On-demand food delivery startup DoorDash has been under fire as of late for its practices around paying drivers. In an email to drivers today, obtained by TechCrunch, DoorDash said drivers received an average of $17.50 or more per hour on deliveries in 2018. That figure, of course, does not take into account cost of mileage, payroll taxes for 1099 independent contractors and other expenses.
Sage Wilson, an organizer at nonprofit labor group Working Washington, explained to TechCrunch how that $17.50 per hour figure works out to less than $6 per hour — not including tips, cost of expenses and taxes. That figure, he said, is “based on our review of actual weekly pay data from DoorDash drivers” and an estimate that about 30 percent of the total income comes from tips.
DoorDash currently offsets the amount it pays drivers with customer tips. DoorDash describes its payment structure as follows: $1 plus customer tip plus pay boost, which varies based on the complexity of order, distance to restaurants and other factors. It’s only when a customer doesn’t tip at all, which DoorDash told Fast Company happens about 15 percent of the time, that DoorDash is on the hook to pay the entire guaranteed amount.
In the email sent to drivers today, with “Listening to the Dasher community” in the subject line, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu notes the level of recent discussion pertaining to DoorDash’s pay model. He goes on to defend the company’s practices, saying “we continue to hear from many of you that the model works: you know how much you’ll receive in advance, you receive the guaranteed minimum even if the customer doesn’t tip…”
He does add, however, “But we’ve also heard from some who expressed confusion about how pay is calculated and what happens with tips.”
In the coming weeks, DoorDash said it will launch surveys and organize roundtables for drivers to share their thoughts and concerns. In the email, DoorDash provides a link for drivers to sign up to be included. From there, Xu said DoorDash will look over the feedback, report what it has learned and “what changes we plan to make in response.”
This current model was the result of “months of testing” and surveys of thousands of Dashers. I’ve reached out to DoorDash and will update this story if I hear back.