For better or worse, apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats have disrupted the food-delivery industry. Since their launch in 2013 and 2014 respectively, restaurants across the country have outsourced delivery services to independent drivers who use the apps to make extra cash.
During the pandemic, these services have seen demand like never before. For customers, the apps make ordering food from just about any restaurant as easy as opening their smartphones. For drivers, it’s almost as easy to land a delivery job hawking food from local eateries.
But before you download your next job, take some time to review the key differences between DoorDash and Uber Eats so that you can make the most of your delivery gig.
The general premise of the two apps is almost identical: Customers place food orders at local restaurants. The apps alert drivers in the area with the order details. The first driver to accept the order picks up the food and drops it off to the customer. Simple enough, right?
Several differences are worth noting, though. Some minor and some major. We took a deep dive into those differences, looking at pay, vehicle and job requirements, available locations, driver reviews and more to help you make an informed decision before you start delivering.
And if it’s too close to call, you can always sign up for both to see which one suits you better.
Because the apps are so popular, they’ve amassed more than 4.1 million driver reviews. Both companies require their drivers to use different apps than customers, a huge perk when trying to get a sense of drivers’ perspective. Worker reviews from Glassdoor are also included.
Feedback from Dashers is overall mixed, but there’s a clear preference for the iOS version of the app. Trends in negative reviews across all platforms show that many drivers have trouble with glitches and crashes, especially Android users, and that the nature of the work takes a toll on their vehicles. Many negative reviews mention that DoorDash’s strict performance metrics are a hassle.
Workers reviewed DoorDash more than 760,000 times.
App Store (iOS) review: 4.7 out of 5.
Google Play (Android) review: 3.3 out of 5.
Glassdoor review: 3.7 out of 5.
More than 3 million drivers reviewed Uber. A caveat worth noting is that Uber has one driver app. That means it’s hard to get the opinions of only Uber Eats drivers because general Uber app reviews are mixed in. Overall, reviews are positive.
Trends in negative delivery reviews on Glassdoor indicate GPS issues and trouble contacting customer service. Several drivers mentioned problems with promotion and surge pay (bonus pay during in-demand times). Negative reviews regarding vehicle wear-and-tear are common.
App Store (iOS) review: 4.6 out of 5.
Google Play (Android) review: 3.8 out of 5.
Glassdoor review: 3.9 out of 5.
To become a Dasher or Uber Eats driver, you have to meet a baseline of requirements. Some are vehicle related and some are age and experience related.
To qualify as a Dasher you must be at least 18. Dashers need to have a valid driver’s license. There are no car requirements, but auto insurance is required. In some markets you can make deliveries on scooters, bicycles and motorcycles.
To make automobile deliveries, the minimum age requirement is based on your local jurisdiction, plus at least one year of driving experience. Vehicles must be no more than 20 years old. Drivers must be properly insured and can use bikes and scooters in certain markets. The age requirements are higher for those who prefer two wheels — 18 for bicycles and 19 for scooters.
Becoming a delivery driver for DoorDash and Uber Eats is simpler than landing a part-time job. You can complete the entire process from your smartphone or computer.
You can sign up to become a Dasher on the driver app. You’ll have to consent to a background and motor vehicle check (and pass both). They could take as little as a few days, but err on the side of a week or two.
After passing the checks, you’ll need to select what type of “orientation” you want. The pandemic paused in-person orientations. Depending on your market you may need to request an “activation kit” instead. Receiving your activation kit may take an extra couple of weeks, according to driver reviews.
The activation kit includes a Dasher manual, a hot bag and a credit card, which is used to pay for orders. Once you receive and set up the card through the app, you can start accepting orders.
For drivers new to Uber, you can sign up on the website or through the driver app. Because of the stricter vehicle requirements, the application requires more detailed information on your ride. A background check is also required, which may take three to five business days to process.
After the background check clears and your application is approved, you’re free to start taking orders. No orientation or additional equipment is needed.
If you’re a current rideshare driver for Uber, it’s easy to start delivering with Uber Eats. You simply opt in to Uber Eats orders through the driver app and start delivering without any additional screening.
The two apps handle pay a little differently, both in how you get paid and how you pay for customers’ orders when you pick them up. Neither company offers guaranteed wages (unless you live in California).
As of Fall 2019, the company switched to a payment model where Dashers earn a higher base pay per order in addition to keeping 100% of their tips. Previously, a customer’s tip would subsidize the Dasher’s base pay.
Dashers report earning between $11 and $15 an hour depending on location, but those earnings aren’t guaranteed. Pay is based on how many orders you accept per hour and how much customers tip you. DoorDash pays weekly through direct deposit, or you can access your earnings early through Fast Pay, for $1.99.
When picking up orders, you may be required to pay for the order using the company red card from your activation kit.
Depending on your location, you can expect to earn $11 to $14 an hour on average. Again, those wages aren’t guaranteed because your earnings are based on orders and tips. With Uber Eats, you pocket 100% of your customers’ tips. You get paid weekly via direct deposit, or you can pay a fee to access your earnings early through Instant Pay for 50 cents.
You won’t be involved in the payment process for food orders. Partner restaurants are reimbursed directly by Uber.
This one’s easy. Both services are available in most big cities in all 50 states.
Previously, DoorDash and Uber Eats ran driver support centers in major metro areas of most states. In 2020, many of these centers closed due to the coronavirus. Some still exist, but neither company offers a comprehensive, public list of remaining locations.
Promotional offers are popular with both DoorDash and Uber, but they’re temporary and vary by location. Aside from sign-up bonuses and referral codes, here are a couple perks that are here to stay.
A few perks unique to DoorDash include grocery delivery options, automatic insurance coverage and health care services.
After you’re screened and accepted as a Dasher, you can choose to deliver food in any city where DoorDash operates, meaning there are no hard location requirements. The company also launched grocery delivery services in some Midwest and West Coast areas.
Dashers also get supplemental auto insurance and occupational accident insurance for accidents or injuries that fall outside your current auto insurance. The insurance plan covers up to $1 million in medical costs, a weekly payment of $500 for disabilities and $150,000 to dependents for fatal accidents. Coverage is automatic. There are no deductibles or premiums.
While DoorDash doesn’t offer health insurance, the company does partner with Stride Health, which provides free health care advising and assistance to Dashers who need help finding affordable insurance plans.
Uber Eats drivers get a variety of discounts and may be eligible for Uber Pro perks.
All Uber drivers receive discounts for vehicle maintenance and phone service plans. Uber also partners with Stride Health to provide health plans and tax advice. Drivers automatically receive supplemental auto insurance, which covers up to $1 million in damages. There’s a $1,000 deductible before benefits pay out.
Uber Pro perks have recently expanded to all of Uber’s markets across the U.S. Only top-rated drivers receive Pro perks like tuition and gas reimbursement, and the program is designed for Uber drivers primarily, not Uber Eats drivers.
If you drive for both Uber and Uber Eats, your food deliveries may apply to Uber Pro, but Uber-Eats-only drivers aren’t eligible.
Ding! Ding! It was an even match-up. Uber Eats and DoorDash were neck and neck throughout. No knockout punches. A good few jabs by DoorDash’s insurance coverage and grocery options and a couple of hooks by Uber’s overall ratings and ability to switch to ridesharing.
The decision goes to our judges. (That’s you.)
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, remote work and other unique ways to make money. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.