Last Updated on 2023-11-01

5 Ways To Do DoorDash Without a Car

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Davis Porter

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Ryan Shaw

5 years of experience as a DoorDash Dasher

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Faith McLaughlin

8 years of experience working across DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, Uber, and Lyft

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Scott Jones

7 years of experience working across DoorDash, Lyft, Amazon Flex, and Instacart

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or insurance advice. The content contains general information and may not reflect recent changes. Any reader should consult with a legal or tax professional to obtain advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

DoorDash doesn't provide a car for its Dashers. 

But, that doesn't mean you'll be out of options without owning a car. Not only are there other modes of transportation that many Dashers use, but you can also rent or use someone else’s car. Here’s a rundown of what you can do without a car:

  • Bikes: Thanks to their extreme agility, bikes can dodge traffic and speed up your deliveries. Plus, you'll be saving on fuel and getting a workout while you're at it.
  • Mopeds: Not to be confused with “scooters,” these seated vehicles are more like a middle ground between bikes and cars. They provide the speed and cargo capacity to handle a decent volume of orders across short distances. 
  • Scooters: These standing vehicles, usually electric-powered, are something of a cross between walking and biking. They too come with a step-through frame. But, unlike mopeds, scooters are operated while standing. Within that chassis is an electric motor, which gives scooters a wider travel range than bikes, but slightly less than mopeds. 
  • Motorcycles: For those who need to cover much longer distances or maximize their delivery radius, motorcycles are an excellent choice. They offer the speed of a car and the agility of a scooter, making them ideal for suburban deliveries. 
  • Walking: Walking used to be an option for DoorDash, especially in jam-packed urban areas. But, the platform discontinued this mode of transportation in 2023 due to its limitations in range and cargo capacity.
  • Renting (or borrowing!) a car: If you don't own a car but still want its comfort and cargo space, a rental would be a viable option. Some rental companies already have special deals for gig workers like you.

Option 1: Use a bike

In cities plagued by constant traffic jams, bikes are versatile enough to squeeze through tight spots and reach destinations faster than cars. 

They’re especially suited for small, quick orders. Think along the lines of fast food, coffee runs, or small grocery hauls. These are the kinds of orders that don't demand much cargo space and are usually just a short hop from the pickup point. 

However, the delivery radius for DoorDash bikes is notably smaller compared to other modes of transportation. That could, of course, limit the number of orders coming your way. But then again, a smaller radius means less travel time, allowing you to complete orders more quickly and possibly earn more in tips.

DoorDashing on a bike itself is like getting paid to work out. The physical activity here helps you stay in shape while, at the same time, improving your cardiovascular health and lung function. 

And let's not forget the environmental benefits. As a zero-emission activity, biking is the most sustainable choice for any environment-conscious individual looking to DoorDash without a car.

The requirements for bike Dashers

First off, you must be at least 18 years old to join the platform. The rule is consistent across the board, regardless of whether you intend to DoorDash with or without a car.  

You won’t need a driver’s license to ride, though. But take note: Ryan Shaw cautions that the platform could still insist on checking your driver’s license for ID verification. That’s exactly what happened during his DoorDash application three years ago – they requested him to share a photo of his license for identification.

What’s rather certain is that DoorDash will conduct a background check into your criminal history to confirm if you can diligently handle the responsibilities that come with the job

As for the bike itself, DoorDash doesn't set strict guidelines. But, that notwithstanding, your bike should always be in good working condition – complete with fully functional brakes and lights.

Helmets and reflective clothing are also highly recommended for DoorDash bikers. Then if you intend to take on nighttime deliveries, it would be a good idea to add reflective tape to your bike and maybe invest in LED lights. 

Another thing you’ll need is a proper carrier. DoorDash insists on using a thermally insulated bag that can maintain the temperature of food orders. In particular, Dashers tend to go for high-quality, waterproof delivery bags – either in the form of panniers attached to the bike frame or as backpack-style bags.

“If I did bike delivery I'd go with the backpack,” confirms Ryan. “ The DoorDash store sells one, but it's overpriced at almost 60 dollars and probably lower quality than you could find from third parties.” 

Who should consider DoorDashing on a bike? 

For Dashers operating in busy downtown districts, biking allows for quicker navigation through narrow lanes and alleys – something that cars or mopeds can't manage as efficiently. Cities often have short delivery distances combined with a high population density, which means you’ll be able to complete more orders in less time.

A good example of such an environment is college campuses – they often have a high demand for food delivery but lack sufficient parking amenities. With a bike, you can easily weave through their narrow pathways to reach even the most secluded dorms or lecture halls. 

Besides DoorDashing without a car, biking allows unlicensed Dashers to join the platform. You just need to pass the background check – no driver's license is required.

Biking is additionally popular with fitness enthusiasts. They get to make money while burning calories, improving stamina, and building muscle.

Read more details about biking for DoorDash.

Option 2: Use a scooter

If you want a little more physical range than bikes without sacrificing maneuverability and eco-friendliness, a scooter would be a solid choice. 

They come with electric motors just like mopeds and motorcycles but without the many complex engine parts and the excessive weight of their two-wheeled counterparts. At just 30-40 pounds, most DoorDash scooters are just as light and portable as bikes. 

Riding too is as easy as "twisting and going" – you don’t have to crank it up or pull out from parking spots. Scooters are also probably the only motorized option on DoorDash that you can ride freely across walkways, alleys, cycling lanes, and conventional roads to beat traffic.

All in all, most commercial e-scooters are capable of covering about 15 to 40 miles on a single charge, depending on the model and usage conditions. This is more than enough for a day's worth of urban deliveries

The standard charging time is about five hours, and the resultant cost is significantly cheaper than fuel. US residents are currently paying an average of about $23 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, and your scooter’s battery will only consume about two for a full day’s job. 

I love how cheaply you can ride this,agrees Scott Jones, who’s been a Dasher since 2018. He further adds, “I was stuck in traffic the other day at a red light and I saw one of these zoom right through the red light with the bikes that were jaywalking.” 

Requirements for scooter Dashers

Whereas scooters are operated by people of all ages, DoorDash mandates that all its Dashers be at least 18 years old. This is one of the things confirmed through its background check processes, along with your legal records. 

A driving license won’t be needed, though. This only becomes a requirement if your scooter’s motor power is more than 500W or its speed exceeds 15.5 mph. 

Insurance is another thing that may be overlooked on scooters. We however recommend that you get yourself covered against all potential liabilities. 

It would also be wise to invest in an insulated delivery bag for maintaining food temperature, a phone mount for navigation, and reflective vests for nighttime visibility. Other than that, consider a helmet with LED lights – as scooters lack sufficient lighting for nighttime visibility.

Read more details about using a scooter for DoorDash

Option 3: Use a moped

If you're looking for a middle ground between the agility of a bike and the performance of a motorcycle, mopeds might be your answer.

Whereas bikes are fast in congested areas, mopeds offer the advantage of motorized speed when DoorDashing without a car. That translates to quicker deliveries over longer distances.

Parking shouldn’t be a problem either. Unlike cars, which often require a designated parking space, mopeds can fit into bike racks and other tight spaces. 

Mopeds additionally enjoy a well-balanced delivery radius – fairly larger than bikes but smaller than cars. DoorDash's official policy itself is pretty accommodating, as it allows Dashers to use both gas-powered and electric mopeds. Both can cover a good portion of a city or suburb, but they may not be the best for venturing too far afield.  

When it comes to the types of orders, mopeds are best for moderately small packages from nearby restaurants. While you won't be delivering party supplies, it can easily manage standard fast-food orders, small grocery runs, or a couple of pizzas. 

The requirements for moped Dashers

Because of their motorized status, mopeds have similar basic requirements as using a car

In addition to being at least 18 years of age, you'll need a valid driver's license that specifically permits you to operate a moped. Make sure to check the class of license you hold, as states have different classifications for mopeds based on engine size and top speed.

DoorDash further requires moped Dashers to have liability insurance, which is supposed to cover any damages or injuries that you cause while on the job. It's a good idea to consider comprehensive insurance as well, since it’ll protect you against other risks like theft or vandalism.

The moped won’t be inspected by DoorDash, though. Instead, moped Dashers undergo a comprehensive background check that scrutinizes their criminal record and driving history. Some of the disqualifiers here include violent crimes, sexual offenses, or a history of reckless driving.

Also, although DoorDash doesn't set specific storage requirements, seasoned Dashers recommend an insulated delivery bag with a capacity of at least 50 liters. It should be securely fastened to your moped – either on a rear rack or the passenger seat – to maintain the quality of the food during delivery.

Regarding safety gear, most cities require a DOT-approved helmet with a full-face visor. Your clothing should also meet the ANSI Class 2 standard for high visibility. Then for added protection, consider gear like knee and elbow pads that feature CE-rated armor, which offers the highest level of impact protection.

Some of the gear is compulsory, though – such as visors, as emphasized by Scott.

Who should consider DoorDashing on a moped? 

If you're a city dweller looking to DoorDash without a car, a moped can be a lifesaver. They offer the agility of a bike but with the added benefit of motorized speed – consequently turning what could be a draining bike ride into a swift and less strenuous journey.

Mopeds are also a budget-friendly option for those considering DoorDash as a side hustle. The upfront cost here is just a few hundred dollars. Then afterward, you get to enjoy an incredibly low fuel consumption rate of up to 100 miles per gallon.

A moped could otherwise be an ideal starting point for young Dashers. The age requirement is just 18, and its insurance premiums are much lower than for cars.

Seasonal DoorDashers would also appreciate mopeds, particularly during the summer. Unlike bikes, which can become uncomfortable in extreme heat due to the physical exertion required, mopeds allow you to cover more ground without breaking a sweat.

Read more details about using a moped for DoorDash.

Option 4: Use a motorcycle

Compared to bikes and mopeds, motorcycles offer a slightly more balanced approach to DoorDashing without a car. They provide the speed and storage capacity to handle a variety of orders while still being compact enough to squeeze through traffic. 

That makes them a good option for areas experiencing moderate to high levels of traffic congestion. Plus, if you find biking too physically demanding over long distances, DoorDash motorcycles would be a more comfortable alternative.

In terms of delivery radius, motorcycles outperform bikes and mopeds but still fall short of cars. That extended reach gives you access to a broader range of restaurants and customers, which may potentially boost your earnings. Just remember to keep an eye on the fuel costs for those longer trips, as they can quickly eat into your profits.

As for the kinds of orders you can take, motorcycles are capable of handling larger deliveries. They're especially perfect for busy dining hours when people often place big orders for family meals or group events.

The requirements for motorcycle Dashers

Just like bikes and mopeds, motorcycles aren't accepted everywhere for DoorDashing. So, before proceeding, you might want to contact DoorDash support to confirm availability. 

To sign up as a motorcycle Dasher, you need to be at least 18 years old. DoorDash will even ask you for your driver's license. 

Keep in mind, though, that a standard driver's license won’t be enough in most U.S. states. You might still need to add an endorsement to your license – as proof of having passed the necessary tests to safely operate a motorcycle on the road.

Another DoorDash motorcycle requirement is the minimum liability insurance in your state. But, considering that motorcycles are riskier and often pricier than scooters and bikes, it’s always a good idea to supplement that with comprehensive coverage.

As for background checks, the process for motorcycle Dashers is not that different from the ones conducted on their car counterparts. Expect a thorough review of your criminal record and driving history.

Finally, don't forget to familiarize yourself with local motorcycle regulations. 

Who should consider DoorDashing on a motorcycle? 

Motorcycles typically have a higher power-to-weight ratio than scooters and bikes. This technical advantage translates to quicker acceleration and faster speeds – which might mean more completed orders whenever you DoorDash without a car.

DoorDashing on a motorcycle is also great for adventure seekers, as it adds a layer of excitement you won't find in a car or scooter. Some people see it as combining work with pleasure – since you get to make money while enjoying the thrill of motorcycle exploration. 

A motorcycle would also be the perfect DoorDashing option if you understand your city's layout like a cartographer. Its combination of agility, speed, and extended travel range allows you to capitalize on shortcuts, diversions, and beltlines across the city. 

Then for those who see riding as a lifestyle and not just a means to an end, DoorDashing on a motorcycle is a great way to connect with like-minded people. Many cities have vibrant motorcycle communities, complete with clubs and regular meet-ups. They provide networking opportunities – through which you might gain access to exclusive, high-paying delivery routes or even find partners for more complex, multi-stop orders.

Read more detail about using a motorcycle for DoorDash.

Option 5: Use someone else’s car

Yes, you can DoorDash with a car that's not yours.

There’s just one requirement. If you choose to borrow a car, make sure that its insurance policy extends to other drivers and that you're covered for commercial activities like DoorDashing.

As for using other Dashers' cars, DoorDash doesn't explicitly prohibit this. But again, both parties should be adequately insured to avoid any complications. 

You could otherwise hire someone with a car to DoorDash under your account. The recruit must, however, be a registered Dasher – having met all the platform's requirements, including passing DoorDash’s background check.

DoorDashing with a car rental

While many rental companies have a blanket ban on using their vehicles for commercial activities, some happen to support DoorDashing.

There are now multiple short and long-term car rental options to choose from. DoorDash has even partnered with various car rental companies to make things easier and cheaper for Dashers. 

The Hertz rent-top-buy program is one of them, and it offers DoorDashers unlimited miles at discounted rates.

You could otherwise use HyreCar, a peer-to-peer car rental service. DoorDash has partnered with it to give Dashers the chance to rent directly from willing car owners. 

Read more about renting a car to DoorDash.

What about walking? 

It used to be possible for non-car DoorDashers to select walking as a delivery option. But, not anymore.

In 2023, Doordash updated its policies to exclude walking as an official mode of transportation for Dashers.

Although the company hasn't released an official statement, it's safe to say that their decision was performance-based. Walking is way slower than other delivery methods, which means longer wait times for customers and lower satisfaction rates. 

Another plausible reason could be the logistical challenges of maintaining food quality during extended walks, especially in varying weather conditions.

I can only think of a handful of zip codes in America where the walking option is even slightly feasible,” comments Scott. “And in all those zip codes, you walkers would still need mass transit to work effectively. I firmly support DoorDash on their decision.”

If you used to rely on walking for your DoorDash deliveries, biking now stands out as the closest alternative. It’s cheap, easily accessible, versatile, and physically engaging.

Become a Dasher

Now that you know you don't need a car, nothing should stop you from joining the platform. Sign up today and start earning with your bike, scooter, moped, motorcycle, or rented vehicle (pending Dasher approval and local availability). 

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