Last Updated on 2024-01-05

How DoorDash Pay Works: Calculations and Timing

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

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Ryan Shaw

5 years of experience as a DoorDash Dasher

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Phil Grossman

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

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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 or tax advice. The content contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments. Any reader should consult with a legal or financial professional to obtain advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

As a Dasher, you can expect to be paid at least once per week, but you have the option to be paid even more frequently — you can even get paid after each dash if you sign up for DasherDirect.

You can start getting paid as soon as you sign up and get approved for DoorDash. It takes just 5 minutes to sign up, and most Dashers are approved within 5 days

When you drive for DoorDash, you get the freedom of self-employment without having to deal with invoicing, late payments, and customers that don’t want to pay you — DoorDash pays you automatically, frequently, on time, and the money gets deposited directly into your account.

Scott Jones, who has been Dashing since 2018, says “I think this is truly the most attractive thing about DoorDash. The ability to work and immediately cashout. I know people who do this just to fill the tank with gas. They only work till they get enough to fill the tank, then quit for the night. They are literally only keeping the DD app on their phone so that gas is essentially free in this hard economy.”

If you’re thinking about becoming a Dasher, here’s everything you need to know about getting paid. 

How DoorDash calculates your pay

Please note: this information is aligned with DoorDash’s documentation on the subject as of January 5, 2024. Although we don’t expect it to change often, you should consult the official documentation for the most up to date information on this subject.

When you drive for DoorDash, you can choose to be paid in one of two ways: by delivery (Earn per Offer) or by hour (Earn by Time). You can choose which compensation structure you prefer at the start of each Dash, and you can switch between the two of them as often as you’d like.

Most Dashers opt to get paid by delivery, but if you prefer a more traditional compensation structure, you can get paid an hourly rate, which is more similar to a traditional wage. Just keep in mind that Earn by Time only pays you for active time — that means you only get paid for the time between when you accept and complete an order. You won’t get paid for any downtime in between orders.

No matter which you choose, DoorDash calculates your payment in the same way: 

Base pay + Promotions + Tips = Total Earnings

Base pay is how much DoorDash pays for any single delivery (or per hour, if you so choose), which, according to DoorDash, typically ranges from $2-10. 

Promotions include Challenges, PeakPay, and referral bonuses:

  • Challenges are specific tasks that pay extra if you complete them. For example, DoorDash might run a Challenge that will pay you a $20 bonus if you complete 15 deliveries within the next week. 
  • Peak Pay is a popular promotion that gives you a bonus per delivery or batch of deliveries if you Dash during a particularly busy time, such as lunchtime. 
  • Referral bonuses are bonus payments that you receive for getting your friends to become Dashers — your friends will get a signup bonus too.

Tips are the gratuities your customers pay you. As a Dasher, you’ll get 100% of the tips you earn for orders placed through DoorDash (orders placed through other apps and fulfilled through DoorDash may have different tipping policies). Your tips won’t affect your base pay in any way. 

DoorDash will pay you the sum of all these over the course of one week. As a completely hypothetical example meant only to show how payment is calculated: if one week you completed 10 deliveries that paid $5 each, received $80 in tips, and made $50 in bonuses, DoorDash would pay you:

(10 * $5)  +  $80   +  $50          =   $180

Base pay +  Tips  +  Bonuses  =   Total Earnings

How expenses affect your earnings

There’s one more factor to take into consideration: the expenses you incur while Dashing. After all, if you’re Dashing with a car, you’ll need to pay for gas and possibly car repairs. Your car also depreciates in value as you add mileage, which isn’t exactly a concrete expense, but it’s something to keep in mind.

DoorDash doesn’t calculate this for you, and it won’t affect the amount you receive on pay day. However, you should keep track of your expenses so that you have a better idea of how much you’re actually earning — what appeared to be $180 of earnings could turn out to be just $120 of income, before taxes, if you consider $60 of gas and other expenses. 

Scott says, “I am so picky that I only consider an offer if they offer $2 per mile (including tip). Gas is just too expensive nowadays. I see some offers that make me cringe, like $5.50 for 17 miles with no tip!”

And then, of course, there’s taxes. As an independent contractor, you’ll have to pay self-employment tax, which is 15.3%, alongside your regular income tax. Luckily, you can deduct your expenses to save you some money on your tax bill — another reason to record all your expenses. 

You’ll also need to pay for your own health insurance, so make sure you factor in all this to get a better idea of your true income. 

How DoorDash pays you

Please note: this information is aligned with DoorDash’s documentation on the subject as of January 5, 2024. Although we don’t expect it to change often, you should consult the official documentation for the most up to date information on this subject.

Dashers can choose to get paid in four ways:

  • Weekly direct deposit
  • Fast pay
  • DasherDirect
  • Cash on Delivery

Weekly direct deposit is the default payment method. You simply give DoorDash your bank account payment information, and every week, DoorDash deposits the money into your account via direct deposit. You can update this information on the “Account” tab in your Dasher app.  There is no action required on your end to receive your money — it’s paid out automatically. 

DoorDash deposits your pay every Monday (the official DoorDash payday) for all deliveries completed between Monday and Sunday of the previous week. There is a 2-3 day processing period, but the money will usually show up in your bank account by Wednesday night. If a federal holiday falls on a Monday, the payment may be delayed by a day. The exact time of day that you’ll get access to the money depends on your bank, not on DoorDash.

Fast Pay allows Dashers to receive payments on a daily instead of a weekly basis. Many other gig companies call this “instant pay”. However, Fast Pay doesn’t go straight to your bank account — it goes to your debit card instead. If you don’t have a debit card connected to your DoorDash account, this option isn’t available to you. Prepaid cards do not qualify. 

There’s also a $1.99 fee for each pay out, which is pretty steep considering that can be the base pay of an entire delivery. 

DasherDirect is a prepaid debit card that gives Dashers all the benefits (and then some) of Fast Pay but without the fees. With DasherDirect, you can get paid instantly after each delivery you make — the money is deposited to your DasherDirect card, you can spend it immediately, and there are no fees. 

DasherDirect also gives you other benefits, including a minimum of 2% cashback on all gas purchases, access to a prepaid debit account and mobile banking app, and Wellness Core by Avibra, which includes:

  • 24/7 well-being advisors
  • $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance 
  • $1,000 life insurance
  • Credit counseling
  • Debt counseling
  • Housing counseling
  • Discount prescriptions

Cash on Delivery allows Dashers to receive cash from their customers upon delivery. Any cash that the customer gives you, excluding tips, will be deducted from your weekly payout. To receive Cash on Delivery orders, you have to opt-in via the “Delivery Preferences” screen in your Dasher app (you can find this under the “Account” tab). After you opt in, orders that pay cash will be noted as “Cash on Delivery” when you receive them in your Dasher app. Dashers report that these kinds of offers are quite rare - so you shouldn’t expect a whole lot out of turning this on.

And that’s all there is to it. DoorDash doesn’t just give you flexibility when it comes to when and how you work, it also gives you unparalleled flexibility when it comes to when and how you get paid.

Get started

Ready to start earning on your own schedule? Sign up today — it takes just 5 minutes, and you can receive your first payout within just days. 

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