Is Being a DoorDash Driver Worth it?
Weighing the pros and cons of being a DoorDash driver.
Photographer: Alamy Stock Photo
In June of 2020, amid the reopening of NYC, I made the decision to become a driver for DoorDash.
I had been an avid user of food delivery apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub, but never in a million years did I think that I, myself, would ever become a driver for the app.
For people who don’t know, DoorDash is a delivery food service app, which allows the customer to order from a variety of restaurants and fast food places. The order is then picked up by the dasher and delivered to them.
I came to this decision after taking a leave of absence from my cashier job at my local grocery store during the height of the pandemic. My previous job did not choose to hire back those who took this leave of absence, so I was put in a tough position.
Being in the work environment at the beginning of the pandemic caused me immense stress and anxiety. Did I want to find another similar job only to possibly take another leave of absence if we get a second-wave that could be even worse?
I discovered that more people I knew were working as DoorDash drivers. After extensive research, I realized it couldn’t hurt to sign up and try it out.
After four months of working for DoorDash, I have discovered both the pros and cons of being a driver for the app.
Here are the PROS of working for DoorDash:
One of the main perks of working for DoorDash is flexibility. This is one of the great things DoorDash advertises on its website before signing up.
Unlike most jobs that require you to adhere to the company’s availability, DoorDash allows you to work whenever you wish. This means you won’t be stuck working weekends or holidays that you would likely have to work at another minimum wage job.
You can either schedule yourself on the app for an available shift in your location or simply choose to “Dash Now”. I highly recommend scheduling your shifts because it will give you more structure, thus guaranteeing you more orders/pay. Also, the “Dash Now” option is only available when the area is busy, which is why I recommend always scheduling ahead of time.
Even better, since there is no said boss to answer to, you can drop a shift with no penalty or take up to a thirty-minute break whenever you’d like during your shift.
This will let you have time during the day for your other responsibilities. You could choose to work two hours during lunchtime, go about your other daily tasks, and then later work two hours during dinner time.
The flexibility is definitely my number one reason for choosing DoorDash in the first place, especially during uncertain times.
Choosing to Accept or Deny Orders
The main thing that deterred me from DoorDash initially was the safety aspect. I feared driving in areas I didn’t feel comfortable in or wasn’t familiar with. I was also afraid of DoorDash being counterproductive in terms of earnings and driving distance.
Well, the great thing about DoorDash is that you can choose to accept or deny orders as they are offered.
DoorDash will provide you with the merchant to pick the order up from, the minimum amount you will make on the order, and the customer’s location, also giving you the total miles you will be driving.
From here, you’ll have thirty seconds to decide whether or not it’s worth it to accept or deny the order.
Upon completing the order, you will earn the minimum amount or possibly more if the customer chooses to give you a higher tip. You will also keep 100% of your earned tips.
If you continuously deny several orders this will affect your acceptance rate but don’t worry about this. The acceptance rate will not affect future offers or lead to deactivation.
You do have the option to cancel an order you’ve already accepted, but I would only recommend doing this if necessary because an excess of canceling orders can result in deactivation. If you’re going to cancel an order, it’s better to do it sooner than later.
You can also choose to accept stacked orders which are orders that are on the route you are going for an additional amount of miles. This is a great way to earn more money in less time.
Although DoorDash is relatively safe, if you ever feel uneasy during delivery, don’t be afraid to communicate with your customer.
For example, one time a customer gave instructions to go through the gate on the side of their house to their backyard and give the food to them by the side door. I didn’t feel comfortable with this so I called the customer and asked if they could meet me out front instead and they agreed.
So basically, if something makes you uncomfortable don’t feel obligated to do it just because of the job.
Overall, DoorDash is much safer than regular food delivery jobs but always go with your gut if you feel off about an order.
Little Customer Interaction
One of the biggest annoyances I found while working as a cashier were the customers. While some were very friendly, many were curt, rude, or just downright disrespectful.
The great thing about DoorDash is that customer interaction is really minimal. As a result of the pandemic, customer interaction has become even more minimal because customers can now choose the “Leave at Door” option which means the dasher must leave their food at the door and simply take a picture of it which automatically sends to the customer.
Even if customers choose the “Hand it to Me” option, interaction is still almost non-existent.
DoorDash does provide you with the customer’s name and phone number so you can contact them if there are any issues such as problems upon pick-up or drop-off. If you have any concerns with a customer or any issues relating to the order that you cannot handle with the customer themselves, don’t hesitate to reach out to DoorDash Support.
I had a situation where my customer realized they forgot to change their address after I had already picked up their food and arrived at the address that was in the system. After the customer gave me the new address which was completely out of the way, I panicked and thought I was obligated to still deliver the food.
Just to be sure, I contacted DoorDash Support through their live chat and was thankfully informed that the new customer’s address was out of my delivery region and I was not responsible for delivering their order at that point. In turn, I still received my full earnings for the order and even better, was able to keep the food.
Of course, that is a rare incident, but my point is that if you feel uneasy about ANYTHING contact DoorDash support and they will be in touch with you ASAP.
In my experience so far, most customers have been polite and understanding during communication (let’s hope it remains as such).
So those were some of the main pros I found during my four months as a DoorDash driver.
Here are the CONS I found while working for DoorDash:
One downfall of DoorDash is the lack of consistency. Unlike regular jobs that guarantee you a certain amount each week, you never really know the weekly amount you will make with DoorDash since you are paid per delivery. Usually, this ranges from $10.00-$20.00 an hour.
Generally, you make what you put into it. Some weeks are busier than others and some orders offer more money than others, so it really comes down to those factors. Some weeks I’ve worked eight hours and made more than a week where I worked twelve hours and vice versa.
When I first became a DoorDash driver, I didn’t treat it like an actual job.
I didn’t schedule any shifts and only worked sporadically during the week, whenever I felt like it.
Then, payday would roll around and I’d wonder why I was making less than one hundred dollars a week.
So, I decided to create my own personalized schedule with the notes app on my phone. Then, I schedule those hours every week and try my hardest to maintain that schedule. This significantly gave me more structure which in turn, guaranteed me a more consistent income.
However, as I said, some weeks are busier than others which means that even with a schedule, some days when it’s slow are spent sitting in the parking lot waiting for orders and denying the few orders I do receive that are either too far or not worth the minimum amount. It is also advisable to sign up for other food delivery apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, or GrubHub. Every state or region has its most popularly used food delivery app. In Staten Island, NY, it seems to be DoorDash and Uber Eats. Unfortunately, I could not sign up for Uber Eats because you cannot be under a parent’s car insurance.
So, I signed up for Postmates and GrubHub. Although these apps aren’t as popular where I live for me to solely use them on their own, if I’m having a slow DoorDash day, I’ll turn them on and sometimes be lucky enough to get a better option.
DoorDash does not take out taxes because you are considered a contractor, so it’s important to take note of what you will owe based on your earnings. If you make $600.00 or more in a year, you will get a 1099-MISC form at the end of the year.
Wear and Tear on Your Car
Unless you live in a busy city and choose to get around on a bike, being a DoorDash driver means you must drive.
This means you will have to keep in mind that some of the money you earn will inevitably go towards your gas money and your car will be frequently used raising the risk of vehicle issues or accidents.
Before deciding to become a DoorDash driver, it’s important to note if this is worth it or not to you.
For instance, if you commute two hours back and forth every day to work and your car is a gas guzzler, DoorDash is probably not the job for you.
You will also have to rely on the weather and judge if you feel comfortable driving in the rain or the snow.
It’s too soon to say how I will feel about delivering in the winter being I’ve only been a DoorDash driver from June-October.
However, I’m looking at DoorDash as a job for side money while I finish college. Others may need DoorDash as a full-time job and must ask themselves if they are willing to drive in the rain or snow if the climate of where they live is not sustainable for their car and comfortability on the road.
So those were some pros and cons of working for DoorDash. I feel that the pros outweigh the cons, but for some, that may be the opposite. My opinion can always change as I haven’t been a dasher for very long, but if you’re looking for a part-time job and don’t see these few disadvantages as dealbreakers, then give DoorDash a shot!