The gig economy is awesome because it’s flexible, so you can make extra cash on your own schedule to reach your financial goals.
Delivering food for DoorDash is the perfect example: as a Dasher, you can go online and start completing deliveries in your city to boost your income.
But, can you make a living off DoorDash?
The idea of being your own boss and only working when you want to is enticing. But, like other gig apps, doing DoorDash full time really depends on your market, income goal, and numerous factors.
So, in this post, we’re breaking down if living off DoorDash is possible and how you can make that a reality if that’s your goal.
Let’s get to it!
Not making money in the gig economy yet?
Can You Make A Living Off DoorDash? – What The Math Says
The main factor in deciding if you can do DoorDash for a living is your hourly wage.
This is because, if you work 40+ hours a week doing DoorDash, you need the income to cover all of your expenses and leave you enough of a cushion to save and get by.
So, can DoorDash be a full-time job?
Well, we’ve covered how much money DoorDash drivers make before, and here’s what the data and real couriers have to say.
According to various salary review websites, here’s how much drivers make:
This averages out to around $17 per hour.
If you earn $17 per hour and work 40 hours a week for 50 out of 52 weeks a year (to account for vacation), this works out to:
- Weekly Pay: $680.
- Monthly Pay: $2,833.
- Annual Pay: $35,360.
As for what real DoorDash drivers say, you find earnings vary greatly by market.
In some markets, Dashers regularly earn $15 to $20+ per hour and can make a few thousand dollars per month doing DoorDash.
In contrast, some markets are slower, and Dashers just use DoorDash as a part-time side hustle to make some extra cash.
I’ll get to the importance of markets on doing DoorDash full-time in a bit, but first, let’s look at how this average of $17 per hour stacks up against some other data.
How Does An Annual DoorDash Salary Compare To GDP Per Capita?
Let me start by saying that $17 per hour is probably a little high for DoorDash, since some markets are quite slow.
But, let’s go with this $17 per hour for the sake of some number crunching.
According to The World Bank, the average GDP per capita in the United States is approximately $63,300.
This is almost twice the average annual DoorDash salary you would earn if you made around $17 per hour.
On this front, it’s clear that the average American household has better-paying jobs than DoorDash and is better off with other employment options.
But, can you do DoorDash for a living if you’re currently at a lower-paying job? Let’s find out.
How Does DoorDash Pay Compare To Minimum Wage?
According to the Department of Labor, the average minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour.
If you work 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, this works out to:
- Weekly Pay: $290.
- Monthly Pay: $1,208.
- Annual Pay: $15,080.
This is clearly much lower than the annual DoorDash pay potential, and of course, this leads to many minimum wage workers having second jobs and working 50 to 60+ hours per week to get by.
So, it’s clear that living off DoorDash isn’t sensicle if you currently have a high-paying job.
But, when you compare DoorDash pay versus the average minimum wage, or even wages around $10 per hour, the argument becomes more compelling.
What Factors Influence If You Can Live Off DoorDash?
Can you live off DoorDash?
Well, figuring this out really depends on several factors that influence how much money you need to get by, as well as your financial goals.
1. Cost Of Living
If you live in a high cost of living city like New York or San Francisco, it’s less likely you can make a living doing DoorDash.
This is because your hourly pay probably can’t support all of your inflated expenses like:
- Fuel for your car
- Entertainment and discretionary spending
Granted, DoorDash does pay slightly different base rates depending on your market, but you’re not going to be earning $30 to $40 per hour doing DoorDash just because you live in California.
So, the main requirement for doing DoorDash is to live in a low cost of living area, particularly where rent and food costs are low.
Remember: the average annual DoorDash salary is around $35,000 if you deliver full time, so you should use this as a benchmark (on the high end).
2. Number Of Dependents
Another factor that influences if you can live off of DoorDash is how many dependents you have.
In other words, if you need to support children and a family, you inherently have a higher cost of living.
But, if you’re a single, young adult without many obligations, the odds you can do DoorDash full time go up.
I mean, my friend did DoorDash and Uber Eats after we graduated, and he lived in Toronto, a very high cost of living city in Canada.
Again, this ties back to your average monthly cost of living, but it’s important to consider.
3. Income Goals
Living off DoorDash is likely possible if you live in a low cost of living area and don’t have any dependents.
But, your income goals also influence if this is the right decision.
For example, if you want to grow your wealth, you probably want to aim for a decent job with a good salary.
You might also consider investing your money to start earning passive income.
In this scenario, having more discretionary income is important since you have more money to put to work.
So, if you’re barely scraping by doing DoorDash for a living, this might be hindering you. But if you can do DoorDash full time and still comfortably invest and save, this isn’t an issue.
Now, if you want to look for some higher-paying jobs, I suggest reading our post on 20+ jobs that pay $5,000 per month.
I also recommend watching our video on the highest paying jobs that don’t require a degree for some ideas you can turn to if you want to boost your income.
Again, you should set some income goals for yourself and see if living off of DoorDash matches your budget!
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4. Your Market
Perhaps one of the most important factors to if you can make a living doing DoorDash is your market.
As mentioned, some DoorDash markets are way slower than others, meaning it’s more difficult to make the average of around $17 per hour.
Typically, very small, rural towns are going to have a lower earning potential than larger markets where there’s more DoorDash demand and restaurants to deliver for.
This isn’t always the case, and unfortunately, you have to test out your market to learn how it operates and what sort of hourly wages you can expect.
But as a general rule of thumb, medium and larger cities have a higher income potential for DoorDash.
What Do Real DoorDash Drivers Say About Going Full-Time?
One really useful resource to turn to in order to figure out if you can survive off of DoorDash is to see what real couriers are saying.
And, in particular, one Dasher I really like listening to is the YouTuber Nuggs.
Nuggs actually does DoorDash full-time, and in one of his videos, he explains why he quit his job at Wendy’s to DoorDash instead.
Specifically, Nuggs explains that when he was working at Wendy’s, he was earning around $11.25 per hour, and this was after a promotion to manager.
But, he disliked the job, was overworked, and the pay wasn’t representative of the work he was putting in.
However, since Nuggs lives in a smaller town in Ohio where the average annual salary is $23,000, his $15 to $20 per hour average with DoorDash is enough to live off of.
Furthermore, Nuggs now makes more money doing DoorDash full-time than working at Wendy’s, so it’s the perfect example of how you can do DoorDash for a living and when it makes sense.
If Nuggs were living in New York or Los Angeles, the situation might be a little different.
Nuggs is also in his early 20s and doesn’t have kids, so again, his annual cost of living is low and he can support himself by doing DoorDash and, now, making money on YouTube.
Anyway, Nuggs is just one DoorDash driver, but what do other drivers think?
Well, there was a ton of interesting feedback from drivers in this Reddit thread on doing DoorDash for a living.
Here’s what some drivers said:
- Supah_RekT says: “Possible if you’re willing to put in the extra hours. I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. Making about $1000 a week on good weeks, $700/wk on bad ones. In the Denver market btw.”
- HastilityChosenUserID says: “It’s low stability and expensive in terms of gas/maintenance, so I wouldn’t make it your primary source of income.”
- Xeroith says: “It’s obviously possible to pay bills with DD, the problem is gas and vehicle repairs or total destruction. Eventually you need to fix your brakes and other major issues that crop up.”
- shane1228earth says: “I would not encourage someone who has a family to support and a mortgage to pay to do something like that but since it sounds like you’re just supporting yourself, If you live in a busy market and you’re driven to put in the hours and resist the temptation to clock out early and take days off which is not possible when you have boss watching over you I would say sure, why not!”
So, as you can see, Dashers have varying opinions on if there’s full-time potential.
Your market also plays a massive role as stated, and you need to consider your dependents and inevitable vehicle repairs as well.
Ultimately, this is a game of math and testing your market, but I’d say a small percentage of Dashers can do DoorDash for a living.
Tips For Doing DoorDash Full-Time
If you want to make a living off of DoorDash, here are a few tips to keep in mind to increase your odds of success!
1. Become A Better Dasher
In our post on DoorDash tips and tricks, we cover over a dozen tips on how to make more money as a Dasher, including tips like:
- The best times to do DoorDash
- Customer service advice
- How to manage your DoorDash acceptance rate and completion rates
- How to manage your DoorDash mileage and gas expenses
- What orders you should and shouldn’t accept
All of these tips help you make more money per hour, ultimately making it easier to make a living doing DoorDash.
2. Mix In Other Gig Apps
While this might sound counter productive, there are actually lots of other apps that pay you to drive and complete deliveries.
And, it’s common for food delivery couriers to try different apps or even multi-app during a shift to cherry-pick the highest paying orders.
Some of the most popular apps you can use include:
- Instacart – Deliver groceries as an Instacart Shopper and earn around $10 to $20 per hour.
- Uber Eats – Deliver food for the largest ridesharing company and make money, just like DoorDash.
- Shipt – Like Instacart, Shipt lets you make money by delivering groceries to people in your city.
I wouldn’t recommend double-apping the first time you do DoorDash since you want to focus on learning how to Dash.
But, if you find some days are slow for dashing in your market, mix in other delivery apps to keep your hourly rate high.
3. Live Frugally
If you want DoorDash to be a full time job, anything you can do to cut expenses is a good thing.
This is because the lower your monthly cost of living, the less money you need to survive and thrive.
Some common budgetary areas you can try to trim include:
- Food – Go to cheaper grocery stores, make a meal plan, and use various reward apps like Fetch Rewards to score some cash back on food.
- Gas – Since DoorDash doesn’t pay for gas, small things like a gas rewards card or using the GetUpside app can help you reduce your fuel expenses.
- Entertainment – Try going on more free outings or having cheap nights in with friends rather than going out. You can also create a monthly entertainment budget with apps like Cleo orMint.
- Insurance – If it’s been a while since you’ve shopped around for cheaper car insurance, you might be able to find a deal and lower your monthly payments.
- Phone Bill – You need data for your job as a DoorDash driver, but you can switch to cheaper phone plans like Mint Mobile to save money on data charges.
- Rent – Living with roommates or as cheap a place as possible helps save money. You can also wait to move out if you’re able to live at home to save money.
You get the idea: anything you can do to trim your monthly bills can help you make a living off DoorDash.
Pro Tip: Find affordable auto insurance and compare auto insurance rates with Gabi! 🙂
So, can you make a living doing DoorDash?
Well, I think the answer is no for most Dashers, especially if you have a family or live in a moderately expensive area.
But, for drivers in low cost of living areas and without dependents, I think it’s possible.
Additionally, there’s no harm in just using DoorDash to increase your monthly income while holding down another full or part-time job.
DoorDash is still flexible, and you can try other gig apps as mentioned to improve your overall annual income.
Even if it’s only an extra $200 a month, that goes a long way in helping you save more and can help cover unexpected expenses.
I hope this post at least helps you break down the math to decide if living off DoorDash is viable!
Happy dashing, and best of luck!
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Tom is a 24 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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