DoorDash Tipping Guide: What You Need To Know Before You Order

These days, you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to enjoy your favorite restaurant foods. Meal-delivery services such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash make it possible to order meals directly to your door from fast-food joints, sit-down restaurants, food trucks, and every option in between.

These services rely on drivers who work as independent contractors to pick-up food orders and make deliveries to customers’ doors—all while using their own personal vehicles and gas. Each service has its own unique policies and systems for paying its drivers, though all food-delivery platforms offer an option for customers to tip their drivers.

DoorDash has one of the more confusing driver pay platforms, which can make it difficult for customers to know whether they should be tipping their drivers (known as “Dashers”) and, if so, how much of the tip actually ends up in the drivers’ pockets. If you order on DoorDash regularly or are thinking about trying this service in the near future, having a better understanding of how their payment platform works can help you make an informed decision regarding how much to tip your delivery driver.

What Is DoorDash?

DoorDash is a food-delivery platform that began in Palo Alto, California in 2013 and has since expanded to more than 600 cities across North America. Users who wish to order food through DoorDash can create a free account and enter their delivery address to see a list of participating restaurants in their area. From there, users can order their food directly through the DoorDash app (or on the DoorDash website).

Once an order is placed, users can also track their order to see when it has been picked up by the Dasher and when it is estimated to arrive at their delivery address. Like many similar services, users can rate their experience with their Dasher after their order is delivered and provide other feedback. The app and website also give users an opportunity to leave a driver gratuity when an order is placed.

DoorDash delivery fees can vary depending on the restaurant from which the customer is ordering, as well as other factors. However, delivery fees are sometimes waived for special promotions and new customers.

Understanding The DoorDash Pay Structure

DoorDash revised its Dasher payment terms in recent years—and while these changes have resulted in overall greater retention and higher Dasher satisfaction, the new payment structure can be a bit confusing. Specifically, DoorDash uses a special algorithm that calculates a “guaranteed minimum” amount of money that a Dasher will make from completing a given delivery. This minimum is calculated based on a number of factors, including the complexity of the delivery, traffic, and more.

In addition to guaranteed minimums, DoorDash always guarantees that they will kick in an additional dollar for each completed delivery, as well as $100 of any tips provided. In any instance where the tip plus $1 from DoorDash doesn’t meet the guaranteed minimum, DoorDash will also kick in a “pay boost” to ensure that the driver receives the guaranteed minimum amount.

Should You Tip Your Dasher?

As you may be able to gather from the pay model, DoorDash seems to rely heavily on the assumption that customers will tip their drivers in order to meet their “guaranteed minimum” pay amounts. Some have argued that this is problematic because it appears as though DoorDash is using customer gratuities to supplement driver pay.

Regardless of how you feel about the DoorDash payment structure, the fact remains that you should generally tip your delivery driver. Not only do drivers rely on tips to make a decent living, but you must also take into consideration that these drivers use their own personal vehicles and gas to pick up and deliver your food.

At the end of the day, the decision to tip is entirely yours—but be sure to keep in mind how the DoorDash pay structure works and the fact that drivers are providing a valuable service to you. At the time you place your order, the DoorDash app will automatically calculate and prompt you to leave a 15% tip. However, you can adjust this as you see fit.

Recommended Tipping Amounts For DoorDash

If you’re going to tip your DoorDash driver, it is recommended that you follow general service-industry tipping guidelines. In other words, think about tipping the same amount you would tip your server at a restaurant or your pizza delivery driver. In most areas, this equates about 15%-20% of your total bill.

Of course, it’s not always this cut-and-dry. For example, DoorDash frequently runs special promotions that will give you a certain dollar amount off your order or waive your delivery fee. When you’re taking advantage of these kinds of discounts, you should still tip your driver based on the full amount before any promotions or discounts. For example, if you have a $20 order but use a promotional code to drop your total down to $15, you should still leave your tip based on the $20 total. If you’re tipping 20%, this will equate to a $4 tip. This is similar to Postmates tipping etiquette.

You may want to take other factors into consideration when tipping your Dasher as well. For example, if you know that your driver had to drive through heavy rush hour traffic to make your delivery, you might consider throwing an extra dollar or two his or her way to make up for the additional time, gas, and vehicle wear-and-tear. The same applies if your driver went above and beyond, such as by returning to the restaurant to retrieve an item that an employee forgot to put in your bag.

And of course, if you have an especially poor experience with your Dasher, you are justified in lowering your tip amount if desired. Just be sure that you aren’t “punishing” your driver for things that were beyond his or her control. For example, it’s not your driver’s fault if there was an accident on the freeway that caused your delivery to be a few minutes late.

When To Tip Your Dasher

Another common question people have when it comes to using the DoorDash platform is when they should leave their driver a tip. The DoorDash app prompts users to tip their drivers at the same time they place their order. However, some users may be uncomfortable with tipping before they know what kind of service they’re going to receive. For example, a user may not want to leave a 20% tip on an order and then regret it when they have a bad experience.

The good news is that DoorDash allows users to change their tip amount after-the-fact by visiting the Delivery Help page; here, tips can be adjusted as needed. This includes adding a tip when you did not leave one at the time you placed your order. If you did leave a tip but want to adjust it, you can increase or decrease as you see fit. Your delivery driver will be notified of any changes in your gratuity.

Benefits Of Tipping In Cash

For those who are uncomfortable with the idea of tipping through the DoorDash app or leaving a tip before they know what kind of service they’re going to receive, there is always the option of tipping Dashers in cash at the time of delivery. There is no requirement that drivers receive tips directly through the DoorDash app, and a cash tip can actually work out in the Dasher’s favor by increasing the total amount they make off your delivery.

Here’s how.

When you tip your Dasher in cash, DoorDash has no record of it. Instead, they see that the driver has not made the minimum guaranteed amount for the order, so they kick in the amount required to meet that minimum. On top of that, the driver receives the cash tip that you provided. This increases the driver’s total pay for the delivery without costing you an extra penny. In addition, paying cash makes the Dasher a happier person as they can readily use the money and not have to wait until payday. Tipping cash is common for the maid service industry. If you want to read about maid tipping etiquette, read our maid tipping etiquette guide.

Many drivers also appreciate cash tips because they’re able to pocket the money right away, rather than waiting for DoorDash to pay-out. And when you consider some of the controversy about DoorDash using tips to pay their drivers, tipping in cash can help to avoid this issue altogether.

If you do decide not to tip in cash but to use the app instead, feel free to let your driver know once he or she arrives with your order. This way, there won’t be any misunderstanding and your driver will know that you are leaving a tip. Just be sure that if you didn’t leave your tip in the app at the time you ordered, that you don’t forget to go back and add it. Unfortunately, this is something that happens all too often and can really ruin a driver’s day.

The Bottom Line On DoorDash and Tipping

As you can see, DoorDash has one of the more complicated payment structures for its drivers. As a DoorDash user, however, the most important thing to remember is that drivers rely heavily on tips to make a living. Not only are they putting wear and tear on their personal vehicles to make your deliveries, but they’re also paying for their own gas and often going above and beyond to ensure you get the food you want in a timely manner.

When it comes to tipping your Dasher, feel free to tip through the app if that will be most convenient to you. The tip amount will simply be charged to your credit card along with the rest of your order total (and remember, you can always adjust your tip amount after your delivery if you desire). If you can, however, most Dashers will prefer to be tipped in cash. A cash tip will increase the total payout the driver receives for your order while also putting some money in your driver’s pocket right away.

With so many different food-delivery platforms available these days, all customers should be aware of and follow general tipping etiquette. Tipping your driver can help to ensure excellent ongoing service while keeping these time-saving delivery apps in business. And remember, when you need a little help cleaning up after ordering all that restaurant take-out, Maid Sailors is here to help. Book your professional cleaning service today!

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