Delivering meals with DoorDash can be a source of decent income. But to make the most of this opportunity, you need to have a strategy – and to follow the smartest tips & tricks. Here we list some of the best ideas for making more money with DoorDash in Canada.
This list is a summary of some of the best ideas gathered from DoorDash drivers across Canada. We will continue to expand & refine this list as we receive new feedback from GigDrivers.ca participants. These strategies, tips & tricks assume you already understand how much DoorDash drivers can earn, and that you know how to use DoorDash’s app & algorithm to make money with DoorDash.
By the way, the Gig Café (11 Facebook Groups) is a GREAT place to learn how other drivers across Canada make more money delivering meals with DoorDash – including a group specifically for DoorDash drivers.
Strategies, Tips & Tricks
Provide tip-worthy service. Most DoorDash customers tip. Sometimes just a dollar. But sometimes a lot more – you’ll be surprised! Tips are a major factor in this gig, representing a significant percentage of your total income (because the portion DoorDash pays you is not that great). And customers tip better when they receive great service. It’s that simple. So here is the #1 rule of thumb: “Provide great service!” Convert your customers into tippers by offering outstanding service: Deliver promptly. Keep the food warm (or cold). Be polite, respectful & friendly. Normally, take the food to them instead of leaving it somewhere convenient for you. Follow carefully their instructions. Genuinely serve – making the customer’s priorities YOUR priorities. If you do, you will probably get more tips than you expect – even on the small orders!
Keep busy. Dashers maximize their income by delivering meals – not by sitting (or driving around) waiting for pings. So here is the #2 rule of thumb: “Try to keep busy!” Be willing to drive at the busiest times and in the busiest places. Place yourself into strategic situations where back-to-back orders never stop (with new pings coming in before you have even delivered your current order).
Drive at busy times. Figure out the times of day people order more meals. For example, on weekdays from 11am-1pm, many people want meals delivered to their homes or workplaces. Many Dashers find Fridays to be busier than other days (especially Friday evenings). Perhaps in your situation, weekends & holidays bring extra opportunities. The map in the DoorDash app is quite helpful in identifying busy times & locations. Concentrate more of your available hours driving at busy times and less hours driving at slower times.
Be willing to work late. Some of the busiest (and most profitable) times are in the evenings.
Use the scheduling function. DoorDash allows some advance scheduling of “Dash” shifts for specific times & locations. DoorDash then promises to limit the number of Dashers you will be competing with.
Operate in busy places. Learn which DoorDash restaurants are popular. And learn where there are clusters of DoorDash restaurants in your city. (Use the DoorDash Customer app to locate participating restaurants. Select “Pickup”, then explore the map at various different places and times of the day – breakfast, lunch, supper and late night.)
Experiment with base locations. After doing your research, park in the middle of the busiest locations, and wait for the pings. (Suggestion: Park as near to a main street as possible.) Do this on several different days at different meal times. Then do the same experiment in other locations. Keep records, and determine 3 or 4 base locations in your city where you get the most business. Then throughout your shift, every time you have delivered an order, keep returning to the nearest base location.
Consider delivering downtown. The centers of big cities are often the busiest and most profitable places to operate. Warning: You may find parking is a big problem, especially in the downtown core and around high-rise condos. The never-ending struggle to find parking spaces may exhaust you. However, the more time you spend operating downtown, the easier it gets – and the more money you will make.
Minimize dead driving time. The best way to lose money is to spend a lot of time driving around in your car without orders! Dead driving time occurs after dropping off meals, while seeking new orders, while stuck in traffic, when you are heading to your base locations, or driving home at the end of a shift. Develop strategies which minimize costly dead time.
Don’t drive around aimlessly. Fuel is expensive. You’re losing money every minute you drive around between orders! And with DoorDash, it’s usually better to be positioned close to streets near participating restaurants for the algorithm to select you. It is more profitable to sit in a busy base location than to drive around hoping to get pinged.
Avoid traffic jams. Traffic jams can be your biggest waste of time & fuel. Use multiple maps if you can (Waze is great for this), listen to traffic reports on your radio, know where there is construction, know the shortcuts – or stay away altogether from the most congested times & places.
Look before you accept orders. When a new order comes in, the app displays very useful information: The minimum amount you’ll receive (including tip), name of the restaurant, number of items, and total distance. Look very carefully at that information and do a quick analysis. Note: This can be difficult to do safely, if you are driving when you are pinged. And time is limited. But try. It takes skill, and you’ll get better at this as time goes by. Then before you accept an order, be sure it fits your personal strategy.
Be selective – but not TOO selective. Sometimes you should decline an order which you feel will negatively affect your profits. For example, some deliveries take you far in a non-strategic direction. Also, some Dashers decline orders from cheaper fast-food restaurants, or orders below a minimum amount. Think carefully about your criteria ahead of time, and plan which kind of rides you do NOT want to accept. Then when the ping comes, you can glance at it and quickly decide whether to accept or decline. However, try not to over-analyze and over-decline. Your goal is to keep busy, not to waste time sitting waiting for the “perfect order”. Sometimes you just have to accept the bad with the good. And you never know if DoorDash may penalize you for declining too many orders!
Consider delivering alcohol. To qualify for alcohol deliveries, you need to obtain a provincial Alcohol Delivery Certification. Once you upload this, you can begin delivering orders which include alcohol from certain restaurants & stores. This not only gives you more pings, but often these customers tend to tip better.
Plan your breaks (fuel, food, coffee, washroom). Make these stops when you’re not busy, or when it is most convenient. Be sure you don’t have to turn off the app at the busiest time of day and drive 5 kilometers to the nearest facility – just because you waited too long to fill up your tank or empty your bladder! At least many of the DoorDash restaurants have washrooms you can use when you are there to pick up an order. Some restaurants have both washrooms AND coffee!
Know your city. Know the rules. The shortcuts. The rush hours. The construction obstacles. The busy spots. The best ways to navigate the malls, building complexes and condominiums. The more you know, the more you will save time & fuel, and the more your customers will appreciate your prompt service.
Buy cheaper gas. Though delivering meals does not require as much fuel overall as driving passengers, fuel is still a major gig expense. You can save about 10 cents a liter by shopping around. Use an app like Gas Buddy to locate the best nearby price (which is often Costco), and plan your fill-ups accordingly. These gas savings really add up over the months.
Minimize fixed overhead expenses. Shop around for the best deals. With data plans and car insurance, for example, the savings can be substantial. Then the following year, shop around again. Constantly research ways to minimize all expenses (but without undermining your safety & efficiency). The more money you save, the more net income you get to keep.
Don’t get tickets. Don’t speed! Don’t park in No Parking zones! Don’t hold your phone while you’re driving! You’ll pay dearly every time you get caught. One ticket can wipe out 1-2 days of hard-earned income.
Don’t have accidents. Slow down! Look carefully all around you! Don’t tailgate! Keep your focus on the road! One accident can wipe out 1-2 weeks (or months) of hard-earned income.
Don’t let your car be stolen. You’ll be in and out of your car many times during a full shift. If the car will be out of your sight for even a minute, you would be wise to turn off the engine and lock the doors.
Be smart with taxes. At tax time, don’t pay any more income tax to the government than required. Even if you need to hire an accountant to help you, be sure to deduct every legitimate business expense. If you are smart about this, you can significantly reduce your income tax payable. And paying less tax means you get to keep more of your hard-earned income. (Reminder: You should always track your mileage & expenses, because this information will be needed at tax time. Let the excellent QuickBooks for Self-Employed app help you with this. It tracks mileage & expenses automatically.)
Watch for promotions. Check the “Promos” screen regularly, watching for Peak Pay opportunities or other incentives. There might be a nearby place & time where DoorDash will pay you extra money for doing the same amount of work.
Be a Top Dasher. If you meet certain criteria each month, the following month you will be designated a Top Dasher – resulting in some extra freedom, plus some prioritization when DoorDash distributes orders.
Consider doing another gig at the same time. Some drivers do DoorDash, Uber Eats and/or Skip the Dishes simultaneously – accepting whichever order comes first (and switching off the other app until they have almost completed the delivery).
Track & analyze your info. Take time to study your statistics. Look over each delivery and each week’s totals. Figure out where you did best, where you wasted time & fuel, and how you got the best tips. Identify how you can do better the following week. Plan new strategies or locations or times to try out. Then analyze it again the following week. As the months go by, if you continually experiment & analyze, you will earn more money and have less expenses.
Drive smarter, not harder. In gig work, it may NOT be true that working longer hours or rushing around all over the place automatically leads to more net income. Instead, focus on being SMART. Learn the strategies, tips & tricks. Know your city. Know the restaurants. Know the app. Analyze. Experiment. Analyze again. Spend time interacting with other drivers in the Gig Café. The more you learn and put into practice, the more money you will make from your diligent DoorDash work.
Please remember that DoorDash’s features vary slightly from one province to another, and even from one city to another. So it is important that you study the DoorDash Website for specific information about the location where you plan to drive.
Ready to Start?
If you have not yet started making money with DoorDash, then you might as well go ahead and take the next step: SIGN UP! It only takes a few minutes to set up your DoorDash Account, providing basic information to establish your driver profile.
Don’t worry – DoorDash does not require fees or deposits, and there are no binding obligations or legal traps. At any point along the way, you can pause to get answers to your questions. But if you’re ready to move forward, the sooner you sign up and launch the registration process, the sooner you’ll be out on the road earning money.
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