Is Top Dasher worth it?

DoorDash has a program called Top Dasher that allows you to dash any time and have access to higher orders first, which in my opinion should be based on ratings and completion rate, not acceptance rate but more on that later.

What are the requirements?

Here are the official requirements from DoorDash. “On the 1st day of each month, if you meet the criteria, you will be considered a Top Dasher! You qualify as a Top Dasher when you meet the following criteria by the last day of each month”:

  • Complete 100 or more orders
  • Accept at least 70% of the deliveries offered to you
  • Maintain customer rating of at least 4.7 
  • Complete at least 95% of orders
  • Have at least 200 lifetime deliveries

What does this mean for Dashers?

After 1,000 orders on DoorDash, I have yet to qualify for Top Dasher because of the 70% acceptance rate.

Going for Top Dasher would mean I’d have to take pretty much every small order that comes my way (I’m talking average orders of $2.75 here, some with insane delivery distances) until I reach a 70% acceptance rate.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Just take a look at some of the orders that come our way as dashers.

DoorDash small order popup screenshotDoorDash order popup

This one isn't even that bad since it's a low delivery distance but I've had similar orders with a 10 mile delivery distance. Plus, McDonald's is notoriously slow on DoorDash so I'd have to wait at the restaurant while the order is being prepared.

DoorDash low paying order popup screenshotDoorDash low paying order popup

This one also doesn't have a crazy far delivery distance but Outback on a Friday night means long wait times for me (I've waited upward of 30 minutes for a weekend order at Outback).

Plus traffic on the weekend is nutty where I live so the 5 mile delivery distance would take me close to 20 minutes.

So for shock value, let's assume this order takes me close to an hour to complete.

I'll have made $3.25... an hour. No chance of getting an increase in tip on DoorDash, nothing. I would have to take orders like this on a regular basis just to make it to Top Dasher.

I know how much of a hassle smaller paying orders can be because of wait-time and delivery distance so taking no to low tip orders one after the other would not only cost me money in gas but would also be incredibly frustrating since customers can’t increase their tip after delivery like on UberEats so I know I’ll be stuck with a $2-$5 order after what could take upward of 60 minutes from start to finish.

Even if I took 10 orders in an evening, I wouldn’t make up the money spent on gas.

That’s so crazy to me.

It negates our strategy

I literally can’t afford to go for Top Dasher. I actually need to make money on DoorDash so I can’t waste money on gas delivering $2 orders with a 12 mile delivery distance just to get a 70% acceptance rate.

Usually, when I start my dash, I have to decline between 5-8 orders that are too small or have a huge delivery distance that ends up in another zone. If I were to go for Top Dasher, I’d have to take most of those to increase my acceptance rate to 70%.

My strategy is to wait for a higher paying order with a relatively low delivery distance, which has worked incredibly well income wise. I have to think about my weekly income, not some potential income in the future if I sacrifice money now to reach that future income. It’s not even a guaranteed thing.

I meet the other requirements like overall rating and completion rate but just not the acceptance rate, which is a big one. I simply don’t know how to swing it since so many orders on DoorDash are between $2.75 and $4.25.

After 1,000 I know what’s worth my while and what isn’t in terms of an order so I feel like I’d have to ignore that knowledge just to make Top Dasher.

I do very well each week with the strategy to take higher paying orders and generally love what I do but I really think I’d have a small to medium meltdown if I had to take a slew of small orders for several days in a row.

So is it worth it?

I can't say if it's actually worth sacrificing money one week for the promise of higher paying orders down the line as Top Dasher since I've never made Top Dasher.

I can only say that for me going for Top Dasher is not feasible. Personally, I can't afford to take many small orders in a row just to increase my acceptance rate.

After some online sleuthing, it appears that the Top Dasher program may not be worth it overall, especially after aggregating the days spent taking small orders in hopes of getting higher paying orders once a dasher reaches Top Dasher. Some dashers report seeing an increase in order size but others report still receiving small orders as Top Dasher. They also have to accept those to make Top Dasher again the following month. It seems like a vicious circle where only DoorDash wins. 

In my opinion the Top Dasher program allows DoorDash to keep getting away with paying its dashers dismally. I mean paying $2 for an order as base pay is pretty terrible given gas prices and the fact that it doesn’t remotely compensate us for our time spent driving and waiting at restaurants. Plus, DoorDash doesn’t make it clear that customers essentially have to tip to get their order on time and to make the order worth our while.

I wish DoorDash would either increase its base pay or inform customers that they’re essentially on the hook for paying my salary with their tips. If dashers continue to take these low paying orders nothing will change in terms of pay structure because we’re essentially signaling to DoorDash that we’re happy to take the crappiest orders that come our way just in hopes of getting higher paying orders along the way.

$2-$4 orders should be the exception, not the norm and as dashers, we should collectively say screw you DoorDash for even sending those orders to us rather than happily completing them for the dangling carrot that is Top Dasher.

DoorDash should reward us based on total orders we’ve successfully completed and how our customer rate us but not punish us for rejecting low paying orders, those seem to be indicative of an issue DoorDash needs to address rather than sweep under the rug.

 That’s just my opinion after over 1,000 orders. I’ve definitely considered going for Top Dasher but then I also had to consider paying that week’s bills and decided against it.

 What is your experience with the Top Dasher program?

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