How much are DoorDash drivers making in 2020?

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One thing everyone wants to know: How much do DoorDash drivers make? Well we’re going to use data from more than 150k drivers across the country to answer that question.

But first, it’s worth noting that DoorDash drivers are killing it in 2020. 

Of course, their earnings are direct rewards for the hard work those determined drivers are putting in. According to the stats we’ve seen so far this year, the average DoorDash driver (aka, Dasher) travels anywhere from 75 to 290 miles per day. That’s a ton of food being delivered!

If you’re a DoorDash driver, you already know how hard you work. 

Lately, though, with the COVID-19 crisis amping up the delivery business to new levels, we thought it would be interesting to see how much you can make in this new, delivery-driven world. We’ll take a look at:

  • How DoorDash Pay is calculated
  • How much DoorDash drivers make per hour, per mile, and per trip
  • Why DoorDash driver earnings are on the rise in 2020
  • Earning trends for April through August 2020
  • Estimated expenses for the average DoorDash driver
  • How DoorDash drivers can earn even more

We also made a video discussing DoorDash driver earnings that you can check out below!

How DoorDash Pay is Calculated

The DoorDash pay model is based on what’s called a “black-box algorithm.” This is a set of calculations that weighs the value of a delivery based on time, distance, how easy the delivery is, and other issues. Hence, each delivery has a basic value. 

DoorDash provides the below image on their website to explain how driver earnings are calculated.

Tipping, of course, is at the discretion of customers, and they can add the tip in before or after they receive their delivery. (DoorDash provides suggested tip amounts.)

The standard delivery fee of $5 is also covered by customers, and they also pay a service fee of 10 percent, which doesn’t include the tip.This represents some portion of DoorDash’s take rate, along with what the restaurants pay to DoorDash.

Promotions geared toward customer discounts will lower a driver’s earnings. That’s because if a customer pays less for the order, the order yields less for the driver.

Hidden pay details can add some trickiness to working for DoorDash. When a call for delivery comes in, the driver sees a guaranteed amount that includes what DoorDash will pay, plus a tip if the customer has paid in advance. The restaurant name, how far it is from the driver’s location, and how far he or she will have to travel to make the delivery will be shown; but the driver only has 30 seconds to calculate if picking up the ping will be worthwhile. Sometimes, the actual amount will be more than the guaranteed amount, and other times … it won’t. To navigate these situations, Dashers tend to rely on their instincts.

Until recently, there was controversy over company policy regarding delivery fees and tips. DoorDash was called out for taking tips the customers gave drivers, and putting them toward the delivery fee paid to the drivers. That has changed, fortunately and now drivers get to keep 100 percent of the delivery fee, plus any tips they receive.

DoorDash, after the tip and delivery fee debacle, raised the absolute minimum pay for a delivery from $1 to $2. Depending on how far the drives are, how long they take, and how much is in the order, some deliveries can be as much as $10 minimum. In 2019, DoorDash claimed drivers could earn around $18.50 per hour, but as you’ll see from our data shown in the table, most Dashers are not making that much.

How much do DoorDash Drivers earn?

For drivers, using Gridwise has even more advantages than you might be aware of. On top of tracking and calculating your earnings and mileage, we collect earnings and mileage figures (anonymously, of course) from all our drivers, and analyze those numbers to figure out how well everybody is doing.

Our information is taken from our more than 150,000 active Gridwise users in various markets across the United States. Because we can get actual, not estimated, figures directly from drivers, our data are very accurate. We don’t simply ask drivers to give us ballpark figures, or have them give us numbers for their best or worst days. We have numbers for every day, so no one can exaggerate or underestimate earnings or mileage.

In our results, the number we work with is the median, rather than the mean. To calculate the median, we look at our sample and take the number that is in the exact middle of the range we collect. In our experience, this has been the most accurate and realistic way to report driver performance.

Also, the earnings figures you see here represent DoorDash drivers’ gross earnings. By this we mean the amount that drivers have earned before taxes and other expenses, but after DoorDash has deducted its share.

DoorDash Driver Median Income April – August 2020

Median Earnings Per HourMedian Earnings Per MileMedian Earnings Per Trip
Pittsburgh$16.62$1.11$9.31
Los Angeles$16.36$1.18$8.25
Dallas-Ft. Worth$13.49$0.92$7.70
Phoenix$15.33$1.00$7.99
New York City$14.62$1.33$8.14
Washington, D.C.$13.96$1.01$7.86
Boston$14.81$1.19$9.16
Chicago$13.40$0.96$8.01
Baltimore$14.87$0.97$8.57
Atlanta$13.12$0.89$8.01
Miami$10.86$0.99$7.26
Austin$15.00$0.92$8.05
Detroit$18.23$1.12$10.15
New Jersey$16.35$1.14$8.97
Houston$12.37$0.82$7.81
Philadelphia$16.32$1.27$9.13
Bay Area$17.29$1.24$9.99
San Jose$16.65$1.24$8.90
Seattle$16.20$1.17$8.92
San Diego$16.63$1.16$8.54
San Antonio$13.56$0.94$7.82
Columbus$14.59$1.11$7.79
Indianapolis$13.42$0.92$7.59
Denver$17.58$1.12$8.93
Jacksonville$12.75$0.87$7.78
Charlotte$14.87$0.94$7.80
Las Vegas$13.27$1.00$8.03
Oklahoma City$13.58$0.85$7.58
Nashville$13.68$0.88$8.02
Kansas City$14.20$0.86$7.50
New Orleans$14.35$1.09$9.25
Tampa Bay$12.41$0.88$7.81
Orlando$10.47$0.87$7.67
Sacramento$16.93$1.15$9.31
Portland$17.18$1.18$8.49
St. Louis$15.78$0.94$8.48
Cincinnati$15.55$1.08$7.98
Minneapolis$15.82$0.96$8.59
Salt Lake City$14.93$0.95$7.41
Milwaukee$12.93$0.85$7.39
Cleveland$14.69$0.93$8.05

Based on the weighted median for all markets in each category, we find that DoorDash drivers make:

$15.57 per hour

$1.04 per mile, and

$7.97 per trip

These numbers do not include tips, which have been more prevalent in recent months. This is largely because of customers showing their appreciation for drivers working in COVID-19 conditions, and also because some tipping controversies regarding DoorDash’s tipping policy have been cleared up.

Why DoorDash driver earnings are on the rise in 2020

With more people ordering food delivery than ever before, it’s easy to see how the COVID-19 crisis has fueled DoorDashers’ earnings. Before April 2020, DoorDash was a service people used occasionally, either on their own or maybe at the office when it was time for “Taco Tuesday” or “Burger Thursday.”

Since then, however, Dashers have been busy delivering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to people who are either unable or unwilling to go out for their restaurant meals. At the same time, other companies have been stepping into DoorDash’s territory. 

Uber Eats has grown, for example, and Postmates and Grubhub are no longer the novelties they once were. People have taken to delivery in a big way, and there’s no question that DoorDash drivers have seen their business, and their earnings, expand and stabilize since that happened.

Earning trends for April to August 2020

As this graph shows, earnings hovered around the $15 figure for most of the April to August time period. April and July were the biggest months, and there was a slight downturn in August. This could be because some people began to venture out for their meals, or maybe it was just part of the slowdown most transportation network companies (TNCs) see at this time of the year.

What’s important is that the median earnings for drivers in all markets is quite high. With tips, the rates for working as a Dasher compare favorably to working for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.

Estimated expenses for the average DoorDash driver 

Now comes the part where Dashers may fall from the pinnacle of high earnings per hour, per mile, and per trip. Expenses are a reality for all drivers, and must be taken into consideration when putting together the full economic picture of a DoorDash gig.

Fuel Costs

The cost of gasoline varies based on market fluctuations, whether driven by supply and demand or by seasonal changes. Your location and the kind of vehicle you drive will also affect how much you spend on fuel. Remember that delivery driving involves two rides: one from the driver’s location to the restaurant, and the other from the restaurant to the customer’s home or office. So, if you drive for DoorDash or another delivery service, you’ll spend more on fuel than the average rideshare driver.

A previous Gridwise article, which drew on a report by MIT, tells us that during 2018 rideshare drivers were spending between $.05 and $.27 per mile on fuel costs.

Insurance

Insurance costs for delivery drivers might not add much to what you’re already paying for your vehicle’s policy. It is wise, however, to investigate buying additional coverage, since you will technically be using your vehicle for commercial purposes.

Some companies will tack on commercial coverage for as little as $20 per year, so be sure to shop around.

Maintenance and Repairs

If you want your vehicle to perform reliably, at minimum you’ll be paying for oil changes and tire rotations. Add small repairs and the occasional brake and tire replacement, and costs quickly add up. Many drivers regularly set aside a portion of their earnings to cover these expenses, which is an excellent practice.

You can even calculate what maintenance might cost over five years. On its website, Edmunds offers an ownership calculator that estimates these costs based on national averages. 

To help you out with your calculations, or to simply give you some ideas, we will use MIT’s data again to show you what insurance, maintenance and repair costs might cost in a year. They say it would be around $0.13 per mile.

Depreciation

If you’ve ever purchased or sold a used car, you know there are factors you look for when determining the vehicle’s actual value. You can use another easy-to-access Kelley Blue Book tool to see what using your car as a delivery vehicle does in terms of depreciation. The number provided by the MIT study cited earlier is $0.05 per mile.

The total cost

Looking at the costs of fuel, maintenance, repairs, and depreciation, you’ll be spending at least $.30 per mile. Subtract that from the $1.04-per-mile figure we have in our numbers across all markets, and you’re earning $0.74 per mile driving delivery. It might even be slightly less, because your costs will be higher than those of the average rideshare driver as shown in the MIT data.

Don’t feel too glum when you see this figure. Remember that we haven’t added in your tips, any sign-on bonuses you could get, or any referral or incentive programs your company might offer.

One more thing – don’t forget about the Taxman. No one will be deducting taxes from your income, and as an independent contractor, you’re quite likely going to be expected to pay quarterly. Unless you’re super-proficient at doing taxes, investing in the services of a CPA could be worth more than you might care to find out, should you make errors that involve penalties, fines, and even worse tax-related problems.

How can Dashers earn more?

If you decide to drive for DoorDash, the smartest thing you can do is keep track of your earnings and mileage with Gridwise. You’ll be able to see all the same figures we collect as you track your Dashing activity, presented in graphic form that tells the story at-a-glance.

When you download Gridwise, you also get up-to-the-minute news about events in town, weather conditions, and special deals geared toward drivers. Our Perks tab also includes easy access to our blog, which is always filled with the latest news for drivers, and the always-enlightening Gridwise YouTube channel.

Plus, join us on Facebook so you can get in on frequent gas card giveaways. Your dashing will definitely dish out more dough when you ride with Gridwise.

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