A guide to the side hustle: DoorDash

A closer look at Doordash and trying to make money in a competitive job market

Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash


As a student with little financial support from family or outside support from FAFSA going to school and making money can be a challenge. I have come to find that getting a job isn’t the hardest part of this journey. The hardest part of this journey is trying to make money in jobs that aren’t giving many hours, let alone barely paying minimum wage.

Some of the easiest jobs for students to obtain and work on the side while going to school full time include Postmates, uber, uber eats, DoorDash and Wagly. Although these are some of the easiest jobs for students to get during their busy schedules, many of these platforms are starting to pay less and take more from their contributors.

And that is something I have faced in my most recent endeavors as a delivery person for DoorDash. For students putting wear and tear on their car and using up gas, the payout has been very hard to come by these days for dashers. And 3 years ago when the platform was newer it was much easier to make money through DoorDash. In fact, much of dasher pay heavily relies on tips and one of my most recent pay stubs shows tips to make up over 50% of my earnings. I completed 5.4 hours of work and delivered 7 orders from March 11-17. I made 86.77 total. Now, this looks great considering the amount of work I did but considering the circumstances of the time and dates I completed my dashes, I had planned this to a tee. March 17 is St. Patricks day and with the holidays seeming to be the only time people tip I made $57.65 in tips, there was also extra pay for a couple of hours giving me an extra $8. My actual delivery earnings the company paid me for each of the orders was 21.12 which just about cover the amount of gas I used while completing the deliveries.

DoorDash has a feature called extra pay and offers in throughout many of its busy areas in South Orange County. For a set period of time, Doordash will pay you an extra bonus for every order completed. For example, DoorDash will promote in-app from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. that they’re offering an extra 2 dollars per order. But you have to complete 80% of orders and this can be a difficult task since some areas people are delivering in are so large. For me, I usually dash in South Orange County which covers Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo and Ladera Ranch. Although this doesn’t seem like a bad area to cover, Doordash has tried to send me out of that area many times. Sometimes even suggesting me to drive from where I live in Rancho Santa Margarita all the way down to the Pacific Coast Highway a 30-minute drive, only to make a measly $5 with no tips. I truly believe DoorDash uses this feature to lure more drivers into delivering because there is more of a chance of profit. And while DoorDash isn’t very generous neither is its consumers who usually tip little to nothing and this is hurting dashes considering how reliant we are on tips.

While Doordash offers alternative ways to “help” its dashers, we are scraping by on average days barely making minimum wage. And although Doordash has been a saving grace for me in the beginning, helping me pay my bills and acting as extra support it has truly turned into a less profitable hub for people who really need it.