Uber Eats vs. DoorDash: Which is the better company for drivers?

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As drivers, we know there are good points and bad points about each of the companies we drive for. Delivery driving is a bit different from rideshare, and every company has its own policies and potential for driver profit. It’s good to know what companies have to offer, so you can figure out how they fit into your hybrid driving gig.

That’s why we put this blog post together, to help you see the advantages and disadvantages of working for two of the most popular delivery services, Uber Eats and DoorDash. We’re going to look at some of the key aspects of working for them, and compare the two companies as we go along. Topics to be covered include:

  • Signing up: how easy is it?
  • How do these companies pay, and how much can you earn?
  • What does each company expect from drivers?
  • How do these companies make room for earnings to grow?
  • How can you fit Uber Eats and DoorDash into your hybrid gig mix?

Signing up: how easy is it?

If you’re totally new to delivery driving, here’s a Gridwise article that will help you understand what services you can drive for and get started. 

If you’re new to Uber Eats, read this Gridwise article for basic info.

Becoming a Dasher (a DoorDash driver) is pretty easy. In fact, it’s less difficult than qualifying to be a rideshare driver. For instance, you don’t have to worry about having a perfect vehicle; cars, SUVs, and trucks don’t have any specific hurdles to clear. As long as your ride moves and you have it registered and insured, you’re good to go. If you live in a place where it’s practical, you can use a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle. In some areas, you can even walk. 

Before you start working as a Dasher, though, you might have to wait for an invitation. DoorDash doesn’t like to overcrowd the market with too many people out there making deliveries. You may have to wait up to a few weeks before you’re invited to go through the registration process. Once you receive that notice, all you have to do is fulfill these requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have an iPhone or Android phone capable of running the Dasher software
  • Have a current, domestic driver’s license
  • Present a valid Social Security number
  • Pass a background check (no felonies or DUI violations in the past 7 years, and if you’re using a motor vehicle, no more than 3 driving violations in the past 3 years)

Signing up for Uber Eats is easy too. You can use any 2- or 4-door vehicle.  You cannot use a rental car to deliver unless you get it through Uber, and, of course, your car must be registered and insured in your name.

You can use a scooter for Uber Eats, but it has to meet some minimum requirements; namely, two wheels and under 50cc, and you must have it insured. You can also walk if you work in a place where that’s practical. Here are the rest of the requirements:

  • Be 19 years of age or older (18 if you want to ride a bike or walk)
  • Have one year of experience driving (if you drive)
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be capable of carrying at least 30 pounds
  • Pass the Uber Eats background check (no record of violent crime or DUI for the last 7 years; no more than 3 major motor vehicle violations in the past 3 years)

If you meet these requirements, Uber will allow you to sign up as an Uber Eats driver, and there is no waiting list. If you’re already approved as a rideshare driver for Uber, you just have to opt in to receive deliveries. You can set your app to receive just delivery requests, just rideshare requests, or both rideshare and delivery trips.

You cannot, however, sign up as an Uber Eats driver and automatically be accepted as a rideshare driver. Your vehicle needs to meet more stringent requirements.

How do these companies pay, and how much can you earn?

A Dasher’s cash

You can make money with DoorDash in one of two ways: either “dash now,” which means you make yourself available through the app immediately; or schedule blocks of time when you can be available. DoorDash rewards top drivers by giving them early and anytime access to delivery trips. 

As with all apps of this type, you will be pinged when a delivery becomes available. 

Once you get a delivery, whether it’s through a dash now or a scheduled block, be sure to look carefully at what’s required. In most cases, the customer will have placed the order with the restaurant or store, but there are times when you’ll have to be the one to place it. In those cases, you’ll want to pull over and put the order in before heading to the pick-up location so the merchant can have the order ready before you arrive.

You might get pinged for two orders at one place, or at establishments that are close to one another. It’s usually a good idea to take these multiple orders because you’ll make more money for that one trip.

You’ll know the minimum amount you’re going to make for a delivery before you accept the trip. If there’s more wait time, or the trip takes longer, the final amount may be higher. When this happens, DoorDash will adjust your payment accordingly. 

Your basic driver pay from DoorDash is calculated based on the time, distance, and desirability of the order. Drivers are very likely to get tips over and above this amount. Sometimes, customer tips are tacked onto the basic driver pay, and sometimes they add it after you complete the delivery. There are also opportunities for additional earnings through driver promotions. 

These promotions include Peak Pay, which is doled out when business is exceptionally brisk and drivers are scarce; Challenges, or specific rewards for reaching a certain earning level or completing a set number of trips in a given time period; and Drive, large orders that are available for drivers who qualify.

Drivers are paid weekly, but if you need cash instantly, you can use DoorDash Fast Pay, which allows you to transfer your earnings into your bank account on the spot. The charge for this service is $1.99 per transaction.

Learn more about how much DoorDash drivers can make here.

The Uber Eats experience

Uber Eats orders come into the Uber app like any other trip request. There is no option for setting out blocks of time. You turn on the app when you’re available, and if you sign on at a time when there are deliveries needed, you’ll get pings.

Uber allows the customer to place orders directly through the app so there is no need to worry about placing an order. Trips may include more than one delivery, and the driver doesn’t have a choice about accepting them or not. Both must be accepted, and in the order the Uber app indicates. Your delivery route will also be set up by the app. 

At times, you may get a second order at the same restaurant where you’re already picking up, or at a nearby eatery. With those orders you can choose to accept or decline.

Uber pays drivers based on the pick-up, the drop-off, and the distance involved in completing the delivery. You will also be paid for wait time at the pick-up point. And in most cases, customers will tip you after the delivery is complete.

Uber Eats driver incentives can help increase earnings. These include Boost Zones, which are areas where driver payments can be multiplied by a certain factor. They are established by Uber when drivers are needed in certain locales. Surge pricing works out to be a bonus for drivers during peak hours, where demand for delivery is exceedingly high. This is determined by area as well as by time of day, and of course, demand.

Uber Eats drivers are paid by the week, but they can cash out earnings up to five times per day for a fee of $.50 per transaction.

See more about how much Uber Eats drivers can earn here. 

What does each company expect from drivers?

Getting on board and performing delivery duties are only the beginning. You also have to keep up with certain expectations in order to retain your right to deliver. 

For Dashers, it’s necessary to keep a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Not every customer will rate you, but when they do, you’d better hope they are generous. DoorDash will disregard poor ratings (below 5.0) in the event of the following:

  • Long wait times at restaurants (>10 minutes)
  • Missing or incorrect items when bags are sealed (as a reminder, merchants and customers request that you do not open any sealed bags you receive)
  • When you accept a delivery knowing it is expected to be >15 minutes late 
  • When multiple Dashers before you unassign (or cancel), causing you to be >15 minutes late 
  • When the delivery is late due to multiple batched orders (3 or more)
  • Extreme weather conditions (e.g., a snowstorm)
  • Uniquely challenging delivery situations related to unforeseen events that cause delays
  • System-wide outages 

Dashers also have to maintain a completion rate of 80 percent. That means drivers must follow through with the deliveries they accept, without canceling them, four-fifths of the time. There is no minimum acceptance rate, but drivers who accept a greater percentage of calls will receive higher priority when the system sends out pings.

DoorDash also monitors drivers for lateness. The company doesn’t specify a limit, but if you make a habit of being late for any reason beyond those listed above, you could be deactivated.

Uber Eats delivery drivers deal with a rating system that’s more intricate. Along with customers being able to give their opinion about your service, the restaurant or other establishment can rate you too. Also, you can rate your pick-up experience as well as your drop-off experience with customers.

Uber Eats is less specific about what it would take for them to deactivate a delivery driver. The company merely states that it’s important to monitor your ratings, and if you receive consistently low marks, you can watch videos with information about providing top-rated service. If a pattern of negative ratings develops, you will be notified by Uber, and deactivation is a real possibility if it persists.

Uber suggests that you pay attention to these aspects of giving good service in order to maintain high ratings:

  • Speed and efficiency: If you’re going to be late due to traffic or another issue, communicate through the app to restaurants and customers;
  • Always be courteous and respectful;
  • Follow the customer’s instructions for handoff. For instance, if it says, “Leave on the porch,” don’t ring the doorbell;
  • Deliver with care. As long as the bags aren’t sealed, make sure that the package contains all the items the customer ordered. Adding extra napkins and condiments is a good idea too;
  • Clear communication. If you have questions or problems, don’t hesitate to contact the restaurant, the customer, or Uber Support with your concerns.

Uber also has Uber Pro, which is a system of perks and privileges tied to performance. Based on your acceptance rate, cancellation rate, and the number of trips you complete in a quarter, you will be given a designation that reflects your status in Uber Pro, and what kinds of goodies you will get.

Drivers with higher status receive first priority for trips, the ability to get more information about the trips, and discounts on certain services. If you drive for Uber Eats and also do rideshare with Uber, your delivery and driver ratings are combined for the purpose of this program.

How do these companies make room for earnings to grow?

So far, we’ve touched on restaurant delivery with DoorDash and Uber Eats, but that isn’t the only way to earn with them. Both companies are moving toward other types of deliveries as well. Also, through referral programs and sign-on bonuses, you can really boost your earnings by doing delivery for these two companies.

DoorDash

DoorDash has partnered with Walmart to deliver groceries to customers in select areas. In most cases, you’ll go to a designated spot in the parking lot, or just inside the store. You can find more details about this option on the Dasher Support section of the DoorDash website. Grocery deliveries come up on the app, and you can opt to take them or not.

Clyde, a driver friend of ours in Pittsburgh, says there’s even more to come. In his market, requests come in from an array of stores, including pharmacies, bodegas, and even mall retail stores. Some of these requests are for the driver to go through the store and shop for the items, just like an Instacart shopper would do.

The good thing about DoorDash is, after you see what’s going to be involved, you can decide to accept or decline an order. Your acceptance rate will not affect your overall DoorDash rating, so if it doesn’t seem worth it to you, you can refuse the request without any huge consequence to your status as a highly rated driver.

Uber

The expansion into grocery delivery hasn’t escaped Uber’s tentacles in the least. Since acquiring Cornershop in 2020, Uber offers grocery shopping and delivery through the customer side of the app. For the time being, the delivery driver apps remain separate. Customers order through Uber Eats, but a Cornershop team member does the delivering. The same goes for Uber’s acquisition of liquor delivery service Drizly in January 2021, which widens Uber’s reach even more. 

Plans are also in the works for Uber Connect, a courier service and package delivery service. You’ll have to check your local market to discover what’s available to you. Without a doubt, both companies seek to make delivery even bigger than it already is.

How can you fit Uber Eats and DoorDash into your hybrid gig mix?

Now that you have a better idea of what these two companies have to offer, you can begin to sort out how you might want to work them both into your hybrid, or mixed, delivery gig. Of course, along with all the other issues we’ve covered here, knowing which markets each of these services covers more fully is a key factor. 

DoorDash is available in more than 4,000 cities and towns across the U.S. You can find out if yours is included by visiting the DoorDash network. Uber Eats has an even wider reach, serving more than 6,000 cities across 45 countries. Here are all the U.S. cities where Uber Eats is available.

DoorDash is the most popular service in many locations, and that could mean there is more business, or it might indicate there are already enough drivers to meet demand. The same goes for Uber Eats. You’ll have to explore what’s going on in your location, and create your driving strategy accordingly.

There are so many things to consider when you’re looking for the right companies to incorporate into your gig driving life. We hope we’ve inspired you to look at a few of them. 

But of all the aspects of working for a delivery company, most certainly, what matters most is your bottom line. Which one is helping you to make the most money, and how can you tell?

There’s a really great way to do that! Track…and compare your earnings with Gridwise!

Track your earnings (and more) with Gridwise

Gridwise gives you a huge advantage, because you can see all your earnings from all your apps, at a glance. Link your accounts to the Gridwise app, and your earnings and mileage will be seamlessly (and anonymously) logged. When you want to compare earnings among your gigs, Gridwise produces easy-to-read, informative graphs like these:

And now, Gridwise allows you to enter expenses too. You can create your own categories, and record those deductible items right into the app. This gives you even deeper insight into what you’re earning.

The Perks tab is filled with all kinds of good stuff. There’s easy access to the informative Gridwise blog and up-to-the minute news from the Gridwise YouTube channel. You can also check out the many products, discounts, and deals our partners have to offer.

Join us on Facebook to connect with the Gridwise driver community, and get in on the gas card giveaways that are happening all the time. With Gridwise, any decision you make about going with one delivery app over the other will be based on the information that really matters: what that app can do to help you make more money!

Say what? You don’t have Gridwise yet? Download the app today!

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