10 Tips to Make More Money as a DoorDash Driver

A woman delivers food to a person's house.
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Becoming a driver for DoorDash is a great side gig to make extra money. Some drivers have even turned it into a full-time job.

But if you’re just hitting the road you may be looking for a bit of advice. After all, DoorDash doesn’t provide you much in the way of training.

So, we turned to the best resource on the web — veteran doordashers like Your Driver Mike, Pedro DoorDash Santiago and DoorDash Diaries with Bentley Koup. These drivers routinely share their tips on YouTube, racking up millions of views.

Their experiences can help you get started with your new hustle and optimize your overall earnings as dashers.

Here are the top ten tips and tricks for DoorDash drivers to help you make more money off your next food delivery.

10 DoorDash Tips and Tricks to Earn More

  1. Set a minimum delivery rate per mile.
  2. Accept grocery store orders cautiously.
  3. Keep an eye on your completion rate.
  4. Track your expenses and mileage.
  5. Don’t use Fast Pay if you can wait.
  6. Learn about restaurants in your area.
  7. Deliver during lunch, dinner and busy times.
  8. If you can, use a fuel-efficient car.
  9. Don’t be afraid of the restaurant counter.
  10. Follow the rules of the road.

1. Set a Minimum Delivery Rate Per Mile

DoorDash provides a minimum payment for mileage — your base pay — and the rest of a driver’s earnings come from tips. But sometimes people just aren’t willing to pay to have their food delivered.

As a DoorDash driver, you need to watch out for pitfalls that could cost you more money than you are making. One of the biggest? Not setting a minimum rate. Most doordashers agree that you shouldn’t accept orders if it’s less than $1 per mile.

2. Accept Grocery Store Orders Cautiously

Retail and grocery store orders can seem like a steal when they first pop up in your driver app, but you’ll need to be careful.

Many major grocery and retail chains, such as Walmart, will require you to pick up a large number of items and deliver them to different locations.

Check how many deliveries you need to make from a single order pick up, then determine if the time and distance are worth the payout.

3. Keep an Eye on Your Completion Rate

DoorDash drivers are rated on a number of criteria including customer ratings, acceptance rate, completion rate and on-time/early deliveries.

The only one you can throw out the window is the acceptance rate, which denotes how many jobs you accepted or turned down. Everything else matters, especially your completion rate.

Keep an eye on how many jobs you “unassign,” as dropping too many jobs can cause your account to be deactivated.

4. Track Your Expenses and Mileage

When you work as a food delivery driver, you are working as an independent contractor. That means your taxes will be different and you should track mileage and expenses, like fuel, during your drive.

Come tax season, you can write off your expenses and mileage to reduce what you owe in taxes. You can use a dedicated mileage tracking app on your smartphone or simply write down your car’s mileage before and after every dashing session to record how far you drove.

5. Don’t Use Fast Pay if You Can Wait

Sometimes you need money fast, but if you can wait, avoid using DoorDash Fast Pay.

Normally, DoorDash transfers your earnings weekly, but if you need your money that day, DoorDash is happy to allow you to get it right away — for a fee, of course. Fast Pay costs $1.99 per day.

Skip the fees and wait for the weekly independent contractor payout if you can. Otherwise, you are burning away your earnings.

6. Learn About Restaurants in Your Area

Let’s face it, when it comes to DoorDash, time is money. Whether working for DoorDash or Uber Eats, food delivery drivers learn to quickly take note of local restaurants and how quickly food is ready to go.

As you Doordash, you may find a few locations that never have the food ready to pick up or force you to wait in line. If you find a restaurant is consistently slow, consider declining the order.

7. Deliver During Lunch, Dinner and Busy Times

Some areas will be busy around the clock, but most areas, especially suburbs and rural locations, may be slower during different times of the day. Learn what times your area is busy and try to dash then, so you aren’t wasting your time and fuel sitting in the car.

Typically guaranteed times are around lunch and dinner but see when folks in your area tend to order. You might be surprised to find some mid-afternoon eaters or late-night dashes.

Also, learn what times offer peak pay for drivers in your area. Peak pay hours are times when demand is high so the company is willing to pay more for your time — and you make more faster.

What you can earn during peak pay hours depends on how busy that time is, but it usually adds a few bucks for each delivery you complete.

8. If You Can, Use a Fuel-Efficient Car

It’s a no-brainer. You’ll make more on DoorDash deliveries if you drive an affordable electric car than a Hummer.

When you drive a lot for work or a side hustle, killer gas prices will easily catch up to you. If your partner has a more fuel-efficient car, see if you can borrow it. Otherwise, consider buying a more wallet-friendly used vehicle the next time you upgrade.

9. Don’t Be Afraid of the Restaurant Counter

Again, time is money — and the goal is to make more money — so you shouldn’t be standing around. Not only will your customer’s food get cold, but you’ll lose out on additional deliveries.

When you get to a restaurant, don’t be afraid to walk up to the counter and announce you are here for DoorDash. You want to get that order and get back on the road.

Don’t jump in the queue with everyone else. You’ll quickly find your on-time delivery rating dropping if you wait.

10. Follow the Rules of the Road

Sometimes that meatball parmigiana sandwich in your passenger seat feels like an emergency, and you want to cruise through lights and pull up in fire zones like an ambulance. But you are delivering food, not something super critical.

Be sure to obey the speed limits and park only in designated areas. Speeding or parking tickets can eat into your Doordash earnings and may raise your car insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the Trick to DoorDash?

There is no one way to earn more as a DoorDash driver. The best advice is to pick up orders on time, keep hot and cold items in an insulated bag and deliver them as quickly as you can. 

Driving for DoorDash is about customer service. Your overall performance and success as an independent contractor will be based on how customers rate your service. Keep them happy and you’ll find yourself doing well on the DoorDash platform.

How Do You Make the Most Money on DoorDash?

Our top 10 tips and tricks for DoorDash drivers looking to maximize their earnings.

  1. Set a minimum delivery rate per mile.
  2. Accept grocery store orders cautiously.
  3. Keep an eye on your completion rate.
  4. Track your expenses and mileage.
  5. Don’t use Fast Pay if you can wait.
  6. Learn about restaurants in your area.
  7. Deliver during lunch, dinner, and busy times.
  8. If you can, use a fuel-efficient car.
  9. Don’t be afraid of the restaurant counter.
  10. Don’t speed and follow the rules of the road.

How Do You Make $500 a Week on DoorDash?

Your earnings will vary depending on where you work and tips. If you drive in a busy area, you’re likely to pick up more orders in food delivery apps. In a more rural location, there may be fewer orders and more competition with other drivers. 

To make $500 a week delivering for DoorDash, you’d need to make 62.5 deliveries if you netted around $8 from each one. That’s 12.5 deliveries a day for five days a week or 1.5 deliveries per hour for a nine-hour work day. 

While hard, you would make more than minimum wage in some states.

Michael Archambault is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.