The Top 20 Common Mistakes That DoorDash & Delivery Drivers Make

Delivery can be a good way to round out your income, especially if you’re in a rideshare market that slows down midday. Delivery can be a bit different than rideshare, and I found a great video on Gig Nation that covers 20 mistakes you can avoid when you’re out delivering.

Take a look at Gig Nation’s video, then scroll to the video transcript below to read the points he covers.

We’re going to be looking at the top 20 most common mistakes that I see drivers making out there on the road far too often, and every time I see this happen it just breaks my heart a little bit deep inside.

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If you make any of these mistakes yourself or you know somebody else that’s been making them, leave a comment down below so that we can hold each other accountable for these problems, and try and get better as delivery drivers together.

Without further ado, let’s go ahead and hop into this list and start looking at some of the issues that drivers, some of the problems and mistakes they might be making while on the road.

1. Not Multi-Apping

The first most common mistake, and probably the most crucial mistake that I see a lot of delivery drivers making is not multi-apping. You should absolutely be running multiple apps while you’re out delivering, whether that’s also mixing in Grubhub, Amazon Flex Instant Offers, Postmates, Uber Eats, your choice. Whatever works best for you in your area, you should absolutely run multiple apps at the same time. You’ve got to play the game and running multi-apps is part of that.

2. Approaching Delivery as a Full-Time Job

Another huge mistake that I see drivers making all the time is approaching DoorDash as a full time job. You’re not going to get full time hours as a DoorDash delivery driver. Quite frankly, the market is just too saturated and it’s not in DoorDash’s best interests to hire full time employees. That’s why they hire you on as an independent contractor, so you should not be looking at this as a full time job. If you’re looking for full time employment, please look elsewhere. DoorDash is a side hustle and you should look at it simply as side money.

3. Caring Too Much About Your Acceptance Rate

Caring too much about your acceptance rate is going to hurt you as a driver, because you’re going to end up picking up orders that aren’t favorable towards you. DoorDash doesn’t care that much about your acceptance rate. You can let it go really low and not get deactivated, so keeping it high is really just going to take a hit on your earnings and not going to do you a whole lot of good here.

4. Taking Orders That Are Too Far Away

This mistake falls into the same category, and that is taking long distance orders, orders that make you drive far. You’re putting mileage on your car, you’re going to have to have future maintenance and repairs because of this, so it makes sense to screen these out and only take the shorter distance offers that come your way and still provide you with a decent payout.

5. Taking Low Pay Orders

Right along with taking long distance orders is taking low pay orders. If the total payout is not enough money, then it’s not going to be worth your time to go pick up that order. You should consider multi-apping and finding other apps that are bringing in higher dollar orders, or just finding a new form of employment, because if you’re driving for orders that are only a few bucks then the mileage and wear and tear you put on your car is literally not worth it. You might be getting paid below minimum wage, and practically nothing at this point.

6. Bringing a Passenger With You

Bringing someone along with you while you’re doing a DoorDash delivery is also a huge mistake and this could get you deactivated. Now, it seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal because you don’t have passengers in the car, but it is against the DoorDash terms of service, so don’t do this. If someone reports you for it, it could be an easy reason to get quickly deactivated by DoorDash.

7. On DoorDash, Driving to a Red Zone to Work

Traveling to a red zone just to start a shift is another big problem as a DoorDash driver, because a lot of times when you go out of your way to get a red zone, by the time you get there, it’s not even a red zone. And not to mention that this mileage you’re putting on your car isn’t bringing you in any money, because it’s not part of an order. So essentially you’re spending money and you’re not going to be making that much more. You should really just be avoiding this altogether.

Don’t chase the red zones. Let them come to you.

8. Driving to Another City to Deliver

Even worse, I see some drivers out there driving to completely different cities just to start dashing. Maybe their city has become oversaturated and it’s too hard to pick up orders there, so they drive a long distance just to get started. Once again, this is a lot of mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle, and when things are getting this grim and you’re not able to pick up orders in your area, you need to be looking at other apps, other jobs, because DoorDash might not be worth it at this point.

9. Failing to Track Miles

Not using a mileage tracking app is a huge mistake that a lot of drivers are making. You’re responsible for keeping track of your own mileage. With DoorDash, you also have to pay your own taxes later, so knowing that mileage is critical for your expenses. The Stride app is the one free out that you can use. You can go ahead and download that and it’ll start tracking your mileage for you. It makes your life so much easier as a delivery driver.

10. Forgetting to Pay Quarterly Taxes

Forgetting to pay quarterly taxes is a huge mistake as a DoorDash driver that could get you in trouble with the IRS. Now, during year one, your first year as an independent contractor, so assuming you haven’t been in business for yourself before, you get kind of like a free pass. You don’t have to pay quarterly taxes, because essentially there’s this rule that says you can base your quarterly taxes off the year before, so if you weren’t an independent contractor that previous year, you have nothing to base it off of.

You can base this current year taxes off of those zero numbers and pay nothing, but that second year you have to go ahead and start paying those quarterly taxes, and if you don’t, you could owe money on the taxes not paid throughout the year, and the IRS could come looking for you.

11. Not Setting Money Aside For Taxes

Not setting aside money to pay taxes is a huge issue that I see way too many drivers making. We kind of forget altogether that we’re independent contractors and we’re responsible for paying our own taxes, so having money set aside to pay those is crucial. At the end of the year, come March, April of that next year, you’re going to have to be able to pay off those taxes, maybe like 20% to 30%, just a ballpark, of your total earnings. Depending on how good you are at expensing miles, you might be able to drop that down quite a bit. I’m not a tax professional. This is not tax advice. Just know that you should be setting money aside.

12. Not Setting Longterm Financial Goals

A lot of drivers are not setting longterm financial goals. It’s kind of the culture of delivery driving and ride share driving that you’re just getting quick, easy money and spending it maybe as quickly as you’re getting it. But if you take this approach to delivering with DoorDash or rideshare, really anything in life, then you’re not going to build wealth, and longterm, when you run into issues, they are going to become bigger issues because you don’t have the proper funds set aside to handle those problems.

13. On DoorDash, Failing to Schedule Hours

A lot of drivers don’t schedule blocks on the app. If you schedule blocks ahead of time, you have a better chance of getting orders, and it’s easier to get on the app, because if you wait until the last minute, a lot of times you’re not going to be able to pick up orders. You’re not going to be able to sign on. So scheduling out ahead of time is a good way to guarantee at least more orders coming your way.

14. Forgetting to Use a Signup Bonus

A lot of drivers also forget to use a signup bonus. If you haven’t applied yet and you’re thinking about it, you can use mine down below. Full disclosure, it doesn’t end up being a ton of money after the required number of deliveries, but if you end up doing that many deliveries, then it makes sense to go ahead and get a bonus for doing it.

15. Paying Too Much in Taxes

I see way too many drivers paying way too much to do their taxes at the end of the year. It’s actually not that hard to do them for DoorDash using the standard deduction rate for your mileage, so I recommend using a completely free tax service. Credit Karma currently offers their tax software for free, and it’s pretty easy to do hands on. It’s what I used to do my taxes this current year and I paid $0 to file those.

16. Delivering With a Gas Guzzler

There are way too many drivers out there delivering DoorDash orders, not using a fuel efficient car. Some of these drivers are using SUVs. It’s really quite painful to watch, because you might not be making that much money on the app if you’re going to be burning a ton of gas while you’re doing it. It really only makes sense if you have a relatively fuel efficient car to deliver orders in.

17. Forgetting to Use The Standard Mileage Deduction

A lot of drivers also forget to use the standard deduction rate at the end of the year to calculate their expenses as a driver. Now, this is not a perfect fit for everyone, and once again, I’m not a tax professional, but a lot of tax professionals do say that that standard deduction rate is very favorable. Especially if you have a fuel efficient car, it generally adds up to be more than the gas that you spent and the expenses that were put on your car, so go ahead and use that and it’s going to get you the best tax deductions.

18. Expecting Delivery Companies to Care About You

I see a lot of DoorDash drivers out there that are kind of expecting DoorDash and corporate DoorDash to care a lot about them as people, and honestly this is the sad truth. This is kind of a mistake to be making, because DoorDash is a customer-centric business. They care about their customers getting cheap deliveries, fast deliveries, safe deliveries, and they don’t care that much about the drivers unless it’s going to end up giving them bad PR. So expecting them to take care of you as an independent contractor just isn’t going to happen. It’s the reality of the situation. You’ve got to look at DoorDash as some side money here or there or maybe a means to an end if you’re working towards another goal, but don’t expect them to take care of you in any way whatsoever.

19. Driving Without Adequate Insurance

There are way too many drivers out there that do not have adequate vehicle insurance with DoorDash, and in my experience, DoorDash actually doesn’t do a good enough job of checking for your vehicle insurance. Once again, they kind of just want everyone out there on the road. And correct me if I’m wrong, maybe things have changed, but I don’t remember there being much of a process to vet vehicle insurance. If you are out there on the road driving without it, you put yourself in a tremendous amount of danger. Please don’t do that.

20. Getting Too Many Parking Tickets

The last mistake that I see a lot of DoorDash drivers making is getting way too many parking tickets. It’s happened to me personally, and it’s quite painful when it happens, because you really don’t end up making much money. A lot of you are losing money if you get parking tickets. For me it’s the reason why I do a lot to avoid downtown orders, because downtown orders for me mean that I’m not going to be able to find parking, which increases the risk of getting a ticket, and then also when I’m dropping off orders they end up a lot of times being apartments in high rise buildings, which mean that if I don’t find a really good long term parking, the time that I spend inside also increases the risk of getting a ticket.

That’s all for the common mistakes that I see DoorDash drivers making. There’s probably a lot of other mistakes out there, so go ahead and add to the list. If you have any, leave them down below in the comment section, and let me know what you thought about the video. Go ahead and hit that like button if you enjoyed it!

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