Learning top tips and tricks for being a DoorDash driver can help you make more money as a Dasher. DoorDash can be a fantastic way to earn extra income, but like any side hustle, it requires strategy and effort. You can lose time and money stuck in traffic or waiting for orders to be available.

In this guide, we’ll share some insider secrets to managing your time and earning the most money possible. For instance, you can plan your shifts around peak hours, use the ‘Dash Now’ feature when you’re free, and accept stacked orders to reduce driving time. By following these DoorDash tips, you can maximize your earnings and make the most out of your time on the road.

Work During Peak Hours and Days

Working peak hours means delivering food when people are most likely to order it. These are typically during meal times, like lunch and dinner. If you can make these shifts work with your schedule, you’ll be available when food delivery demands are highest, increasing your chances of getting more orders and earning more money. 

Orders during peak hours may be eligible for higher pay because they are more likely to be large orders with higher tips.

In most markets, peak hours include:

  • Lunch (11:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
  • Dinner (5:00 PM – 9:00 PM)
  • Late night (after 9:00 PM, especially on weekends)

DoorDash often offers “peak pay” promotions during these hours. Peak pay is an additional amount of money you earn per delivery during busy times. So, take advantage of these opportunities to boost your income. 

You can see peak pay offers by tapping the Promos icon at the top of your home screen in the Dasher app. Bonus tip: DoorDash often offers peak pay promos on holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

DoorDash logo

Deliver on your own schedule

This is one of the best side hustles if you are looking for a low-commitment gig and have access to a reliable vehicle.

Pay Attention to Hotspots

The DoorDash app shows “hotspots” with high order volume. These are areas where many people are ordering food. Positioning yourself near these hotspots can increase your chances of getting orders quickly. 

However, savvy drivers share this DoorDash tip: be strategic—sometimes, too many drivers in a hotspot can lead to more competition. When that happens, you have the power to choose and aim for areas with many restaurants where you can increase your chances of getting orders quickly. 

Do Dash Now

When you’re ready to drive but haven’t scheduled a shift in advance, check the app to see if you can “Dash Now.” This option lets you spontaneously head out and take orders in a busy area. It’s a great way to maximize your free time and increase your earnings. 

You can also try this option when you’re headed home from your day job. Delivering even one order that’s on your way is like getting paid to commute.

Accept Stacked Orders

Stacked orders are multiple orders that you can deliver in one trip. They can come from the same restaurant or nearby restaurants. By accepting stacked orders, you can increase your efficiency and reduce the time spent driving back and forth, which may equate to more deliveries and tips in less time. Just make sure you can manage the orders and deliver them on time. 

Another type of stacked order comes from different locations but is for the same client. These can pay okay, but if it’s a combination of grocery shopping and restaurant pick-up, you may not want to spend that much time.  

Know Your Market

Understanding your delivery area can significantly impact your earnings. For example, if you know which restaurants are busiest, you can position yourself nearby to get more orders.

If you know which neighborhoods tip well, you can prioritize those deliveries. And if you know where orders are plentiful, you can avoid wasting time in less busy areas. 

It also pays to avoid orders that take you far away from hot spots, where most orders originate geographically. You may lose money if you drive for 20 minutes to return to a busy area.

It takes some experience to figure out these patterns, but focusing on these high-demand zones can increase your chances of getting higher-paying orders more often.

Communicate Clearly and Often 

Customers like to know what’s happening, and the DoorDash app is designed to help you keep them informed. For example, you can tell them if their order runs late at the restaurant or if you’ve hit traffic and will arrive later than expected.

And it’s not just about announcing problems. It helps a customer when a driver sends a simple message saying, “I’m here.” You can keep a list of pre-typed common messages on a Notes app and copy and paste the right one into the Dasher app when needed.

Always remember, you’re not alone. If something goes wrong, always let the DoorDash support team know. You can chat or call them through the app’s support section, ensuring you have the support you need to navigate any challenges.

Be Selective

All DoorDash orders are not created equal. Some may be close by, but they’re from a restaurant notorious for keeping you waiting, which might not be worth it. Being ‘choosy’ means prioritizing orders that are likely to pay more based on factors like distance, wait time, and potential tip amount. 

Some Dashers use the baseline of $1.75 per mile as their goal. Deciding whether to accept an order based on a quick calculation of rate per mile simplifies trying to estimate your hourly wage.

You don’t need to stress out about your acceptance rate and take every order that comes in. Your completion rate may be the more important statistic. You want to complete most of the orders you accept and only bail when it makes logical sense. 

For example, if the restaurant is 30 minutes behind, you can politely tell the customer why you’re canceling. The next Dasher will pick it up, and you can accept another order in the meantime.

Deliver Breakfast

DoorDash drivers sometimes need to pay more attention to breakfast hours. These hours can be a steady, less competitive source of orders. College students, 9-to-5ers who skipped breakfast, and admins who need bagels and donuts for a morning meeting—these customers order in the morning. 

Dash for Tips

Customer ratings play a crucial role in the DoorDash algorithm. When you have earned a higher rating, DoorDash may send you more orders that pay higher. To keep your rating high, ensure you:

  • Communicate often and clearly with customers
  • Handle food with care
  • Deliver orders on time
  • Provide excellent customer service

You don’t have to wear DoorDash-branded clothing, but pro tip: if you do, it may boost your credibility and help customers identify you. They may tip more for your professionalism. 

Take Good Care of the Orders

If you keep cold drinks cold and hot food hot and grab extra sauces and napkins from a restaurant, that extra effort can go a long way in securing repeat business and positive ratings.

Having the right equipment can make a big difference. Consider investing in:

  • An insulated bag to keep food warm
  • A phone mount for hands-free navigation
  • A portable charger to keep your phone powered during long shifts

These small investments can enhance your delivery experience and help you provide better service. Plus, they’re most likely tax-deductible as business expenses. 

Understand Rewards and Promotions

DoorDash runs promotions to help you make more money on each order. These include Peak Pay bonuses and Challenges.

Keep an eye on the Dasher app for these opportunities and plan your schedule around them. For example, if there’s a Peak Pay bonus during dinner hours, be online and ready to accept orders. Read more in our article: DoorDash Driver Review.

Multi-App to Drive For More Than One Company

This DoorDash tip may help you achieve full-time pay in food delivery: many delivery drivers deliver for more than one app and keep multiple apps open simultaneously. 

You can switch back and forth to see which offers pay the most, and you can use one app to fill in the gaps of downtime in the other app. You can learn more about stacking side hustles in our Side Hustle Stack.

Other apps to consider adding to your delivery experience:

Prepare Now for Tax Time

Any independent contractor needs to keep track of expenses to maximize earnings. Expenses like gas, vehicle maintenance, and cell phone bills can add up quickly. Use apps like Everlance or Stride to help you keep good records throughout the year and avoid trying to recreate what you spent from memory at tax time

Business expenses you can deduct often include: 

  • Hot bags, blankets, backpacks (anything to carry food and keep it hot)
  • Tolls and parking expenses
  • Roadside assistance (if you choose to carry this coverage)

Each year you drive, you can take a standard mileage deduction at 67¢ per mile. This helps offset some of those expenses.

DoorDash logo

Sign up for DoorDash today!

Now that you know how to get the most out of driving for DoorDash, get started today.

Final Words

When you drive for food delivery services, you have control over your schedule, work when you want, and feel the pride and joy of working for yourself. You can’t control the base pay, but you can influence how much you average per hour.

Driving for DoorDash offers flexibility and the potential for solid earnings, especially if you apply these tips and tricks. Whether you’re dashing full-time or just on the side, there’s plenty of opportunity to make more money and enjoy the freedom of being your own boss.


How much can I realistically make with DoorDash?

There’s no flat hourly pay rate for DoorDash. Instead, the amount varies based on each order’s size, time, and difficulty. You’re also responsible for expenses like gas, insurance, and self-employment taxes.

Can I choose which orders to accept?

Yes, you can accept or decline any order that comes your way. Be selective to maximize your earnings and avoid low-paying or inconvenient deliveries. There’s no penalty for declining orders, but you must accept orders at least 70% of the time for some rewards.

What are the requirements for becoming a DoorDash driver?

You must be 18, have a valid driver’s license and insurance, and pass a background check. You’ll also need a smartphone to use the DoorDash app.

Can I work for other delivery services while driving for DoorDash?

Absolutely! Many Dashers also work for Uber Eats, Grubhub, or Postmates to maximize their earnings. Just manage your time and avoid conflicts between the different apps.

DoorDash disclaimer:

  • Earning more on certain types of orders (ex. alcohol): Earn more per order as compared to restaurant orders. Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries you accept and complete, time of day, location, and any costs. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90-day period and includes compensation from tips, peak pay, and other incentives.
  • Get paid instantly (DasherDirect): Subject to approval
  • Cash out daily (Fast Pay): Fees apply
  • Start dashing today: Subject to background check and availability
  • Dash anytime: Subject to availability