Last Updated on 2023-08-24

DoorDash Rules All Dashers Must Follow (Official & Unofficial)

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

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Phil Grossman

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

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Christian Lombardi

Two years of experience working across DoorDash and Uber Eats

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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

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Matt Wheeler

5 years of experience working across GrubHub, DoorDash, Shipt, and Uber Eats

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 current legal developments or insurance changes. Any reader should consult with an insurance or legal professional to obtain advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

Even though working for DoorDash gives you lots of flexibility and control over when, where, and how you work, there are still rules you need to follow as a Dasher.

To start, you need to meet the following DoorDash driver requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have access to a car, scooter, or bike (vehicle requirements vary by city)
  • Have an iPhone or Android phone so you can download the DoorDash app
  • Provide your driver’s license number, Social Security number, and consent to a background check
  • Have car insurance that complies with your state’s laws

If you’ve checked all these boxes and you pass your background check, you’ll typically be all set to hit the road and start earning within about 5 days

Once you reach that stage, you’ll have to follow DoorDash’s rules. Luckily, there aren’t many official rules to follow. That’s one of the benefits of being self-employed — you can do things your way (within reason). 

But there are some unofficial rules you need to follow too — DoorDash etiquette, essentially. We’ll cover all the spoken and unspoken rules you need to follow as a Dasher here. 

DoorDash rules you need to follow

DoorDash has a pretty lengthy code of conduct that you should definitely read through before you start Dashing, but most of it comes down to obeying the law, not doing anything obviously unethical or immoral, treating your customers with respect, and avoiding anything that would damage the brand’s image.

The spirit of DoorDash’s Code of Conduct is encapsulated in this section:

“Although this Code covers specific topics, it cannot cover every possible situation. Therefore, you should always keep in mind the following questions to guide your actions:

  1. Does it appear legal?
  2. Is it consistent with the spirit and letter of the Code?
  3. Can you justify it to your customers, coworkers, and family?
  4. Would you feel comfortable if it ended on the front page of the newspaper or going viral in social media?

If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ don’t do it.” 

The nitty gritty of the code of conduct is too much to get into here, so we recommend you give it a read through. 

You should also read through the DoorDash Independent Contractor Agreement. This is the contract you will be entering into with DoorDash. 

Beyond the code of conduct and independent contractor agreement, DoorDash doesn’t have many official rules that you need to follow. Here are a few you should keep in mind.

Pick Up and Drop Off

  • Arrive at the store you’re picking up from on time, but no more than 10 minutes early. If you’re going to be late, contact the store or DoorDash support. If you are repeatedly late, your account may be deactivated.
  • Make sure you’re picking up the right order by confirming the customer name and order ID with the store. 
  • Check off all the items you’re picking up in your DoorDash app.
  • Follow the delivery instructions that your customer has provided.
  • Reconfirm the customer’s name and/or order ID when you drop off the order. 
  • When leaving food at the door, make sure you have the right address. 
  • You must maintain an 80% completion rate. In Des Moines, Albuquerque, Connecticut, Seattle, San Antonio, Huntsville, Palm Bay, Omaha, and New Orleans, the requirements are even stricter — your completion rate (the rate of accepted orders you complete) must be at least 90% in those locations.
  • You must confirm pre-claimed orders 30 minutes before pickup. If you don’t, the order will go to another Dasher. 
  • If your customer rating drops below 4.2, your account may be deactivated. Don’t abuse or insult your customers, no matter how difficult they may be. 

Food Safety

  • Bring at least one clean hot bag with you.
  • When bagging, place heavy items on the bottom and lighter items on top of them. Lay boxes and platters flat. 
  • Separate hot and cold items. 
  • Do not tamper with the food — don’t open it, check inside the bag, etc. 

Alcohol Orders

  • Read through and follow DoorDash’s guidelines for alcohol deliveries
  • Verify the identity of whoever you are delivering alcohol to. You are not allowed to leave an alcohol order unattended or hand it to someone other than the verified customer. You will need to scan the customer’s ID as well. 
  • You cannot drink alcohol or be under the influence of any substances while Dashing. 
  • Remember that you may be held liable if you deliver alcohol to a minor or someone who is intoxicated.

When working for DoorDash Drive 

DoorDash Drive is a special white label delivery service. Only some Dashers can accept these orders. The following rules only apply to DoorDash Drive orders, not all DoorDash orders.

  • Wear appropriate attire, specifically clothed-toed shoes. 
  • Bring at least one insulated catering bag. 
  • Follow any setup instructions and example photos that the merchant provides you. 
  • After you’ve completed the merchant-requested setup, take a photo as confirmation. 

How to succeed with DoorDash etiquette (the “unofficial” rules)

The rules above are the bare minimum you need to follow to avoid having your account deactivated. But you’re unlikely to really excel as a Dasher if you do the bare minimum. 

If you keep your customers happy, your customer rating will improve, you’ll receive better tips, and you’ll become eligible for higher-paying orders and other perks, like Dash Now. 

Here are a few ways that you can ensure your customers have a great experience, give you 5 stars, and leave you a big tip.

Communicate with your customers

People like to know what’s going on with their food. If there’s a snag, let your customer know right away. Always update your customers and merchants first, and reach out to Dasher support second if there are any issues. 

Every Dasher has their own process for communication. Some think it’s best to send a message in these moments:

  • When you get to the restaurant
  • When you receive the order
  • If there’s a delay
  • When you’re about 5 minutes away from their address
  • When you arrive at your customer’s location

But other Dashers find that this can come across as a nuisance. Matt Wheeler, who has been dashing for four years, says “normally, I only communicate with my customers during drop off, if there is a long delay for their order while picking up at the restaurant or during delivery, or if something they ordered is out of stock in order to discuss a potential substitution. I've found most customers don't want to be bothered outside of these main scenarios.”

Christian Lombardi, who has been dashing for six months and earned over $20k, says that he prefers to err on the side of sending too much instead of too little: “I’ve had clients thank me and ignore me, but never get angry at me for keeping them informed.”

Act professionally

You don’t need to speak like a corporate robot, but it’s not a good idea to be overly casual with your customers either — some people might take it the wrong way. Stay friendly and positive in your communications, and try to use proper spelling and grammar in your messages. For example, if you’re getting close to your customer’s address, send something like “I’ve got your order, and I’ll be there in a few minutes” not “pullin up with the guds in 5”. Using humor is fine, like this Dasher did, but use your best judgment — ask yourself whether DoorDash itself would ever send the message you’re typing. 

Christian advises Dashers to be careful with their humor: “You want to watch speaking with a client like that over the app. In the event they report you, they have evidence of you acting in an unprofessional manner.”

Faith McLaughlin, who has been dashing for a year, adds “don’t smoke in your vehicle while delivering orders, and don’t linger at your delivery’s house after a drop-off. And definitely don’t beg for tips from your customer!” She also advises not to wear strong perfume or cologne and to keep your opinions to yourself — “the customer doesn’t need to keep smelling you long after you’ve left. And never comment on a customer’s order with your own opinion of it.”

Dress professionally

You don’t need to wear a suit or DoorDash branded clothing, but it’s not a great idea to wear pajama pants and a hoodie with a rude joke written on it either.  Avoid clothing with political messages as well. 

Stay organized with your orders

Customers do not like receiving the wrong order — not only is it annoying, but it can be dangerous if they have allergies or food intolerances. Having a Sharpie on hand to label bags can help you make sure orders don’t get mixed up when making several deliveries at once or multi-apping (using DoorDash alongside other apps, like Instacart and Uber Eats).  

Learn the process for different restaurants

Scott Jones, who has been dashing since 2018, stresses the importance of learning how the different restaurants you’ll be picking up from function. 

“One piece of etiquette is to learn your restaurant policies,” he says. “For example: Most Panda Express Restaurants have a huge rack with orders that they have bagged and tagged. They are too busy to talk to you, go in, find your order, and take it. That is excellent news for us because it is quick. Chipotle does this, too. So, find out how they run the etiquette so you can zoom in on these restaurants. Remember, time is literally translating into money.”


Q: How do DoorDash taxes work?

A: As a Dasher, you’ll need to pay taxes as a self-employed person and comply with all of the IRS’s rules. 

Q: Can you work for DoorDash as a walker?

A: No. As of 2023, DoorDash reversed its policy on this, and you are no longer allowed to perform deliveries on foot. Doesn’t matter if you are in a very walkable area (like New York City). 

Q: Can you DoorDash without a car?

A: Yes, DoorDash does not have any requirements for the type of transportation you use. You are allowed to dash without a car.

Q: Can you DoorDash on a scooter?

A: Yes, DoorDash allows you to dash using your preferred method of transportation, including scooters. 

Q: Can you DoorDash on a motorcycle?

A: Yes, there are no specific requirements for the type of transportation you use. Dashing on a motorcycle is allowed. 

Q: Can you DoorDash with a DUI?

A: There’s no way to know if you’ll be accepted to DoorDash if you have a DUI. Decisions are made on a case by case basis, so the only way to find out is to apply.

Q: What car insurance do you need to have to drive for DoorDash?

A: You must have at least your state’s minimum required coverage. Beyond that, the car insurance you purchase is up to you.

Q: What car requirements are there to drive for DoorDash?

A: DoorDash doesn’t have any specific car requirements so long as your car is street legal. It’s entirely up to you. 

Q: Does DoorDash hire felons?

A: DoorDash hires felons on a case by case basis. If you have a felony conviction on your record, the only way to know whether you can drive for DoorDash is to apply.

Q: Does DoorDash drug test?

A: No, DoorDash does not require drug tests. However, you are not allowed to dash under the influence of any drugs. 

Q: Can you DoorDash on a bike?

A: Yes, you are allowed to DoorDash on whatever vehicle you prefer, including bikes

Q: Can you DoorDash with someone else driving?

A: Yes, as long as the driver has a valid DoorDash account. 

Q: Can couples DoorDash together?

A: If you are Dashing, your partner is allowed to be in the car with you. If you and your partner plan to both be involved in the delivery, you will both need a valid DoorDash account. 

Q: Can two Dashers use the same car at the same time?

A: Anyone actively involved in the completion of a DoorDash order must have a valid DoorDash account. If both Dashers have valid accounts, they can use the same car for deliveries. However, it may slow down delivery times and hurt your customer rating. 

Q: Can I DoorDash in another state?

A: Yes. You are allowed to DoorDash from anywhere that DoorDash is available in your country. DoorDashing in another country is not allowed, however. 

Q: Can someone else DoorDash for me?

A: Yes, as long as they have a valid DoorDash account. 

Q: Can you have two Dasher accounts?

A: DoorDash doesn’t have a stance on this, but it’s not recommended. 

Q: Can you work for doordash and Instacart, Uber, Lyft, or Grubhub at the same time?

A: Yes, as an independent contractor, you are allowed to have as many clients as you like. 

Q: Can you use DoorDash on two phones?

A: Yes, so long as your account is secured. 

Q: Do you have to DoorDash every day? 

A: No, there is no commitment when Dashing — you can work as much (subject to local availability) or as little as you like. 

Q: Can you DoorDash with an out-of-state license?

A: Yes, as long as your driver’s license is valid in the state that you’re dashing in. 

Q: Do I have to keep the Dasher app open?

A: You don’t have to keep your DoorDash app open at all times, but the amount of orders you receive may decrease if your app is minimized for an extended period of time. 

Q: Can I use someone else's bank account for Doordash?

A: As long as you aren’t impersonating someone else, you can be paid however you want. 

Get started dashing

Sign up for DoorDash today and get on the road within a few days (subject to Dasher approval and local availability).

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