DoorDash: Fees, Locations, and Logistics

FT Contributor  | 

What Is DoorDash?

DoorDash is a smartphone app that helps consumers order and receive food from local restaurants. When you use the app to have food delivered, the DoorDash delivery person is the middleman between you and the restaurant. With the app, you avoid the hassle of picking up to-go orders yourself or being limited to only ordering from restaurants that offer their own delivery services.

With the DoorDash app, restaurants have the ability to offer food delivery without having their own delivery staff on hand. DoorDash delivery drivers are self-employed through the service and most deliver food as a side gig to make extra money. Learning more about how DoorDash works, the fees associated with this service, and where it’s available will help you decide if DoorDash can help you bridge that gap between your next Netflix binge and dinner in your living room, all without pausing between episodes.

How Does DoorDash Work?

As a consumer, you can download and use the DoorDash app to choose a local restaurant, select the food items you want, and pay for your order. The restaurants available to you on the app depend on what local establishments have agreed to work with DoorDash.

When restaurants sign up with DoorDash, the app takes care of orders and deliveries for them, streamlining the food delivery process. This allows restaurants to expand on their food delivery business without increasing staff to take phone orders or deliver food. However, these restaurants are charged 20% to 25% in fees on each order made through the app.

These restaurant fees are used to maintain the app and pay delivery drivers. As independent contractors, DoorDash couriers usually use this job to make money on the side. They’re only paid for each delivery they make and may also benefit from additional tips customers may provide.

First Time Purchase Incentives?

If you’re a new customer, DoorDash is currently offering Free Delivery on your first order. Minimum order value to qualify is $10. Be sure to check DoorDash.com frequently, as their first time customer discounts and incentives may vary.

DoorDash also offers exclusive promotions and deals through their app download.

How to Use the DoorDash App

To use the DoorDash food delivery service, you must first download the DoorDash app on your smartphone. You’re then prompted to create an account and provide your contact information, delivery address, and payment information. After you’ve successfully created an account, you can begin using it to place delivery orders through the following steps:

1. Browse

When you’re signed in to your DoorDash account, the app uses your location to search for participating restaurants nearby. You’re provided with a list of restaurants you can order from in your area. You can sort through this list by choosing a food category or type of meal. You also have the option to search directly by restaurant name or you may type in a food item name you’re looking for.

Once you’ve found the restaurant you want to order from, the app provides you with a food menu. You’ll see the price of each food item, as well as any additional delivery fees. Browse through the menu to decide which items you want to order.

2. Place an Order

Choose the food items you want by clicking “Add to Order.” You may need to select customization options, such as add-ons or special instructions. These items are added to your cart. After you’ve finished choosing your items, review your cart to ensure your selections are correct. You can remove items from the cart by clicking on them and choosing “Remove from cart.”

3. Payment Options

When you’re done selecting food items, your cart provides you with a subtotal for your order. Your payment information is saved to your account to make the checkout process fast and convenient. DoorDash accepts PayPal, debit card, or credit card payments. Review your order details, including your total with delivery fees and the address on file, before confirming your order.

4. Wait

When you place your order, the estimated delivery time is displayed. This time is based on how quickly the restaurant can prepare your food, when the self-employed DoorDash driver will pick up your food, and how many other customers are also waiting on deliveries.

You can check the status of your order from the “Orders” tab in your DoorDash account. Once your driver has picked up the order, you can also track their location using the map within the app. You may even contact the driver to check on your order if necessary, but keep in mind, drivers cannot answer their phones while driving.

How Much Does DoorDash Cost?

When you place an order with DoorDash, you’re responsible for additional service and delivery fees. Since the delivery service also charges fees to restaurants, these establishments may choose to increase prices on food items to help cover additional costs.

Your order total breaks down the additional fees you’re responsible for paying and your order’s total cost. Your DoorDash order total includes the following:

  • Your food order cost, plus tax on each item.
  • An optional gratuity for the DoorDash driver.
  • A delivery fee, which varies by restaurant.
  • A service fee, which varies by restaurant.

Your delivery cost may vary depending on the establishment, but average DoorDash delivery fees range from $1.99 to $4.99 per order. The service fee averages around 10% of your order and if your order total is below a certain minimum, you’ll also be charged about a $2 small order fee. Typically, your food order must be at least $8 to $10 to avoid this additional charge.

Compare DoorDash fees with UberEats fees and the delivery costs of other food delivery apps before placing your order. Food delivery apps tack on several additional charges, so your order is generally much more expensive than if you ordered to-go food in person at a restaurant.

If you’re trying to save money, look for promotional codes for food delivery apps or consider picking your order up yourself. Also if this is your first time purchasing, be sure to check and see if there are any first time purchase incentives. With so many food delivery options available, many companies are offering exclusive promotions to new customers.

Where Is DoorDash Available?

DoorDash is available in most major U.S. cities, as well as areas in Puerto Rico, Australia, and Canada. To find out if DoorDash delivers in your area, type your address in the location finder bar to view local participating restaurants. Some of the cities DoorDash operates in are:

  • Miami.
  • Atlanta.
  • Nashville.
  • New Orleans.
  • Salt Lake City.
  • Sacramento.

DoorDash is a convenient way to have food delivered to your home or office. However, it’s important to review the additional service and delivery fees on your order before placing it. If you’re on a tight budget, remember that food delivery apps like DoorDash are expensive and not beneficial to saving money.


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