DoorDash Review [2020]: Should You Deliver with DoorDash?

If you want to pick up some fast cash on your own schedule, consider delivering food for DoorDash. Here's everything you need to know about how DoorDash works.
Last updated Oct 5, 2020 | By Lindsay Frankel
Guide to Earning Money as a Delivery Person with DoorDash

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Imagine this: You’re tired of pizza (it could happen), and you want to eat at your favorite restaurant. But the place doesn’t deliver, and you don’t want to change out of your pajamas. Enter DoorDash, the on-demand delivery app that lets you order food from a variety of local restaurants to be picked up and delivered by a “Dasher.”

Sounds great for lazy nights in, but what if your goal is to find your own hustle in our gig economy?

Well, you could be the one to show up on someone’s doorstep, red bag in hand, and deliver the meal of their dreams. It’s a gig that involves driving (or biking), discovering new restaurants, and providing a much-needed service to hungry folks. Plus, it gives you the freedom to work part-time on your own time and get paid quickly. 

DoorDash is considered one of the best side hustles out there. Keep reading this DoorDash review to find out if it's right for you.

DoorDash Benefits

  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Keep 100% of the delivery fee plus any tips or boosts
  • Dashers earn an average of $15-25 an hour

Jump To

What is DoorDash?

DoorDash is a San Francisco-based technology company that was founded in June 2013. Serving over 4,000 cities, the service allows people to order delivery from more than 310,000 stores, which includes 90% of the top 100 U.S. restaurant brands.

In May 2019, DoorDash surpassed Grubhub in monthly sales, making it the nation’s leading online food delivery service. The company is now valued at about $13 billion and growing. It’s a totally legitimate business that both serves customers and gives its independent contractors a flexible way to earn.

How does being a delivery person for DoorDash work?

At any time, you can log into the DoorDash app and see available delivery opportunities in your area. When a delivery is offered to you, you’ll have the chance to accept or reject it. You’ll also see the guaranteed minimum amount you’ll earn from the delivery.

If you accept, you’ll go to the restaurant and indicate on the app that you’ve arrived. From the takeout counter, you’ll either pay with your Red Card (a credit card you’ll receive during orientation) or just pick up the food and head out ⁠— the app will tell you which to do. You’ll swipe the DoorDash app again to indicate you’ve picked up the food and then swipe a third time once you’ve made the drop-off to the customer.

You’ll always earn at least $1 plus 100% of tips per delivery, and if a tip doesn’t bring your pay up to the guaranteed minimum, DoorDash will make up the difference.

Who can deliver for DoorDash?

To deliver for DoorDash, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have an iPhone or Android smartphone
  • Sign up with your Social Security number
  • Have a car, bike, scooter, or other vehicle (requirements vary by area)
  • Have a valid driver’s license (if delivering by motor vehicle)
  • Have insurance (if delivering by motor vehicle)
  • Have a clean driving record (if delivering by motor vehicle), which means:
  • No major violations (e.g., DUI, reckless driving, homicide, assault, failure to stop and report, driving with a suspended or expired license) in the past seven years
  • No more than three other major incidents in the last three years (accidents or moving violations not included in the list above)

How much can you earn with DoorDash?

For each delivery, you’ll earn a guaranteed minimum plus tips. The guaranteed minimum will vary by location and order. DoorDash guarantees that you’ll always receive at least $1 base pay plus tips, and it will make up the difference to meet the guaranteed minimum if you’re not tipped enough.

Here’s an example of how that could work out in two different instances of a $10 minimum pay delivery:

Guaranteed minimum Base pay Customer tip DoorDash pay Total earnings
$10 $1 $3 $6 $10
$10 $1 $15 $0 $16

If you have a large order or the customer tips well (or both), you could make a lot of moolah in just one delivery. But even if the customer tips nothing, you’ll still make the guaranteed minimum you were offered for the order.

On occasion, DoorDash will also offer an incentive known as Peak Pay during busy ordering and delivery times. You can earn Peak Pay in addition to the minimum pay on each order by meeting the requirements listed in the delivery offer. An example DoorDash offers on its website is, “Earn $2 extra in San Francisco between 11AM–2PM if you accept 80% of delivery opportunities.”

DoorDash said its delivery drivers earned an average of $17.50 per hour in 2018, and it continues to collect feedback from drivers in the process of reevaluating its pay model.

To get paid, you must provide DoorDash with your bank account information, and you’ll receive a weekly direct deposit for the previous week’s orders. You can also access your earnings on demand each day for a $1.99 fee.

Maximizing your earnings with DoorDash

One of the perks of hustles like DoorDash is that you get to determine how much you make. You might be able to earn more than the average Dasher if you hustle and keep your expenses low. Here are some tips to maximize your earnings:

  • Deliver during busy times to earn Peak Pay
  • Avoid high-traffic areas that could slow you down
  • Look for larger orders to accept, which will give you a better chance of earning a huge tip
  • Provide excellent, friendly service to customers to earn higher tips
  • Drive a gas-efficient vehicle or deliver by bike to save money on expenses
  • Use the right credit card to get cash back on gas
  • Keep track of your expenses to report for tax purposes
  • Use other food delivery apps at the same time so you can make the most of every hour
  • Refer other Dashers to make extra money

How to get good reviews

DoorDash calculates your average rating based on the past 100 reviews you received from customers. To get a great review each time, make sure to:

  • Deliver the order as quickly as possible
  • Keep the food warm in an insulated hot bag
  • Make sure the hot bag stays clean
  • Follow any delivery instructions provided by the customer
  • Greet customers with a smile and a friendly exchange

Common questions about DoorDash

Can you make good money with DoorDash?

Since the average pay for Dashers is more than double the minimum wage in some states, it’s fair to say you’ll be paid well when you work for DoorDash, especially considering the startup costs are low and there’s no education required for the job. However, you should take into account the cost of gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and paying taxes as a contractor when you calculate your final hourly rate.

Can you pay for DoorDash with cash?

Customers have the option to pay for their DoorDash delivery with cash. These orders will be identified to you as “Cash on Delivery” and you will have the option of accepting or denying the delivery. For these deliveries, you will keep the cash from the completed delivery and the amount of the order will be deducted from your next direct deposit. If the delivery recipient pays you more than the total amount of the order, you get to keep the extra as a tip.

What is Dasher Gear?

Dasher Gear refers to branded products sold in the DoorDash Retail Store, most of which are aimed at people who are delivery partners with DoorDash. The available gear includes shirts, sweats, jackets, hats, car signs and magnets, insulated pizza and catering bags, cup holders, and other items that can make deliveries easier. You can order through the website and have the gear delivered to your home.

Do you need a driver’s license to work for DoorDash?

If you’re delivering by motor vehicle, you’ll need a valid driver’s license to work for DoorDash.

Does DoorDash have an age requirement?

Yes. Dashers need to be at least 18 years old. In addition, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s licence and clean driving record, provide a Social Security number, and have an iPhone or Android smartphone.

Does DoorDash do a drug test?

No, DoorDash does not require a drug test.

Does DoorDash require a background check?

Yes, DoorDash requires that you submit to a background check as well as a motor vehicle check if you’re using a motor vehicle to make deliveries.

How long does the DoorDash background check take?

DoorDash uses an outside consumer reporting agency named Checkr to complete background checks on applicants. Background checks are usually processed within five-to-seven business days, though the process can take longer. DoorDash allows you to check on the status of your DoorDash background check directly through the Checkr website.

How long does it take to start working for DoorDash?

Expect your background check to take a few days. After that, you’ll need to either sign up for a Dasher Orientation or request an Activation Kit by mail. You’ll also need to order any other DoorDash gear ahead of time (though there’s no requirement to dress in DoorDash gear).

So, while the amount of time it takes to get started may vary, we estimate you’ll need one to three weeks to get up and running. To get a better idea of how long this will take in your area, check out DoorDash’s info by city. People in select cities are even eligible for Instant Dashing, which means you’ll be able to get started immediately after your background check clears.


How to become a delivery person for DoorDash

The signup process with DoorDash is very straightforward. Follow these steps to become a Dasher:

  1. Go to DoorDash, scroll down, and click on "Get Started" under "Deliver with DoorDash"
  2. Complete your DoorDash profile
  3. Provide your info for a background check and motor vehicle check
  4. Sign up for a Dasher Orientation or request an Activation Kit
  5. Install the Dasher app
  6. Set up your Red Card
  7. Set up direct deposit
  8. Declare W-9 Taxpayer Identification
  9. Schedule your first dash

Dasher Orientations are offered in a wide range of cities including New York, Washington D.C., and dozens more. DoorDash also has offices outside of the contiguous United States, in locations like Puerto Rico and across Canada as well. If you are seeking a no-contact way to get started as a DoorDash driver, then requesting an Activation Kit would better suit your needs.

Other side hustles to consider

While DoorDash is an excellent way to earn some extra money in addition to your full-time job, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Depending on the city you live in, delivering with Postmates or Uber Eats may be a better option for you. To make the best choice for you, research which of these services is available in the area you want to work, how much they pay, and how quickly you can start earning. You may even find that doing deliveries for both companies is the best solution for you.

If parking stresses you out and you want more face time with customers, you might consider driving for a rideshare company like Lyft. Or maybe you’re new to a city or otherwise nervous about driving and getting lost. In that case, consider a side hustle you can do by foot, such as Rover. You can even learn how to make money without leaving your house, such as teaching English with VIPKid.

DoorDash Benefits

  • Be your own boss and set your own hours
  • Keep 100% of the delivery fee plus any tips or boosts
  • Dashers earn an average of $15-25 an hour