Can You Make Decent Money Driving for DoorDash?

The answer definitely depends on a lot of factors, but here are my thoughts after being a DoorDash driver for a few months. The process to apply to be a driver is fairly simple – you have to upload your driver’s license and proof of insurance, along with passing a background check and going over their training videos. After you complete your first delivery, they will mail you a DoorDash bag for hot orders and a Red Card which can be used to pay for orders that qualify (I didn’t have any Red Card orders, so I’m not sure how common they are).

Related: The 17 Best Money-Making Apps

On my first day as a driver, I delivered 15 orders and made a $200 bonus from a challenge promo that was available for me in the app. That first day I made $285 total. In our area, driving in Greensboro is much better paying than delivering to Winston-Salem. We live in between the two cities so I experimented with delivering to both areas to see which would be better. The app tells you to accept ALL jobs they send your way, but I quickly learned that the fast food jobs are not worth it as there is usually no tip or a low tip like $1.

Here are some of places I picked up food from – Bruegger’s Bagels, East Coast Wings, Popeye’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Vitality Bowls, Applebees, Bubble Tea shop, Bojangles, and Papa John’s. About half of the deliveries were to businesses and half were residential. One was a delivery of a bubble tea to a huge house in Lake Brandt – $5 tip there was the best I had all day.

I learned that apartments are my least favorite as they often take a lot of time trying to get gate codes to work and to locate the right apartment when the buildings aren’t labeled well.

The app gives customers the option of having the delivery left at their door with no interaction, or of having the order handed to them. If I leave at their door, I’m required to take a photo of the order outside their door to prove it was delivered. Here’s where it becomes awkward – a lot of people mark to leave it at the door, but then they come outside anyway to get it from me, so in those cases I had to ask them to let me take a picture of me handing them their order. If I didn’t do that, I realized the app would not let me complete the transaction or get paid! I got a few weird looks when I asked them to take the photo, but most understood (and I hope they realize they should just stick with their preference in the app to make it easier for the drivers).

A lot of restaurants did not have food (or more often drinks) ready when I got there so I lost time there and also lost time trying to find parking when picking up from popular restaurants. If I continue with DoorDash I might invest in my own drink holders as many restaurants seem to be out of them and carrying multiple drinks and food is challenging!

It’s a good idea to text customers if the restaurant is backed up but they don’t normally seem to text back so I would be left hoping they saw my message. I had a weird “special request” for a “basketball free chicken sandwich” from Wendy’s but they had no idea what I was talking about so I texted the customer but didn’t hear back. Sometimes you have to do some research to understand customer requests! One customer put in a request that I call him upon arriving to coordinate where to drop off his pizza but when I called he seemed quite bothered and confused as to why I was calling, so those were some not so fun parts of the job.

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After a few months of my experiment with DoorDash, my conclusion is that the ONLY good way to make a profit is to work during peak times/holidays when you get an extra $1-$3 per delivery and to look for the bonuses they offer in the app from time to time. Without the “peak pay”, you will be stuck with no tip orders, so you’re then losing money because of how expensive gas is.

You can look in the app to schedule future work for peak hours which is nice, however most peak times are in the evening and throughout the night when it’s dark, so not safe for a female working alone. It can be challenging to find peak pay times that are during the daytime, but if you can time it up, you can potentially make a decent profit if you’re careful about what orders you accept and make sure to follow customer instructions.

Another thing to consider is that you’re being paid as a 1099 employee, so you’ll have to consider the taxes you’ll need to pay on those wages since none are being withheld as they would be with full time employment.

Have you tried working in the gig economy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!


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