Make Money Delivering Food with DoorDash


Delivering pizzas has long been a consistent side hustle option that can help you earn extra money. But as beneficial as a pizza delivery hustle can be for your bottom line, it does have some drawbacks. You have to work a specific schedule, and there’s no way to increase your pay thanks to your own initiative.

But these days, the sharing economy has made it possible for motivated hustlers to earn money delivering far more than just pizzas.

With DoorDash, you deliver food on your own schedule and you know the minimum amount you will earn per trip before you accept the delivery. However, you are responsible for all your own costs, including taxes.

Read our DoorDash review to decide if this is the right side hustle for you:

Becoming a Dasher

Signing up to be a DoorDash driver (known in the app as a Dasher) is pretty simple. There is a quick online application, and you must prove that you meet the following requirements. Dashers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have access to a vehicle
    • Any car or truck will qualify, and you can even deliver on a scooter or bicycle in some markets
  • Possess a valid U.S. driver’s license
  • Own an iPhone or Android smartphone
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Valid insurance
  • Complete an online or in-person orientation.

Once you have signed up, you will download the app. Then you can choose which time slots you are available to make deliveries. During those time slots, you will receive push notifications of orders in your area.

Once you have signed up, you will download the app and choose which time slots you are available to make deliveries. During those time slots, you will receive push notifications of orders in your area.

Doordash review

Making Deliveries

Now that you’re set up and scheduled on the app, you can start taking orders. Since you are your own boss, you have the choice to accept or decline orders that are offered to you.

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One caveat to remember when declining orders is that the app ranks you based on your acceptance rating. That’s the percentage of orders you accept compared to the number of orders you are offered.

DoorDash keeps an eye on extremely low acceptance rates because they can indicate fraudulent activity. The company will deactivate any accounts with such low rates. It’s a good idea to keep this number up.

When you have accepted an order, you drive to the restaurant, pay for the order using the Dasher Red Card provided to you by the company. Check that the order is correct and take it to your customer. Throughout this process, the customer is able to follow the progress of their food delivery with tracking on the app. Once you have completed the order, your customer can leave you a tip and 1-5 star rating.

Each completed order adds to your Completion Rating, which calculates the percentage of orders you accept and complete. You should aim to keep a 100% Completion Rating. Dashers who accept orders that they don’t fulfill will be deactivated.

Start delivering with DoorDash today.


DoorDash’s payment system is a little complex, but 100% transparent. Each potential order will tell you how much you can expect to earn by completing it. This is the guaranteed minimum.

The guaranteed minimum amount you will earn is based on a few things:

  • The size of the order
  • Whether or not you will have to place the order in person (which adds to your time)
  • The expected driving distance.

Remember, the guaranteed amount does not include your tip. You get to keep 100% of your tip.

Here’s the exact breakdown of how much you will be paid per order:

Each delivery has a base pay of at least $1. DoorDash offers you the guaranteed minimum on top of that. The tip is added in from there. If your base pay plus tip is less than the guaranteed minimum, DoorDash will pay the difference. If your base pay plus tip is more than the guaranteed minimum, you get to keep the bigger amount.

For instance, if DoorDash guarantees a minimum of $10 for a delivery, the base pay is $1, and the customer only tips $3, then DoorDash will kick in an additional $6 to make sure you receive the full amount you were guaranteed. And if the customer tips $12 instead of $3, then you’ll get to keep the full $13 ($1 base pay + $12 tip).

In addition to this base pay model, DoorDash also offers extra money for peak pay (during busy delivery times) and on-time pay.

What’s great about this payment model is that you will know how much you earn with each delivery when you get the notification.

DoorDash pays its Dashers weekly. Depending on your location, you may also have the opportunity to request your payment daily through FastPay with a $1.99 fee.

How to Make Good Money with DoorDash

While the payment system is transparent, your payment amounts are also variable, depending on how much demand there is during your time slot, the size of your orders, the amount of time you spend waiting on food and driving to delivery sites, and the number of orders you can complete in an hour. This variability means that your income can change from day to day.

However, there are some excellent ways to maximize your DoorDash payments. Here’s a great video from IndyyGold about how she maximizes her DoorDash income to earn $13.56 per hour on the day of Dashing featured in this video:

Here are some additional best practices for making the most of your Dashing:

  • Choose busy time slots: More orders means more money. So choose times that are likely to have lots of hungry people making food orders. These include weekday lunchtime, the daily dinner rush, and Sunday afternoon/evening.
  • Be somewhat picky about the orders you accept: While you want to keep your acceptance rate up, being strategic about choosing more lucrative orders can help ensure that you get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Know what makes for easy orders: Some orders are easier than others. For instance, delivering cupcakes is going to be much simpler than delivering fast food. The cupcakes are already cooked by the time the order is made, so you don’t have to wait, and they come packaged in an easily portable box. You will have to wait for fast food to be made to order and the packaging has a much higher potential for mess.
  • Stack orders when you can: If you can make multiple deliveries from the same restaurant or in the same direction, that will save you driving and waiting time, and increase your payout. Strategically stacking less lucrative orders with bigger ones can also help you keep your acceptance rate up without eating into your bottom line.
  • Be on time: There are some aspects of delivering on time that are outside of your control, but doing everything in your power to get your customer’s food to them promptly will likely result in better ratings and higher tips.
  • Know the incentives: DoorDash offers incentives to new drivers, such as making 30 deliveries in 30 days or referring another driver. There are also incentives for accepting orders during busy time slots, to encourage more drivers to sign up for those slots. Taking advantage of these incentives can help increase your payday.

Learn more about Doordash here.

See Also: Earn Money on the Side as a Delivery Driver with Postmates

Dasher Drawbacks

While there’s a lot to recommend in becoming a Dasher, there are some important costs and drawbacks to consider.

First, you will need to factor in both your taxes and your operating costs. As an independent contractor for DoorDash, you are officially on the hook to pay taxes on what you earn. DoorDash does not withhold taxes from your paychecks. If you earn $600 or more from DoorDash, you will receive a Form 1099-MISC come tax time (as will Uncle Sam), and you will owe taxes on your Dashing income.

Related: How to Make Money Driving with Uber

In addition, you assume all costs associated with making deliveries, including filling up your gas tank, additional wear-and-tear on your car, and cleaning the plum sauce that spills on your passenger seat. On the plus side, you can deduct the mileage you drive to the tune of $0.58 per mile (in 2019), which can help offset these costs. But that does mean you will have to keep good records of your mileage when you are working.

Making Extra Cash with DoorDash

If you are self-starting and have your own vehicle, driving with DoorDash can be an excellent side hustle. The trick is to be strategic about the orders you accept, choose good time slots to maximize your deliveries, offer excellent and on-time service, and take advantage of the incentives offered by the platform. Doing all of these things will see you well on your way to earning $17 per hour or more while being your own boss.

Have you ever driven for DoorDash? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is an award-winning writer, author, money coach, and retirement expert. Her four books include The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now.

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