Can You Make a Living Off DoorDash (My Experience) (2024)

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Wow! I bet you’ve come across this post in your quest to know whether you can earn $200 a day as a Dasher or make a living off DoorDash. Well done, you’ve come to the right place!

First off, I would like to establish my credibility. I believe the topic mentioned deserves an in-depth discussion and should be addressed by someone with experience in making money through delivery apps. So here goes.

I’m a full-time blogger and a Dasher on the side. I became a delivery driver a few years ago out of curiosity. Working from home as a blogger is amazing, but it’s nice to get out of the house for some fresh air. Dashing in the evenings allows me to socialize more, put myself out there, and earn extra income.

So, to answer your question, it’s both “Yes” and “No.” Yes, you can make $1,000 a week with DoorDash, especially when you’re doing DoorDash full-time and during peak hours. If this amount covers your weekly expenses, then you’re set.

On the other hand, it could be a “No” because working in the gig economy is far from easy. The number of orders is unpredictable. Sometimes, you’re making deliveries non-stop, and other times, you’re waiting inside your car for the app to ping you (I’ll share my tips on what you can do when customer orders are slow).

Honestly, everyone’s situation is different and there are many factors to consider when assessing whether DoorDashing can be a sustainable job, such as the location, demand, and effort you put into the job. If you want to make a living off DoorDash, you must ensure that these factors align well for you.

This article will look at the basics of DoorDash, income opportunities, and related costs to help us know how to make this popular side hustle a sustainable job.

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Can You Make a Living Off DoorDash (My Experience) (1)

1. How Does DoorDash Work for Drivers?

DoorDash collaborates with local restaurants to bring meals to customers. Remember when we order pizza at a restaurant, and a delivery driver brings it to our doorstep? That’s exactly what DoorDash does, but you’re not limited to pizza alone.

DoorDash is safe to use for both customers and drivers. The company offers two app versions: one is a delivery app for customers, and the other one is for Dashers to use. Let’s focus on the latter.

Through the DoorDash app, a Dasher can receive orders, accept them, retrieve orders from restaurants, and deliver food to hungry customers. It works like a rideshare app, with the distinction being that instead of transporting people to their destinations, you deliver food to customers.

To start earning money from your phone, download the DoorDash app or visit their site to set up your profile.

Meanwhile, here are the important requirements you need once you decide to work as a Dasher:

  • iPhone or Android smartphone (to install and use the app);
  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Valid driver’s license and car insurance (if using a truck, car, or scooter). These requirements aren’t needed if you’re to use an e-bike or bike;
  • Be cleared from DoorDash’s background check.

2. How Much Does DoorDash Pay?

We all wish for a higher income. Like, “My goal is to make $500 a week with DoorDash to pay my bills this month.” However, in reality, your income with DoorDash will depend on your location, working schedule, and the types of orders you deliver.

DoorDash doesn’t offer a fixed-rate salary. So, I cannot give you the exact amount the app will pay you. The good thing is that knowing the app’s payment structure will help you understand how much you can make a week with DoorDash or at least on a daily basis working for the app.

DoorDash offers two payment options: Earn per Offer and Earn by Time.

Earn Per Offer

The earn per offer is calculated based on base pay (usually between $2 and $10), promotions (challenges + peak pay), and tips.

I. Base Pay

The base pay is influenced by several factors, such as time (how long it takes to complete the task), desirability (are other Dashers refusing to accept the order?), and distance for each order. The app will inform you of the base pay per order, and it’s up to you to accept the order.

Note: Large orders tend to have higher base pay.

II. Promotion

Promotions are composed of challenges and peak pay. In addition to the tips that you receive after completing orders, participating in these can boost your income.

Typically, challenges are like milestone incentives accessible via the app. An example is a challenge offering $20 for completing 15 deliveries within a week.

Peak pay is where an extra $1.00 is added to your overall pay when you work during busy hours such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and holiday rush.

III. 100% Tips

DoorDash tips are not mandatory for customers. But when a generous customer gives you one, rest assured that it’s all yours 100% after the delivery is completed.

Illustration: Yesterday was a good day for Dasher A. On his sixth run, he dropped off an order at Customer Z’s place and got $7 as the base fee. Customer Z was so happy with how quickly everything arrived that he added in an extra $3 as a thank you. That delivery was the last one Dasher A needed to hit his target of six deliveries in one day, which meant he also pocketed a sweet $9 bonus. When you add it all up – his base pay, the unexpected tip from Customer Z, and that bonus for hitting his goal – Dasher A walked away with $19 just from that single delivery.

Earn By Time

The earn per time is only available in the US and Canada. This has been made possible through a law to resolve the issue that some drivers are paid unfairly. You can activate this payment option through the app before you start dashing.

Moreover, a Dasher’s minimum pay per hour is around $10 to $19.50, plus promotions and tips.

If you’re DoorDashing in New York, you must feel lucky because DoorDash has increased its hourly pay in the city amounting to $29.93, nearly twice the minimum hourly pay in the city. This is a response to the court’s decision granting the petition of various labor unions that advocated higher pay.

The catch? Tips may be given by NYC customers after checkout rather than before placing an order. To summarize, here’s how to compute your DoorDash pay once you have chosen the pay-per-time option: Total Pay = Pay Per Hour + Promotion + 100% Tips.

Curious as to when DoorDash pay you? Well, DoorDash initiates direct deposits every Monday for deliveries made on the previous week. Generally, you can expect your pay to appear in your bank by Wednesday night. Should you need money now, you can get paid instantly with the fast pay option and pay $1.99 for the transaction.

3. Expenses and Considerations

Anyone working in the gig economy is an independent contractor. This means that individuals like Uber Eats drivers, TaskRabbit Taskers, and most of all, Dashers, are not classified as regular employees by the platforms they serve.

As an independent contractor, we’re responsible for the following costs:

Gas

DoorDash doesn’t shoulder gas expenses for their drivers. In fact, this is a common practice in the gig economy, particularly within food delivery apps. The reason for this, of course, is that food service apps don’t see you as an employee but as a business partner.

So, when you work with them, it’s like you’re running your own business, and you have to cover all the expenses that come with it.

When orders come up, don’t feel pressured to accept every single one that pops up on your screen. Always do a quick mental math to see if you’ll earn at least $1/mile for the order to make it worthwhile.

DoorDash offers higher base pay for long-distance orders, but you also need to account for various factors like traffic, events happening nearby, and wear and tear on your vehicle when evaluating whether a delivery is worth it or not.

The good thing about DoorDash is that you can track your mileage through Everlance and deduct these costs from your tax liabilities. You can also use the same software to track your other expenses. Another way to save on fuel is to pay it through your DasherDirect Card and earn a cashback.

Car Maintenance

DoorDash will not reimburse your vehicle maintenance costs either. If you’re driving an unreliable car, then your DoorDash earnings will likely be spent primarily on repair expenses. Can you live off DoorDashing this way? Of course not.

To save on car maintenance, sign up with CarAdvise. DoorDash has partnered with a third-party company to offer Dashers benefits and discounts for car maintenance expenses.

Parking Costs & Toll Fees

Sorry, these aren’t covered. The trick to avoiding these costs is to be a prudent driver. Follow traffic regulations, steer clear of toll roads, and use free parking areas only.

Since handing out orders typically only takes a minute or two, you can park your car on the customer’s driveway.

Meals

Like any other workers, Dashers are allowed to take snack, lunch, and dinner breaks. Many Dashers prefer to prepare their snacks or meals before their shift. If you’re not inclined to do so, you’ll likely purchase food at fast food joints and run up your meal expenses.

Insurance

Part of being a delivery driver is the importance of being safe and insured. I have to commend DoorDash in this aspect because they offer commercial auto insurance policies should accidents and bodily injury happen during the delivery period.

As for any health-related concerns, DoorDash isn’t obliged to give you employment benefits, let alone HMO coverage or health insurance. However, the company collaborates with Stride to help you find an affordable healthcare plan and other insurance policies suitable for your needs.

Tax

You’re responsible for handling your taxes independently. This includes paying both the employee and employer portions of your FICA taxes. If you make $600 income or more for a calendar year, you will receive the 1099-NEC form.

While filing taxes can be a hassle, all gig workers, even those making money with Instacart, are not exempted from tax obligations. Our job as citizens is to pay our taxes to keep the country we are in running.

Note: Track your expenses, as this will help you determine whether DoorDash is worth it.

4. Can I make $1,000 a week with DoorDash?

Absolutely! I’ve done it, and many Dashers on Reddit, YouTubers, and Quora users can also attest to earning $1,000 weekly with DoorDash. Part-timers who work only a few hours a day may not achieve this goal, but if you’re putting in a full day’s worth of work, it’s reasonable to expect to earn this much.

It takes a lot of hard work and, most of all, strategies to achieve this goal. These include working more hours in hotspots at peak times, accepting as many orders as possible, and providing excellent service to earn higher tips.

Here are more specific tips to make the most money on DoorDash.

Deliver During Peak Times

The key to making the most money on DoorDash is to work smarter, not harder. Choose shifts that are busy in your area. Typically, the best times to use DoorDash are during mealtimes, holidays, and major sports events (i.e., the Super Bowl).

It also pays off to observe or ask other Dashers when their busiest time of the day is. Working on these hours will allow you to earn more than the average.

Take Multiple Orders

New Dashers might want to take a few orders before trying this hack. But personally, I accepted batched orders on my first day of dashing and it helped me double the earnings from that delivery.

DoorDash often offers Dasher multiple orders at the same time. Grab this opportunity if the customers are close to each other. However, if accepting an order takes you out of your delivery zone, you might be better off rejecting the order and staying within your area.

Take Advantage of Promotion

DoorDash offers promotions to keep Dashers motivated to work. This could be in the form of milestone challenges or something they randomly offer when there is a shortage of drivers in a specific area. Participate in these challenges to make $1,000 fast.

Keep Customers Updated

This sounds simple, but some Dashers don’t do it. It’s as simple as letting the customer know what’s causing the delay. Whether it’s letting them know the restaurant has just started preparing their order or that traffic in the area is backed up.

A smile goes a long way, too. One time, I gave a genuine compliment to a customer and my comment made her day! Afterward, I found out that she had left me a tip.

Multi-apping

Smart side hustlers take more than one side gig. Want to consistently make $1,000 every week? Try Uber Eats, Grub Hub, Instacart, Shipt, and other delivery apps along with your DoorDash app.

This strategy is called multi-apping. When you’re on multiple apps at the same time, you can view many orders within your location and choose the ones that offer largely pay. Accept the highest-paid ones and then pause the other apps.

5. My DoorDash Earnings & Experience

Being a Dasher is one of the best second jobs these days. Despite occasional hassles such as traffic, restaurant delays, and weather conditions, my overall experience has been positive.

Should you be interested in knowing how much you could earn in a day as a Dasher, I must say not that much to make you filthy rich like Mr. Beast, but enough to bring meals to the table and set aside some savings.

When I started at DoorDash, I earned over $100 a day; on the 11th day, my total income was over $1,000; I worked around 3 to 6 hours and never full-time, so imagine how much a full-time Dasher could earn. Again, you’re not going to make a boatload of money, but it could definitely help you pay off some bills.

Here is a quick example of how DoorDash deposited the money I earned into my bank account:

Can You Make a Living Off DoorDash (My Experience) (2)

You might be wondering about all those deposits on April 22nd. It’s just that I didn’t put in my bank information when I first set things up, so when I finally did, DoorDash sent these pending payments at once. Thought I’d mention that in case you were confused or curious about what happened.

How to Determine if My Income is Enough to Live Off DoorDash?

To be honest, it’s difficult to know how much can you make a week with DoorDash. But you can use my initial income above to estimate the amount you could earn as a delivery driver.

Meanwhile, the main factor in deciding if you can be a delivery driver for a living is to know first your cost of living and monthly income.

According to Numbeo, the monthly cost of living of a family of 4 in Nebraska is $4,583 while it’s $6,003 in New York. Assuming you’re working full-time (from Monday to Friday) and earning $1,000 per week, I would say you can live off DoorDash in Nebraska but not in New York.

I use these two states as examples to show you that you could make a living off DoorDash in a low-cost area, while it’s not feasible if you live in a high-cost state.

Although it’s true that the average DoorDash pay in New York (and other lucrative states) is higher than the national average, I’m afraid that it’s not enough to cover family expenses. For this reason, you might need additional side hustles to ensure financial stability.

6. The Pros and Cons of DoorDashing Full-Time

I’ve done hundreds of orders as a food delivery driver. It isn’t that many compared to people who work for DoorDash 40 hours a week for years, but it’s enough to know a thing or two about the industry.

So, I thought offering insights into the positive, negative, and challenging aspects of this side hustle app could benefit anyone considering turning it into a part-time gig or a full-time job.

Pros

  • Flexible – The ability to work wherever and whenever is fantastic. At DoorDash, you can set your working hours and tailor them to fit your other commitments, whether it’s school, family responsibilities, or another job.
  • Freedom to Earn More – The food service app allows you to work as much as you want. You are not stuck at a fixed salary. Need money now? There is no need to ask permission to do overtime work; just do it.
  • No Boss to Impress Nor Colleagues to Deal With – DoorDash is one of the best jobs where you can work alone. Unlike a traditional job that requires getting along with everyone in the office, DoorDash allows you to work peacefully without someone bossing around and colleagues you need to make friends with.
  • Easy to Start – All you need to do is sign up, submit a few requirements through the app, pass the background check, and you’re ready to go. No resumes or job interviews are needed to be a delivery driver.

Cons

  • No Employment Benefits – paid time off, sick leave, and insurance coverage are just some benefits we could enjoy as regular employees. These perks, however, would not be available to you as a Dasher. As an independent contractor, you must figure out how to pay your health insurance, 401K, vehicle maintenance, and taxes.
  • Inconsistent Earnings – Similar to other gig apps, your daily earnings can vary unless you choose the Earn by Time mode. Mondays and Tuesdays are slow days for food delivery apps because people prepare food over the weekend for the beginning of the week.
  • Unclear Delivery Instructions – I’ve gotten stuck in building lobbies many times, frantically trying to reach the customer because the directions they left for getting into their building weren’t clear. It’s moments like these that can really test your patience because you can’t move on until you complete the delivery.

FAQs

Can You Make $100 a Day With DoorDash?

Yes, you can make $100 a day with DoorDash. You won’t even need to work full-time to achieve this goal. I think it’s possible to earn this much by working 3 to 4 hours in high-demand areas and taking advantage of busy hours, peak pay, and promotions. To earn even more, you can also prioritize large orders and provide excellent customer service to get more tips.

How Much Can You Make With DoorDash in 3 Hours?

It’s hard to figure out how much you can make with DoorDash in 3 hours. No Dashers can tell you that. DoorDash doesn’t provide a fixed salary nor disclose the accurate pay one might receive at the end of the day. After all, your earnings depend on factors like location, time, and the number of hours you dedicate to using the app.

Yes, earning $100 in 3 hours is possible, but it won’t happen consistently. Making this much in so little time requires extreme effort and strategic planning.

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Can You Make a Living Off DoorDash (My Experience) (2024)
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