Top Earners Doordash Tips For Earning More Money In 2021 Mega-guide

There are a lot of Doordash tips that can make a big difference in your income. 

As fun as door dashing can be, it’s a job where your pay depends fully on how good you are at it. If you just follow the official advice, you might end up working for less than minimum wage, before you figure out how to earn more. Let’s not do that.

Luckily, you can skip the learning phase all together. A few tricks can make you more money already on your next dash.

You can make more than $20 per hour dashing, by following a few simple strategies. 

Just in case you’re wondering, Doordash is still profitable in 2021. Due to the covid 19, delivery drivers are busier than ever and can make more money than Uber and Lyft drivers.

As a Doordash 1099 driver, you’re a gig-worker and an independent contractor so you need to think like one. It’s up to you when and how much you dash, but you must always focus on maximizing the payout for the time you put in.

In this article, you'll discover all the tricks to the trade, top-earning dashers use, that will increase your payout and make the customers happy.

So, grab your pen and paper and let’s get rolling!

Doordash Drivers Tips

Listen, if you follow these strategies we are about to show you, you’ll make more money driving for Doordash. It’s as simple as that. We’ve practically done all the work for you. After hours of research on the internet, we gathered all of the best tips to make Doordash delivery driving a giant goldmine. In fact, I’ll show you. Here in the next section, you’ll find the best times to dash and what orders to pick, and which to avoid. 

Find The Best Times To Dash

Of course, you want to be dashing during the busiest hours. The problem is...when are the busiest hours or time slots in a day? Well, based on our research and experience, here’s what we recommend.

6 pm - 9 am
If you're an early bird, get ready for some very profitable hours. More people order breakfast than you might be thinking and few Doordash drivers capitalize on these hours. You can get a lot of high paying orders at these hours.

11 am - 1 pm
Lunchtime can get quite busy. It's a short time slot, but if you have the time during those hours, you can make quite a few deliveries. If you're dashing full time, take this timeslot and get a break before your next dash.

5 pm - 9 pm
That's the time when the restaurants are the busiest and you'll have the most hours to make money. During the pandemic, a lot of customers will order delivery instead of going out. It's the most popular time slot for dashing, so if you know in advance you want to work these hours, book them in advance inside the app. I’ll talk more about  how to do that later in the article.

After 10 pm

Delivery workers tend to get higher tips at later hours. If you live in an urban or a busy area late hours can be very profitable. It depends on your area, so you're going to have to try it out.

These are the timeslots when experienced dashers make most money. Of course, your best paying dashes depend on where you live. Maybe you live in a big city where you can stay busy all day or maybe you live in a town where you can only make money during dinner time. You have to test it out yourself!

Stop worrying about the acceptance rate

When your acceptance rate is over 70%, you'll get a couple of perks. According to Doordash's pay model, you’ll sometimes get a priority on higher-paying orders. As tempting as it sounds, it’s just not worth it. Ask any long-time dasher and they will tell you exactly the same thing.

If you want a high acceptance rate, you’ll deal with difficult deliveries and spend most of your time working for peanuts. Just skip the bad deliveries and wait for something better!

Don’t worry if your acceptance rate drops to 20%. There are no consequences for not accepting orders.

Declining orders is good for the business. Doordash doesn’t disclose how they calculate drivers’ base pay. But long-term users figured out, Doordash starts offering orders for pennies and keeps raising the base pay until someone accepts the order, just like an auction.

This means, when more dashers decline low paying orders, Doordash pays their drivers a higher base pay.

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What deliveries to avoid and what to prioritize

Be selective. Driving 8 miles for $3-$4 orders isn’t worth your time.

As a rule of thumb, aim for base pay at $2 per mile or more. If it's a really quick order that you can complete in minutes, $1 per mile is okay but not otherwise.
Try to go for orders above $7.

  • Go ahead and start your dash 10 minutes before you leave. The first few dashes you'll get are very likely the ones that have been bounced around and declined by multiple dashers before you.

  • Be careful with Walmart grocery deliveries - ALWAYS check how many items you’ll deliver. There could be 58 items, 4 cases of water that must be carried to the 5th floor complex with no elevators.

  • Be cautious of drive-through fast-food restaurants. Even if you’re running a delivery, you’re going to wait in line with every other customer and waste your time. Unless the base pay or tips make up for it, skip them.

  • Watch out for orders that take you far away from hotspots or popular areas. You’re getting paid when you’re delivering, not on the way back to hotspots. Only do this, if the payout compensates for the time it takes to drive back or leads you to a different hotspot.

  • Prioritize popular restaurants. They are most likely to be busy and have a higher chance of giving you multiple dashes.

Don't waste time at hotspots

You're not more likely to get a dash, because you're waiting outside of a busy restaurant. Anyone within a 2-3 miles radius from the place can get picked.

  • It's better to wait in a place, where you are close to multiple restaurants. When any of the restaurants ask for a delivery service, you're in proximity of all of them and as a result likely to get more orders.
  • Find a parking spot at a mall with multiple restaurants or a busy district, so you can reach the restaurant more quickly.

Book your dashes in advance

When an area is filled with Doordash drivers, it gets greyed out on the map, meaning you can’t dash there. But there’s a way to prevent this, so you won’t miss out on well-paying dashes.

To avoid this, schedule your dashes in advance. Let me explain. Let’s say you dash in an area with well-paying customers, but you notice it is slowly becoming more competitive. When this happens, open the app and book the area you wish to work in (up to 6 days in advance). This lets you get into even the most competitive areas. When you have booked your desired area and timeslot, it doesn’t matter if it gets greyed out - your dash is locked in.

It’s especially useful for dashing in busy cities.

Cancel Accepted Orders If...

Sometimes you'll need to cancel an order you’ve already accepted. It's in your best interest to keep the completion rate high, because low completion rate can get you kicked off, but sometimes it’s okay to cancel:

The order isn't ready and you're going to wait 15-20 minutes before it's finished. Since you’re not getting paid when you wait, you'll be better off doing anything else. Message the customer, let them know that you're at the restaurant, their order isn't ready and you're canceling so another dasher can deliver when it's ready. From the customers’ POV,  you're just keeping them informed and no harm is done.

Restart the Doordash app frequently

When you're driving, sometimes you’ll pass areas with bad cell phone service, your GPS will glitch, and the app might crash. Unfortunately for Doordash, when you’re experiencing technical difficulties, you won’t get any orders. So if you find yourself not receiving dashes or get dashes for the wrong area, just restart the app.

Your dash is registered on Doordash’s servers, so restarting the app won't delete any progress or data. Doing this is even advised by Doordash support.

After every dash, restart your app and keep restarting it every few minutes until you get an order. The way Doordash works isn’t disclosed, but it’s been well documented that reconnecting to Doordash can get you new orders, so make a habit of it.

How to get better tips

Most customers tip and give good ratings when you make them happy with outstanding service. During coronavirus, a lot of customers ask for contactless deliveries, so every detail matters. Here are the best practices on how to deliver to maximize your tips.

Follow the instructions

This point is pretty self-explanatory. If the client asks not to knock - don't knock. If they ask you to put the food somewhere specific - put it there. Most of the time the instructions are pretty simple, but if you come across something complicated, contact the customer about it.

Be presentable

You don't have to wear a red Doordash t-shirt. But we recommend you look clean and presentable. Don't wear baggy pants, offensive t-shirts, or anything that your clients can consider unprofessional or in bad taste.

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Communicate And Keep The Customer In The Loop

The customers are excited to get their food and are happy to receive personal updates about their delivery, even if they can follow you on the map. So unless something else is instructed, keep them updated.

  • When you arrive at the restaurant, send a message to let the customer know that you're at the restaurant, waiting to pick up their order.
  • When you receive the order and head out, put their address into Google Maps, send them a message with an ETA.
  • If the traffic is bad or there's some sort of delay, let them know about it right away.
  • When you're 5-3 minutes from the delivery address, let them know about it. This is important because they will be waiting for you. If you reach a complex or an area without clear house numbers, they will be ready for you to contact them.
  • Unless the customer instructed you not to knock, knock on the door, back away 9 feet, and if they pick up in front of you, smile and wish them to have a good morning, day or evening.

To simplify this, write your messages in advance, save them in your notes, and simply copy-paste them into the conversation with the customer at appropriate times.

Other tips

When you’re dashing, something new happens every day. You can get lucky and get a $100 tip on your next dash or drive 8 miles to a wrong address. There’s no way to predict things like that. You just have to be prepared and know what to do if something unexpected happens. Being prepared can save you from pricy and embarrassing learning experiences.

Don’t hesitate to contact the support

Maybe the customer gave you the wrong address and wants you to go to a different place with no compensation.

Or perhaps you can’t reach the delivery address, and can’t get hold of the customer.

If something like that happens, contact the support immediately, because if you’re going to cancel the order, you won’t be at fault.

Keep A Sharpie In Your Car

Keep a sharpie in your car and make a habit of writing the customers' names on their orders. Most places will put a receipt on the bag with the customers’ names, but some places won't.

If you're delivering multiple orders, it can save you from mixing up your orders! Delivering the wrong orders will get you bad ratings, so make a habit of marking your orders.

Use more than 1 delivery app

Try to use other delivery apps, when you’re dashing, such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, and Instacart. It will save you from slow shifts, by finding other deliveries you can do.

To make your deliveries more profitable, check these apps for deliveries that resemble the dash you’ve accepted. If you happen to find one and take it, it will double your pay, as you’re getting paid from two platforms instead of just one.

But do it only if you’re experienced in the delivery business, because delaying orders too much can impact your ratings.

Get paid instantly

Getting paid instantly can save your life. Not really, but it's nice to have the option to withdraw your earnings if you need to pay for gas or something that just can't wait.

Doordash has a service called Fastpay, that transfers your earnings instantly to your financial account. There is a $2 fee for every transfer but your earnings typically get deposited into your account in a matter of minutes, so you don’t have to wait for the weekly payments.

Conclusion:

Doordash can be a fun side-hustle and a good way to get by. To get the best out of it, you need to apply the strategies you’ve just learned. If you follow these tips, you’ll get a lot more money dashing and have a better time doing it.

  • Dashing at the right times, in the right places, will get you more money, because you’re meeting the customers where and when they need you.

  • Knowing what deliveries to accept, you end up working for a higher base pay and spend less time without pay.

  • When you deliver a great experience for the customers, your tips will grow!

Since you’re essentially an independent contractor, you also have to file your taxes and deduct all your expenses. 

Another thing you need to take advantage of is tax deductions. Your earnings might not be the highest, but when you deduct all of your mileage, gas, and other business expenses, it’s quite lucrative.

At Keeper Tax, we help independent 1099 contractors find all of their write-offs and automate the bookkeeping tasks. When you deduct your Doordash expenses, you stop overpaying in taxes and get to keep even more of your earnings!

George Poullo

George Poullo

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George is a freelance writer who provides valuable content, one article at a time. With a background in B2B writing, George’s key ability is creating engaging solutions in response to customer needs.

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Note: at Keeper Tax, we're on a mission to help freelancers overcome the complexity of their taxes. That sometimes leads us to generalize tax advice. Please reach out via email if you have questions.

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