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.
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.