How to Work for DoorDash
Delivery services have taken over the country. The pandemic has certainly played a big part in propelling this industry forward but the convenience these services provide is just too great to deny.
Food delivery services provide many benefits to the public but they also present a great opportunity for those looking to make some extra cash.
The Application Process
Before you can begin DoorDashing full-time or even part-time, you need to complete the application process. This is true whether you work out of Australia, Canada, or San Francisco.
The process is fairly simple. You just need to be sure that you meet the eligibility requirements, get your gear ready, and sign up.
To legally become an official delivery driver for DoorDash, you must be 18 or older.
You must also have a valid driver’s license with at least two years of driving experience.
And lastly, you need to provide your social security number to meet the legal requirement to get paid.
Things You Need for Work
One of the great things about working as a Dasher is that you don’t need much more than what you already have to get started.
You need a method of getting from point A to point B. This is usually a car but in some select cities such as New York, you can use a scooter or a bicycle.
You’ll need a smartphone with a data plan since you will use the DoorDasher delivery app to accept and make deliveries.
If you are using a car or scooter, you need to have the right car insurance. DoorDash requires you to have a liability policy in your name at the very least.
When you are ready, you can visit the DoorDash website and fill out the signup form.
The first step they ask you to do is enter your zip code to see if a position is available in your area.
If they need more drivers in your area, they will ask you to fill out an application with your personal information with consent to a background check.
The background check is the longest process of the application. It can take up to two weeks for the background check to process, but once it has and you’ve passed, you are ready to get started.
Get Your Welcome Kit
After you’ve completed your first delivery, DoorDash will send you a welcome kit that contains a hot bag to keep food warm for delivery.
This kit will also contain a “Red Card.” This card is not a credit card, (well, not in the traditional sense) so don’t get excited.
This card is what you use to pay the restaurant for the order. There will only ever be enough on the card for the order placed by the customer.
This is a very convenient system that protects both you and DoorDash.
You won’t have to pay any money out of pocket for an order. This protects you from losing money and DoorDash doesn’t have to worry about paying for an order that never gets delivered.
Learn more about how the Red Card process works in this easy-to-understand article.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready
DoorDash does not require a vehicle inspection for you to get started. It doesn’t matter what year, make, or model your car is as long as it runs well.
For your own sake, it is best to use a gas-efficient vehicle to save you money.
Some items are not necessary but helpful to have.
- Extra hot bag in case you have multiple orders
- Cool bag for desserts and salads
- Crate in the back or passenger floor to hold orders upright
- Phone mount and car charger
- Personal protection such as mace, whistle, etc.
- Sharpie to write the names of customers on the bags
Delivering Your First Order
Once you have been accepted as an official Dasher, the best thing to do is just get out there and learn the ropes.
To make your first delivery follow these steps:
- Get on the DoorDasher app.
- Look for a red zone.
- Drive to the zone and push “start dashing.”
- Accept an order.
- Drive to the restaurant and pick up the order.
- Drop off the order to the customer.
It sounds pretty easy, right?
So easy that it seems like it wouldn’t earn you very much money.
Well, you can earn a pretty good living.
Just how good?
How Much Can You Earn With DoorDash?
According to DoorDash, the average is $25 hourly pay, which is much more than minimum wage.
How much money you can earn working for DoorDash is going to fluctuate due to several factors, some of which you can control and some that you can’t.
How You Make Your Money
The pay model for Dashers is made up of a few different numbers.
First, you can make $2-$10 per order as the DoorDash base pay. You make this amount no matter what.
The second way you make money is with customer tips. You can see how much the customer added to the tip before you accept the order. You can still earn more tips after delivery (more on that later.)
DoorDash offers incentives like the peak hours bonus, challenge bonus, and early delivery bonus that give you extra money.
As you make your deliveries, you can see how much you have earned on the DoorDash app. When you are ready to get paid, you can transfer the money to your bank account or debit card.
This usually takes a few business days but you can get it faster if you pay a small fee.
Pros and Cons of Working for DoorDash
Like any job, working for DoorDash has its ups and downs. It’s always good to know these going in.
One of the biggest draws of being a Dasher is that you get to choose your schedule. You can make it a part-time job or a full-time job and even change your hours from month to month.
You can take a vacation whenever you want. There are no minimum amount of orders that you have to deliver.
You can work throughout the country wherever DoorDash delivery is offered. This means that you can go visit family and still be able to make a living.
The starting process is fast. You don’t have to wait for weeks hoping that you get an interview. Apply and as soon as you pass the background check, you’re in.
You also get to know the pay and the tip before you accept any offers, so you can choose which orders to go for.
Even though you know how much an order pays before you accept it, you can’t make orders appear. When there is a slow demand you make less money.
You will put much more wear and tear on your vehicle and the miles will accumulate fast.
Even though the application process is easy, it may not be available in your location.
As an independent contractor, you pay all your taxes and get no benefits included.
You can, however, sign up for Selfgood’s membership benefits, which offer countless ways for freelancers, side hustlers, and self-employed individuals to fill the gap in benefits often provided by employers.
How to Improve Your DoorDashing Experience
While some people are worried about their acceptance rate and gas prices, those who know their stuff follow these tips below:
Track Tax Write-Offs
As a DoorDasher, you will be paying taxes as a self-employed person and your taxes will reflect this. To save money on taxes, you need to track your eligible tax write-offs so you can claim them on your taxes.
So what exactly can you claim as business expenses on your taxes as a Dasher?
All the items you bought to get your vehicle ready to deliver food can make the list. Check the list under the heading “get your vehicle ready” to remember all the items that can be included.
You should also track your mileage because you can claim a certain amount as a deduction on your taxes.
Read this article about how to write off your car expenses and consider buying a mileage tracker to make this one less thing to worry about. (You can write off the mileage tracker too!)
Since you will be using your smartphone to accept and deliver orders, you can write off some of your phone bills.
For a full list of tax write-offs you can claim as a delivery driver, read this.
Work at Peak Hours
The hours that you deliver can greatly impact how much money you will be making. There are four main sets of peak hours for food delivery and as you may have guessed, they revolve around meal times.
Those four are:
- Early Bird (6-9 am)
- Lunch (11-1 pm)
- After Hours (after 11 pm)
The best hours will differ depending on where you live and the season. You’ll learn with experience when the best time is to get out there.
Peak hours give you peak pay, so aim to make these your priority.
Prebook Your Dashing Hours
The best zones and hours get filled quickly. Luckily, you can claim your spot up to six days in advance.
Since you are your boss you can set your hours. When you have a flexible schedule, make your time count. Lock in the zone and time that you know you will make the most money as early as you can.
Park in a Hot Spot
A hot spot is an area close to several restaurants. Between deliveries, park somewhere convenient in a hot spot.
You’ll not only be offered more deliveries since they see you are so close but you will also save time driving to the locations to get the food orders.
It’s okay to be selective in the orders you accept. It is wise to avoid certain orders.
Orders with a low base pay shouldn’t be a priority but if they are on the way to another big order, they might be a good option.
Of course, orders with no tip aren’t going to be worth your time, and deliveries that are way out of your zone aren’t a good idea unless it’s your last one for the day.
Grocery runs are a hassle. They are much more time-consuming and the longer it takes, the lower your hourly wage will be.
Go For Extra Tips
Few people know that customers can add an additional tip after the delivery is made.
You can go above and beyond to earn yourself these goodies.
Always look presentable. Always smell clean. When it comes to dealing with people’s food, they want to think it was handled in the cleanest way.
Follow instructions if there are any. For example, if a customer asked you to put the order in a specific location, put it there. Another common request is that you don’t knock on the door.
Send out updates to keep the customer in the know of the expected ETA. You can send out an update if the restaurant is late on making food, when you are almost there, and after you dropped off the food.
These little extra efforts can earn you a bigger tip in the end.
Be a Double Agent for More Income
After becoming an experienced DoorDasher you may want to consider applying to other food delivery services. There are plenty of other popular food delivery services that you can add to your portfolio.
These include UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, and Waiter. Choose the one that is most popular in your area.
Working for more than one food delivery service company allows you to make a significant improvement to your income by taking multiple orders at once.
The possibilities with DoorDashing are different for everyone, and you’ll never know if it will work for you unless you try.
Like any other job, you will get better as time goes on. You’ll learn some tips and tricks that make your day easier and earn more money.
If you are searching for a quick way to make some extra cash or a consistent income, DoorDashing may just be the answer!
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