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Being a delivery driver for gig apps like DoorDash can be a feast or famine.
With no guaranteed pay (except in California) and unpredictable markets, drivers can see wild highs one day followed by depressing lows the next.
After fending off $2–$3 minimum payout orders, you might see a unicorn with a $20+ dollar tip.
Or you could have an incredible $30 per hour weekly to make $12 per hour the next.
➔ See this post as a Web Story: “Crazy DoorDash Pay!”
The larger question is, how much can you make with DoorDash?
Pay can vary quite a bit from order to order and day to day.
Check out the highs and lows of DoorDash, shared from real driver earnings.
Then, stick around until the end of the article to learn how to boost your earnings and avoid the lowest-paying orders.
Want more data? See the top online data about DoorDash driver pay.
The best DoorDash driver pay: $50 orders and $1900 per week
Drivers call them unicorns: Rarely seen, these huge orders usually have high base pay from DoorDash and a generous tip from the customer.
Below is a $50 unicorn: Huge base pay of $19 and a massive $28 tip.
And here’s a $73 order for only a 5 mile drive.
A big payout usually comes from the tip, but sometimes the base pay is the most lucrative. For example, here’s a $13 base pay. Typical base pay is around $5.
Here are strong weekly earnings: Around $25 per hour on 50 hours. That’s a great gig economy income, but typically you can only achieve something like that in a large, busy market.
And now, for the highest highs of weekly pay.
This hard-working Dasher clocked weekly pay of over $1900.
But note that they put in major hours: Around 75 hours per week, for a gross pay of around $25 per hour. So it’s possible, but you have to grind.
The lowest driver pay: $3 orders and $12 per hour
You might see orders paying as low as $3 if base pay from DoorDash is low and customers don’t tip.
Remember: You are free to decline any order. The DoorDash deactivation policy states that a low acceptance rating won’t get you deactivated, so you can skip the $3 orders if you want to.
But in some slower markets, Dashers don’t always have the luxury to pick and choose.
Low base pay + no tip is a bad combo for Dashers. Check out these two sub $4 orders. One is for a 10-mile trip!
Moving on to weekly pay. The payout below works out to $12 per hour after 40 hours. Not the worst, but not the strongest.
What is average driver pay on DoorDash? Examples of more ‘typical’ pay
The $50 unicorns and $3 base-pay orders might be worth screenshotting and sharing online, but they don’t necessarily represent average earnings.
When the highs and lows average out on DoorDash, expect around $15 per hour.
This Dasher below clocked $17 per hour on 40 hours of work. That is not bad at all for a flexible gig like DoorDash.
Here’s a Dasher who earned around $24 per hour on 25 hours of work. That is is well above average for earnings.
$523 for 25 hours of work is a solid part-time income. That is what many gig workers hope to get from DoorDash and other delivery gigs.
How to boost your DoorDash earnings and avoid low pay
$50 unicorn orders are mostly a matter of luck, but there are things you can do to consistently average more than the typical Dasher and avoid the lowest-paying orders.
Cherry pick! Don’t accept low-paying orders: You are free to decline any order that comes in. There is no minimum acceptance rating.
That means you can sit and reject as many orders as you want until something with decent pay comes along. Drivers call it cherry picking, a very effective way to avoid the lowest-paying orders.
Aim for at least $1 per mile: A general rule of thumb among top-earning dashers is that a good order will pay about $1 for each mile you have to drive.
On an order request, you can quickly do the math to see if an order is worth it. A $4 order for 8 miles is less than $1 per mile and isn’t worth it to many Dashers. But if an order is $5 and only 1 mile, it’s worth it.
Learn your market and avoid bad hours: After a few weeks of Dashing, you’ll begin to see which hours are lucrative.
In most areas, the lunch and dinner rush are the best hours, but you might find that lunch hours aren’t as good as you would expect or that the best dinner hours are actually early/later than you expected.
Try driving during Peak Pay and Challenges: Peak Pay can significantly increase your earnings. On the flip side, some Dashers say that Peak Pay decreases earnings because it brings too many other Dashers out onto the road. Experiment with Peak Pay in your area to see if it’s worth it or not.
Get Early Access scheduling: To guarantee that you can work the best hours, you need to get Early Access scheduling. Dashers with Early Access can grab hours at 3pm every day, while those without Early Access have to wait until midnight.
The best part about Early Access is that there is no minimum acceptance rating requirement, so you can still get Early Access even if you cherry pick orders.