Update: DoorDash has announced that it will change its policy to no longer subsidize pay with customer tips. But until the details come out and the policy is implemented, cash tipping is still the only way to insure that all tips go to drivers.
Multibillion-dollar-valued food-delivery service DoorDash is in the news this week—and not for good reasons, or even new reasons. A recent first-person New York Times article on the gig economy delivery hustle has reignited outrage about the company’s controversial pay and tip policy. In essence, the more you tip your delivery person, the less DoorDash pays them—down to as low as a $1 minimum from the company.
This goes against many people’s notion of a tip as something extra. If that’s your notion too, there’s an easy way to help your delivery person: Tip in cash instead of in the app.
Here’s how it works. When you place an order with DoorDash, it calculates how much to pay the delivery person, based on factors like distance, time of day, and any incentives it’s offering. The app also allows you to tip—and that amount is subtracted from what the company pays. So if DoorDash sets a $10 fee for a job, and you tip $5, DoorDash kicks in the other $5.
This happens even if you don’t bother to specify a tip—as the app automatically sets one. For instance, I just made a $22.43 order for Thai food in downtown San Francisco, and the app defaulted to a $4 tip. That’s $4 DoorDash won’t be paying out of its pocket. (The customer app doesn’t say how much the delivery person will get paid. DoorDash says drivers can average $17.50 per hour, but a recent, real-world study indicates that’s very hard to achieve.)
But you can change the tip to any amount, even zero. Then DoorDash will have to pay more from its own pocket to meet the fee quoted to the driver. When they arrive with your pad Thai and Tom Kah soup, you can simply tip the driver in cash, and DoorDash is none the wiser.