The Ultimate Guide to Making Money as a DoorDash Driver

Why wait in long lines to be seated at your favorite restaurant when you can have a meal delivered to your doorstep? That’s the beauty of using DoorDash, and you can rake in some extra dough each month by signing up to become a delivery driver or Dasher. 

But what does driving for DoorDash entail? And how much can you make by satisfying the cravings of hungry consumers? Read on to learn about the opportunity, along with how much you can expect to be compensated, the application process, and exclusive benefits offered to DoorDash drivers.

How DoorDash Works

The DoorDash platform brings any type of food you desire to you without all the hassle. So whether you’re at home, the park, or the office, all you have to do is place the order and wait for it to arrive. Best of all, all this can be done at the tap of a fingertip.

Here’s how it works:

  • Download the app on your mobile device. 
  • Create a profile. 
  • Search your local area for restaurants that serve what you’re in the mood for. 
  • Place your order (Group orders are also allowed). 
  • Track the driver’s progress directly from the app.
  • Enjoy your meal.

Service Areas

The DoorDash service is available in multiple cities across the nation. To find out if they deliver in your area, input your address into the search tool found on their webpage.

How Much Can You Make Driving for DoorDash? 

The more deliveries you make as a DoorDash driver, the more you’ll earn. The compensation varies by order size, location, and anticipated wait times. Plus, you’ll always be allowed to keep 100 percent of tips received by customers. The compensation structure is as follows:

  • DoorDash Base Pay (at least $1)
  • Customer Tip
  • DoorDash Additional Pay

Payment is remitted weekly for deliveries made Monday to Sunday of the week prior. DoorDash pays by direct deposit, which is set up when you’re hired as a Dasher. 

You also have the option to request an instant cash out to your debit card once per day, but a nominal fee of $1.99 applies. To qualify for Fast Pay, you must have been working for at least two weeks and have 25 deliveries under your belt. 

Guaranteed Minimum

When a delivery job appears in your dashboard, there will be what’s referred to as the “Guaranteed Minimum” attached to it. Expect to earn this amount and possibly more if an adjustment is made within the system or the customer tips much more than expected. 

So, if the Guaranteed Minimum pay on an order is $15 and the customer tips you $16, you’ll pocket $17 because DoorDash promises to always compensate you a base rate of $1 plus any tips, even if it exceeds the Guaranteed Minimum. Here’s what that looks like: 

$1 (Base Pay) + $16 (Customer Tip) + $0 (Additional Pay form DoorDash) = $17 

But assume the customer only tipped $2. Since the Guaranteed Minimum pay is $15, the breakdown would be as follows: 

$1 (Base Pay) + $2 (Customer Tip) + $12 (Additional Pay from DoorDash) = $15

Peak Pay

If you accept a delivery during a period when there’s high demand, you’ll receive a bonus, or “Peak Pay”. Using the first scenario from above, a delivery with bonus Peak Pay of $5 would look like this: 

$1 (Base Pay) + $5 (Peak Pay) + $16 Customer Tip + $0 (Additional Pay from DoorDash) = $22

You’ll be alerted when a delivery qualified for Peak Pay through the mobile app. 

Referral Bonuses

Each time you refer a friend or relative and they sign up to drive for DoorDash, you’ll receive a bonus. The amount varies and certain delivery requirements apply, so view the “Refer friends” page on your dashboard for more information. 

Benefits of Driving for DoorDash

Flexible Schedule

Customers can order through DoorDash from 5:30 AM until 4:00 AM the following morning, so you can choose when you want to work. Whether you want to deliver on your lunch break, during rush hour, or late at night when college students or partygoers have the munchies, the choice is yours. 

Unlimited Earning Potential 

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can deliver with DoorDash as often as you see fit. Best of all, they share the Guaranteed Minimum before you accept the job, so you’ll know if it’s worth your while or if you should wait for more lucrative opportunities. 

Built-In Coverage for Drivers 

As a Dasher, you’ll have commercial auto insurance coverage of up to $1,000,000 for any property damage, bodily injury, or both that occur while you’re out making deliveries. You can learn more about this protection right over here

Keep in mind that you’ll still need to have personal liability coverage to work as a Dasher. 

Other Driver Benefits 

DoorDash also offers the following benefits to their drivers:

  • Everlance Premium, the top-rated mileage tracking app, free of charge for three months at the Premium level. There’s also a free version should you decide not to continue with the Premium subscription once the promotional period lapses. 
  • Stride Insurance, which is an affordable health insurance option that offers open enrollment from November 1st to January 1st of each year. Visit their website to learn more. If you’d prefer to secure a plan through the Marketplace, they are available to assist with that as well. 

How Much Does It Cost to Drive for DoorDash

It’s free to start work with DoorDash, but there are some costs to keep in mind, including:

  • Gasoline 
  • Insurance coverage 
  • Tolls 
  • Routine maintenance and repairs for your vehicle

But by setting realistic earnings targets, identifying hot spots for deliveries, and responsibly managing your workload, you should be able to keep these costs low. 

Getting Started as a DoorDash Driver

Does this sound like an opportunity that could be a good fit? To become a Dasher, there are a set of qualification criteria you must meet. 

Qualification Criteria

Individuals applying to be a Dasher in the US or Canada must:

  • Be at least 19 years of age (or 21 or older to deliver alcohol)
  • Have a working iPhone or Android smartphone
  • Have a valid driver’s license and active insurance coverage
  • Have a driving record that is free of major blemishes 
  • Have access to a working vehicle or bicycle to make deliveries 

How to Sign Up for DoorDash

To sign up for DoorDash: 

  • Complete the online application found here. You’ll need to create a Dasher profile to get started and answer a series of questions. 
  • Agree to undergo a background check. If you’ll be using a motor vehicle to make deliveries, a motor vehicle check is also required. 

What You’ll Receive

Once you’ve passed the background and motor vehicle check (if applicable), you have the option to attend a Dasher Orientation or complete the onboarding process from the comforts of your home by using an Activation Kit. 

If you choose the latter, expect the kit to arrive at the address input in the application within one to four business days. Or if you reside in a larger market, you may be able to pick it up from the local office.

The Dasher Activation Kit contains:

  • A Getting Started Manual to get you acclimated with DoorDash and fill you in on the ins and outs of being a Dasher
  • A Red Card to pay for customer orders 
  • A Hot Bag to keep the orders fresh until they reach their destination

In the event the kit doesn’t arrive within 10 business days, you can request a new one. In the meantime, check the portal to determine if you can start making deliveries with Instant Dash. 

The Bottom Line 

There’s nothing quite like driving around town inhaling the pleasant aromas from delivery orders and getting paid to do it. So why not give DoorDash a try? You may find that it’s the perfect side gig for you.