My First Dash: What to Expect as a First-Time Dasher

Becoming a Dasher doesn't have to be daunting thanks to these tips and insights from experienced Dashers.

10 min read
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Having a side gig can be extremely beneficial these days, whether it's to help pay the bills, save for a big purchase, or fund a passion project. DoorDash gives you a lot of options: you can deliver for restaurants and cafes, grocery and liquor stores, florists, or a range of other retailers — and you can travel by car, bike, or scooter.

But if you're new to the gig economy, it can be nerve-wracking. Once you've set up your profile, opened the app, tapped "Dash Now," and selected your zone… what happens next?

Everyone has their own experience, but as you'll discover, the best way to learn is to do. And know you're not alone — the DoorDash support team is there to offer guidance. Keep reading to meet seasoned Dashers who share their memories of their first dashes, so you have an idea of what to expect.

It doesn't have to be stressful

You might be putting off making your first delivery because you're focused on potential problems or complications, like what the protocol is for a spilled drink. But again, remember that your support team is always within reach.

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Tiffany H. was unsure about her first dash, too. She drove to the nearest hotspot indicated on her app and waited, wondering what to do — when all of a sudden, an order popped up. She accepted it, picked up the items, and drove them to the customer.

''It was so simple. When I got back in the car I remember thinking, 'This is easy, I can do this all day!' That was three years ago, and I've learned a ton along the way. I still love dashing.''

Tiffany H., Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Wyeisha B. didn't expect dashing to be so easy. She remembers telling her parents about DoorDash and setting out on her first delivery on Mother's Day in 2021.

"I'd never delivered someone's food before. Once I started the dash I realized how simple the process was, and how quickly you could deliver orders. I loved getting to discover new restaurants and neighborhoods, and by the time I finished my dash I felt a sense of accomplishment."

Wyeisha B., Royal Oak & Southfield, Michigan

It's been three years since that first dash, and Wyeisha says she still experiences that same great feeling and continues getting to know her city and its culinary scene.

It's normal to be nervous

The first day of any new gig can cause anxiety. But that's normal anytime you face something unknown, so let that adrenaline rush amp you up rather than hold you back. That's the advice Fred O. shares when he reflects on the first dash he did for a local McDonald's.

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"I remember the bell going off and feeling nervous and excited at once. I remember wondering, 'Is this something I'm going to like?' Four months later, with almost 500 deliveries — and earning the status of Top Dasher twice — I would say that yes, I did like it!" 

Fred O. Waco, Texas

Sometimes the stakes are high. Lydia M., a stay-at-home mom of five kids, knew she needed an extra earning stream to support her family, and remembers the sense of urgency she felt when dashing for the first time. "When I pulled up to the restaurant, I felt completely bewildered — but soon, dashing came naturally to me," she says.

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"The highlight of dashing for me has been interacting with new people and making people happy by bringing them food — and my favorite thing is when I tell them to enjoy their food, and they respond, "You too," and then let out a sigh of embarrassment!"

Lydia M., Hays, Kansas

If you need help, just ask

No one expects you to be perfect. A first dash is a learning experience, and even though you might be worried about messing something up, remember that the vast majority of restaurants and customers are very understanding and even willing to lend a hand.

That's what happened to Jennifer P. when her first dash turned out to be a stacked order from Dairy Queen.

"I had never done this type of delivery before and wasn't quite sure how to use the app. I ended up asking the staff at the restaurant for assistance and they were super helpful." 

Jennifer P., Port Alberni, British Columbia
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She made her delivery — but she accidentally dropped off the entire stacked order with the first customer, and only realized her mistake once she returned to her car. "It turns out the second order was just a drink, so I had to go back to the first customer and ask for the drink back — they thought it was really funny and we all laughed together," she recalls.

Today, Jennifer P. has more than 6,000 dashes to her name, and knows exactly what to do every time. Her experience is a reminder that it's okay if things aren't perfect the first time around, because you can learn, laugh, and take comfort in knowing that people are happy to help.

It's all about flexibility

Overcoming your worries about your first dash will open up a whole new world of possibilities. As soon as you've dropped off that order, you realize that as long as you have your app and your mode of transport, you can earn anytime you want.

"My first dash happened when I was with my children, driving through town — an Applebee's order popped up, and I said 'Let's try this, kids!' Every day since, I've been hooked on this flexible way to earn." 

Brea Z., Fenton, Missouri
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Now, when Brea's kids are at sports practice and she has free time before picking them up, she uses that hour to dash.

Setting your own hours means you can dash at any time of day — or night. Larry N. and his wife embarked on their first dash on New Year's Eve, knowing that a lot of people would be ordering delivery after the day's heavy snowfall.

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"In about five hours of dashing past midnight we made over $80 — and I'm sure it could have been more! But we were excited to go out the next day. Signing up for DoorDash was the best decision I ever made." 

Larry N., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

With DoorDash, you're part of a community

There's lots to look forward to as you get ready for your first dash — from great relationships with helpful local vendors to funny moments and memories you share with customers. But don't forget that we're here to help every step of the way. Challenges can happen — and when they do, the DoorDash team is here to help you deal with them so you can get back to enjoying the ride.

New to DoorDash? Sign up if you haven't already, and try dashing today.