How to Become a DoorDash Driver | Requirements & Tips

DoorDash is a company founded in June 2013 to simplify food delivery. How does DoorDash work?

Not a "delivery" company, DoorDash is instead a tech company, providing a platform to connect drivers, as independent contractors, to customers who need food deliveries and food services that lack an internal delivery service.

Unlike in other delivery driver jobs, DoorDash drivers provide their own vehicle and set their own hours. Here's how to know if you qualify:

DoorDash Driver Requirements

To qualify to drive for DoorDash, you must:

  • Be 18 years old or older.
  • Be eligible to work in the US.
  • Have a valid, current driver's license applicable to your vehicle.
  • Have valid, current insurance for your vehicle.
  • Have a clean driving record: no major collisions in the past seven years, and no more than three minor collisions in the past three years.
  • Consent to and clear a background check.

In addition, drivers need:

  • An Android phone or iPhone, to connect to the DoorDash app.
  • Their own vehicle in which to make deliveries.
  • A US Social Security number.

Bottom Line: if you can meet all of these requirements, you're able to apply to become a Dasher.

DoorDash provides its own instructions on how to become a DoorDash driver during every step of the process. 

The information is scattered throughout its website, but entirely accessible and easy to find at the points in the application process when you need it.

But for a comprehensive, linear explanation of how to sign up for DoorDash from beginning to end, as well as tips gathered from drivers around the web, read on.

doordash driver

What is Working for DoorDash Like?

Designed for the gig economy, DoorDash has both perks and drawbacks as a part-time job, and fits differently into each person's life. 

How does DoorDash work for your needs and lifestyle?

Pros

You set your own schedule, and can schedule it as strictly or as flexibly as you like.

With the option, but not requirement, of setting your Dashing days in advance, and with no minimum number of hours or deliveries required per day.

DoorDash is ideal for someone looking to build their own schedule, whether around classes, another job, or just life and how you decide to live it.

Drive a vehicle you're comfortable with, with a license you already have.

Rather than needing to apply for a job-specific license to drive a bulkier or different vehicle from what's in your comfort zone, with DoorDash you provide your own transportation, be it a car, motorcycle, or even scooter.

Cons

Pay isn't consistent, which was public knowledge, and can be changed rather than boosted by tips, which wasn't until recently. 

The long and short of it: DoorDash doesn't set the amount you will make from any one delivery until after the customer has decided on their tip.

So if you would have made $10 before a $5 tip, DoorDash may decide to pay you $7 instead, and let you go home with $12 instead of the $15 you earned.

It's not designed to be a full-time job. DoorDash is, of course, better than nothing, but Dashing is best suited to be a supplementary source of income rather than your long-term plan as a career.

How to Become a DoorDash Driver

DoorDash's signup process is entirely online, at this link

Before you navigate there, have on hand your Social Security number (to enable a background check), as well as any promo codes you have, as this will be your only window to claim any DoorDash sign up bonus.

Step 1: Apply

Fill out DoorDash's online application form

Checkr, the background check organization used by DoorDash, will take about five to seven days to process your background check before you can proceed. 

In the meantime, download the Dasher app to your Android or iPhone.

Step 2: Check Instant Dash Eligibility

Find out if you're eligible to Instant Dash. Instant Dash will allow you to start delivering and earning immediately after your background check clears.

To find out if you qualify, open the Dasher app, log in, tap "Dash," and look for the option "Dash Now."

If it isn't there, you may not qualify for Instant Dash, or you may simply be waiting for your background check to clear. 

To find out if your background check has cleared, you may check its status anytime on the DoorDash website here.

Step 3: Orientation or Activation Kit

To learn the job and finish becoming a qualified Dasher, DoorDash offers up to two options, depending on availability in your area: in person orientations or Activation Kits.

To access these options, return to the DoorDash signup page, click "Already started signing up?" and enter your login info to access your account. You will see a button labeled "Schedule Orientation."

In-person orientation sessions are hosted at DoorDash offices, allowing you to learn how to become a DoorDash driver with other new drivers, from a real person.

You may schedule an orientation through the website at a specific office and time convenient to you, or you may show up as a walk-in at any DoorDash office during the times orientations are offered—any time for which you're able to schedule an orientation, you'll also be able to come without appointment.

Activation Kits, the only option offered in areas with no local DoorDash offices, come with everything you need to get started: your red card (more on that below), your hot bag to keep meals warm, and a getting started manual which will replace your in-person orientation.

If you plan to request an Activation Kit and are confident you'll pass your background check, you might want to order yours one to four days before you expect your background check to clear—or as early as the day you apply. But remember- if you're eligible for Instant Dash, there may be no reason to rush!

Step 4: Set Up Your Red Card

Your red card is the card you'll use to pay for the food you pick up, so that no money comes in advance out of your pocket. 

Instead, the red card is used to transfer funds that the customer paid to the restaurant or other food establishment. You will have received your red card in your Activation Kit or at your orientation.

To set up your red card on a device using iOS (any Apple product), navigate to the "Account" area in your Dasher app, and then tap the words "Did DoorDash give you a payment card?" to open the red card set up. 

Enter the delight number, found on the second line on the card, and the last four digits of the top line of numbers.

To set up your red card on an Android device, simply navigate to Menu > Red Card, and enter the last four digits of the first line of numbers on the card.

Step 5: Get Dashing!

For help with any stumbling blocks, difficulties, or questions that arise along the way, contact Dasher Support.

doordash tips

Doordash Driver Tips

Be on the lookout for scam callers. Some drivers have reported scam calls claiming to be from DoorDash, asking them to perform a series of tasks, and then locking them out of their own account. 

Bottom Line: if the call claims to be from the business (not customer) end of DoorDash, but doesn't come from an 855 area code phone number, tread with caution.

Peak times to drive are different in every neighborhood, but the late after noon through early night are known among Dashers to be a good time to drive.

Known peak times are also when the most orders will come in, but also when the most competition will be out and about, and you have to be competitive: to ensure every order is met, DoorDash has taken up the practice of hiring more drivers than are needed to fill orders, so be sure to accept the orders you want to fill fast. 

In addition—consider driving at typical lunch hours.

As perhaps the best perk- DoorDash needs to draw in drivers during peak times, and as such, they often provide better pay as an incentive.

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