Maximize Your DoorDash Earnings in 2023


Balance Pro Staff

posted on

March 20, 2023

DoorDash is a popular platform that has seen explosive growth in recent years, and as we move into 2023, it continues to be a profitable option for those looking to earn some extra income. However, simply following the official advice provided by the company may not be enough to ensure that you're earning a fair wage. In fact, if you're not careful, you could end up earning less than minimum wage.

Thankfully, there are some insider DoorDash tips that can help you maximize your earnings and boost your hourly wage to as much as $20 per hour. By adopting these tips and tricks, you can join the ranks of the top dashers in the game.

Maximize Your Tax Deductions

As a DoorDash delivery driver, being an independent contractor means thinking like a business owner to truly succeed. One important aspect of this is taking advantage of tax write-offs. Throughout the year, you're likely spending a considerable amount to ensure your success as a dasher. Whether it's investing in a phone mount or purchasing courier bags that are of higher quality than the free ones provided by DoorDash, these expenses are all business-related and can be deducted on your taxes.

Tax Write-Offs

However, even if you don't invest in these additional items, you'll still be incurring costs such as repairs, maintenance, and gas for your vehicle or tires for your bike, as well as possibly needing specialized insurance for delivery drivers. Fortunately, these costs can also be tax-deductible since they're directly related to your job.

In addition to vehicle-related expenses, you can also write off a portion of your phone expenses since it's used for running the dasher app. But, it's essential to keep track of all your business expenses to ensure you don't miss out on any potential write-offs. Not doing so can lead to a surprise tax bill and potentially eating into your hard-earned earnings.

To help with tracking expenses, you can utilize Receipt Cat, an app that assists gig workers in finding all their tax write-offs and automating bookkeeping. By taking advantage of all available tax write-offs, you can increase your bottom line and ultimately succeed as a DoorDash delivery driver.

Find the Ideal Time to Dash

As a DoorDash driver, knowing when to dash can make a big difference in your earnings. While you want to be dashing during the busiest hours, it's important to avoid peak hours when every other driver is on the lookout for orders. Here are some tips on balancing driver supply and customer demand to maximize your payout.

From 6 AM to 9 AM, breakfast orders are in high demand, but few DoorDash drivers capitalize on this time slot. If you're an early bird, you can get a lot of high-paying orders without much competition.

Lunchtime from 11 AM to 1 PM can also be a busy period for food delivery apps. If you're free during those hours, you can make quite a few deliveries. Take advantage of this time slot if you're dashing full-time.

The dinner rush from 5 PM to 9 PM is the busiest period for restaurants and food delivery services, especially on weekends. It's also the most competitive time for dashing. If you plan to work during this period, book your schedule in advance using the DoorDash app.

After 10 PM, delivery workers tend to get more customer tips. Late hours can be very profitable, especially in major markets like San Francisco and New York City. These times tend to work best for experienced dashers, but it's important to test it out for yourself and find what works best in your area.

Remember, the key to maximizing your earnings as a DoorDash driver is to strike a balance between driver supply and customer demand. With these tips, you can identify the most profitable time slots and make the most out of your deliveries.

Don't Stay Around a Single Hotspot

If you're hoping to get more Doordash orders by waiting outside a busy restaurant, you might be wasting your time. Just because you're nearby doesn't mean you're more likely to be chosen for the job. In reality, anyone within a two- to three-mile radius of the restaurant has a chance of getting the order.

Rather than hovering outside one restaurant, it's smarter to wait in an area where you'll be close to multiple restaurants. This way, you increase your chances of getting a job from any of them that need delivery services.

Try finding a parking spot at a mall or plaza that has several restaurants nearby. By doing so, you'll have a better chance of quickly reaching and delivering for any of the restaurants in the area.

Don’t Worry About Your Acceptance Rate

If you're a DoorDash driver hoping to reap the benefits of having an acceptance rate above 70%, you might be tempted to accept every order that comes your way. However, this strategy might not be worth your time and effort in the long run.

Ordering Doordash

The DoorDash pay model is designed to start with low base pay and then raise it incrementally until someone accepts the order. Essentially, it's like an auction. DoorDash doesn't disclose this information, but long-time users have figured it out.

By declining low-paying orders, more dashers signal to the platform that the base pay needs to be raised. This means that by being selective with the orders you accept, you're actually helping to increase the payout for future orders.

At the end of the day, it's more efficient to skip the bad deliveries and wait for a better opportunity. There are no consequences for not accepting orders, so don't stress about your acceptance rate dropping below 70%. As long as you're strategic about which orders you take, you'll ultimately earn more money and save time in the process. Trust us – ask any experienced DoorDash driver and they'll agree.

Book In Advance

As a DoorDash driver, you know that when an area is crowded with drivers, it's harder to find well-paying deliveries. But there's a simple trick to help you avoid missing out on these opportunities: schedule your dashes in advance.

Here's how it works. Let's say you usually dash in an area with plenty of high-paying customers, but you've noticed that it's becoming more competitive. To secure your spot, open up the DoorDash app and book the area and time slot you want to work in.

Once you've booked your desired area and time slot, you don't need to worry about missing out, even if the area gets greyed out. Your dash is already locked in and you'll have access to those lucrative deliveries.

You can use this method to pre-book dashes up to six days in advance, which is especially useful for dashing in busy cities where competition is high. Don't let other drivers snatch up the best deliveries – schedule your dashes in advance and stay ahead of the game.

Know Which Deliveries to Avoid

When working as a delivery driver, time is money. That's why it's important to be selective with the orders you accept. Don't waste your gas money driving long distances for low-paying orders. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a base pay of at least $2 per mile, with orders above $7 being ideal. Look for popular restaurants, as they're more likely to be busy and offer multiple orders.

Food Delivery

It's also important to avoid bad orders. Starting your dash 10 minutes before you set off can help you avoid orders that have been declined by multiple drivers. Some deliveries to avoid include grocery runs, as the volume can be unpredictable and the items may be difficult to carry. Fast food drive-thrus should also be skipped, as they often involve long waits. Finally, avoid orders that take you far away from delivery hotspots, as you're getting paid for delivering, not for driving back. Only take these orders if the payout compensates for the extra time and effort. By being selective with your orders, you can maximize your time and earnings as a delivery driver.

Restart the DoorDash App Often

When you're driving for delivery platforms like DoorDash, you may encounter areas with poor cell phone service that can cause your GPS to glitch or the app to crash. Unfortunately, technical difficulties can prevent you from receiving orders, or even result in you getting orders for the wrong area. The solution to this issue is simple: just restart the app.

If you're not receiving any orders or are experiencing issues with the app, restarting it is the first thing you should try. DoorDash support also recommends this as a solution because your dash is registered on their servers, and restarting the app won't erase any progress or data.

In fact, even if you don't encounter connectivity issues, it's a good idea to get into the habit of restarting your app after every dash. Why? It's been well-documented that reconnecting to the app can increase the likelihood of getting new orders.

So, it's recommended to restart the app after every dash and keep doing so every few minutes until you receive an order. This can help ensure a more seamless and efficient experience when driving for DoorDash.

Follow the Customer Instructions

Providing outstanding service as a delivery driver for DoorDash can lead to positive reviews and tips from customers. One important aspect of delivering exceptional service is following the customer's instructions.

If a customer asks you not to knock, for example, it's best to respect their request and avoid knocking. Similarly, if they ask you to leave the food in a specific location, be sure to do so.

Fortunately, most customers leave clear and straightforward instructions for their delivery. However, if you come across instructions that are unclear or confusing, it's perfectly fine to contact the customer for clarification. By doing so, you can ensure that the customer's expectations are met and that the delivery process runs smoothly.

In summary, following the customer's instructions is a crucial part of delivering exceptional service as a DoorDash driver. By doing so, you can help ensure a positive experience for both yourself and the customer.

Don't Be Scared to Cancel Orders

Knowing which orders to decline is crucial for maintaining a good completion rate as a delivery driver for platforms like DoorDash. However, there may be times when you need to cancel an order after accepting it. It's important not to make a habit of this, as low completion rates can lead to account deactivation.

Getting Doordash Delivery

If you arrive at the restaurant and the order isn't ready, and you'll have to wait 15 to 20 minutes before it's ready, it's best to cancel the order. Waiting around for an order that isn't ready means you're not getting paid for your time, and it's not the most efficient use of your time.

If this happens, it's important to notify the customer as soon as possible. You can send them a message to let them know that you're at the restaurant, but their order isn't ready, and you're canceling so that another dasher can deliver it when it's ready. From the customer's perspective, there's no harm done, and you're keeping them informed about the situation. Remember, it's better to cancel the order and move on to the next one than to waste time waiting around for an order that may never be ready.

Be Mindful With Hot and Cold Items

One of the easiest ways to leave a negative impression on a DoorDash customer is by delivering melted ice cream or lukewarm soup. To avoid this, it's important to keep hot and cold items separate during transportation, preferably in their own insulated bags.

By using separate bags for hot and cold items, you can ensure that the food arrives at the customer's door at the proper temperature. Additionally, investing in insulated bags can be a smart move, as you may be able to write them off on your taxes as a business expense.

It's also important to pay attention to cold drinks, especially those that contain ice. Consider using insulated drink carriers or separate bags for cold beverages to ensure that they stay chilled during transportation.

Overall, taking steps to keep hot and cold items separate during delivery can go a long way in providing a positive experience for DoorDash customers.

Keep a Marker In Your Car

As a DoorDash driver, juggling multiple orders can be challenging, especially if the orders are similar or going to nearby locations. One way to avoid confusion and ensure that you deliver the right order to the right customer is to use a permanent marker to write the customer's name on their order.

Having food delivered home

While many restaurants will include a receipt with the customer's name on the bag, not all do. By writing the customer's name on the bag yourself, you can help ensure that you don't accidentally mix up orders and deliver the wrong food to the wrong person.

This simple trick can go a long way in improving your delivery accuracy and avoiding bad ratings from unhappy customers. So, consider keeping a permanent marker with you during deliveries and make a habit of writing customers' names on their orders.

Send Updates to Customers

DoorDash customers eagerly anticipate the arrival of their food and appreciate regular updates regarding their delivery. Even if they can track your progress on the map, it's a good idea to keep them informed at every step of the process. To make this easier, consider drafting some pre-written messages in your notes, which you can easily copy and paste into your chat with the customer when needed.

Here are some recommendations for the kinds of updates you should send:

  1. When you arrive at the restaurant: Shoot the customer a quick message letting them know that you're waiting to pick up their order. This will keep them informed and aware of your progress.
  2. When you receive the order: Once you have the order in your hands, enter the customer's address into Google Maps and send them an estimated time of arrival (ETA). This will give them a sense of when they can expect their food to arrive.
  3. When there's a delay: If you encounter any unexpected delays on your route (like traffic), let the customer know right away. This will prevent any surprises and ensure they're not caught off guard if their food arrives later than expected.
  4. When you're a few minutes away: When you're approaching the customer's delivery address, send them a message to let them know you're getting close. This is especially important if they live in a complex or an area with unclear house numbers, as it will help them be prepared for your arrival.
  5. When you arrive: If you're delivering the food contact-free, send the customer a final update letting them know their food has arrived. If you're doing an in-person delivery, it's important to make a good final impression. Unless the customer specifically requested that you not knock, you should give a gentle knock on the door and back away nine feet. When they answer the door, give them a friendly smile and wish them a good morning, day, or evening. This small touch can go a long way in leaving a positive impression on the customer.

Take Advantage of Fast Pay

Having the ability to receive your earnings instantly can be a huge help when you need to pay for gas or other time-sensitive expenses. DoorDash offers a feature called Fast Pay that allows you to transfer your earnings instantly to your account.

With Fast Pay, your earnings are typically deposited into your account within minutes, so you don't have to wait for the next weekly payment cycle. While there is a $2 fee for each transfer, the convenience of being able to access your earnings immediately can make it well worth the cost.

To use Fast Pay, simply navigate to the "Earnings" tab in your DoorDash app and select "Fast Pay." Follow the prompts to set up your account, and you'll be able to transfer your earnings instantly whenever you need them.

Dress Professionally

While it's not necessary to wear a DoorDash t-shirt, it's important to look presentable when delivering food as it can have an impact on how much you're tipped. Avoid wearing baggy pants or t-shirts with slogans that might not appeal to everyone, and it's especially important to avoid any political messaging on your clothing.

The bottom line is that if you have any clothes that may be perceived as unprofessional by your customers, it's best to leave them in the closet when you're dashing. Opt for clean, simple, and comfortable clothing that fits well and makes you look neat and professional. This can go a long way in creating a positive impression on your customers, and ultimately may result in higher tips.

Call Support If You Have a Problem

When you're dashing, it's impossible to predict what your day will be like. You may encounter a wide range of scenarios, from receiving generous tips to driving to the wrong address due to a customer error. In some cases, you may even find yourself unable to locate the delivery address or get in touch with the customer.

Food Delivery Order from Doordash

If you encounter any of these issues, it's important to contact support immediately. This will help you avoid being at fault if you need to cancel the order. By reaching out to support, you can receive guidance on how to handle the situation and ensure that you're not penalized for circumstances that are out of your control.

Remember that when you encounter issues during a delivery, it's important to remain calm and professional. Focus on finding a solution and communicating with the customer as needed, while also keeping support informed of the situation. This proactive approach can help you navigate unexpected challenges and ultimately lead to a more successful day of dashing.

Use More Than One Delivery App

Many dashers also use other gig economy platforms such as Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, and Instacart to maximize their earning potential. This can be especially helpful if DoorDash is slow or if you want to increase your earnings during a delivery.

One way to boost your earnings is to check other apps for deliveries at the same restaurant or store where you're picking up a DoorDash order. If you find an opportunity and accept it, you'll essentially be doubling your earnings by getting paid by two platforms instead of one.

However, it's important to note that this strategy is only recommended for experienced delivery drivers. If you're new to the gig economy, accepting multiple orders could lead to delayed deliveries, which can negatively impact your ratings and overall success as a dasher.

If you're confident in your abilities and choose to use this strategy, be sure to communicate with both customers and keep track of your delivery windows to ensure that you're able to make timely deliveries for each platform. With careful planning and execution, combining multiple gig economy apps can help you maximize your earning potential as a delivery driver.

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This post is for informational uses only and is not legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult with an attorney, business advisor, or accountant with concepts and ideas referenced in this post. Balance Pro assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained in this article.

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