DoorDash has become one of the largest online food ordering and delivery platforms in the United States. By the end of last year, they racked up over 450,000 merchants, 20 million customers, and a million delivery drivers, also known as “Dashers.”
DoorDash is a reliable platform for delivery drivers to earn a part or full-time income. If you are willing to put yourself to work, it’s possible to make $1000 a week with DoorDash, especially if you strategize and use the right tools.
But today, there are over one million Dashers on the platform, creating a lot of competition among drivers trying to win orders. To maximize earnings, drivers need a better way to stand out and get more deliveries.
If you’re looking to improve your Dasher game, you might consider becoming a Top Dasher. Here’s what you need to know about the program:
- What is the Top Dasher program?
- What are the benefits of becoming a Top Dasher?
- Are the benefits worth the effort?
- When does it make sense to be a Top Dasher?
What is the Top Dasher program?
The Top Dasher program is a rewards program that recognizes and rewards high-performing delivery drivers. These drivers have high customer ratings, acceptance ratings, and a high percentage of successful deliveries.
If you want to reach this pinnacle in food delivery, here’s what you need to lock down each month.
1. A stellar 4.7 customer rating
2. Minimum 70% order acceptance rate
3. At least 95% delivery completion rate
4. Over 100 completed deliveries in the month
5. Have 200 completed lifetime deliveries as a Dasher
This program is intended to motivate Dashers to accept and complete as many deliveries as possible. While such performance from drivers is hugely beneficial for DoorDash, whether it’s rewarding for drivers is worth asking. Before we answer that, let’s take a look at the benefits DoorDash offers to drivers that qualify.
What are the benefits of becoming a Top Dasher?
The Top Dasher program is a monthly program that renews on the first day of each month. If you meet the Top Dasher criteria by the end of the current month, you get access to benefits for the following month.
There are two primary reasons you might consider becoming a Top Dasher: more deliveries and to “Dash Anytime.”
DoorDash’s system gives preferential treatment to Top Dashers over regular drivers when both compete for the same order. For example, if there are two Dashers nearby and someone searches “pizza delivery near me,” the system gives the Top Dasher the option to take the order first. This can help you beat the crowds and earn more on deliveries, even in crowded markets.
Lately, DoorDash seems to be tweaking this benefit in some cities. Rather than prioritizing Top Dashers for all orders, the company is experimenting with giving priority access for high-value orders (orders above $30). These tweaks could be DoorDash’s move to address one of the biggest complaints they receive about the Top Dasher program – Dash Anytime.
Any driver can dash and compete for orders without scheduling in advance. When a zone is busy it is marked red on the driver map. However, when order volume is low in a zone, (marked grey on the map), DoorDash places restrictions on who can dash. This balances supply and demand and ideally gives drivers better opportunities to earn without having to wait too long between orders.
Top Dashers are exempt from this restriction and can dash anytime, anywhere, without prior scheduling. But, the option to dash anytime doesn’t guarantee orders. If things are slow in a zone and there are multiple Top Dashers online, drivers will face the same competition for orders that they usually would compete for without being a Top Dasher.
If you have questions about the Top Dasher program or want to check your status, you can contact DoorDash support for drivers. More information on how to contact DoorDash support can be found in this article!
Are the benefits worth the effort?
Now, the million-dollar question is: Are Top Dasher benefits worth the effort? Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward and can vary from driver to driver and city to city. While becoming a Top Dasher is generally a good thing, there are certain factors that you need to consider while evaluating the program and its impact on your earnings.
You may have to accept more low-value orders
This is the most apparent disadvantage of the Top Dasher Program. With the requirement to accept at least 70% of the orders offered, drivers are forced to take many low-value orders and might miss out on higher-earning opportunities.
When a Dasher has to drive more than 20 miles round-trip for a payout of less than $5, it doesn’t make financial sense to accept the order. A Dasher would likely refuse these orders if they weren’t planning to become a Top Dasher.
However, reaching or maintaining a 70% order acceptance rate is possible even while refusing low-value orders. Since the target needs to be reached by the end of the month, drivers can strategize by being selective at the beginning of the month and changing course towards the end if they fall short of the goal.
The Dash Anytime dilemma
Some drivers would argue that the option to dash anytime without scheduling isn’t much of a benefit and does not translate into substantial earnings. However, DoorDash explicitly recommends that Top Dashers should continue to schedule slots and dash in busy areas.
When does it make sense to be a Top Dasher?
Being a Top Dasher is not a one-size-fits-all approach to higher earnings.
It’s a beneficial program if you want to schedule to dash in advance and want the flexibility to work when and where you want to. It’s also helpful if you switch zones frequently.
But, if qualifying for the program means accepting too many low-value orders in your zone, it may not be worth the time and effort. You’re better off focusing on scheduling time in advance and accepting more big-ticket orders to maximize the value of your time. If you happen to meet the criteria for Top Dasher while doing that, well, that’s just an added bonus.
You don’t have to be a Top Dasher to earn more with Gridwise!
Deciding what works for you as a Dasher takes time. Questions like when and where to dash, and which orders to accept require insights you won’t find in the DoorDash app… but you can find them in the Gridwise app!
Gridwise helps you track your performance and earnings across rideshare and delivery platforms to understand what strategy is working best for you. Your data is automatically collected and beautifully displayed (see above).
Features that show you the best times to drive, weather alerts, event alerts, real-time flight alerts, and custom airport alerts offer you new ways to optimize your driving strategy and earn more as a driver.
You can also access more ways to grow your business, like exclusive driver perks right in the app.