Is DoorDash a good side hustle? Yes, it is. How much can you make with DoorDash? Reports say $15–$25 an hour. But that’s before taxes, gas, and other fees. We’ll give you all the numbers to help you decide.
DoorDash is huge, and if you don’t know a Dasher personally, you’ll know someone who knows one. It’s like the Kevin Bacon game, but for food delivery.
DoorDash is worth it for the competitive base pay, flexible work schedule, and the chance to earn more by working strategically. There’s an easy sign-up process, and because DoorDash operates across all fifty states, anyone in the US can become a Dasher by meeting some basic requirements.
We’ll take you through the ins and outs of working for DoorDash before your In-N-Out burger makes it to your door.
In this post, you’ll find out:
- How DoorDash works.
- How you can work for DoorDash yourself.
- How much you can make working as a Dasher (and how to boost your earnings).
- The pros and cons of DoorDash for drivers.
What is DoorDash?
DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service, allowing users to order pickups from local restaurants, convenience markets, and grocery stores.
Customers can download the DoorDash app to order, and a nearby courier will collect their items and bring it to their door. DoorDash already claims over twenty million active users, served by around two million couriers. It handled nearly $10 billion in orders last year is a part of the gig economy, right alongside Uber.
More articles on side hustles:
How Does DoorDash Work?
To start DoorDashing (yes, that’s the actual term) as a quick side hustle, download the Dasher App. Signing up is straightforward.
All you need are a few details like location, name, and vehicle type. There’s a quick background check for criminal records or vehicle offenses. Pass that, and you’re ready to rock to the sweet sounds of your favorite driving anthems.
How Does DoorDash Work for Drivers?
DoorDashing is easy. Here’s exactly how you do it. Once you’re logged onto the app:
- Tap “Start Dashing”, then pick your end time.
- View the delivery opportunities available in your area.
- Act fast—there’s a forty-second time limit before orders you view go back into the pool.
- Click to pick one.
When you view orders, you’ll see the items, delivery time, directions, and the minimum amount you’ll make. Don’t worry about declining too many orders, there’s no delivery requirement to keep working for DoorDash.
You can only use your Red Card to pay for pick-ups at restaurants. There’s only enough cash on it to cover the customer’s order, so you can’t use it to pay for gas or tolls along the way. You can’t add tips from the Red Card, either.
You’ll receive your Red Card in your Activation Kit, along with that iconic hot bag, and setting it up via the app is as easy as that pie you’ll deliver later.
Your Red Card will only work in the right restaurant, at the right time, with the right amount. You’ll even get a handy pop-up notification with something along the lines of “Pay With Red Card”.
The Red Card isn’t linked to your bank account, and your earnings don’t get deposited on it. It’s strictly used for picking up orders that haven’t been prepaid for by the customer.
Once you make a pickup, verify the order details with the restaurant, and whisk it off to a grateful, hungry customer. You’ll get directions to their door, drop-off instructions, and the option to text or call if you need it. Drive, pickup, drop off.
That’s the essence of the DoorDash experience. Later you can check how much you’ve made, and even rate the delivery on the app. DoorDash did a great job making the entire experience user-friendly.
Keen to know more? Find out how safe DoorDash really is.
How Do You Work for DoorDash?
The basic DoorDash requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You need to have a Social Security Number.
- You will need a smartphone.
In most cities, you’ll need a car, a motorcycle, or a scooter with valid insurance, and a clean driver’s license, too. In others, all you need is a bike.
DoorDash will provide you with gear, like a delivery bag and your Red Card after you’ve started. DoorDash is an equal opportunity employer, and you don’t need any previous experience.
As long as you can meet the eligibility requirements, fill in the application, and make the deliveries on time, you’re in.
How Much Can You Make With DoorDash?
With a base pay between $2 and $10 per delivery, it’s a stretch to say that every DoorDasher can earn as much as that. But with twenty million monthly users, two million couriers, and $10 billion in orders, there’s definitely earning potential there.
DoorDash calculates base pay depending on the time, distance, and desirability of orders. Deliveries that take longer to complete, are further away, or are more difficult, can earn you more.
You can also make more through promotions on the app. This is a big deal in the DoorDash community. Promotions are incentives—basically extra cash to meet the goals set by the company for delivering a certain amount of orders in a given time.
Since you can set your hours, you can choose whether to pick up DoorDashing full-time or part-time. Potentially, there’s no limit to what you can earn as a Dasher. Work more, and you’ll take home more pay.
How Do DoorDashers Get Paid?
DoorDashers can get paid weekly to their bank accounts, or daily through the Dasher Direct program. If you go for the weekly option, DoorDash makes no-fee deposits to your account—but you can take advantage of Fast Pay and access your cash daily for a $1.99 fee.
But if you need instant, daily access to your pay, Dasher Direct is a better way to do it. That’s an app that automatically deposits Dasher earnings with no fees, within minutes, to a dedicated Visa debit card. Here’s what you can expect from a Dasher Direct card:
- Get your payments within minutes of completing a Dash.
- Withdraw cash for free from ATMs across the country.
- Pay bills and make transfers with a mobile banking app.
- Make payments from your device with a virtual card.
- Enjoy 2% cash back on gas, wherever you get it.
And if you’re wondering, “Is DoorDash worth it after gas?”, the cash back option can take some sting out of skyrocketing prices. DoorDash raised gas cash back through Dasher Direct to 10% for a few months in 2022, with more pressure from the community to reintroduce a policy like this again soon.
Is DoorDash Worth It After Gas?
Research has shown that, across the country, DoorDash drivers make on average $15.57 an hour. Swap time for distance, and you get a not-so-staggering $1.04 per mile, or $7.97 per trip.
If you want those DoorDash dollars, you’ve got to hustle— According to the Dashers on Reddit, you can drive anywhere between 60 and 100 miles in an eight-hour shift.
We know from a study by MIT that ride-share drivers (the gig-working cousin to DoorDash) spend between $.05 and $.27 a mile on gas.
All this sounds like some math problem straight out of your high school textbook, but the bottom line is this— At 60 miles a day, that could be as little as $3 or as much as $17 on gas, so up to a whole hour of your working day might go towards your fuel costs.
What’s helpful is that the IRS has increased the mileage deduction to 62.5 cents per mile in 2022. That means that if you keep track of all the miles you drive for business as a DoorDasher, and multiply that by the deductible rate at the end of the tax period, you’ve got yourself a business expense.
For example, driving 2,500 miles in 2022 while Dashing nets you $1,562.50 deductible (2,500 x 0.625 = 1,562.50). The IRS itself is an excellent resource for gig workers who want to understand their taxes, so take a look before diving into Dashing.
Is DoorDash Worth It After Taxes?
As a DoorDasher, you work as a self-employed contractor. It means you’re responsible for your taxes.
Think of it as having your business, with all the compliance that entails. You’ll need to keep records, file taxes, and do your expenses. It may sound daunting, but learning how to do your taxes has its perks. You’ll have to pay self-employment tax and income tax on all your profits.
We can’t tell you what other state or local taxes you’ll need to pay. That’s something you’ll need to check for your area. And since every Dasher’s earnings are different, taxes will be too.
Make (More) Money With DoorDash
With tax rates hovering around at least 25%, you’ll need some clever techniques to boost how much you can make with DoorDash.
1. Take on peak-time deliveries.
Those align roughly with meal times (11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. according to DoorDash). More demand equals higher prices.
To get in early on the dinner rush, you can schedule your Dashes up to five days in advance. Or, if Beyoncé is visiting town and there’s an unexpected flood of midnight orders, hit the Dash Now button to get in on the action.
2. Choose orders strategically.
Taking every order won’t make you as much as you think. The app works with a handy map, so you can view orders that are close together, estimate the time delivery will take, and where you’ll be at the end.
Try to balance smaller orders with higher-priced deliveries, too. Adding more of these into every Dash will increase your per-hour pay. That, and they’re the potential big tippers. You can’t avoid the no-tippers, but you can complain about them on Reddit.
3. Take bonus offers.
Some newbie Dashers can benefit from the Guaranteed Earnings Incentive program. That’s an agreement with the company that you’ll earn a set amount as long as you complete a certain number of orders.
There are also Challenges. These are to do with making a certain number of deliveries in a set time and act as a top-up to your regular pay. You can even earn money by referring others to DoorDash through sign-up offers.
As long as they complete a certain number of deliveries, you’ll pocket a nice fee (anywhere between $100 to $1000, depending on location).
4. Earn Top Dasher status.
To become a Top Dasher you’ll need to accept 70% of all orders and maintain a high customer rating. The status lasts a month and comes with some rewards: you can earn more by scheduling time whenever you like (as opposed to waiting for an opening during peak times), in any area, and get priority when competing for high-value orders.
DoorDash Pros and Cons
Like with any job, there are pros and cons of working for DoorDash. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect.
- You can sign up quickly and easily with your smartphone.
- You just need to pass a background check, have a Social Security Number, and a vehicle.
- You’ll work when you want, for how long you want.
- You can make more than the minimum wage, and get paid daily.
- You’re free to accept or reject deliveries to suit your strategy and needs.
- You’ll work as a self-employed contractor without any of the usual employee benefits.
- You can never be sure that you’ll work at peak times—it’ll depend on how high the competition is.
- You might not earn the same from week to week or even from day to day—and the base pay is relatively low.
- You’ll need to cover any vehicle-related costs, from gas to maintenance.
- You’ll have to do your own taxes.
Is It Worth It to Work for DoorDash?
We’re not changing our mind on this one. Is working for DoorDash easy? Not really, especially if you want to make the most of your DoorDash income. You need to take the average wage of $25 an hour with a pinch of salt.
Gas is pricey, paycheck will vary, and there’s a lot of competition from other Dashers. But you can still earn a good wage, part-time or full-time. Use tactics to boost your pay and take advantage of the incentives DoorDash offers.
Sitting at home on a Saturday night with nothing to do? Whip out your cell phone and start making cash.
IRS increases mileage rate for remainder of 2022 | Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-increases-mileage-rate-for-remainder-of-2022
Manage Taxes for Your Gig Work | Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/manage-taxes-for-your-gig-work
Sellers, B. (2020, February 22). How much do DoorDash drivers make? Gridwise. https://gridwise.io/blog/rideshare/how-much-do-doordash-drivers-make/
Zoepf, S., Chen, S., Adu, P., & Pozo, G. (2018). The Economics of Ride Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes. MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. https://fuelandtiresaver.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Zoepf_The-Economics-of-RideHialing_OriginalPdfFeb2018.pdf