DoorDash uses a scheduling system to maintain the right balance of DoorDash delivery couriers (called “Dashers”) out on the road. DoorDash occasionally experiments with open scheduling, a system that allows Dashers to simply log on whenever they want regardless of how busy a market was. It can result in chaos, with dramatically lowered delivery volume and overall pay for Dashers.
DoorDash switched back to a scheduling model in most markets, adding new tweaks to the system such as ‘Early Access Scheduling’ that give high-volume Dashers priority scheduling. With more Dashers on the road than ever and a tiered scheduling system, many Dashers now find it hard to get a shift.
In this article, learn all the ways to get more hours for DoorDash delivery shifts, and how to give yourself the best chance of scheduling the best hours.
The Two Ways DoorDash Dashers Get Hours
DoorDash delivery drivers have two ways to sign on and begin accepting delivery requests.
- Scheduled shifts: Claim blocks of hours up to 5 or 6 days in advance, or as available
- Dash Now: When the market is busy enough, sign in and Dash whenever you want
The Best Ways to Get More DoorDash Hours
The best ways to get more hours for DoorDash are:
- Get Early Access Scheduling and claim hours as soon as they are released (3pm local time)
- Check for hours at midnight, 12am
- Claim scheduled orders (not available in every market)
- Use the Dash Now feature when it’s busy (zone marked red on the map)
How to Schedule & Edit DoorDash Shifts
It’s theoretically easy to schedule DoorDash shifts: In the Dasher app, visit the Schedule page and tap the day you’d like to schedule. Find the market location where you’d like to work and tap on an available time slot. Set your preferred start and end times, then tap Save Dash.
To edit a scheduled shift, visit the Schedule area of the Dasher app and select the “Scheduled” option beneath the days of the week. Scroll to find the shift you’d like to edit or delete, then tap it and make your changes
Scheduling shifts might not be that easy! If you live in a busy market saturated with Dashers, you’re likely to find that the ‘good’ hours, the lunch rush and dinner rush, aren’t available.
More Helpful Reading on DoorDash & Delivery Gigs
- DoorDash driver requirements: Do you qualify?
- Deactivated by DoorDash? How to get reactivated
- Instacart: Should You Be a Full-Service or In-Store Shopper?
- Become a Dasher: Click here to apply
Early Access Scheduling: Get First Dibs on DoorDash Shifts
A DoorDash feature called Early Access Scheduling allows active and highly rated Dashers to select hours before everyone else, up to 6 days in advance. By default, Dashers can see the Dasher schedule only 5 days in advance, so Early Access Scheduling can offer the biggest advantage toward grabbing shifts.
For example, if you don’t have Early Access Scheduling and it’s Sunday at 12am, you can schedule hours for the following Friday (5 days away). If you have Early Access Scheduling and it’s Sunday at 12am, you can schedule hours for the following Saturday (6 days away). That gives you a one day leg up over non Early Access Dashers.
How to qualify for DoorDash Early Access Scheduling
There are two ways to qualify for Early Access Scheduling: Complete at least 5 deliveries in the past 7 days, or complete at least 500 lifetime deliveries. For both scenarios you must also maintain a customer rating of at least 4.6 and a completion rate of at least 95%. Early Access qualification is refreshed each Friday.
That means that if you haven’t completely 500 total deliveries, you can lose Early Access privileges if you didn’t complete 5 deliveries in the past week.
Some markets have different Early Access qualifications. Check help.doordash.com for more info.
Early Access shifts are revealed at 3pm each day — The #1 way to schedule the highest number of good hours is to check for new shift listings each day at 3pm. There is generally a mad rush to grab shifts, so the closer to 3pm that you check, the better your chances.
If you don’t have Early Access, new shifts appear at midnight each day — Early Access Dashers get first dibs on new shifts. Everyone else can fight for the leftovers at midnight each day. Checking your hours at midnight is the second best way to get hours.
Dash Now: How to Dash Without Scheduled Hours
Most DoorDash markets offer a blended system that allows Dashers to schedule hours, or drop in without a schedule when order volume is high enough. The ‘Dash Now’ option allows you to go online without a schedule.
On the DoorDash Dasher app home screen, busy markets are outlined in red, and less busy markets are outlined in grey. When a market is outlined in red and labeled as ‘busy’ or ‘very busy,’ you can choose the “Dash Now” option.
The ability to Dash Now is dynamic and changing constantly, so don’t rely on Dash Now to get lots of hours. You might see that a market is busy and accepting Dash Now drivers, only to arrive there 20 minutes later to find that you can no longer hop in.
Top Dasher: Dash Whenever You Want
Some markets offer “Top Dasher,” a program that allows you to Dash whenever you want, without a schedule. The catch is that you have to keep your acceptance rating above 70%, which means accepting low-paying orders. You must also maintain a 4.7 customer rating and a 95% completion rate.
Many Dashers find that Early Access scheduling is a great way to get plenty of hours without having to accept so many low-paying orders, so you might find that Top Dasher isn’t worth it for you.
Important DoorDash Scheduling Rules & Strategies
Early Access shifts are released at 3pm each day — If you have access to Early Access Scheduling, you need to schedule your shifts as close to 3pm as possible. Shifts go fast.
There is no penalty for taking lots of hours and trimming them down later — One common strategy is to grab as many hours as you can, then edit them down once you know which hours you actually want to drive. There isn’t currently a penalty for this, and most other drivers do it. Hours that you abandon become available to other drivers, so you’re not depriving anyone of work by over scheduling.
You can’t extend a shift during your shift — Let’s say you snagged a few early hours, and during your shift you’d like to trick your way into the lunch rush by extending your hours while you Dash. The system won’t allow that. Also, you won’t be able to extend the Dash within 30 minutes of the scheduled start time.
You can lose your shift if you don’t log in on time — The only penalty for being late to your scheduled shift is that DoorDash may automatically cancel the shift if you don’t log in within 30 minutes of the start time. DoorDash will send automated warnings that you’re late, so there is at least a heads up.
There is no penalty for ending a shift early, so schedule long hours —Let’s say you schedule yourself for 1130am -5pm. Now it’s 3pm, and you feel like you’re done for the day. You can log off without penalty. So it’s in your interest to schedule longer shifts to give yourself the option of a long day.
Dasher support can’t add hours or extend a dash — Only you can schedule, edit, or extend your scheduled hours. DoorDash support can’t do that for you.
Grab Scheduled Orders Ahead of Time
In some markets, the Dasher app will notify you of scheduled orders that you can accept ahead of time. The order offer shows the delivery location, order subtotal, and requested time of delivery. The order is automatically entered into the Schedule area of the Dasher app after you claim it.
Scheduled orders can be a good way of getting guaranteed orders, and they are frequently larger than average.
Instant Dashing: For New DoorDash Who Don’t Have a Red Card
There’s one special circumstance that applies only to brand-new Dashers that can allow you to work without a Red Card and without a schedule. Certain markets allow “Instant Dashing,” which is when a new driver without a Red Card can sign on for Dash Now shifts.
The Red Card is a special credit card that allows Dashers to pay for certain orders in person. DoorDash ships the red card within 5 days of your activation as a Dasher, and you’ll need to carry it on all shifts.
You will receive an alert from DoorDash if Instant Dashing is available to you. They’ll let you know that you’ve passed screening, and that you can now sign on to begin Dashing. Instant Dashing is only available for 10 days. After 10 days, you’ll be forced to input your Red Card info before you can sign on to dash.
What’s The Best Way to Get More DoorDash Hours?
Early Access Scheduling is the best way to get the most DoorDash hours. Check for hours every day at 3pm and reserve as many hours as you can. Once you figure out your actual schedule, trim down your hours so other Dashers can grab them.
If you don’t have Early Access Scheduling, check for new hours at midnight each night, or as early in the morning as you can manage.
For those who prefer the flexibility of Dash Now, get to know your market. Observe when markets are likely to allow drop-in Dashers, and be open to earlier or later start times.