DoorDash gives individuals the opportunity to work as their own boss picking up and delivering restaurant meals to customers. If you’re looking for a flexible full-time job or side hustle, DoorDash is certainly one option.
On average, how much you make as a DoorDash driver, called a Dasher, varies significantly. The company gives drivers a minimum of $2 per delivery job. In 2020, DoorDash announced that Dashers earn an average of $22 per hour they’re on a job before expenses.
Information on pay varies so much because DoorDash drivers are independent contractors, not salaried employees. Independent contractors aren’t protected by minimum wage laws and do not receive reimbursement for job-related expenses like gas and mileage.
Below, we’ll explore DoorDash average earnings, common DoorDash driver expenses, and information about paying taxes as an independent contractor.
Average DoorDash Driver Earnings
Full-Time DoorDash Driver Earnings
Driving for DoorDash isn’t a traditional full-time job, so you don’t earn a guaranteed salary. However, employment sites still try to collect salary information from employees to estimate full-time wages.
- Indeed: $18,178 to $50,738 per year
- ZipRecruiter: $14,500 to $64,000 per year with a national average of $36,565
- Glassdoor: $19,000 to $45,000 per year with a national average of $27,000
Although the websites do not exclusively mention that the figures represent gross income, that would be in line with our other findings about DoorDash driver earnings. Drivers earning annual salaries in the higher end likely work more than 40 hours per week.
DoorDash Driver Hourly Earnings
Hourly Earnings According to DoorDash
In 2019, DoorDash adjusted how they pay their drivers. The company reported that under the new pay model drivers earn an average of $18.54 per active hour. What constitutes an active hour isn’t specified. The hourly earnings published by DoorDash are before expenses.
In December 2020, a company representative from DoorDash reported that drivers earn an average of $22+ per hour they’re on a job, which includes 100% of tips. The statement doesn’t specify what “on the job” means.
DoorDash Driver Hourly Net Earnings
DoorDash drivers incur a lot of expenses, which we’ll cover more in-depth below. That’s why it’s important to consider your net earnings rather than just your gross earnings.
In 2019, The Pay Up campaign analyzed 229 job-level pay reports from Dashers across the country. Dashers reported their total pay from DoorDash, total customer tips, and the time and miles to complete a job from acceptance to delivery.
When calculating the average hourly rate, the website only tracked expenses using the standard mileage deduction, which in 2019 was $0.58 (in 2020, it dropped to $0.575). They also counted the self-employment tax (also called payroll tax), which is 7.65%, as an expense.
Their findings showed that the average DoorDash driver earns a net hourly rate of $1.45. Their sample had average gross earnings of $15.76 per hour, which included the time from the acceptance of a job to its completion.
DoorDash Driver Earnings By Location
The employment site, ZipRecruiter, found that DoorDash delivery drivers who work in the following cities earn the most, on average.
- San Mateo, CA: $21.67 per hour
- Berkeley, CA: $20.94 per hour
- Daly City, CA: $20.88 per hour
- Richmond, CA: $20.33 per hour
- Stamford, CT: $19.80 per hour
- Bellevue, WA: $19.74 per hour
- San Francisco, CA: $19.57 per hour
- Brooklyn, NY: $19.44 per hour
- Lakes, AK: $19.36 per hour
- Knik-Fairview, AK: $19.33 per hour
DoorDash Driver Tips
Drivers keep 100% of tips. The study from The Pay Up campaign found that 86% of jobs include a customer tip. Although we don’t know how much drivers receive in tips per trip or per hour, the hourly and yearly wages listed above include tips. We also found anecdotal evidence from Dashers to support that tips, which aren’t guaranteed, make up a large percentage of Dasher wages.
Ways DoorDash Drivers Make Money
Now, let’s take a look at how DoorDash Drivers make money.
Dashers earn a set amount of money per delivery, which DoorDash calculates based on the delivery location. The app display how much the job will pay. Base pay per delivery depends on time, distance, and desirability. Base pay ranges from $2 to $10+.
Customers can tip in the app when they order or afterward. Dashers keep 100% of tips.
Bonuses & Promotions
During busier times of the day—like around mealtimes, DoorDash offers a Peak Pay promotion. It’s an extra dollar amount added to the delivery fee. You’ll see the amount before you accept a delivery.
How Much Does DoorDash Take From Your Pay?
DoorDash doesn’t take a fixed amount of money from your pay. DoorDash charges customers a fee based on where they’re ordering from and the time of day. Then, DoorDash shows Dashers a flat rate for completing the delivery.
As the Dasher, you’ll know ahead of time how much DoorDash will pay you for completing the delivery. Plus, you’ll keep 100% of any tips and bonuses.
What Affects How Much You Can Earn by Driving for DoorDash?
DoorDash drivers don’t automatically make a set hourly wage. How much you earn as a Dasher depends entirely on the following:
How Many Deliveries You Complete
The more deliveries you complete, the more you’ll make. Larger deliveries and deliveries for orders that you have to place in person pay more.
When You’re Driving
Dashers who drive during Busy Pay periods can earn more per delivery. Some Dashers plan their driving schedule around mealtimes to increase their earnings.
Others actually schedule a Dash within the app. DoorDash gives drivers the option of scheduling delivery blocks (called Dashes) in advance. By scheduling ahead of time, you know that you’ll get to deliver food when couriers are needed. This can lead to more back-to-back orders and, thus, more tips.
What Mode of Transportation You Use
Dashers can deliver by bicycle, motorcycle, or car. Dashers delivering by motorcycle or bicycle often have fewer expenses, so they can keep more of their earnings. Of course, the size of your mode of transportation also limits how much you can deliver in one trip.
Dashers keep 100% of customer tips. Being timely and courteous can help boost your tips. DoorDash suggests $2, $3, and $4 tips in the app’s checkout screen.
What are Some Common Expenses for DoorDash Drivers?
Dashers incur several expenses while driving for DoorDash and, because Dashers are independent contractors, none of the expenses are reimbursed by DoorDash. Let’s review a few common expenses DoorDash drivers may face:
Vehicle or Bike Maintenance
Driving or biking for DoorDash puts a lot of wear and tear on your car, motorcycle, or bicycle. You’ll need to pay for maintenance and upkeep more often than if you were just driving for personal use.
DoorDash doesn’t have strict vehicle restrictions like Lyft and Uber because you’re driving food around, not people. However, if you don’t own your car, you’ll need to account for your car lease or loan payment when calculating expenses. According to Experian, the average monthly payment for a new car loan is $568. The average monthly payment for a used car loan is $397.
Dashers who use a car or motorcycle for delivery must have an up-to-date auto insurance policy. However, DoorDash accepting your proof of insurance doesn’t mean that your personal auto insurance permits delivery driving. Talk to your insurance company about adding business-use coverage, food delivery coverage, or rideshare insurance to your existing policy.
How much it costs depends on your provider and your needs. The average rate for business-use coverage is $304 per month, but prices vary significantly.
DoorDash also provides some extra auto insurance for Dashers, but it’s limited. The policy only covers damage you cause to other parties and accidents that happen when food is in your car. Claims go through your personal auto policy first.
Dashers aren’t reimbursed for gas expenses. You can claim gas expenses using the standard mileage deduction or by deducing the actual cost of gas. Claiming the expenses will reduce how much you owe in taxes; it doesn’t mean you’ll get reimbursed for gas money.
During the COVID19 pandemic, DoorDash gave all Dashers access to discounted virtual urgent care visits and virtual behavioral health services. Drivers get three urgent care visits for $4 and 25-minute-long therapy visits for $4.
Other than that temporary assistance, DoorDash drivers do not receive any type of health insurance or medical benefits from DoorDash. If you want health insurance, you’ll need to pay for it yourself. DoorDash drivers can use the website Stride Health to find an affordable plan, but DoorDash doesn’t help pay for it.
According to Stride Health, the average Stride Health member, which includes DoorDash drivers, pays $150 per month for health insurance.
What Taxes Do DoorDash Drivers Need to Pay?
Many DoorDash drivers need to pay quarterly estimated taxes and self-employment taxes. For specific tax advice about becoming a DoorDash driver, consult a tax professional in your area.
Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments
When you have a W-2 and work as an employee, your employer withholds your local, state, and federal income tax payments. When you’re an independent contractor, you need to track and pay your own local, state, and federal income taxes. To do this, you might need to make quarterly tax payments or estimated tax payments, depending on how much you expect to earn during the year.
Thankfully, you won’t have to pay taxes on everything you make from DoorDash. Dashers can claim all of their business expenses to reduce their overall taxable income. Dashers who drive motor vehicles can take the standard mileage deduction, which in 2020, is 57.5 cents. Dashers, including those who deliver on foot or on a bicycle, can instead claim the actual amount spent.
Expenses you might be able to deduct all or part of include the cost of gas, repairs, depreciation, lease expenses, and maintenance costs.
Dashers also need to pay self-employment taxes, which consist of your Social Security and Medicare taxes. When you’re an employee, you owe 7.65% for these, and your employer pays the other 7.65%. When you’re self-employed, you must pay the full 15.3%. However, you can deduct the employer portion (7.65%) from your taxes.
Is Becoming a DoorDash Driver Worth It?
Unless you live in an area where DoorDash drivers report high hourly wages after expenses, becoming a DoorDash driver doesn’t seem to be as worth it as other side gigs or flexible full-time gigs. Sure, you might enjoy the flexibility of being your own boss, but other opportunities seem to pay more per hour, like driving for Uber or Lyft.
Given the low reported net pay, give careful thought before signing up to be a Dasher and do the following:
- Research average DoorDash driver earnings in your area; Sites like Reddit or rideshare forums can help
- Estimate your per-mile expenses based on your chosen mode of transportation
- Talk to a tax professional about Lyft driver tax deductions and self-employment taxes
- Research the cost of health insurance and other benefits you want
- Compare your estimated earnings to what you could make from another job or side hustle