How much do DoorDash drivers make

2021 Update: How much do DoorDash drivers make?


You have your insulated bag ready, you know the fastest routes from restaurant to doorstep, and you’re ready to start calling yourself a “Dasher.” There’s no doubt that delivering for the popular app, DoorDash, can be a great way to earn more, but have you ever wondered how much DoorDash drivers are making this year?

Let’s cut to the chase. 

In 2021, DoorDash drivers made an average of $15.60/hour (see chart below) from September 2020 to August 2021. But as any driver knows, the answer to earnings isn’t that simple. While that’s the average earnings for drivers to date, to understand how much you can potentially make with DoorDash, we need to consider the other factors that influence your income. 

Here’s where we’re heading with this: 

  • How DoorDash pay is calculated in 2021
  • How much DoorDash drivers make in 2021
  • Estimated expenses for the average DoorDash driver 
  • How Gridwise helps DoorDash drivers earn more 

How DoorDash pay is calculated 

DoorDash uses a cryptic “black-box algorithm” to create its pay model. It’s not as mysterious as it sounds. This simply means that DoorDash drivers’ earnings are a combination of time, distance, ease of delivery, and if there were any issues. These 4 factors determine each delivery’s fundamental value. 

This graphic illustrates the DoorDash payout model: 

New for 2021

DoorDash recently announced a new update to how they calculate Base Pay. They believe that they can help drivers earn more by splitting base pay into short-distance deliveries and long-distance deliveries. 

For short-distance deliveries, drivers will receive a base pay of $2.25. These trips will require less than 4-5 miles of travel. For long-distance deliveries, drivers will receive 10-30% more on their base pay. 

These changes were not well received and have even led some drivers to go on strike and protest. If you’ve recognized a noticeable change in your profits, share your thoughts with us and other drivers in the Gridwise community Facebook page. While you’re there, you can also enter to win $100 in our gas card giveaways!

Drivers can increase their earnings with promotions, which are essentially DoorDash’s way of adding gamification to delivery. These include increased pay during high-volume delivery hours and challenges that reward drivers when they complete a certain number of trips or reach an earnings goal. 

Promotions are a common way for DoorDash to drum up more orders and increase activity on the app, but don’t assume this is always good for drivers. When a customer makes an order and applies a promo, the driver also receives less for the delivery. 

If you’re a more experienced driver, you might also unlock access to drive orders, which include catering gigs and large grocery runs that bring in higher earnings. 

Tips are entirely dependent on the customer’s satisfaction with the delivery, so drivers get to keep 100% of whatever they earn. 

DoorDash makes money by charging a $5 delivery fee and an additional 10% service fee. They also collect money from restaurants when a customer orders through their platform. 

How much DoorDash drivers make in 2021

Listed below are the average hourly earnings for DoorDash drivers from September 2020-August 2021. Keep in mind that drivers who use Gridwise can earn up to 39% more. Download the app and register to become an honorary Gridwise user for your opportunity to earn more than the average DoorDash driver! So without further ado,

Drum roll, please…

As you can see, the trend of higher earnings that began during Covid-19 lockdowns carried momentum into 2021, with drivers enjoying their highest earnings in March of this year at $17.21. 

As restrictions ease and people return to their “normal” lives, earnings have dropped slightly, but remain higher than they were at the end of 2020. 

Estimated expenses for the average DoorDash driver

Since we’re already answering the question of how much DoorDash drivers make, we thought we’d also take a look at how much Uncle Sam and other expenses take.


This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult with a professional to make sure you have the proper protection for your business. 

When you’re working as a Dasher, you’re using your vehicle for commercial purposes. This exposes you to different risks that may not be covered by a personal insurance policy. 

Adding commercial coverage doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are several options for finding the one that works for your business and budget. It’s always good to shop around, so we put together a list of the best insurance options for rideshare and delivery drivers to help get you started! 

Fuel Costs 

Gas is the most obvious expense for rideshare and delivery drivers, and it’s probably on your mind every time you’re at the pump. As we outline in this article, the average rideshare driver (comparable to delivery drivers) spends between $0.05 and $0.27 a mile on fuel. Based on our “per mile” estimate above, that’s as high as 25% of what Dashers make per mile. 

If you’re looking for a way to feel better about pulling up to the pump, become a Gridwise Gas member to minimize rising fuel costs!


While this is the last thing most of us want to consider, independent contractors like Dashers need to take extra care to ensure that they’re staying tax-compliant in their business. You’re likely expected to pay taxes quarterly, and if you’re not planning ahead, it can be easy to overspend and put yourself in a tight financial position. 

How Gridwise helps DoorDash drivers earn more 

Remember, you’re in control of your earnings. As long as you’re prepared, willing to put in the work and are maximizing all of your resources, you should be able to reach your earnings goal each month… you might even be able to earn up to $1000 a week! Dashers across the country have turned to Gridwise to get insights on how to optimize their driving strategy and earn more.

Download the Gridwise app for free and link all of your rideshare and delivery apps to get a complete overview of your business. You’ll also get access to exclusive driver perks, where we partner with companies to help rideshare and delivery drivers get more from their time on the road. 

And while you’re at it, check out our blog – we provide drivers with relevant news, updates, tips on ways to save and earn, industry trends and so much more!


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