Is DoorDash Delivery Worth Your Time? My Thoughts After Two Days

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Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It

Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It?

This may seem like a strange topic for a miles and points blog but I think it actually fits in pretty well. When you really break it down we are a group of side hustle hunters really. Whether it be reselling, increased spending for cash back, booking travel for others or lucrative bank bonuses we are always on the prowl for an edge. I had a side gig I had worked for years but the hours and days just didn’t fit into my schedule anymore. Because of that I was looking for something else to try during some down time.  I have always been interested in the delivery apps and how they work etc. A buddy has been delivering DoorDash in his spare time for a while now and recommended it. So I decided to give it a try and figured I would answer the question, is delivering DoorDash worth it? It is a question I often asked and figured others would be curious as well.

Plus, with it being a New Year I know a lot of people have earning extra money as one of their goals every year. These delivery apps could be a way to do that in your spare time.

Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It

Signing Up For DoorDash Delivery

Being that we are always down for a referral here in the miles and points space I reached out to my buddy and told him to send me one if they had it.  I have read of awesome sign up bonuses for Uber etc. where you can get $500 after a few rides and was hoping for that. DoorDash’s referral bonus makes you work for it for sure.  The offer was a $600 bonus after completing 290 deliveries within the first 2 months.  That is a tall order, averaging almost 5 deliveries a day in the time frame.  So I wouldn’t count on it unless you are going to be pretty active.  The referrer also gets a $900 bonus if the quota is completed. These offers will vary greatly and can be as high as $2500 for the referrer.

As for the sign up process, it is pretty easy and only takes a few minutes of your time. You have to download the DoorDash Dasher app (Apple / Android) and fill out personal information etc.  They have you take a picture of your drivers license and a profile picture for the app.  They then run a background check and make sure your license isn’t restricted at all. It took less than a day for them to approve me and I was good to go.  After you make your first delivery they will send you your Dasher kit that has a warming bag, a DoorDash mask and a DoorDash Red Card which you will use to pay for some orders.

My First Two Days Of Being A DoorDash Dasher

I fired up the app that first night without any real expectations. Outside of my goal to answer the question, is delivering DoorDash worth it, I was just along for the ride. I had assumed that most orders would be somewhat near the area of pick up. That is what I usually do, order from a place somewhat near my house to keep delivery times and fees down. That was a misconception for sure.  I happen to live near a pretty hot zone for restaurants and orders so I got my first ding within a minute or so of being on the road. Now I just turn on the app while getting ready to leave and have an order before I even get to the car.

Knowing The Zones

When you open up the DoorDash Dasher app you will see a map broken into zones. There will be gray zones (don’t need any dashers) and varying level of red “hot” zones where you can go deliver.  If you have a scheduled time to deliver, or if you have earned top status, you can deliver in gray zones. I don’t even think it would be worth it since you would probably have long waits in between deliveries.  If you do not have either of those options you can always head to a red “hot” zone and pick up orders etc. If the zone is really in need of drivers they will offer bounties like $1.50-$2.50 extra per order for a certain time frame. You can find the times for these in the promos section of the app. It will list the times and zones where these bounties will occur every day on the schedule.

First Delivery Was Twice As Nice

My first pick up was actually a double order which has happened about 25% of the time for me. That is where you pick up two deliveries from the restaurant and drop them off in succession. They are usually somewhat near each other and this is for efficiencies sake. I prefer this because the payout is twice as nice. If there are two restaurants near each other, on the same route, they will sometimes offer for you to grab both as well.

Pay Attention To The Drive Distance

When an order pops up it will tell you the minimum amount you will earn for the delivery. That can change if a customer adds a tip after the fact or if the drive time etc. takes longer. It will also show you how far the restaurant is and how for the delivery is after the pick up.  You will want to pay attention to this. In the beginning I was just grabbing everything that popped up to get used to it.  Sometimes what seems to be a larger order isn’t worth the time. You have to pay attention if the delivery will pull you out of a zone that you will need to drive back to later on.  To get top status you need to accept 90% of all orders, which is a big reason why I don’t think it is worth it.

Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It? Observations From Two Days Of Deliveries

Here are some quick observations from my limited delivery experience:

  • Longer deliveries usually tip less.  This goes against conventual wisdom since a longer drive means more effort and time. I assume the fees are so high etc. that people feel like they are already overpaying for the order and that is why they tip less.
    • DoorDash Dashers get to keep 100% of the tip so more short deliveries will end up being more profitable a lot of the time.
  • People in underserved areas tend to order more often.
    • I found a lot of deliveries I was offered to be pulling me into areas where there were not a lot of local restaurant options available.
  • Fast food is popular but I avoid it.
    • The most popular options I see come up are McDonald’s and Taco Bell.  I have avoided fast food pick ups because the drive thru lines can take 20-30 minutes to get through. The inside of the restaurants are closed around here and they are understaffed. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze here.
  • Waiting at the restaurant is killer.
    • You will quickly learn which restaurants in your area are efficient and which ones to avoid. I don’t do pick ups at my local Outback anymore because it is always a 15 minute+ wait.
  • I like seeing new restaurant establishments that I may not have noticed before.
  • This is a perfect option for that Amex Platinum Audible credit
    • I will finally be using my full streaming credits from our Platinum cards. I’ll listen to books while driving around.

Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It

How Much Can You Make Delivering DoorDash?

It is hard to give a full picture after only two days of deliveries.  One was an evening and the other was around lunch time on a weekend.  I plan on doing a full breakdown when I have more data points but I’ll share what I have so far.

Raw Data

  • Total hours worked: 8
  • Pay earned: $154.80
  • Average Pay Per Hour: $19.35

That is a pretty good hourly wage but it doesn’t tell the entire story.  You have to include the cost of gas, wear and tear on the car etc. This will also change depending on the area you work in.  If it is busy, like mine, then you can do similar figures I would think. But if you are in a smaller, more spread out area then it will probably be lower.

Accounting For Depreciation

  • Miles Driven: 178
  • Wear & Tear ($0.55 per mile): $97.90
  • Total Earned: $56.90
  • Average Per Hour: $7.11

When you add in the wear & tear plus gas cost the average earned per hour drops quite a bit. To a point that most, including me, won’t find it worth their time. I think this is where miles and points come into play some though. If you are able to get discounted, or free, gas like many of us can then the numbers improve quite a bit.  You can do this with gas station rewards programs like Speedway Speedy Rewards or grocery store fuel points programs like at Kroger. Because of this I only count $0.25 per mile in wear and tear. I will claim the full write off for taxes purposes which bakes in an extra little savings as well. I won’t calculate that here though.

Miles & Points Makes It Better

  • Miles Driven: 178
  • Wear & Tear ($0.25 per mile): $44.50
  • Total Earned: $110.30
  • Average Per Hour: $13.79

I should say I did a really poor job selecting good deliveries that first night which really dragged my numbers down. There were too many orders with long drives for smaller pay offs. Being selective is key!

Interesting enough the money I earned is practically divided down the middle. Half comes from DoorDash for the deliveries and half comes from customer tips ($80 vs $74.80).

How I Have Improved My Figures

I plan on doing a full breakdown after reaching the 290 deliveries required for referral bonus. But, I can say I have been able to improve my figures since the first few days by being more selective. I try to only accept offers where the pay is $1.50-$2 per mile and ones that keep me in, or near, my zone. I’ll do a full guide in the next week or two for the program as well.

Is Delivering DoorDash Worth It? Final Thoughts

Total honesty, I have enjoyed the experience so far.  I have always enjoyed driving, seeing new establishments and areas. Plus, it is kind of stress reducing to do something that doesn’t require a ton of thinking or creativity like the day job does.  The pay is decent, especially with using discounted gas to offset some of the cost. If I was covering the full freight of everything then that probably wouldn’t be the case.

I am hopeful I can increase my averages by being more selective on deliveries going forward too.  Even from day one to day two I noticed quite the difference by being a little more picky on what I accepted.  I’ll be sure to update everyone a few months from now when I have a more solid picture of what you can do with the app.

I also expect to check out some of the other delivery options in the future so I can compare them all for you.  Hopefully I can jump on one of those lucrative Uber / UberEats sign up promos too.

So is delivering DoorDash worth it? It has been for me and I think depending on the area you live in it could be for you. Especially if you are able to reduce your costs with discounted gas etc.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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21 COMMENTS

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I’m done with these shop & deliver otders. I swear they go to the store, write down what is out then order those things. Had a good paying HyVee order only 2 items. Didn’t have either. Sent several substitutions & didn’t have those either. Got pissed & unassigned. Going to be @ 80% soon because of shit like this

  2. Thank you for writing this very interesting article! I’ll be interested to read your updates, not only about DoorDash, but also other delivery options, because I think it will help me decide whether or not to do something like this in the future.

  3. Using doordash in Bristol Tennessee it has been great there has been a couple times my order has been wrong but either doordash or the restaurant did what they could to resolve my issues. The most recent was I didn’t get part of my order they gave me the option of refund or doordash credit I took the credit for next time. Recommending to everyone I know who lives in bristol area.

  4. Though I’ve never done it myself, I’ve come across some side hustle blogs and I think like the points and miles games, it sounds like if you can join a local community, you can increase your game. For example, a local dasher group might share best tips and tricks. Sometimes even little actions like a thank you note can increase your tip rate or avoid certain restaurants like you learned through trial and error. I recall it was (is?) actually a problem that got called out when Uber drivers figure out a way to turn off their app all at the same time to artificially drive up the demand and increase their bonuses. Crowdsourcing at its best.

    • Great point T – there are groups for everything these days and they can help improve your game for sure.

  5. Yes, I have been doing DoorDash for a couple months. Followed a big finance influencer who does it (Financial Panther). Like you, I like driving & finding new restaurants. Will be happy to learn what your experience is like as you continue. Did you get the bonus through MyPoints/Swagbucks? I think it is $60 now for DoorDash. I got retargeted for $150 offer on Swagbucks because I had signed up a long time ago. Easy $150. Did it with $250/$200 UberEats offer on MyPoints/Swagbucks. Have not paid attention to UberEats after got bonus though.

    • Nope I didn’t check Swagbucks etc. since I was worried it may not stack with the referral bonus. I probably should have checked it out though and will for UberEats for sure when I move over that way.

      • Yes, the UberEats offer is $250 on My Points. I got it a couple months ago. Only planned to drive for DoorDash, so just did 1 delivery for UberEats. Got easy $200 on Swagbucks. It is higher on MyPoints now though.

  6. Oh… Another huge benefit that was left out of the post if your are signed up to drive with Uber or Doordash you are an independent contractor which means when it comes to taxes you can make allot of business deductions which can be a huge benefit if you know how to work it correctly. You can google items to deduct for food delivery drivers and a big list comes up, make sure you do not forget to claim everything your entitled to. I don’t drive much only for fun, but I drive enough just to have a business loss on my taxes.

    • Very true. I talked about the mileage write off some but there are other things you can put in there as well and make the numbers look a lot better for sure.

  7. I did both Uber Eats & Doordash deliveries. In the long run its not really worth it. Working for the delivery apps is considered more of a loan you can get quick cash if you need it now but on the back end you will pay back that “loan” when you pay for new tires, oil changes and everything other big one-time expense to keep your car running. What is worth is driving for the big signup bonus, my wife and I both created accounts and we both received $1100 signup bonus each but you do need to hustle to make all of the required deliveries. I also keep the app because time to time when they are short on drivers, they will run delivery bonus, just before X-mas they offered an extra $300 bonus if you completed 15 deliveries over the weekend (this s area dependent), I did jump on that offer. Other benefit I do like is getting to drive around the area and explore new places you normally will not see, I have had some very strange and remote places to deliver which was exciting. I also use doordash to bring me to an area I want to go. Example I live 20 mins from downtown if im not in a rush I will turn the app on and wait for a delivery bring me from home close to downtown so I get paid to go where I was planning to go.
    Also the biggest benefit with Uber eats that worked 2+ years was using my Plat credits to deliver my own food. After 2+ years I think Uber finally caught on and now blocked my wife & I accounts from picking up our own food. The last 3 times I tried it I could not catch my own order so seems we have been blocked.

  8. Very interesting article! I’ve never ordered through Door Dash, but occasionally order through uber.
    I’m actually dismayed to learn how low the base income from the company is, (particularly considering the driving costs) without the tip supplement. Assume uber similar? I thought I was a decent tipper for uber eats, but I’ll be incrrasibg my tips after reading this, with a better understanding of how minimal the company pays the driver.

    • I think a lot of people think that, myself included, that larger fees on orders etc. mean a big chunk to the driver but it is not always the case. When the bounties are good then DoorDash gives a bigger percentage of the pay but a lot of time tips really make it worthwhile or not. So a lot of orders don’t go out timely because it will only pay $3 or something for a 7-8 miles drive. I think after a while they combine them with a second higher paying order to get them delivered.

  9. Enjoyed reading your stored. I just signed up but Andy because of the $60 incentive for first delivery. I will make a delivery on Saturday and call it quits. I did the same for Uber eats when swag bucks had a 20000 point bonus. Easy $200.

  10. Interesting article, thanks for posting. I’ve always been curious about the economics of this kind of thing. Seems somewhat like a waste of time earning $20/hr when you can instead be driving around MSing for $100/hr, but I’m glad you are doing this anyways even if only for research for your readers. One DoorDash/UberEats thing that I’ve been curious about: The apps seem to push you towards a fixed percentage as a tip (10/15/20%), however I don’t really understand that. If I’m buying Tomahawk Tuesday at Flemings and my bill comes to $200, why would I give the same percentage tip as I give when I put in a $15 order from McDonalds? All the driver is doing is picking up and delivering the exact same way, so a $40 tip isn’t justified vs a $3 tip for my McDonalds. I somewhat question this as well when I go to the same type of restaurants in person, why does the Flemings waiter deserve $40 when the cheap local restaurant server only gets $3.

    • That is a good point and the McDonald’s delivery actually will likely take the driver longer and be more of a pain to be honest. I think most are happy with $4-$5 regardless of the actual cost of the order. If the drive is longer then more for sure but most orders that is kind of the sweet spot.

      • OK, that’s good to hear. Because I have basically defaulted to just tipping $5 per order regardless of the amount the order cost. I hadn’t really thought about tipping more for longer distance order, although everywhere I order from is basically within 7 miles of where I live anyways.

  11. This was such an interesting article to read! I think the two things that could have a huge impact on how much you make is 1. How good gas mileage car is and 2. What the price of gas is. If you are driving a Dodge Ram or a pickup truck, it will be much less profitable while if you own a Prius, this could be very lucrative. And then with gas prices, it is a lot harder to make money with Doordash in California where gas prices are $4 or even as high as $5 a gallon. But, this is still I think a lucrative side hustle as you said, especially with the sign up bonuses.

    • Very true. Your vehicle will play such a huge role in how well you do for sure. I think if it is one where you don’t care about the depreciation much (older paid off vehicle) that works in your favor too.

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