July 15, 2024

What’s It Like Working for DoorDash?

I recently encountered a person who works for DoorDash — Rich B., of Hershey, Pa. According to Rich, the money is good but the struggles can be real at times. These are some questions I had for him which he answered in great detail.

I want to thank Rich for this information, which will definitely help people out there decide if DoorDashing is the right career move for them.

What qualifications do you need to work for DoorDash?

DoorDash drivers must have a valid driver’s license. A DoorDasher takes his or her own vehicle on deliveries around the local area where they live and work.

You must undergo a thorough background check before starting work as a DoorDasher, for obvious reasons. You’ll also be required to take photographs of your car, and ensure the car is less than 10 years old.

What does a DoorDash order typically consist of?

DoorDashers deliver fast food and restaurant food orders to start out. Then as you achieve different levels of DoorDashing, you’re permitted to do different things like shopping and delivering orders from stores like Dollar General, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Rite Aid. (More on this in a bit.)

When an order comes in, the DoorDash app provides the following information for you as the driver:

  • The name of the restaurant
  • What the order consists of
  • Driving directions to the restaurant
  • How many miles you are from the restaurant
  • Approximate tip

An example: a $10 DoorDash order breaks down to $6 of DoorDash’s pay for your effort, and then a $4 tip from the customer.

When you’re ready to drop off the order, the app will tell you exactly what house you’re to drop it off at, and will drop a pin by that house.

The app will also tell you through a voice apparatus that you’ve arrived at the house. It will then ask you to take a picture of the order at the door.

Send the picture and then DoorDash releases the tip to you. At this point, you’re free to either take the next order or head back to your starting point.

What is the DoorDash schedule?

You’re free to pick up as many or as few DoorDash assignments as you feel you can handle, on any given day.

Keep in mind that DoorDash is performance based. The more orders you bring in and the higher your rating, the more opportunities you’ll have for higher-paying gigs and better tips.

How big of a geographic area are you expected to cover as a DoorDasher?

The areas where we Dash in are huge and not always the most geographically friendly. This is why it pays to know where all of your fast food places and all of your classier restaurants are. That way, you can hang out in the general area and wait for the orders to come through.

How are you graded or rated as a DoorDasher?

You basically receive a general overview of the position. Your overall customer satisfaction score determines your pay rate, and your scheduling of when you can DoorDash.

DoorDashers are timed pretty much from the moment we receive an order till the time we arrive at the merchant.

If we spend too much time trying to get to the merchant (I find that happens around the 17-minute mark), we receive what’s called a contract violation.

A contract violation doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be deactivated. It generally means a demerit against you. But as long as you keep your ratings up you’ll likely be okay.

What happens if your customer satisfaction score drops?

If your customer satisfaction score falls below a 4.2 out of 5 then there’s a chance you could be deactivated. That means you won’t be able to DoorDash again for at least several years, if ever.

How much can you make working for DoorDash?

The answer to this depends on a few things – your own availability, motivation level, how well you’re able to navigate the area, advance-schedule orders and such. I typically make on a normal good day around $110 to $120 just dashing between 9 AM and 3:30 P.

My best day delivering was a week after Christmas time. I made $212 on that day.

My worst day was a couple of weeks ago when I was not able to schedule my DoorDash for that day. I ended up with about $30 for the 8 hour stretch.

The $30 days are few and far between. The $100 days are more or less the norm unless you receive a catering order and like I said those are the ones that are very lucrative.

Insider Advice from Rich, who DoorDashes in the Lebananon and Hershey, PA area:

I quickly found that in an area like ours that has only a few pockets of fast food and better quality restaurants from which to deliver, it’s very difficult to make what would it quite to a full-time living or about $20 an hour doing DoorDash alone.

I had to also incorporate Uber Eats into my Delivery day and deliver from them as well.

Uber Eats handles a lot of the restaurants that DoorDash will not but Uber Eats is also easier when it comes to deactivation. Their app is generally better… more reliable and trustworthy. The tips are generally higher than DoorDash… however, the frequency of orders is much less.

Unless you know your area really well, it’s hard to do them both simultaneously.

The general rule is that you can take an Uber Eats order while doing a DoorDash but you can’t take a DoorDash while doing an Uber Eats because with DoorDash you are timed.

Does DoorDash work on tips?

YES, many people don’t realize that DoorDashers rely on tips from their customers to make a decent wage delivering food and goods to their customers. Your DoorDasher will be very grateful to receive a tip from you.

What are some more DoorDash inside pointers?

  • Use the pause button on your app if you want to take a break. Pause your DoorDash orders because for every order you don’t accept, your acceptance rate goes down by a percent. 
  • Schedule your Dashes in advance. Doing this is imperative to help you make the most tips in the least amount of time, with the least amount of waiting around.
  • If you stay above a 70% acceptance rate you can schedule your Dashes 6 days in advance. You’ll be eligible for higher tipping orders as well as catering orders. Tips from these can vary between 30 and 80 dollars per delivery.
  • At times you may be asked to provide photographic evidence of where you left the bags which is where due diligence comes in on the part of the driver. I now take pictures after every delivery.
  • By law, we’re not allowed to look in the bags that contain the customer orders.

Can you make your own schedule DoorDashing?

Absolutely. I try to do all my Dashes over the 5-day week period. I generally schedule myself Monday through Friday from 9 AM until about 3:30 PM because my wife works about 7 until 3:30.

Even though the end of my area is about an hour away from my house, that is the most lucrative area of my geographic location. So it takes me about an hour to get home from there.

For this reason, I stop around 3, when there’s a bit of a lull anyway. DoorDash orders don’t usually pick back up again until about 5pm.

How does the DoorDash shop and deliver service work?

After you become well established with a good satisfaction rating for delivering food, you may be permitted to shop and deliver from local stores to customers. The DoorDash app provides the following information to the DoorDasher:

  • Name of the store to shop at
  • Items to shop for
  • Shelves that the items are on
  • What size each item should be

Your basic job is to then pick up the order, take it to the cash register, and pay for it with a DoorDash payment card. You’ll scan the card the same way you would any normal debit card. Then bag the order and deliver it to the address provided.

These types of DoorDash orders for the most part aren’t timed. They’ll also get you much higher ratings and much higher pay. In the summer and winter months, it’s really nice to have those because it’s a break from the heat or a break from the cold and you can take as long as you want.

What are the upsides to working for DoorDash?

One major upside is the lack of a boss hovering over you (which can also be a downside if you’re the kind who works better under close supervision, or thrives on/expects constant feedback).

Another upside: you won’t have bosses and coworkers making demands on your time or criticizing your performance. I can take a break as I want. I can take lunch as I want. I can pull over to the side and just relax my head for a minute if things get too intense.

One of the perks is that we’re able to withdraw our money on a daily basis. So if you find yourself constantly in need of cash, it’s a good job to have. At the end of your day and the end of your shift you can just withdraw into your bank account whatever it was you made that day.

DoorDash downsides:

Being on your own, working out in the field with no supervision or support has its downsides as well. If things do get too intense… if the app goes haywire… if there’s a problem with a customer… you basically have to make all of your decisions on the spot. 

It’s got to be spontaneous, without any help from customer service because there’s no time to call them and wait on hold until they decide what it is you should do

DoorDash doesn’t take out taxes. You either have to pay in orderly installments or you do as I do which is that your wife is the main breadwinner in the household and you just pay it all at the end of the year.

My wife has a W2 job and quite a decent one as a commercial customer service rep. So she makes a good bit of money and that affords me the ability to do this job and stick with it.

Feel free to add any more information that you think is important for people to know about working as a DoorDasher.

I do have a funny DoorDashing story.

At one point I ended up doing a shop-and-deliver order for my neighbor. I noticed at the start that it was to deliver a pregnancy test and I didn’t even know that the person next door was was dating.

So then I noticed after buying the pregnancy test that the destination for the delivery was close to my house. The closer it got, the more I thought oh my God I wonder if it’s my wife (who was actually working from home at the time).

So then I noticed that it ended up being for my next door neighbor. Customers can indicate whether they want the order to be handed to them or just left at the door and this was a “hand it to me” order (although why you’d ever want a stranger to hand you a pregnancy test is beyond me).

So then she came to the door and I kind of waved in a sheepish way as if to say “well hi I guess you didn’t really expect me…” And without a word she took it and shut the door. It’s been more than 9 months and I haven’t seen a baby over there so I’m guessing the result was negative.

Also there was a day when I had another pregnancy test to deliver. I also had to go to a shop and deliver to the same address for a cocaine test. Both of those went to the same house so that must have been quite a weekend for that family.

What would you change about DoorDashing if you could?

There’s no paid vacation and you won’t make any money on the days you come back, until you work up to Platinum Level again, which is unfair. This is a policy that needs to be changed, especially in a job that’s as physically demanding as driving daily, including on pothole-riddled roads which take their wear and tear on your vehicle (remember, you’re driving your own car).

But all the pluses are there. If  you’re like me and you’re an ADHD-type person with that kind of personality… a great geographic knowledge of your area… a car that’s generally operable and you like not having to answer to anyone… then DoorDash may just be the right choice for you.

Working DoorDash gives you the freedom to begin and end your day as you wish, and when you wish. I’ve had 53 jobs in my life and I’m 53 years old. This is a job I’ve kept for 4 years now, and I figure I’m going to keep until I’m retired. All in all, it turns out to be a great job.

Thanks for your time, and happy DoorDashing!