DoorDash claims its drivers make on average $17.50 hourly, actual rate might be closer to $6

Illustration for article titled DoorDash claims its drivers make on average $17.50 hourly, actual rate might be closer to $6em/em
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DoorDash faced criticism last month for its policy of allowing the company to apply customer tips toward its drivers base pay. Instacart had a similar policy, but changed it after facing criticism, leaving DoorDash as the only company still using tips in this way. To improve its fraying goodwill with drivers, DoorDash yesterday emailed its drivers a sort of corporate pep-talk—subject line: “Listening to the Dasher community”—which included the statistic that DoorDash drivers made an average of $17.50 or more per hour on deliveries last year, per the email obtained by TechCrunch.

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Hey, $17.50 doesn’t sound too shabby, right? But that calculation doesn’t take into account drivers’ expenses like mileage, taxes, gas, etc. It also doesn’t include tips. A nonprofit labor group told TechCrunch its calculations show the average hourly rate is probably less than $6, based on its reviews of real DoorDash driver pay data. That is a not-insignificant disparity, and one that points to a larger gulf in understanding between DoorDash corporate and its drivers, who may be perceiving driver compensation and experience in entirely different ways.

To try and bridge the gap, DoorDash announced it will host roundtables and launch surveys in the coming weeks to try to understand driver concerns. But will the company have incentive to change? It announced $400 million in new funding last month, and recently overtook GrubHub to become the top on-demand food delivery service.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

I’m not surprised. One thing that jumped hard at me when I went freelance was how much of an employee’s compensation is paid before even the pretax salary line that the employee sees.

Having to bear all of my own expenses (and that’s without even having auto maintenance as part of my job description) was an unpleasant shock that forced an early revision to my rate sheet. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the likes of Uber and Doordash drivers.