DoorDash Side Hustle: Exploring the Gig Economy

In an era where the gig economy is flourishing, many individuals are turning to platforms like DoorDash to supplement their income. DoorDash, a leading food delivery service, offers a flexible way to earn money on your own schedule. This blog post dives into the world of DoorDash as a side hustle, providing insights, tips, and strategies for those looking to explore the gig economy.

Doordash

The Rise of the Gig Economy

The gig economy encompasses a labor market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. In recent years, it has seen exponential growth, thanks in part to technological advancements and changing workforce preferences. Platforms like DoorDash epitomize the gig economy’s appeal by offering flexible work opportunities with the promise of easy income.

Getting Started with DoorDash

Becoming a DoorDash driver, or “Dasher,” is straightforward. The process involves an online application, a background check, and some basic requirements, such as having a reliable vehicle or bicycle, a valid driver’s license, and insurance. Once approved, you can start accepting delivery orders through the DoorDash app.

Sign Up For DoorDash

What You Need to Know

  • Flexibility: One of the biggest perks of DoorDash is the ability to choose your own working hours. Whether you’re looking to work during peak meal times or whenever you have free time, DoorDash fits into your schedule.
  • Earnings: Your earnings on DoorDash will depend on the number of deliveries you complete, the distance traveled, and the tips you receive. DoorDash offers various incentives, such as Peak Pay and Challenges, to boost your earnings.

Maximizing Your DoorDash Earnings

To make the most out of your DoorDash side hustle, consider these tips:

1. Work During Peak Times

Aim to work during lunch and dinner rushes when the demand for delivery is highest. Weekends and holidays can also be lucrative.

2. Efficient Routing

Familiarize yourself with your delivery area to find the most efficient routes. Saving time on deliveries means you can complete more orders.

3. Provide Excellent Service

Customer satisfaction is key to getting good ratings and tips. Ensure orders are correct, communicate with customers when needed, and strive to deliver orders promptly.

4. Take Advantage of Promotions

Keep an eye out for Peak Pay and Challenge promotions, where you can earn extra money for completing a certain number of deliveries within a specified timeframe.

Balancing DoorDash with Other Responsibilities

Successfully integrating DoorDash into your life requires balancing this side hustle with your full-time job, studies, or personal commitments. Effective time management and setting realistic goals for your earnings and work hours can help maintain this balance.

The Impact of DoorDash on Personal Finance

For many, DoorDash has become a vital source of additional income. It can help cover expenses, build savings, or fund personal goals. However, it’s important to manage expectations and understand the gig economy’s fluctuating nature.

My Own Personal Experience Using DoorDash

I decided to give Doordash a try myself just to see if it was worth the time investment and this is what I discovered.

Your Market Matters

In some locations you can stay really busy with great offers, this depends on supply and demand like anything else. In my town it seems to be a middle ground, meaning, we don’t have a ton of people using Doordash (although it seems to be increasing) but there are also not a lot of Doordash delivery drivers (also seems to be increasing). This means that some days I can make a good hourly wage while some days I can’t. Hourly rates have fluctuated from $10 to $30 an hour.

You Must Adjust You Income To Account For Expenses and Taxes

This is contract work, In other words you are operating as a self employed individual who is responsible for your expenses and taxes. For me that means only about 70% of what I earn is actual profit. So if I’m making my best money while DoorDashing at $30 an hour, I’m actually only making about $21 an hour, which isn’t bad for a side hustle.

Keep Track of Your Miles

One of the biggest benefits of delivery gig work is the mileage deduction you can get, which I believe is $0.67 a mile in 2024. That means paying a lot less takes on money earned. To keep track of my mileage I use an app called GridWise.io which you turn on to track anytime you are doing your delivery gig work and it tracks using GPS and keeps reports for you.

Be Selective

One thing I quickly figured out was not all gigs are equal. Doordash will at times send you some terrible offers that will greatly reduce your profit. They try to incentivize getting you to make these deliveries by rewarding you with perks in the app by your acceptance rate, but in my opinion, it’s not worth it.

I try to only accept gigs that pay at least $1.50 a mile and never accept a gig less than $1.00 a mile. Doing this will ensure that you are making a descent profit over expenses. The problem arises when you can’t stay busy being selective in this way which will lower your hourly rate.

This can be fixed in a couple of ways. first, you could only dash during peak busy times, which will usually keep you working. However, doing this might not work into your schedule, defeating the purpose of doing work like this as a form of freedom to work when you want to. Another way to overcome this problem is by “multiapping”, which means using several other gig delivery apps at the same time and only taking the best offers. Other apps like UberEats, Walmart Spark, InstaCart, GrubHub, and Roadie, (just to name a few) can be great ways to make side hustle money as well.

Get Some Tools For The Job

There have been a couple of items I have purchased to make the job a little easier and provide better customer service.

When I signed up and delivered my first order, DoorDash sent me a free hot bag. However, the bag is small and pretty low quality, and what I discovered is you get many gigs that are large or multiple pickups or deliveries, so having a larger and compartmentalized hot bag is helpful. so I bought this one and I love it! https://amzn.to/3Isy4kb

You will also need a pizza bag if you want to deliver pizzas. This is not a requirement but by having one it can open up some more possible gigs. Here is the one I have. https://amzn.to/3ItCKGb

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Also make sure you have a phone holder that will keep your phone up on the dash where you can see it. The app gives you directions to the customer and instructions for pick up and delivery, so you will need to be able to look at your phone quickly and safely.

Conclusion

DoorDash offers a flexible and accessible way to earn extra money and gain experience in the gig economy. By understanding the platform, maximizing earnings, and balancing it with other life commitments, you can make the most of this side hustle. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income, explore gig work, or simply enjoy the freedom of choosing your own work hours, DoorDash presents a valuable opportunity in today’s gig economy landscape.

Harold Thornbro

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