How To Make Money on DoorDash: Getting Started

New York NY/USA-October 28, 2018 A DoorDash delivery person outside of a branch of the Sweetgreen restaurant chain in the Meatpacking District in New York.
rblfmr / Shutterstock.com

DoorDash drivers make on-demand deliveries from restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores and other local businesses. As independent contractors, they set their own hours, working as much or as little as they want, and use their own vehicle to make deliveries. The flexibility makes Dashing a great side gig to earn extra money or, depending on the market, even replace a regular part-time or full-time job. Signing up takes just a few minutes, and you can start driving a few days later.

How Does DoorDash Work?

When someone places an order through DoorDash, DoorDash offers the delivery to drivers via a mobile app. When you are offered and accept a delivery, you pick up the item at the business, deliver it to the customer and get paid.

You can drive in your home city or in any of the more than 7,000 cities where DoorDash is available.

Signing Up To Drive for DoorDash

The sign-up process is quick and straightforward, but you’ll need to meet some basic criteria:

  • A mode of transportation such as a car, scooter or, in select locations, a bicycle
  • A valid driver’s license number
  • A Social Security number
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The first step toward driving for DoorDash is to sign up and complete your profile. As part of that process, you’ll agree to a background check and add bank information so that DoorDash can pay you by direct deposit. If you don’t have a bank account, you can select the DasherDirect Business Prepaid Visa card as an alternative.

You’ll be ready to drive as soon as DoorDash verifies your vehicle information and background check. Watch for your activation confirmation and background check emails from DoorDash, or check the status of your application by clicking the “Already started signing up?” link on the sign-up page. While you wait for activation, you can download the DoorDash app.

Good To Know

If DoorDash is not currently accepting drivers in your area, you’ll see a notification on the sign-up page letting you know you’ve been added to the waiting list. You can check back periodically by clicking the “Already started signing up?” link on the sign-up page.

How To Make Money Driving for DoorDash

Once you have been activated and have installed the app, you can start driving. To schedule shifts ahead of time, fill in the information under the Schedule tab in the app. Otherwise, tap the “Dash Now” button to let DoorDash know you’re available, then wait for your first delivery. When it comes, the screen will show a map indicating the route as well as your base pay and information you need to complete the delivery, such as where to pick it up, the recipient’s address and any special drop-off instructions. Click the “Accept” button to accept the delivery, and then follow the prompts to confirm delivery tasks as you complete them.

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After your first delivery, the app will prompt you to enter your mailing address so that DoorDash can send you a welcome kit. The kit includes items you’ll need for deliveries:

  • A Red Card you’ll use to pay for some deliveries (only when instructed)
  • A hot bag to keep food fresh while it’s en route to the customer

You can keep driving while you wait for your kit to arrive. For now, DoorDash will only offer you deliveries that don’t require a Red Card.

Getting Paid

For each delivery you make, you’ll receive a base pay ranging from $2 to $10, not including tips. The amount depends on how long the delivery is expected to take, how far you have to go and the value of the delivery. You can earn extra money from promotional pay:

  • Peak pay: An additional amount per delivery during busy times
  • Challenges: Incentives for meeting delivery goals
  • Guaranteed earnings: Guarantee select Dashers will earn at least the guaranteed amount within a specific period of time
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You can track your earnings under the app’s Earnings tab. They’re grouped by week, and you’ll see the total for each week on the main Earnings screen. Tap any week for a detailed view of that week’s earnings.

DoorDash transfers payments to your bank each Monday for deliveries completed from Monday to Sunday the previous week. The funds are usually available by Wednesday night. However, you can cash out daily for a $1.99 fee, or opt for a DasherDirect debit card to have your earnings loaded every time you complete a delivery.

How To Maximize Your Earnings and Make the Most Money on DoorDash

Drivers can expect to earn $16 to $18 per hour, according to DoorDash driver salary surveys from ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor. However, you can maximize your earnings by implementing strategies to make your time behind the wheel more lucrative and efficient.

Drive in High-Demand Areas

Busy areas are more likely to offer back-to-back deliveries within close proximity of each other. The faster you can knock out deliveries, the more you’ll earn.

Drive During Busy Hours

Peak pay boosts your earnings per delivery in addition to maximizing the number of deliveries you get. Busy times, like mealtimes, are more likely to offer peak pay.

Focus on Restaurant Orders

Restaurant orders usually pay more than you’ll earn for a quick stop at a fast-food place or convenience store. Not only are the orders pricier, but the tips might be, too.

Be Wary of Stacked Orders

DoorDash might offer you multiple orders at the same time. These “stacked” orders can increase your earnings, but they might not be worth taking unless they’re in close proximity to one another. Long distances between deliveries can result in disproportionately low pay.

Get a Second Driving Gig

Working two driving apps simultaneously can significantly increase your earnings. The second gig can fill any downtime you have between DoorDash deliveries.

Is DoorDash Driving Worth It?

Signing up with DoorDash is easy and free. Although your earnings depend on demand in the areas where you drive, during the hours you drive, the average pay plus tips make it a more lucrative opportunity than many part-time jobs. It’s well worth it for anyone who wants to bring in some extra money while maintaining full control over their schedule.

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Information is accurate as of Feb. 7, 2022.

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About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.
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