Breaking down my DoorDash pay for January, 2020

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After wrapping up a typical January in my area, where all 31 days were considered “mostly cloudy”, ugh, I figured I would do a little breakdown on my earnings for the month.

I’m working on being less lazy, but I only worked 16 out of the 31 days, and a couple of those weren’t exactly full days or even close to it.

In a nutshell, I ended up doing 171 deliveries with gross earnings of $1387.93 for an average of $8.12 per delivery. Time wise, I worked 102.75 hours, which equates to $13.51 per hour. For me, the overall results are good enough for what I need to make while I’m doing this. I’m not much of a cherry-picker and I rarely do the multi-app thing. My threshold for accepting an order is usually a $5 minimum and $1/mile. When they have peak pay, I add that amount on to my minimum. For example, if they are offering $2 peak pay, I only accept orders that are $7 or higher.

When I started doing this gig work last year, I’ve always kept track of earnings and mileage, but for January I decided to do a more complete breakdown to see exactly how much money DoorDash is paying me versus how much of my income is thanks to the tipping customer. Except for the times when DD offers substantial “peak pay”, tips have generally accounted for over half of my revenue.

For January, I tracked and logged my base pay, peak pay, other pay, and hours worked. In addition, I jotted down the mileage from the time I accepted each of the 171 orders until I completed them. Naturally, I kept track of total miles overall as well, since dead miles count. 🙂

Without further ado, here are the numbers for January:

Deliveries: 171
Active miles: 783.6(74.9%)
Dead miles: 263.2(25.1%)
Total miles: 1046.8

Base pay: $610.51(44%)
Peak pay: $45.00(3.2%)
Other pay: $4.00(0.3%)
Tips: $728.42(52.5%)
Total pay: $1387.93

Thank goodness for tips, right? If it weren’t for customers footing the bill for the majority of my earnings, here’s what things would look like as far as DD pay for January:

With base pay only first and the with peak/other pay added:
$5.94/hour —- $6.42/hour
$3.57 per delivery — $3.86
$0.78 per active mile — $0.84
$0.583 per mile total — $0.63

Now when we add in tips we get:
$1.77/active mile
$1.33/mile overall

Again, these numbers are gross earnings. For this post, we’re not going heavy into vehicle expense, wear and tear, etc. But just doing two different exercises with quick math will illustrate a couple things.

From a tax filing standpoint, if we’re just doing a standard mileage deduction, we’re going to be writing off $601.91 (1046.8 miles x the mileage allowance for 2020 which is $0.575/mile). So on paper, we’re now talking net earnings of $786.02.

From an actual expense standpoint, I get about 26 MPG and gas is around $2.70/gallon here, so I’m looking at about $110 in gas and I got an oil change for $40, which would put take home cash for the month at about $1237.93

Even with low earnings of less than $1400, you can see the wide swing between the mileage allowance write-off and actual expenses. Those are the numbers that people like to manipulate or ignore in order to make the earnings in this industry look better or worse, depending on their agenda.

Either way, these numbers aren’t great and aren’t something most people should want to live with long term. I work both peak and off-peak hours, so people who only work lunch, dinner, and weekends should theoretically get better results.

The low base pay that these gig companies pay really makes me question the long term viability of the industry. In food delivery, we’re not exactly waiters on wheels and vehicle expense should mandate higher base rates for drivers.

One final note from looking at my breakdown. There were 11 times in January when I had stacked orders. 8 of the 11 times it was an order from the same restaurant, but every single time, the added order only payed a base rate of $2, except for one that paid $2.25 base.

10 add-ons, payed $2 base
1 add-on payed $2.25
119 orders were $3 base
5 were $3.25
4 were $3.50
3 were $3.75
2 were $4.00
2 were $4.25
2 were $4.50
5 were $4.75
2 were $5.00
4 were $5.50
2 were $5.75
1 was $6.00
1 was $6.25
2 were $6.50
1 each of the following base pay:


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