting into.
So what does it take to sign up for the food delivery service? How do you apply and how soon can you get started?
We'll talk about what is involved in being a Doordash delivery driver. That includes understanding some of the pro's and cons of being an independent contractor in the gig economy. Then we'll go over the signup process, what you can expect, and wrap things up talking about how you can get off on a good start as a Doordash Dasher. We'll talk about:
- What you need to know about delivering for Doordash
- How to apply to deliver for Doordash
- What happens after you sign up for Doordash?
- How do you get started with Doordash?
There are so many more details we can go into, as this touches on a lot off topics related to delivering for Doordash. For that reason we've created a series of articles that can serve as a complete guide to Dashing in the United States. You'll see links to other articles throughout, which go into a lot more detail. Also, at the end of this article, you'll see a complete list of other articles in this series.
Some important things you must understand about delivering for Doordash
Do NOT sign up for Doordash without understanding what you are getting yourself into.
The most important thing to understand is that Dashers are not employees. This is not a job. Doordash will not hire you. It's more like a business opportunity.
In this section, we'll talk more about what that means. We'll have a brief look at what's involved delivering for Doordash, some quick pros and cons, how Doordash pays, and how much time you can spend Doordashing.
The difference between being an independent contractor and an employee.
If you are looking for a job with all the protections that employees get like minimum wage, overtime, paid time off and benefits, Doordash isn't for you.
When you deliver for Doordash, you do so as an independent contractor. What that means is that you will be providing delivery services as a business, and not as an employee.
Delivering for Doordash is a form of self-employment. You're part of the gig economy where you will be taking on a lot of short term contracts, rather than being employed. The good news is, you have a lot of freedom to set your own schedule, the legal right to choose which deliveries you want to accept, and be your own boss.
At the same time, you're completely on your own. There are no guarantees. If you go out all day and don't get any deliveries, you're out of luck.
In the end, you're running a business. Doordash is your customer, not your boss. For some like myself, that's exactly what we want. Others may prefer the guarantees and protections.
How delivery works for Doordash in a nutshell
When you decide you want to deliver, you log into the Dasher app, a mobile app that Doordash uses to send you offers and to manage your delivery business.
Much of the delivery offers available through Doordash are meals from local restaurants. Food delivery drivers pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to the Doordash customers who ordered it. Doordash may also have you pick up items at convenience stores to deliver, or have you shop at grocery stores or drugstores and deliver those items to the customer.
Most drivers will deliver with their own cars. Doordash does not provide the vehicle for you. As an independent contractor, you're on your own for the cost of operating your car, as Doordash does not reimburse you for gas. In some select markets, usually in major cities with shorter deliveries, you may be able to deliver on bike or on foot.
Doordash sends an order request to you via the Dasher app. That offer will tell you what you are delivering, give you a general idea where you will be going, and most importantly it tells you what the delivery will pay.
You have the option to accept or decline that offer. Once you accept, you make a commitment to complete that delivery to the best of your ability. In most cases, you can simply pick the order up from the restaurant or merchant, although sometimes you'll have to pay for it with a Doordash provided prepaid debit card.
Once you've picked up, the Doordash app will show you the customer's address and provide navigation. You'll have instructions as to whether you need to hand the order to the customer directly or if you need to leave it in a particular location as a contact free delivery.
Pros and cons of delivering for Doordash.
In my opinion, the best thing about Dashing is the freedom. It's a great way to make extra money without a boss breathing down your neck. You can set your own hours, work around your own schedule for whatever you're doing, and work as much or as little as you want. On top of that, the money can be pretty good.
However, there are some important drawbacks you need to be aware of. Because you're self-employed, there's no safety net. You very likely will need different car insurance, as your insurance carrier may exclude you and Doordash doesn't cover you either. At most, they provide liability coverage for the other party if you cause property damage.
In the end, you're on your own for anything you might expect from an employer. If you're expecting benefits like a 401k or health insurance, understand you have to provide those yourselves. Since you will be taxed like a business, Doordash and taxes can be a bit more involved since Doordash does not take taxes out for you.
In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. But if you expect this to be like a normal job, you may feel otherwise.
How do you get paid for delivering for Doordash?
There's no hourly rate or wage as a Dasher. Instead, you are paid by the task with an amount per delivery.
How much you get per Doordash delivery is based on what Doordash pays and what the customer tips. Doordash doesn't often pay much, so your earnings rely a lot on tips.
Doordash offers a base pay or delivery fee that they say is between $2 and $10. It can vary depending on distance, how long it might take and something they call desirability. Desirability simply means that if a delivery isn't paying enough for Dashers to accept the offer, they may up the pay to make it more desirable.
There may also be incentives from Doordash to encourage drivers to get out there during busy periods when they need more Dashers. Since they can't require you to accept deliveries or set your schedule for you, this is how they make sure there are enough drivers to meet demand. For instance they may offer peak pay during the busiest times: an additional bonus per delivery.
Customers usually add a tip when they order. That tip plus the Doordash delivery fee makes up your total earnings.
Because you have the right to accept or reject delivery offers, you can have a lot of control over what you earn. How much money you make depends a lot on the decisions you make about when and where to deliver.
Your earnings accumulate as you deliver. You have a few options for receiving your pay. You can pay a fee to have earnings instantly deposited to a debit card. Doordash provides a DasherDirect debit card where money is deposited immediately at no charge when you complete a Dash. Doordash pay can also go to your checking account by direct deposit on a weekly basis.
Is Doordash a full-time or part-time gig?
This is a quick in-a-nutshell review of delivering for Doordash. Whether you choose to Dash full-time or part-time, remember that you are providing services as a business. This means that you can choose how often you deliver. For most Dashers, delivering for Doordash is a good side hustle. It's a great way to make extra income in your spare time by picking up a few deliveries here and there.
Can you make a full-time living out of Dashing? Technically, no, since you aren't an employee, but there are many who get a fulltime income delivering for Doordash and other food delivery services. I've delivered full-time for several years and it's worked out very well for me.
However, for many it can be a pitfall. Running a business full time, which you are doing as an independent contractor, is different than a full-time job. There are more risks that you need to prepare for to make it work. Personally, I find the ceiling to be higher and the reward is greater than the risk, but it's up to you to make sure you're going in with eyes wide open.
How to apply to deliver for Doordash
The application process with Doordash is pretty simple. Since this isn't an actual job you don't go through all the hoops and interviews and such that you would for a W-2 position.
It starts with understanding the Doordash driver qualifications. You need to meet the following requirements: have valid driver's license (or government ID if you are signing up for bicycle delivery in select markets), a social security number, and must be over 18.
The main thing is you'll have to pass the Doordash background check. If you don't have a criminal record or traffic violations you should be fine. You can read more here about requirements and the background check process.
Then you will obviously need a couple of things to make this work. You need a mode of transportation. For most drivers' that's their car. Fortunately Doordash doesn't have specific vehicle requirements. You'll also need a smart phone with a data plan as you'll need to use the driver app to receive offers and manage your deliveries.
The signup process with Doordash.
You can sign up directly as at Dasher.Doordash.com.
If you have a friend or family member who dashes, you can also reach out to them to see if they have a referral link. Sometimes Doordash offers a minimum pay bonus if you complete a large number of deliveries after signing up.
We'll walk through with some screenshots so you have ani idea what it looks like. Understand that the process can change. However, it's fairly intuitive so you should be able to do quite well on your own.
The first thing Doordash asks for is your zip code. What that does is tie you to the delivery market.
The system will ask for a phone number and email address and take you to this screen. Here you'll create a password for your Doordash account. The email and password are what you will use on the Dasher app once you install it.
If you are in a market that allows bicycle or scooter delivery you may be prompted to enter the vehicle type for your deliveries.
If you select car, you will need to fill in details about your driver's license including your state, driver's license number and insurance information.
Your next step is going to be uploading your ID. Doordash works with a company called Persona to verify your identity. The process includes scanning your identification and getting a selfie.
Once that's complete, you'll need to authorize a background check. There you'll provide more involved personal information including your date of birth and your social security number. This allows Doordash to check county and state records and to run a motor vehicle record on you.
And that's it. The process is simple and takes only a few minutes. For a lot of people the most time consuming part of it all is getting together the license and insurance information and possibly scanning their ID.
What happens after you sign up for Doordash?
The entire process is pretty easy and straight forward. If you can pass the background check you'll usually be able to be out earning money with Doordash in a few days, depending on where you are. Here's the post-signup process:
1. First you wait.
There are two things you're waiting on, three in some areas. We'll take them in order.
The waitlist. If an area is full of drivers you may be placed on a waitlist. Doordash won't process your background check or ID verification until after a spot has opened up. Unfortunately Doordash doesn't give any indication how long a waitlist can last.
This is a screenshot of a waitlist notification email from Doordash. Why they chose white text on a yellow font, I don't know, however I copied the text from that section below.
We aim to always provide Dashers with the best experience possible so that every Dasher who hits the road has a fair opportunity to earn. Right now in your area, we have more Dashers than we need, so we're adding you to the waitlist. We're sorry about this. We're working on getting you on the road as soon as possible.Text of email from Doordash announcing an applicant is on a waitlist.
While you would expect that Doordash would notify you if a spot opens up, in the email they suggest that Mondays are the best times to try to log into the app. That may suggest that if you log in on Mondays to try to complete the application, you may be able to complete the signup. It wouldn't hurt to log in every Monday morning and see if you can finish signing up.
Background and identification checks. If your market is open, Doordash will go ahead and process the identity verification process and your background check. Then it's just a matter of waiting for them to get the results back.
Doordash says the entire process can be five to ten business days. For me, it took less than two days, but that was awhile ago. The system checks records often from several county courts, and some of those can take a bit of time to get a response.
You can log into the Checkr applicant portal to see where your status is. If you have issues with the background check you do have options. You can read more about what to do if there's a problem with your Doordash background check.
2. Download the Dasher app
Once you've created your password in the signup process, you can download the Dasher app and log in. Don't confuse this with the food delivery app for customers which is often linked on Doordash help pages.
You can log into the app with the email and password you created your account with. However, y ou won't be able to start delivering until you get approved, however you can manage your account, update basic information, set up direct deposit information for your bank account (so you can get paid) and complete the application process if needed.
3. Is there an orientation?.
Once upon a time Doordash used to have an in person orientation for new Dashers. In my situation, I had to go to a local Starbucks, meet the rep there and get my activation kit (a hot bag and red card). There wasn't much to the meeting: he gave me my things and made sure my red card was active.
Now the Doordash signup process says you simply do your first delivery once you've been notified that you're clear to start Dashing. There's no mention of an orientation.
Once you've completed the delivery, Doordash has you enter your address information so they can send a welcome kit (the delivery bag and red card).
Which means you're pretty much ready to go once you've passed your background check.
How do you get started with Doordash once you're signed up?
Congratulations. You're signed up and ready to make some extra cash.
But the weird part about the signup process is, Doordash just tells you here, go make a delivery.
No training. Just poof – go do it. How do you know what to do?
From a four year plus veteran, I'll offer some ideas. The links will take you to other articles that go into more detail and can be a lot more helpful.
1. Learn what you can about Dashing while you're waiting. Y
ou can start with the lead article in this series about all the things you need to know about delivering for Doordash. There are a lot of Youtube videos where people walk you through what a delivery is like. Get to know what you can.
2. Think about when you will deliver.
There are great times to deliver and not so great times. Some days and some times of day can be really slow. The best times to deliver are the peak hours, those busy times when a lot of people are ordering in. Get to know the best times to Doordash.
3. Set your price.
The truth is, you're going to get some real stinkers. Doordash will send you an offer to drive several miles for all of $2.50. Remember that Doordash is NOT your employer but just a customer. Delivery request from Doordash are just a request. Really they're just a bid for your services where Doordash says I'll give you this much for you to do this, will you take it? The key to earning well is knowing when to accept and when to reject package and food orders on Doordash.
4. Learn the tricks to how to make the most on Doordash.
The linked article has 63 different ideas. Some will work great for you, others may not apply. In the end it comes down to four main ideas:
Treat it like a business. You signed up as a business, not as an employee, so start thinking like it. Start with looking at Doordash as your customer and not your boss.
Be efficient. This is THE best way to increase your Doordash pay: complete more deliveries in the time that you have.
Look for business opportunities. If Doordash is your customer, start thinking of other food delivery apps as customers as well. Why limit yourself to just one?
Keep your costs under control. It costs a lot of money to drive, more than just gas. Be careful with your money and be smart about how far you'll drive to make a few bucks.
5. Be the boss
The moment you agreed to the terms and conditions, you agreed you were running a business.
That means Doordash is NOT your boss. You are.
A company like Doordash can not control how you do your work. They can't tell you what you can and cannot take for delivery orders. They're only allowed to do that if they're willing to hire you as an actual employee.
In the mean time, when they tell you that you're a business, take them at their word. Make your own decisions on what makes sense. Don't worry about things like acceptance rate (the percentage of delivery offers that you accept) other than to accept what makes sense to you.
And that goes for listening to people like myself. There's a lot of Doordash advice out there. Youtube, Facebook, Reddit. Everyone seems to feel like they need to tell you how to run your business.
Don't do things because I tell you to or anyone else. Do them because it makes sense for YOU.
Be the boss.