DoorDash has been running a program called Top Dasher for the last few years wherein they give certain benefits to drivers who maintain good numbers. DoorDash hasn’t released any statistics on participants, though.
What we know about the success of the Top Dasher program is all anecdotal. The internet chatter includes drivers with opinions on both sides. Drivers in Facebook groups and Reddit threads share their concerns about the program. Other drivers, however, especially those on YouTube, speak well of their experiences as Top Dashers.
So let’s take a look at the Top Dasher program and discuss the pros and cons. In this post we will answer your questions, including:
- What is DoorDash’s Top Dasher program?
- Do DoorDash drivers need Top Dasher benefits?
- How to become a Top Dasher with DoorDash
- Is it worth it to be a Top Dasher?
What is DoorDash’s Top Dasher program?
DoorDash’s website explains that the Top Dasher program is “our way of recognizing and rewarding the best Dashers.” The program is open to DoorDash food-delivery drivers who meet certain requirements (which we will get to later). Sounds fair. There are Dashers out there who consider DoorDash their full-time gig, allowing them to pay rent and put food on the table. And the Top Dasher benefits are something drivers would like to have, at least some of them.
Whether you want to be a DoorDash Top Dasher, though, really comes down to your strategy as a food-delivery gig driver. Let’s look at it.
Do DoorDash drivers need Top Dasher benefits?
Before discussing whether DoorDash drivers need the program, let’s look at DoorDash’s market share. A report on the delivery-app market shows DoorDash with a commanding share of the US market, at 53%. The next biggest piece of the pie is owned by Uber Eats at 26%. GrubHub has a 12% share, and everyone else is in the single digits. These numbers are recent, too, as of March 24, 2022.
But when it comes to DoorDash driver pay, an April 11, 2022, post on the Gridwise blog entitled How Much Can You Earn as a DoorDash Driver in 2022?, DoorDash lagged behind the others. This considers base pay, tips from customers, and various promotions. Gridwise’s Q1 figures reveal that DoorDash drivers earned an average of $7.90 per trip. DoorDash hourly pay was $15.72 over the same period. Grubhub drivers earned more per trip, while Uber Eats drivers earned more per hour.
But what DoorDash drivers lacked in earnings, they made up for in enthusiasm (and probably market share, too). DoorDash drivers made an average monthly pay of $229.76, edging out both Uber Eats and GrubHub drivers.
A look at the Top Dasher program
According to the DoorDash website, those who qualify for the program have the privilege of “Dash Anytime.” The DoorDash app may show that a market is closed to new drivers during a specific time slot because there are already enough drivers (indicated by the gray color of the area on the app). A driver with Top Dasher status, however, can still drive in this area, as well as adjoining markets that might be closed.
The second benefit of the program, which was available in the beta stage, is no longer listed on the website. Top Dashers were given priority status on orders of more than $35. If there were three drivers in a given area, for example, the logic is that the Top Dasher was given priority in the algorithm. The DoorDash website does have a disclaimer that “DoorDash may modify the qualification terms, rewards offered, and available markets at any time.”
How to become a Top Dasher with DoorDash
The requirements to become a Top Dasher with DoorDash include a
- customer rating of at least 4.7
- completion rate of at least 95%
- 100 completed deliveries during the previous month
- minimum 200 lifetime deliveries completed
- minimum 70% acceptance rate
The website also states that DoorDash drivers get added into the program on the second day of each month. They can meet those requirements mid-month, but they must maintain those numbers until the final day of the month in order to participate as a Top Dasher the following month.
Most drivers agree that the requirements are easy to obtain, with the exception of the last one: an acceptance rate of 70%. DoorDash’s acceptance rate refers to what percentage of deliveries offered to a driver are accepted.
The DoorDash app displays the approximate pay for each delivery. The catch is that many drivers do not accept deliveries with low pay, especially if the miles needed to complete the delivery are higher. This, of course, makes their acceptance rate go down, although a low acceptance rate on DoorDash has no consequences—other than the driver cannot participate in the Top Dasher program. Cherry-picking deliveries is a big part of the strategy for many drivers, especially for those that are multi-apping.
Is it worth it to become a Top Dasher?
This question really comes down to whether it is worth it as a driver to accept lower paying deliveries from DoorDash in order to gain Top Dasher status. One driver in Minneapolis expressed his doubts, specifically referring to the acceptance rate.
“The short answer is, no, for most people, meeting the Top Dasher requirements and getting Top Dasher status isn’t worth it. The main reason is that the main benefit of Top Dasher status – being able to Dash anytime without scheduling – is not worth meeting the high acceptance rate requirement….My acceptance rate for DoorDash usually hovers around 10-30%. If I had to accept more DoorDash orders to get Top Dasher status, my earnings would undoubtedly drop.”
The driver added that in his opinion, DoorDash developed the Top Dasher program to make lower-paying orders more attractive to Dashers. He adds that the program might be more successful for drivers in underserved areas.
Other drivers like the Top Dasher program
YouTube has several videos from DoorDash drivers who speak favorably about the Top Dasher program. A driver named Stan operates a YouTube channel called Driver Eats Delivers. He is a Top Dasher. “I can tell you it works for me,” Stan says in a video he made about the Top Dasher Program. “It gives me the flexibility to drive whenever I want.”
Stan drives in the Lancaster/Palmdale market in northern Los Angeles County. The area is less densely populated than the rest of the county, a fact that falls in line with other drivers’ observations that Top Dasher is likely to be more successful in markets that are underserved.
Dennis, another DoorDash driver, runs a YouTube channel known as Ride Along 980. In a recent video he also spoke favorably about the Top Dasher program, saying that it made a difference for him. Dennis serves a community of 14,000, a small market.
Again, is it worth it to be a Top Dasher?
There are opinions on both sides. It is interesting to read the comments section from other drivers on the blogs and YouTube videos that have been referenced here. There are both positive and negative opinions about the program.
Scott Roe, a DoorDash driver, commented that the program worked for him: “I missed Top Dasher for the first time in a long time, and I must say that I can notice the difference. However, having said that, I will point out I am not multi-apping. As a Top Dasher, I rarely saw orders below $10. Even if they were, they were never lower than $8.”
It all comes down to what works for you as a driver
If the mixed opinion about DoorDash’s Top Driver program illustrates anything, it is that whether or not any benefit works for a driver comes down to strategy, personal style, and preferences. Some drivers maintain they signed up to deliver food, and they take whatever comes to them. Others maintain that the strategy that works for them is being selective about the orders they take.
One absolute for food delivery drivers is that they can benefit from using the Gridwise app. Food delivery drivers can record mileage and track their earnings, allowing them to see what times and areas work best for them.
Every delivery driver should drive smarter, and with Gridwise they can. As a driver, the first step you can take is to download the free Gridwise app to track miles and earnings, and gain insights into profitable times and areas in your area.