In the gig economy, being able to choose when and how you work from day to day is an empowering choice. Gig workers get to choose how much they work, how often they work — and food delivery driving offers even more flexibility than most gigs.
However, when you’re just getting started, it can be intimidating — and even a bit nerve-wracking. So here are some tried-and-tested tips and tricks, from people who’ve made delivery driving work for them.
Why people choose to become delivery drivers
The number one reason delivery drivers choose this gig is that they love the flexibility to make money on their own schedule and on their own terms. As a driver, you choose when to work, which means it’s the perfect fit for college students, people who need a side hustle, and anyone else who finds occasional time to work but can’t plan for it.
Delivery drivers make money quickly in a variety of ways; they can deliver groceries or delicious meals to happy customers. They can do it on a bike or in a car. They can work as long as they want or make one delivery run in between other errands. Easy, quick, and profitable.
Delivery driving allows autonomy
Delivery driving offers a level of autonomy which other driving gigs don't. Unlike gig driving, where anyone could get into your vehicle, with gig delivery you control your environment and who's in it. Delivery is where personal safety meets flexibility.
Based in Queens, New York, DoorDash delivery driver D’Shea is a 41-year-old mom who lives in a multi-generational family home with her mother, sister, sister’s children, and her daughter De’Onna, who has cerebral palsy. Dashing gives her flexibility. She stays home with her daughter during the day and earns at night as a delivery driver.
D’Shea dashes about 24-30 hours a week, and it helps in more ways than flexibility. It brings in supplemental income. “I have many streams of income,” she says.
However you choose to travel — by bike or by car — you control when and how you deliver.
Is being a delivery driver worth it?
Becoming a delivery driver means flexibility, even with how you deliver. Want high output? Use your vehicle and do as many deliveries as possible, maximizing your earnings. Gas too pricey? You can bike dash or even deliver on foot if your community is suited to it.
Flexible schedule jobs are very hard to find, and a delivery driver gig gives control over how many deliveries you take on. Add in a mountain of perks specific to DoorDash, like discounts on oil changes, mobile phones, and tax services, and it’s easy to see why delivery drivers who like to work their own way flourish with DoorDash.
The best part of dashing has been making people happy.
Delivery drivers choose exactly when they deliver — and for how long. While some choose to load up on delivery in order to maximize their profits, the average Dasher spends less than four hours per week on delivery.
Choosing how much or how little to work in any given week means Dashers can juggle anything from a full-time job to classes to childcare. One Dasher’s goals may look completely different from the Dasher standing next to them at the same restaurant. In fact, there’s very little that’s average about the way the “average” Dasher uses the platform.
A few unlikely reasons to become a delivery driver
So you know it’s a flexible gig, but what about how it helps with your headspace? Being a delivery driver also gets you out of the house. Even if your main job keeps you staring at a screen all day, working as a delivery driver will allow for a paid way to escape the home office while exercising, catching up on podcasts, and getting the groceries.
In fact, 60% of Dashers report they combine dashing with other activities like picking up groceries or doing other errands (31%), commuting or traveling (27%), or picking up/dropping off their kids (12%). Who knew the moments in between could be so profitable?
Tips and tricks for delivery driving
The more efficient and quicker you are as a delivery driver, the more money you make. So here are the key takeaways for you to take away on deliveries.
Know your schedule
Get intimate with your calendar; combine what hours work best for you with which hotspots are the most lucrative. Work the lunch rush for extra orders, and go all in for the peak times of day.
Invest in good gear
Are you thinking of bike dashing? Investing in robust all-weather gear is key to ensure that you — and your deliveries — get to your destination safe and dry. Of course, a good delivery bag is the best piece of gear you’ll own as a delivery driver — and Dashers get a free insulated bag as part of their sign up kit.
Check the weather and traffic
As obvious as this may seem, it bears repeating. Bad weather or nasty traffic are delivery drivers’ natural enemies, so make sure you see them coming as well as you can and adjust as needed. But as difficult as it can be to get through, bad weather keeps people indoors — so keeping an eye on the forecast might mean you can time your delivery shifts to catch even more orders.
Keep your car or bike in good condition
Avoid unexpected delays by keeping your equipment in good running order. Brakes, lights, wipers and signals are all top of the list. Stay seen. Stay safe.
Keep your documents up to date
When does your driver’s license expire? How long is your car insured for? If you don’t know off the top of your head, make sure you find out ASAP. Create a calendar reminder on your phone one month ahead of when you need to deal with renewals.
Stick to the spots you know best
This one is mostly for the new delivery drivers as they get acquainted with the gig, the DoorDash Dasher app, and the routine. Start small and branch out as you become a more experienced delivery driver, and track busy times of day and hotspots. Slow growth equals a sustainable approach.
As you explore the area where you dash, you’ll find sweet spots, shortcuts, and ways to get around traffic. Make notes of the time and location of each for later. A good delivery driver can see into the future — or at least a few lights ahead.
Become an expert delivery driver
After a while, you can be like Alfonso. As a full-time Dasher with glowing reviews, Alfonso has been called an expert more than a few times over the two years he’s been dashing. In that time, he’s made more than 11,000 deliveries. When asked about getting as experienced as he is, Alfonso says:
There is going to be a lot of trial and error, the app will upset you once in a while and patience is going to be one of the keys to your success. No one ever told me to look up ‘tips and strategies’ on the internet. By the time I eventually came across them I had already learned mostly all of it on my own.
By reading this article, you're already one step ahead.
Become a delivery driver
Delivery driving is a gig that beats most flexible schedule jobs, and can easily be adopted into your existing lifestyle while delivering good things to both your customers and your own household.