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Top 19 Tips on How to Make the Most Money on Doordash

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Gigly team, Marketing at Gigly
Doordash delivery driver holding branded Doordash bag

Food delivery is a popular gig for people seeking a way to earn extra cash or start a new job altogether.

And of all the food delivery services out there, Doordash is one of the most popular.

But, as the app continues to gain interest, there’s increased competition among “Dashers” hoping to make as much money as possible.

So, if you want to maximize your earning potential, you’ll have to work strategically and treat Doordash delivery as a full-time business.

Here are 19 tips to help you make the most money possible on Doordash:


1. Understand Where Your Money Comes From

Get familiar with the Dasher pay model before you do anything else.

Knowledge is power, and knowing where your money is coming from can help you increase your income from the very beginning.

Your pay breaks down into these three categories:

Base Pay

What you’ll make at the very least for a delivery. Base pay depends on time, distance, and desirability.

Deliveries that take longer and aren’t as popular have a higher base pay.

Promotions

Bonuses on deliveries that meet certain conditions. Promotions include Peak Pay, Challenges, and Drive.

Tips

You get 100% of the tips left by customers on top of base pay and any promotions.


2. Strive for Good Reviews

Doordash delivery man on bike

Good customer service is essential to good Doordash reviews.

Keeping your customers happy is a one-way ticket to getting high ratings on every delivery.

There are a few tried-and-true ways to stay on top of your customer service game while Dashing:

First, communicate with customers. Let them know when changes come up, such as traffic delays, wait times at the restaurant, or something else.

Use pre-written texts to stay in touch with customers throughout the delivery process. That way, you can quickly send any texts you need without taking too much time away from your actual work.

Time is money, after all!

Second, be friendly and look presentable while delivering. You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit to look professional, but make sure your clothes are clean and any logos are appropriate for a day on the job.

Even wearing a Doordash T-shirt can show you take your deliveries seriously.

Lastly, deliver everything with care. Nothing will get you a bad review faster than delivering messed-up food. Keeping your delivery safe and sound should be a priority.

Customer complaints and bad reviews can lead to your account getting deactivated, which would get in the way of making more money!

As an independent contractor, you need health insurance, and Gigly provides supplemental health insurance benefits designed for freelancers like you!

3. Deliver During Peak Hours

Get out there and Dash during the times of day when people are most likely to order food. There will be more deliveries available to you, so you can pick and choose the ones that will net you a pay boost.

According to Doordash, these are the best times to Dash:

  • 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. for lunch
  • 4:30 P.M. to 8 P.M. for dinner
  • On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

During the later hours on the weekends — from 10 P.M. to 3 A.M. — you can get quite a bit of work delivering to the night owls that come home from a night out and want nothing more than a few tacos.

Experiment by going out at different times in your area until you find the perfect hours for your schedule to make the most money.


4. Schedule Your Dash Ahead of Time

If you live in a hot spot that gets super busy, you can schedule your Dashes ahead of time to ensure you’ll get deliveries when you want them.

Otherwise, you run the risk of your area being “greyed-out” if there are too many people already working.

Dashers who schedule times get top priority on deliveries in their chosen area.

Early Access Scheduling is available to Dashers who meet the following criteria:

  • 4.6 customer rating
  • 95% completion rate

and one of the following:

  • More than 500 lifetime deliveries
  • At least five deliveries each week

Early Access refreshes every day at 3 P.M. and allows you to schedule your times six days in advance.

So, if you qualify on Friday at 3 P.M., you can schedule yourself until next Thursday instead of leaving it to chance.


5. Avoid Traffic Jams

Even if getting stuck in traffic isn’t your fault, late deliveries can still reflect badly on your customer rating and tips. Hungry customers with cold food aren’t always the most forgiving people.

Don’t risk it!

Get a reliable navigation app that lets you know where there’s bad traffic due to accidents and road work so you can avoid getting stuck. Most Dashers recommend either Waze or Google Maps to keep you out of a jam.


6. Find the Perfect Waiting Spot

Sitting outside a single hot spot might get you a few deliveries in a day, but you could still be missing out on a lot of orders.

Your best bet is to find a location with several restaurants grouped.

Waiting somewhere with a lot of fast-food joints opens up the opportunity to grab more than one delivery at a time since all the places are right at your fingertips.

Mall parking lots (if there’s a food court inside) or chain malls that have multiple restaurants grouped make great waiting spots.


7. Take Advantage of Low Competition

Make yourself available during the times when fewer people are out delivering.

That might mean you have to get up early in the morning for breakfast lovers or stay up late at night for the night owls. Adjusting your schedule around either of these times can give you even more deliveries all to yourself.

Go out when it’s raining, as well.

People don’t like to go out for food or deliver in less than ideal weather. If you’re not afraid to get a little wet, you have more opportunities to make money.


8. Know When People Order More

Keep track of the happenings in your area to rack up when people are more likely to order food.

Football games, fight nights, award shows, and other major TV events usually mean people are getting together with friends or family. For you, that means more chances for higher-paying deliveries to pad your pockets.


9. Know Which Deliveries to Accept

Just because you’re offered a delivery doesn’t mean you have to accept everything that comes your way. Some things should cross your mind before accepting delivery to make the most of your time.

Weigh the cost of driving to and from delivery against the base pay. Aim for at least $2 per mile when considering base pay for any Doordash order. Anything less is fine for quick orders that won’t take much time out of your schedule.

Otherwise, it’s best to wait for a better delivery to come along.

Walmart orders can be tricky, so make sure you check the number of items you’ll be delivering before accepting. Larger orders may not be worth the time you’ll spend making the delivery.

A drive-thru means potentially getting stuck in the line, which leads to higher wait times. Make sure the delivery fees and potential tips compensate for how long you’ll spend on that one delivery.

On that same note, don’t bother driving too far away just to hit a hotspot unless the money is truly worth it. You want to avoid spending hours on a single delivery if it doesn’t pay well.

Keeping your acceptance rate high doesn’t matter as much as making sure you’re delivering things when it’s worth the money. Quality over quantity every time!


10. Accept Multiple Deliveries

It’s important to stress that this tactic is only worth it if the deliveries are close together in some way.

Batch orders from the same restaurant mean you only have to stop once to pick up all the food.

Or, if you pick up more than one order from multiple spots that are close together, make sure the destinations are on the same route so you can get to them fast.

Always shoot for efficiency when accepting more than one order at a time or you might end up losing more money than you earn.

Pro Tip: Carry a Sharpie with you to write the customer’s name on the bag to prevent mixing up orders. Most places attach the receipt to the outside of the bag, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

11. Always Check Your Deliveries

The easiest way to lose a tip or get a bad rating is to deliver an order that’s wrong in some way.

Even though it’s the restaurant’s fault for messing up the food, you still run the risk of being blamed for missing or wrong items in an order. It’s not fair, but it’s a reality of the delivery game.

To avoid any mishaps, check everything in the bags against the original order when you pick up the delivery. You can check off everything one item at a time in your Dasher App to make sure it’s all accounted for.

Yes, it takes a little more time, but those few minutes become worth it in this case.

Oh, and on your way out the door, make sure to grab extra sauces, napkins, and utensils to throw in the bag. It’s small things like this that make the customer happy with your service.


12. Separate Hot and Cold Food

Hot burgers and soup don’t mix well with cold salads and ice cream.

Having a mix of temperatures in the same delivery can ruin a delivery if something gets spoiled while you’re on your way to drop it off.

Get some insulated courier bags to keep your hot and cold items separated so they stay safe and sound on the road.

Remember, you’re running a business here. Having the right equipment makes all the difference to your efficiency and professionalism.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about those bad reviews for melting someone’s dessert.

Tip: Any equipment you buy for your gig is a potential tax write-off. A Gigly subscription gives you access to financial professionals who can help you find more tax deductions.

13. Keep Your Completion Rate Up

Doordash delivery driver on moped

Your completion rate is something you absolutely can’t ignore.

Completing or not completing deliveries affects your completion rate. According to Doordash’s deactivation policy, a completion rate below 80% can get your account deactivated.

If you want to make the most money, it’s very important to accept only deliveries you know you can complete on time.


14. … but Cancel Deliveries When Necessary

Okay, so sometimes, canceling deliveries is unavoidable.

For example, if you show up at a restaurant and find out that it’s going to take half an hour for the food to be ready, that’s going to affect your bottom line.

In such instances, it’s worth taking the hit to cancel the delivery so another driver can take it while you accept a different one. You don’t get paid to wait on food.

Just make sure you communicate with the customer and let them know you’re canceling so that someone else can pick up your order when it’s ready. They’ll appreciate the update!


15. Snap Up Doordash Incentives

Doordash offers incentives that could get you a bigger payday if you’re in the right place at the right time.

There are three regular promotions offered to Doordash drivers:

  1. Peak Pay is offered at especially busy times, promising more money to Dashers who accept deliveries when it’s active.
  2. Challenges give you bonuses for finishing a set number of deliveries in a certain amount of time.
  3. Doordash Drive* allows you to make deliveries with large orders that require special handling. You may also be asked to set up Drive orders when you arrive if requested.

*Only certain Dashers are eligible for Drive deliveries.


16. Track Your Mileage

You are running a business, and Doordash is your customer. That means you can take certain expenses into account when filing your taxes.

To write off your expenses for using your car to deliver, you will need to keep track of your mileage while on the job. The Doordash app doesn’t allow you to track your mileage, but there are other ways you can keep up with it.

Mileage-tracking apps like Hurdlr and Everlance allow you to track how far you drive for business purposes.


17. Work for More Than One Delivery App

Doordash isn’t the be-all, end-all of delivery apps. Sometimes, the best way to make more money is to work with multiple apps.

Sign up for Grubhub, Postmates, or Uber Eats, as well as Doordash, and run your apps simultaneously to pick up as many deliveries as possible. If you accept delivery at one, you can quickly check the others for deliveries at the same restaurant or store to double up on deliveries.

This trick is best suited to delivery drivers who already know what they’re doing so you don’t end up getting in over your head.

Tip: If you’re okay with passengers riding in your car, you might consider driving for Uber or Lyft, too. This is a good way to fill your schedule with work if you live in the suburbs or an area that’s not as busy with food orders.

18. Put Your Car to Work

You’re driving your car around all day, so use it to make some extra money while you’re doing drop-offs.

Consider wrapping your car in advertising as a side hustle. If you’re going to be driving already, there’s no reason you can’t make a little passive income at the same time.


19. Use Your Experience to Help Others

Once you’ve been in the game for a while, consider using your knowledge of making deliveries to help others just breaking into the business.

Use platforms like YouTube or TikTok to make videos with tips and tricks.

Write posts on blogs or social media to share what you know. On top of getting the word out there, you can make extra money with a blog through affiliate marketing and ads.

Plus, a lot of new Dashers will benefit from your expertise.


In Conclusion

As long as people are ordering takeout, food delivery drivers will be in demand. And that’s great because food delivery is a perfect side gig for those who want to set their hours.

The best way to make money on Doordash or any other delivery app is by figuring out the hot spots, delivery times, and types of deliveries that work best in your area.

Once you have a handle on delivering food, it’s just a matter of doing the job well and keeping the customers happy!

Join Gigly to get access to freelancer benefits, including financial and healthcare services that help keep your wheels on the road and money in your pocket.