21 Doordash driver tips (2024): Make more money dashing

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Understanding the best DoorDash driver tips can significantly boost your earnings.

DoorDash has become hugely popular lately and will remain profitable in 2024. However, solely relying on the company’s guidelines might result in earning below minimum wage.

Avoid that scenario.

Dashing can yield a solid hourly wage of approximately $20. These exclusive tips will help you increase your earnings like the top-performing dashers in the business.

1. Maximize your tax deductions

As an independent DoorDash contractor, adopting a business mindset to enhance success is crucial. One key practice of responsible business owners is capitalizing on tax deductions.

Consider this: throughout the year, you incur various expenses to optimize your performance as a DoorDash driver. Whether purchasing a phone mount or investing in higher-quality courier bags, these are legitimate business expenses that can be deducted from your taxes.

Even if you opt not to make additional investments, the essential use of your car or bike for deliveries still incurs costs. This includes expenses like repairs, maintenance, gas, and possibly a specialized insurance policy tailored for delivery drivers. Don’t overlook these potential deductions when filing your taxes.

As a DoorDash driver, you can ease the financial burden of car-related expenses by taking advantage of tax deductions. Beyond vehicle costs, you can also deduct a portion of your phone expenses used for the dasher app.

Keep tabs on your deductions to avoid unpleasant surprises on your tax bill. Tools like TurboTax self-employed can simplify the process by automatically scanning your purchases for potential write-offs, making it easier for gig workers to manage their expenses and streamline bookkeeping.

2. Optimize your DoorDash hours for maximum earnings

To boost your earnings as a DoorDash driver, it’s crucial to pick the right times. Finding a balance between driver availability and customer demand is key. Based on our insights, here are the recommended time slots:

  • 6 AM – 9 AM: Early Bird Special
    If you’re an early riser, seize the opportunity during breakfast hours. Few drivers are on the road, making it easier to snag high-paying orders without much competition.
  • 11 AM – 1 PM: Lunchtime Rush
    The midday hours see increased demand across all food delivery apps. Utilize this short but busy slot for multiple deliveries. If you’re a full-time dasher, this is a must-grab time frame before your lunch break.
  • 5 PM – 9 PM: Extended Dinner Rush
    The peak hours for restaurants and food delivery services, especially on weekends. Secure a solid four-hour window for a stream of orders. Plan by booking these prime slots in the dasher app to ensure you’re in the action.
  • After 10 PM: Late-Night Rewards
    Late hours can be profitable, as customers tend to tip more. This holds particularly true in major markets like San Francisco and New York City. It’s less about order volume and more about maximizing earnings per order. These hours are often favorable for experienced dashers.

Remember, while these time slots generally work, the most lucrative times may vary depending on your location. Experiment to discover the optimal earning windows for yourself!

3. Book your dashes in advance

In areas saturated with DoorDash drivers, the map becomes unavailable for dashing, limiting your opportunities for well-paying gigs. However, there’s a simple solution to ensure you don’t miss out on lucrative dashes – schedule them in advance.

Here’s how it works: imagine you’re currently dashing in a high-paying customer zone but notice increasing competition. In such a situation, open the DoorDash app and proactively book the specific area and time slot you wish to work in.

This strategy allows you to access even the most competitive zones. Once you’ve successfully booked your preferred area and time, it doesn’t matter if it becomes unavailable on the map – your dash is secured.

This method allows you to reserve dashes up to six days ahead, making it particularly advantageous for navigating busy urban areas. Don’t miss out on opportunities – plan ahead and lock in your DoorDash dashes for optimal earnings.

4. Optimize your delivery strategy by avoiding a single hotspot

Standing outside one busy restaurant doesn’t increase your chances of getting an order. Orders are assigned to drivers within a two- to three-mile radius.

To maximize your opportunities, position yourself near multiple restaurants. This increases the likelihood of receiving delivery requests from any of them within the radius.

Pro tip: Park at a mall with several restaurants for quicker access to various potential orders.

5. Stop worrying about your acceptance rate

Don’t stress over your acceptance rate exceeding 70% on DoorDash. While high acceptance rates may bring some benefits, like priority on well-paying orders, it’s not a good strategy.

Here’s the deal: DoorDash tends to start with a low base pay for orders and increases it until someone accepts. It’s essentially an auction system, although DoorDash doesn’t explicitly mention it.

In practice, experienced Dashers advise against accepting every order. When more Dashers reject low-paying orders, DoorDash raises base pay. So, passing on unprofitable deliveries and waiting for better ones is more efficient.

Remember, there are no negative consequences for a lower acceptance rate. Even if it drops to 20%, there’s no need to worry. Focus on maximizing your earnings with strategic order acceptance.

6. Know which deliveries to avoid 

Be strategic about the orders you accept to make the most of your time and earnings. Avoid driving long distances for low-paying deliveries – it’s not cost-effective. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a base pay of at least $2 per mile. While $1 per mile might be acceptable for quick orders, it’s generally not worth your time.

Consider focusing on orders above $7, particularly from popular restaurants. These establishments are more likely to be busy, increasing your chances of receiving multiple delivery opportunities.

Additionally, start your dash 10 minutes before heading out. This helps you avoid undesirable orders that multiple dashers have rejected. Determining the orders you accept will ultimately boost your efficiency and earnings.

Here’s a helpful list of deliveries to avoid:

  • Walmart groceries: Delivering Walmart orders can be unpredictable and challenging due to the varying volume of items. Always check the number of items before accepting. Some orders may involve carrying many items, including heavy cases of water, up multiple floors without elevators.
  • Fast food drive-thrus: Delivering from fast food places often involves waiting in line like any other customer. If the pay or tips aren’t worthwhile, it’s best to skip these deliveries.
  • Orders far from popular areas: Remember, you earn money when delivering, not while returning to popular delivery spots. Only take these distant orders if the payment makes up for the time and distance it takes to return or if they lead you to a different busy area.

7. Canceling accepted orders is sometimes necessary

It’s crucial to identify which orders to reject upfront, but there are situations where cancellation becomes unavoidable.

However, it’s essential to avoid frequent cancellations to maintain a high completion rate and avoid being removed from the platform.

Cancel an order if you’ve reached the restaurant, the order isn’t ready, and you face a 15 to 20-minute wait. Waiting without compensation is not beneficial, so utilizing your time elsewhere is better.

When this occurs, inform the customer promptly. Send a message explaining that you’re at the restaurant, the order isn’t ready, and you’re canceling to ensure another dasher can deliver it promptly when it’s prepared.

This way, you keep the customer informed without causing any inconvenience.

8. Restart the DoorDash app regularly

Regularly restart the DoorDash app to ensure a smooth experience while driving. Poor cell phone service can cause GPS glitches and app crashes, leading to missed orders. Restart the app if you’re not receiving orders or assigned to the wrong area.

DoorDash support also recommends this, ensuring restarting the app won’t erase any progress or data as your dash is registered on DoorDash’s servers.

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Even in areas with good reception, it’s beneficial to make a habit of restarting the app. Reconnecting has proven to increase the likelihood of receiving new orders. After each dash, restart the app and continue doing so every few minutes until you receive an order.

9. Ensure customer satisfaction by following instructions

Providing excellent service significantly influences customer tips and ratings. It’s crucial to adhere to customer instructions to enhance their experience.

For instance, during the COVID pandemic, many customers preferred contactless deliveries. While some requests may seem unconventional, complying with them is essential for maximizing your tips.

If a customer specifies not to knock, refrain from doing so. Similarly, if they request a specific location for the food, ensure it is placed accordingly.

Most DoorDash customers provide clear instructions, but if you encounter any complexities or uncertainties, don’t hesitate to contact the customer for clarification.

10. Handle hot and cold items with care

When delivering orders, ensure the quality of the food by separating hot and cold items. Use individual insulated bags for each type to maintain their respective temperatures.

Not only does this ensure customer satisfaction, but it may also be tax-deductible. This practice applies particularly to cold drinks with ice; keep them separate to avoid compromising their freshness during delivery.

11. Keep a sharpie in your car

Develop the habit of writing customers’ names on their orders using the permanent marker. While many places provide receipts with customers’ names on the bags, some might not.

This straightforward tip helps avoid confusion when handling multiple orders. Delivering the wrong person’s food is a surefire way to receive bad ratings, making the Sharpie a simple yet effective tool for better customer service.

12. Send out updates

Customers eagerly await their DoorDash orders, appreciating personal delivery updates. Unless instructed otherwise, keep customers informed at every step. Prepare pre-written messages to streamline communication.

  • Restaurant arrival: Notify the customer when you pick up their order.
  • Order pickup: After picking up the order, use Google Maps to share your estimated arrival time (ETA) with the customer.
  • Delays: If there’s a delay due to traffic or other reasons, inform the customer promptly to manage expectations.
  • 3-5 Minutes away: Advise the customer when you’re 3-5 minutes away from the delivery address, especially in complex areas or where house numbers aren’t clear.
  • Arrival: For contactless delivery, send a final update informing the customer that their food has arrived. Knock unless instructed otherwise for in-person drop-offs, and maintain a nine-foot distance. If the customer picks up in person, smile and wish them a good morning, day, or evening.

13. Maintain a professional appearance on the job

Dress appropriately to maximize tips. Avoid wearing baggy pants or T-shirts with potentially divisive slogans, and steer clear of political messages. Opt for presentable attire, as it can positively influence customer perceptions. Keep unprofessional clothing out of sight while on the job.

14. Contact support if you hit a roadblock

If you encounter issues during your dash, like being unable to reach a delivery address or connect with the customer, don’t hesitate to contact support immediately.

Whether it’s a typo causing a wrong address or any other roadblock, reaching out ensures you’re not held responsible, and support can guide you on the necessary steps, including canceling the order if needed.

15. Get on more than one delivery app to expand your delivery options

Whether it’s Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, or Instacart, diversifying your platforms can ensure steady opportunities, especially during slower times with DoorDash.

Boost your earnings by cross-utilizing these apps. After accepting a DoorDash delivery, check other platforms for potential orders from the same restaurant or store. By taking on multiple deliveries simultaneously, you effectively double your income, receiving payments from two sources instead of just one.

It’s crucial to note that this strategy is most effective for experienced delivery drivers. Inexperienced drivers may face challenges with delayed orders, leading to lower ratings and potential issues.

16. Utilize Fast Pay for instant payments

Receive your earnings promptly with Fast Pay, a convenient service offered by DoorDash. This allows you to transfer your earnings instantly to your account, providing a quick solution for immediate expenses like gas or other urgent needs.

With Fast Pay, you can receive your earnings within minutes, bypassing the usual weekly payment schedule. Remember that a $2 fee is applicable for each transfer, but the swift access to your funds can be a valuable advantage.

17. Make sure your phone is charged

Ensure your phone is charged before delivering with DoorDash to avoid disruptions. A charged phone ensures you can receive new orders and complete deliveries seamlessly. Develop the habit of charging your phone before starting your DoorDash deliveries.

Consider investing in a portable phone charger for on-the-go charging during deliveries. This simple yet crucial tip helps you avoid the inconvenience of a dead battery.

18. Check for available challenges in your area

The Challenges program offers Dashers the opportunity to earn extra money by completing a specific number of deliveries within a set timeframe.

Not all areas have Challenges yet, but DoorDash is working on expanding coverage in the coming months. To see any Challenges in your area, check your Dasher app and select your starting point.

When you’re eligible for an active Challenge, you’re automatically enrolled, and there’s no need to opt in. Only one Challenge will be active at a starting point at a given time.

For instance, you might earn $20 for completing 15 weekly deliveries (from Monday 12:01 a.m. to Sunday 11:59 p.m. local time). To get the specifics of a Challenge, tap on it in your app. The Challenge info screen provides the required number of deliveries, valid days/times, the extra amount you can earn, and the active starting points.

Participating in these Challenges is an effective way to boost your income.

19. Don’t discount local restaurants

Consider local restaurants, not just chain establishments, when delivering for DoorDash. Local spots may not be as widely known, but they can offer numerous advantages.

Dashers often emphasize this on platforms like Reddit. One user suggests seeking out local restaurants known primarily within a city. For instance, one in an affluent area might receive a high volume of orders from locals. Opting for such establishments can foster relationships with the restaurant staff, potentially leading to catering deals. This approach also helps minimize the distance you need to travel for deliveries.

20. Verify orders before leaving the restaurant

To maximize your earnings on DoorDash, securing more tips is key. The higher your tips, the greater your overall income.

Besides effective communication and utilizing an insulated food bag, another crucial strategy for earning tips is checking orders before leaving the restaurant.

Mistakes can happen – restaurants may overlook items customers paid for or include items not ordered. This oversight, even if it’s the restaurant’s fault, can impact your tip and Dasher rating. Ensure you inspect the order before departing to confirm it contains the correct items and nothing is missing.

By doing so, you keep the customer satisfied and increase your chances of receiving a tip and a positive rating.

21. Use a mileage tracking app

Optimize your DoorDash earnings with a mileage-tracking app. As an independent contractor, monitoring expenses like fuel and vehicle wear is crucial. Use a mileage tracking app, such as the free Stride app for iOS or Android, to record your delivery miles.

This helps calculate your hourly earnings after costs and allows you to deduct business mileage on your tax return. Streamline your DoorDash experience and make informed financial decisions with the right mileage tracking app.

22. Get enough sleep

A crucial suggestion for DoorDash drivers is prioritizing sufficient sleep before starting a delivery day.

Many Dashers aim to earn $200 to $300 daily, prompting early wake-ups for deliveries. However, inadequate sleep jeopardizes your driving skills and poses risks to you and fellow drivers.

Insufficient sleep may also leave little time for meal preparation, leading to unnecessary expenses on eating out during shifts, diminishing your profits.

Additionally, adhere to road rules diligently, including driving within speed limits and following parking regulations to avoid costly tickets.

DoorDash bike vs. Car – What’s best?

Many people opt for delivering with Uber Eats or DoorDash using a bike rather than a car. This decision is often driven by the desire to avoid purchasing a vehicle and to earn money while staying fit, especially in busy city centers.

Using a bike has its advantages. You spend less on wear and tear, eliminate fuel costs, and get a workout while earning extra income. However, delivering with a car might result in slightly higher earnings; in some markets, bikes and scooters may not be practical.

It’s worth noting that DoorDash considers the type of vehicle you use and assigns deliveries accordingly. This means you won’t be handed a 10-mile request if you deliver with a bike.

What are good DoorDash tips for beginners?

For new DoorDashers, key tips include avoiding low-paying orders, keeping track of mileage and expenses, and identifying slow restaurants to skip. Mastering these skills early on can boost your earnings. As you gain experience, consider advanced strategies like multi-apping and accepting stacked orders to maximize your income.

Are there any DoorDash algorithm tricks?

No, there aren’t any tricks or hacks. However, you can optimize your earnings by following the advice in this guide.

The bottom line

These DoorDash driver tips can significantly impact income. Following only official advice might lead to low earnings. Employing these insider tips is crucial to boost hourly wages (around $20 per hour).

These tips aim to enhance earnings and efficiency for DoorDash drivers, emphasizing strategic choices, customer service, and financial management as key factors in success.