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3 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Driving for DoorDash

I've been driving for DoorDash for six years; here's what I wish I'd known before I signed up.

My DoorDash bag

My DoorDash bag

I've been driving for DoorDash for six years, and here are a few things I wish I'd known before I started. Read on to discover some of the downsides of dashing and why UberEats is a better alternative for those interested in food delivery.

1. Most Customers Don't Tip

Most DoorDash advertising for delivery drivers promises $25+ per hour, which is based primarily on projections of getting tips that you get to keep 100% of.

Which would be great, if most customers actually tipped and if DoorDash required customers to tip; which they don't.

So for example; many of your deliveries could be only $3 for 30 miles and over 60 minutes of your time between travel, parking, picking up food from merchants and trying to find customers addresses.

To make matters worse, if you turn down orders for not paying enough, you'll get penalized for not accepting them.

This system didn't used to be in place when DoorDash was still a budding startup company out of California that made it's way to my home town in Seattle.

They used to guarantee a minimum of $7 per order no matter what, would pay extra if you were able to get the order to the customer early, and if there were excessive wait times or traffic problems, dasher support would compensate you for the extra time and effort spent delivering.

DoorDash no longer offers any minimum guarantees, any "extra pay" for good drivers, or any compensation for extra effort.

Which means your work is almost entirely dependent on customers tipping, which with DoorDash they often don't.

This is a pretty shocking comparison to customers through UberEats, Roadie, Instacart, and other apps who do tip most of the time, even above and beyond what the app requires.

2. You'll Get Penalized for App and Card Errors

This is a newer development that hadn't existed within DoorDash delivering until recently.

DoorDash support used to happily correct reported bug fixes and card errors, and made sure drivers with otherwise good records, got reasonably compensated for their time spent dealing with app and card errors.

Though over the past year, the app became increasingly glitchy, especially after updates.

A very common problem I experienced that other dashers told me they did to, was that the app would tell them there was an order available and not show it on the screen, and because you only have 30 seconds to accept the order, it would tell you that you failed to accept it.

Reporting the issue to DoorDash driver tech support no longer does any good, and results only in them telling you they're sorry for the inconvenience to you but that they can't correct your acceptance rating; even in moments when you can prove it was a problem on the app side.

Another common problem is that they decided to make it so that your prepaid "red card" for purchasing various orders for customers, is the same card they pay you on.

This creates all sorts of bugs in the system when it comes time to pay for a customer order, as it often pulls from your personal money if you have any in there, and not from the credit side where the order money is supposed to be preloaded.

DoorDash support used to quickly handle this, though if you don't have any cash on hand or money on your card, they won't correct anything and you'll lose on your rating for completing orders accepted.

This was a cute painting on the side of a small taqueria I picked up from while dashing.

This was a cute painting on the side of a small taqueria I picked up from while dashing.

3. Driver Support Quality Decreases Over Time

Unfortunately, this is pretty typical behavior in our economy.

A small company achieves mass success and then begins to outsource as many services as possible and cuts away at those of us on the bottom of the ladder—the dashers.

When I first started dashing over six years ago, there was a Seattle headquarters where I went to get new hot bags and could personally call the local tech and staff team.

They took care of me and other drivers, and I gave them my best work, which resulted in me getting personal requests to take banquet orders and batch orders before that was even "a thing."

Then DoorDash flourished in the area, and they opened up an Everett headquarters.

I presumed they would continue to have city offices where you could meet and talk with your bosses, though instead, they closed the headquarters and started to do everything over the app.

That was okay for a while, as dasher support was on top of things and well paid to be there.

Then, over time, they switched most dasher support to chat, which was okay, except that support became slower, and staff became surly and less helpful over time.

Then they started switching over to bots to handle a large amount of dasher support and started demanding that support staff use placation scripts and denying most actual assistance or compensation for dashers even in situations where you can prove it was an app, merchant, road, or customer problem.

All in all, I definitely wish I had known how DoorDash would devolve their driver support systems over time before I signed up to become a driver.

One of my favorite parts of any kind of delivery work is getting to see very cool cars along the commute.

One of my favorite parts of any kind of delivery work is getting to see very cool cars along the commute.

Better Luck With UberEats

I've tried out a number of delivery and Uber-style income apps, and so far, UberEats has been the most profitable and easiest on my vehicle.

Their driver support has also been very helpful so far, and their requirements for confirming orders are reasonable.

Even better, Uber requires upfront tips, and most customers in several different cities have added additional tips!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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