During the height of the pandemic, I was looking for an excuse to get out of the house. That’s why I thought I’d give DoorDashing a try. That and the extra money would be useful to offset the sudden price increase, well, everything.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with this plan. Suddenly I was racing with tons of other riders. While this isn’t always a problem in big cities, my small town could only handle so many drivers (think of the old western movie with a cowboy saying “there’s not enough room in this city for both of us”).
I had to get creative and find ways to increase the revenue I was making through DoorDash. Here are some of the things I’ve tried.
How to maximize revenue with DoorDash
As a DoorDash pilot, you will earn a base rate and keep all your tips. Nationwide, most DoorDashers earn around $ 25 per hour. However, you may be looking for ways to increase your earnings. Here are 12 ideas to get you started.
1. Take advantage of Peak Pay
When restaurants are particularly busy, DoorDash offers its drivers an incentive known as Peak Pay. During these hours, typically for lunch and dinner, drivers receive $ 1 to $ 3 added to their base pay.
If you are strategic and take deliveries that are in the same small area, those extra few dollars can add up quickly. You can schedule yourself for these peak times or take them as you see them. Just know that if there are a lot of dashes in your area, these timeslots fill up quickly and it’s first come, first served.
2. Plan your dashes
Depending on where you live, there are times when you won’t be able to run if you haven’t planned on doing so. Typically, these are the peak times when your city is busiest. Once you have an idea of when these times are, it’s best to plan ahead.
Consider planning for long periods of time, as they may not be available later. And don’t worry, you can cancel your scheduled DoorDash at any time, even when you’re in the middle of it. DoorDash doesn’t recommend this because it puts the weight on other drivers.
3. Don’t be afraid to refuse orders
DoorDash tells you that your acceptance rate is an important part of your evaluation process. While it can have a negative impact on other drivers and customers (more on that shortly), refusing an order technically doesn’t make much happen. I have declined orders in the past because they were too far away or because I was already overwhelmed with other orders.
Plus, if you’re looking to save on gas or want to get as many orders as possible, staying in a designated delivery area can help you do that.
Know that this strategy affects other drivers because it can limit the amount of time available to deliver the order. In case there aren’t many other Dashers out there, it can prevent the customer from receiving their order in a timely manner.
4. Make multiple deliveries at the same time
Often, there will be multiple orders from the same restaurant or from restaurants close to each other. When this happens, Dashers who pick up a delivery at those restaurants are pinged for both orders.
Accepting multiple orders can increase your earnings because it saves you from returning to the same restaurant over and over again. Plus, if the deliveries are all in the same area, it prevents you from wasting time just switching between customers.
5. Take advantage of the incentives and challenges
DoorDash provides incentives and challenges to its drivers. The guaranteed earnings incentive is an option for both new and current drivers. If you deliver a certain number of orders within a specific time frame, DoorDash will give you a bonus.
For example, you could get an extra $ 500 if you make 50 deliveries in one week. These incentives vary by location.
The challenges are similar to earnings incentives, but often involve smaller amounts of money. DoorDash provides an example of a $ 20 challenge after making 15 deliveries in one week. These challenges can work in conjunction with peak pay periods, further increasing your earnings.
6. Check that the orders are correct
Although the restaurant you get your food from should check that the order is correct, it never hurts to double check before returning to your car. Look not only at the order number, but also at the actual content of the order.
Double-checking can not only help you avoid some bad customer phone calls, but it can also help your customers’ rating, which is often related to higher recommendations.
7. Use insulated bags for items to hold and cold
While not all merchants require it, many prefer it if you keep deliveries in the red cooler that DoorDash provides. It helps keep food safe and also helps customers feel safe. Plus, the hot and cold bags help keep food at the right temperature, which helps prevent customers from filing complaints.
Additionally, these bags can help prevent food from being damaged or spilled, which can cause you to need to return to the restaurant, leading to a longer commute and reduced hourly rate.
8. Follow the customer’s instructions
Irritated customers = fewer tips. It’s not always fair, but that’s how the food industry works.
If you continually ignore customer instructions on where to put food or where their home is, this could cause them to stop ordering through DoorDash altogether or reduce tipping when they do. It also won’t help your Dasher rating. Again, not quite right, but it is what it is.
To give you an example, GPS drives every single DoorDash driver three houses from my street. The number of times I’ve had to walk and get food from very confused neighbors is unreal. I have now learned to leave a note on the app which gives exact instructions on how to find my home.
Make sure you look at notes like these so you can leave customers with a positive experience.
9. Provide great customer service
Just like with any customer-facing job, when you provide a customer with over-the-top service, they remember you and tend to tip better. While many DoorDash drivers never come into contact with those they deliver to, there are a few things you can do to provide better service.
For example, when the restaurant is particularly busy and you’re stuck waiting a long time for an order, take a moment to text the customer and let them know. It helps them to know that you don’t have them ghost. If you need to call a customer to ask a clarifying question, be courteous. Small things can go a long way.
10. You look presentable
You definitely don’t need to wear a suit when delivering for DoorDash, but stay away from profane or inappropriate clothing. This can leave customers uncomfortable about your appearance and may not help your evaluation. To be honest, I wear cooler sweatpants every time I run away and have never had any problems.
11. Work with multiple food delivery apps at the same time
Some food delivery apps are simply more popular in certain areas than others. If you drive for companies like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub, you’re tripling your delivery prospects.
Additionally, some apps may have incentives when others don’t. Or the base pay could be higher, for example, on DoorDash than on Uber one day. Registering for each service is quite simple, and as you are an independent contractor, you have every right to work for as many companies as you want.
12. Take advantage of tax deductions
DoorDash drivers are technically self-employed, which offers some tax advantages that are worth taking advantage of.
When using your car for business, there are two ways to take deductions. First, there is the standard mileage deduction method. Starting in 2021, you can deduct $ 0.56 per mile when using your car for business purposes.
You can also use the so-called actual spending method to find the car deduction. This totals all expenses related to your car, including oil changes, tires, insurance costs, registration fees, and more. You can deduct a percentage of these costs based on the percentage of mileage of your car that you use for work.
Depending on the method that provides the greatest deduction, you can include it in your annual tax return.
DoorDashing is an affordable and relatively stress-free gig. As long as you have a running car and are willing to pay for the gas and maintenance needed to keep your car running, you can earn an honest living as a Dasher.
Plus, increasing your earnings is relatively easy. You can increase your effective hourly rate and tips by offering a positive customer experience, working for multiple ridesharing companies, and taking advantage of tax deductions.