Welcome to Door Dash! We’re pleased you’ve decided to become a “Dasher.” You probably started doing this as a “temporary gig,” but you may find that it becomes one of the best jobs you’ve ever had, if you’re a slightly rebellious type who doesn’t like being told what to do. There’s almost complete freedom, you can consistently make around $20 per hour, and it’s mostly driving around while listening to music or podcasts. You don’t even really have to schedule yourself. Just dash when you feel like it.
But as a new dasher, there are a few things you should know.
People will not always leave their porch lights on, have a clearly visible address on their house, nor leave detailed instructions on how to reach their apartment number within a sprawling labyrinth of a complex. You may occasionally find yourself wandering around with a full meal from Popeye’s for ten minutes before finding your destination. You may consider writing a strongly worded letter to the universe in general, requesting that your destinations always be well-lit and easy to find.
While the Dasher app has the ability to connect to your phone’s GPS system, this is not always reliable. You could discover that in your attempt to deliver McDonald’s to a family in Magna, your phone has guided you to the abandoned Saltair Pavilion, a dilapidated venue on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. These kinds of misadventures can be avoided by making sure the location in the Dasher app and the location in the Maps app are the same.
Some people will be assholes. They will come out of their houses without masks and expect you to hand them their food, which you will either reluctantly do, or more often, you’ll set their food down on the ground and walk away because there’s a pandemic still happening. Some people will also be assholes by not tipping. You don’t have to take those orders. You can ignore them.
If you’ve struggled in the past with the difference between left and right, in part due to years of being both an actor/dancer and a director/choreographer, where stage left and stage right are opposite of your left and right when looking at the stage, you may find that following GPS instructions regularly will help improve your ability to tell the difference. Spending hours each day being told to turn either left or right with pictures and arrows to guide you will kind of start to embed the difference more solidly in your brain.
You’ll also grow more deeply familiar with the area in which you live in general. You’ll start to patch together neighborhoods and highways and areas into a more comprehensive mental map. It will be deeply satisfying.
You’ll also grow familiar with restaurants in your area, and learn their quirks and what to expect. An order from that Boba place will usually take 10 minutes longer than stated, but you’ll get to watch KPOP videos on the large TV in the lobby while you wait. One restaurant chain will not serve Dashers through the drive-thru, but this other one prefers it. That cookie place always pays well, and the customers tip like gangbusters. Never take a grocery delivery from Walmart unless you know how big it is.
Note that there are a dozen hotels near the airport and that the drive is a bit of a pain, but the tips are usually worth it. Also not that the FBI has a large, nondescript office building in the same area. You’ll discover this because one day you’ll deliver Panda Express to a friendly employee there.
You may, on some nights, find yourself wishing that no one else would be on the roads while you are driving, ever. You may long to cruise through town, unhindered by other drivers, not needing to deal with long lines, lights that are slow to change, or people who don’t understand speed limits and/or turn signals. This is normal. Take a few deep breaths.
If at all possible, drive a car that has infinite cupholders. You will need to be able to transport your water bottle, a separate drink for yourself if you’re fancy, customer drinks, and your phone. A 2012 Compact Toyota Prius will have excellent gas mileage, but not enough cupholders.
Keep your eyes open. Not just for safety, but for wonder. There will be evenings when the sunset sky looks so spectacular it will seem like a painting. You may see a white rabbit nibbling in the grass of someone’s front yard. You’ll get two orders in a row for two different people named “Gray.” Look for magic. There are little altars everywhere.