How Much DoorDash Employees Really Make

The gig economy sounds tempting. Flexibility to make your own hours. Driving around town in your car. Make as much, or as little, income as you want. But how much money do drivers at DoorDash actually make?

The truth is there's no simple answer.  First, there's the company line. This is what DoorDash says: "Base pay from DoorDash to Dashers ranges from $2-$10+ per delivery depending on the estimated duration, distance, and desirability of the order." But the reality is it depends. "How much you can make can vary a ton depending on how much you work and when you work," explained Kevin Han, a Dasher in Minneapolis (via Student Loan Hero). "Obviously, the more you work, the more you can make. I'd say $15 to $25 an hour is reasonable to expect."

And DoorDash does seem to be one of the better-paying delivery services, according to some. "DoorDash in my market usually pays better than Uber Eats," said user Skwink on Reddit. User jedipiper on the same thread concurred: "DD definitely pays better in market than Uber Eats. I tried UE for one day and the intensity level to make it pay wasn't worth it." However, there are financial downsides for Dashers.

Big city doesn't mean big payouts

Working in a large metropolitan area is no guarantee of a good income. In 2018, Insider shared the story of DoorDash driver Mike Hayes, who was working in the greater Portland area. But even with a lot of hours, some weeks he didn't take home much at all. "On a good week, I can make up to $800 working about 45 hours a week. On a bad week, which has been normal lately unfortunately, I can make around $200 to $300," he explained.

Part of the problem is that there are a lot of drivers looking to pick up the same orders. "The apps roll out ever-changing and often confusing menus of bonuses and incentives borrowed from the video-game and slot-machine industries," reports The New York Times. Drivers are drawn in by the promise of a future payoff that frequently eludes them. The problem of multiple Dashers going after the same incentives has been worsened by the company offsetting bonuses by lowering the base pay.

The trouble with tipping

DoorDash got in trouble in recent years when it was accused of pocketing tips intended for its drivers. While there were guaranteed minimums for each order, DoorDash was subtracting any tip amount from that base rate. When New York Times reporter Andy Newman went undercover as a DoorDash driver in New York City, he found out first hand: "DoorDash offers a guaranteed minimum for each job. For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer ... tipped $3 ... but I still received only $6.85. Here's how it works: If the [customer] tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me."

DoorDash has revised its payment structure in 2019 because of the community outcry, and its website currently states, "You'll earn 100 percent of customer tips on top of Base Pay and Promotions." However, with the base pay in some cities at only $2 an hour, drivers are reliant on tips to make a living. Says Mike Hayes, "The more you tip, the more we get paid. Tips are our livelihood, since we don't depend on the DoorDash base pay" (via Insider).

It's a gig. But is it the gig for you?

If you want to hustle, delivering orders for DoorDash can definitely earn some extra cash. DoorDash does list some incentives on its website, like peak time bonuses and rate increases for deliveries that take longer, so if a driver is motivated to take advantage of those opportunities, they can potentially increase their income. And the community is helpful. Reddit boards abound with advice for new drivers, and bloggers like Wallet Wise Guy post tips to help drivers increase their hourly rates.

There are other considerations, Student Loan Hero notes, like the wear and tear on your car, gas, and insurance, plus any parking fees. But there's also a personal financial outlay just to start. According to Sidehusl, "The company sells you — doesn't give you — the uniform and gear that they want you to wear. It's $4 for a t-shirt; $12 for a pizza bag and $14 for a catering bag."

It remains to be seen if this payment model is around to stay. But in the meantime, if you're looking for an opportunity to make a few extra bucks, driving for DoorDash can be a chance to fill up that piggy bank just that little bit quicker.