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DoorDash hourly pay policy ‘Earn by Time’ seems good, but Dashers don’t like it

On June 28, 2023, DoorDash released a new payment policy – Earn by Time to supplement the initial Earn per Order policy that was the spin of the DoorDash service. You cannot use it since it hasn’t replaced the original model. But if you want to try it, you may be disappointed.

First of all, Earn by Time seems like a twist for regulators and legislators to show that workers have the option to guarantee their hourly rate. Looks like a slight response to the New York and other moves to guarantee the food delivery workers their minimum wage. And such ideas are widely criticized from both sides.

And secondly, as DoorDash says, that’s a move to help workers to make their earnings more predictable. For those who don’t know how delivery services usually work, I’ll explain: with the standard scheme with earn per order, the rider gets paid for each completed order. But there’s a trick: it may be caught in traffic junk or spend too much time waiting for an order to be prepared.

Once, I waited for my order to be delivered for 2.5 hours, and as a rider said, he was waiting 1.5 hours for it to be prepared. So if you’re Dasher and you work with pay-per-order, you’re playing roulette. You may deliver super-fast and get great money. Or wait an hour waiting for an order and then half an hour in traffic junks.

And that’s the time you could spend on other orders. So Earn by Time seems to be a great idea. Yeap, riders are paid only when they’re active (waiting, taking, or delivering an order, executing it generally). They don’t get a payment when waiting for a new order.

What do Dashers say?

Three Dashers I talked with say they prefer to earn per order. Here’s their reasoning:

  • By fulfilling orders at an hourly rate, you get an average amount.

This means that although your income will now be a little more stable and predictable, you are more likely to earn less than you would with a pay-per-delivery order. Whereas before, their income varied from day to day. On some days, you can get peak earnings. One was successful, and one was not, but overall it worked out to be more profitable by about 15-20%.

  • Your Dashes may usually be ended, even if you aren’t declining the order.

Dasher Emanuel told me that his Dash was ended after he declined one order and then marked a restaurant as closed (it was really closed, based on his words), but the DoorDash system took this as an order decline. The same problem I found on Reddit, so it seems that’s not a one-time case.

  • This system is good when the market is slow.

If the market is slow, you will get more with Earn by Time mode than when paid per order, as it counts waiting and delivery time.

  • That’s better than nothing, but still not enough.

There’s a big gap in expenses for living between Big Cities and small towns. The pay is enough for small and middle towns but not enough for expensive ones like NYC. Here’s the workers’ union demands up to $30 per hour. The initial idea for NYC was $24, but then it was cut to $19.96 per hour. And with the DoorDash rates, most Dashers say the pay isn’t enough to be better than earn-by-order.

  • You can face problems if your delivery takes too long and can be seen as a willful delay.

Another Dasher says you should be quick enough when performing the delivery, so the service will suspect you of deliberately stalling. If you do so, your Dash with Earn by Time will end, and your only option to sign in again will be Earn by Order. Sometimes that may even lead to deactivation.

  • You can skip only one order at a time.

If you deliver with earn-by-order, you can skip orders to take the good ones. But with pay-by-time, you can skip only one order an hour, so you need to take more deliveries as you cannot skip them. Of course, that’s great for DoorDash and stores, as sometimes they were waiting 10-15 minutes to get a Dasher assigned, but that will force Dashers to make more deliveries.

  • Bottom Tier orders always go to hourly Dashers.

That’s what a lot of Dashers complain about. When you choose Earn by Time, you probably will get only bottom-tier orders. And you cant skip them.

  • You don’t get paid for the time you’re waiting.

That’s why most Dashers aren’t happy with the new system. As they said, it could be good if DoorDash would take the time they’re waiting between different orders, so they would know they’re not wasting their time, even if they would need to handle small and fast delivery and a lot of them. You can read more about this here (but you probably need an NYT subscription).

    Dash Along the Way

    While it sounds great, you can take more deliveries en route to maximize your earnings and minimize the waiting time, which may hurt delivery service. Imagine you’re making an order. Now, you must wait before the Dasher ends other deliveries en route. And that’s not what a lot of customers expect. And if the Dasher can’t get to the destination on time, the Dash may end.

    And Dashers should be careful and not get stuck up in one zone, or that will look like a system abuse, so your Dash may also end. So be careful with that.


    Anyway, the different options to choose from are plentiful. At least, Dashers aren’t forced to take deliveries with pay-by-time rates, and they can test different options. One Dasher told me that Earn by Time works for him in his area, and now, he’s making more with such orders than he was making before with pay-by-delivery. But other Dashers, I even say the most Dashers, don’t like the new system and prefer to earn by order. As I said, most like the idea at all but say that rates are too low to compete with earn-by-order earnings.