DoorDash vs. Grubhub: Which is better for drivers?

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DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates have been competing for drivers’ time and loyalty since the dawn of food delivery. Postmates finally merged with Uber Eats, so now the remaining big three are duking it out to attract more drivers and win the customers’ favor. We’ve already looked at Uber Eats and DoorDash to see which is better for drivers. Now it’s time for Grubhub and DoorDash to face off. 

In this post we’ll answer these important questions: 

  • Whose signup process is more convenient?
  • What’s expected of drivers?
  • On the road: How do drivers make money?
  • Which referral program is better?
  • Who pays more? 
  • What approach is best for you?

Getting started: Whose signup process is more convenient? 

The signup processes for both DoorDash and Grubhub are fairly simple. 

With DoorDash, you’ll visit the site, create an account, submit your personal information, and consent to a background check. The same is true for Grubhub. One slight difference is the wait time for the background check. While the average wait time is 5–10 days and tends to vary from person to person, drivers report receiving Grubhub onboarding materials (bag, card, etc.) faster than those who sign up for DoorDash. 

DoorDash takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to get the iconic red bag and card to its new employees. Grubhub’s wait time usually falls within a couple of days to a week. (Have a different experience? Let us know in the comments!) 

Which of these options is best for you depends on how eager you are to get started. If food delivery is a side gig, waiting an extra week or so may not be important. But if you’re trying to make this your full-time job, every day without your tools is a day of income lost. In terms of a convenient and speedy signup process, Grubhub has a slight edge over DoorDash. 

What’s expected of drivers? 

Before food delivery drivers can start earning money, they have to meet a few key requirements. It’s important to know these even if there aren’t any major differences between the two companies. 

To get started with DoorDash, you’ll have to meet these requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old 
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a  mode of transportation (and insurance, if using a car)
  • Have Social Security number
  • Consent to a background check: no felonies or DUI violations in the past seven years, and if you’re using a motor vehicle, no more than three driving violations in the past three years
  • Have an iPhone or Android that can run the Dasher app

Grubhub’s requirements are similar but more detailed depending on your location and mode of transportation:

  • Be at least 18 years old (21+ for Las Vegas)
  • Own an iPhone with iOS 11 or higher or an Android phone with 5.0 or higher, and have a data plan
  • Have a checking account where Grubhub can deposit your earnings 
  • Be someone who is habitually on time
  • Pass a background check

If you want to use a car to deliver for Grubhub, you must:

  • Have a valid driver’s license.
    • If you’re 19+ years old, the license must be held for 2+ years
    • If you’re 18+ years old, the license must be held for 1+ year
  • Have valid and current auto insurance

Drivers who want to work for Grubhub using a bicycle must:

  • Have a valid state ID

On the road: How do drivers make money? 

Do Dashers and Grubhub drivers earn money the same way? Even if they don’t, does it matter how they earn money? 

Oh, it definitely matters. Although the variations are small, they add up quickly. And if you use these differences to your advantage, your earnings will add up quickly, too.

Scheduling shifts vs. not scheduling

This first one is more than a little controversial. DoorDash and Grubhub allow drivers to schedule out their shifts in advance. The shifts open up for selection at a set time (usually midnight on Saturday or Sunday) and it’s first come, first served. Drivers have varying opinions about whether it’s better to schedule or not schedule. We’ll show you the differences between the two companies, and you can choose which is best for you. 

If you’re a Dasher and you haven’t scheduled a shift, you’ll only be able to “Dash” in a certain region if the area shows up as busy. This means DoorDash doesn’t have enough drivers to fulfill all the orders. If it’s busy, you can start making money. 

But if you work for Grubhub, you can start driving at any time, whether it’s busy or not. Why would you drive if it isn’t busy? For experienced drivers, knowing your city and when to be on the road is critical. If you know that your city slowly starts to pick up for the dinner rush around 5:30 p.m., you can be making a few deliveries when no one else is. You don’t have to wait for the heat map to allow you to start accepting orders.

That’s why it’s vital to have the Gridwise app to help you figure out when to drive. You might be missing out on a chance to boost your earnings! 

Accepting deliveries

This is another hot button topic in the food delivery community. There’s an ongoing debate about whether rejecting deliveries hurts drivers or not. Officially, Grubhub does not require drivers to meet a minimum acceptance rate – but online forums for Grubhub drivers have revealed that drivers have lost access to scheduling as a result of their low acceptance rate. 

But don’t worry; you can be strategic about managing your acceptance rate without hurting your chances to earn money. Be aware that the more offers you reject as a new Grubhub driver, the more likely you are to receive fewer offers in the future. Some experienced drivers are able to cherry-pick and only accept higher-paying deliveries, but this usually comes after building up their acceptance rate by doing lots of deliveries. 

DoorDash does not have a minimum acceptance rate, unless you’re trying to qualify as a Top Dasher (which we’ll cover shortly) and will not penalize you for having a low acceptance rate. The primary rates that matter are “completion rate” and “customer rating.” As long as you complete the orders you accept and receive decent ratings from your customers, you won’t be penalized by DoorDash

As a driver, you may be significantly affected by the difference in policy, so keep this in mind when considering who to work for. 

Tips and bonuses

Regardless of which company you work for, you’re guaranteed to keep 100% of the tips you make. But be aware that recent changes in Grubhub’s policies have impacted how much customers tip their drivers. 

In December 2020 Grubhub added the option for customers to leave a cash tip for their driver when the food arrives. Sadly, this has led to many customers selecting the cash tip option to avoid tipping the drivers altogether. You can avoid this by not accepting any “cash tip” orders, but the update makes it easier for customers to under-tip their drivers. 

DoorDash has a “custom tip” option, where customers can tip $0 if they really want to. But that requires extra effort on the customer’s part, and the DoorDash app usually has a 20% tip pre-selected during the checkout process. 

Basically, DoorDash’s app makes it easier for drivers to get a decent tip. 

DoorDash also offers regular bonuses called “peak pay” during busy hours. The peak pay bonus adds anywhere from $1 to $7 onto the original order total, which means Dashers can take home double their normal hourly pay.

Grubhub doesn’t have a structured bonus program. Drivers report receiving occasional texts about earning an extra 10–15% during certain hours, but it’s not as consistent as DoorDash’s program. Grubhub might roll out a more consistent bonus program in the future, but for now, its drivers can’t count on getting paid extra during busy hours. 

Top Dasher vs. Tiers: Which rewards drivers more? 

Want to make driving your full-time job? DoorDash and Grubhub have programs to reward people who drive consistently and pick up a range of orders. They give drivers perks like early access to scheduling as a bonus for diligently completing orders and not cherry-picking. 

But how useful are these perks? Which program is better for drivers? 

To be a Top Dasher, you have to meet these DoorDash requirements:

  • Have a 4.7 customer satisfaction rating
  • Have a minimum acceptance rate of 70%
  • Complete at least 95% of your orders
  • Have 100 deliveries completed in the last month
  • Have 200 or more lifetime deliveries 

If you meet these requirements, you’ll get some special perks like getting the first pick of orders. As a Top Dasher, you’ll be prioritized over other drivers as orders start coming in. You’ll have less competition for those jackpot orders that every driver dreams of getting. You’ll also be able to Dash even when it isn’t busy, which (as previously mentioned) can work in your favor. 

Grubhub uses a three-tier system to rank drivers: Partner, Pro, and Premier. Partner is the most accessible tier and is the default; every driver starts here. Pro drivers must show up for all scheduled shifts, have a minimum acceptance rate of 85%, and a block drop rate of less than 20%.

If you go above and beyond, you’ll be a Premier driver. Like Top Dashers, Premier drivers get early access to scheduling. But as a Premier driver, you’ll also get the first pick of Grubhub catering orders, which bring in a lot more cash than the average food delivery order. 

This is hands-down one of the best perks of being a Grubhub driver. By delivering a few catering orders in an hour you can earn a full day’s salary without breaking a sweat. Who doesn’t want that?

Which referral program is better? 

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know we love to talk about referral programs. They’re a great way to make a few hundred dollars without spending much time or effort. And if you’re trying to earn $1000 a week with DoorDash or other delivery gigs, referral programs play a huge part in your ability to do that. 

DoorDash’s referral program regularly offers upwards of $150 per referral, as long as the person you refer signs up and completes a certain number of deliveries. 

Though Grubhub also has a referral program, current drivers only get $10 per referral. New drivers will get an extra $10 added to their first paycheck for becoming a Grubhub driver. 

The rubber meets the road: Who pays more? 

This question has probably been on your mind the whole time you’ve been reading this article. So looking at DoorDash and Grubhub, which of them pays their drivers more? We’re basing our answer on real hourly earnings from actual drivers over the past year.

As you can see, Grubhub drivers have made bank in the last year, even with the uncertainties and interruptions of the pandemic. Grubhub’s hourly pay has drivers bringing home major earnings. 

DoorDash’s payouts are a bit more modest, but have stayed consistent throughout the last year. And don’t let the hourly earnings discourage you. Remember, DoorDash has an awesome referral program and they also offer bonus pay. 

What approach is best for you?

So which company is better for drivers, DoorDash or Grubhub? The answer to that question depends on your strategy and goals for doing food delivery. If you’re content to make $50–60 by doing delivery for a couple of hours a few times a week, driving for Grubhub during the dinner hour might work for you. 

But if food delivery is going to be your full-time job, DoorDash’s referral program and bonus pay make it a better option for the long term. 

Don’t forget to take your location into consideration, too. In some cities, Grubhub is more popular than DoorDash, and vice versa. Know your city and what app people prefer to use to order food. You can find out more about the trends in your city by joining a food delivery Facebook group based in your area. You can ask questions, share insights, and learn more about what other drivers are experiencing. 

But … why limit it to just one? Why not do both? Many drivers work for multiple platforms to keep busy and maximize their earnings. If you’re good at multitasking and keeping organized, this could be a great option for you. 

Experience is the best teacher, in our opinion. You won’t know what’s best for you until you get out there and try it yourself. But you don’t have to do it alone. Instead, use  Gridwise, your ultimate driving assistant, to track miles, show when your area is busy, and log earnings, which will let you know when the best driving time for YOU is. 

When you use Gridwise, all your earnings, expenses, and miles show up in these neatly organized graphs. You can see what apps are making you the most money, when you’re the busiest, and what you can deduct on your taxes. All these features and more will help you take home more $$. 

Not sure yet? Check out these reviews from other iOS– or Android-based Gridwise users to see how we’ve helped them crush their delivery game. 

As part of the Gridwise community, you can take advantage of our Gridwise Facebook group and YouTube channel to get your burning questions answered. We also have free driver resources like Gridwise Perks, which help drivers save $$ on the road! 

If you’re tired of not knowing when to drive or who to drive for, download the Gridwise app now!

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