So if anyone has been driving for Doordash for any extended period of time you would have seen the term "Top Dasher" thrown in at some period of time, and you would have probably wondered if it was truly worth being a part of it.
With the introduction of the Main Street Strong Pledge Program, there have been thoughts on potentially fighting for Top Dasher since they complement each other so well.
That answer has a certain amount of controversy in some arenas as opposed to others, because there are some benefits to it as well as some disadvantages, and yes there is both sides to this coin.
There were many periods of time where I would have fought tooth and nail for both sides (one at a time of course) and today I think it would be awesome if we settled this once and for all!
Is it really worth striving and fighting to become a Top Dasher now that the Main Street Pledge has been announced?
My name is Joseph Mandracchia, I have been making money using driving apps on a full-time basis since mid-late 2018 and have completed over 7700 deliveries. It is my hope to impart some of my knowledge to you to help you succeed in the gig economy!
What I am going to do is go over the analysis of each part individually, and then talk about how they complement each other and then give my final verdict.
Disclaimer: this is not financial advice, tax advice, or legal advice under any circumstances. Please don't listen to one random article you found online about financial advice, tax advice, or legal advice.
While the techniques and methods may have worked for others, they may or may not work for you and your circumstances.
With that said, let's get started with what the Top Dasher Program is all about!
What is Top Dasher?
The Top Dasher Program is a Beta Program for Doordash to Recognize and Rewarding the best Dashers within their criteria.
The reason I say it like that is while they claim that it is to recognize the Drive to go above and beyond for their customers, and that is one of the requirements, it is far from the determining factor let along the only factor that makes or breaks a Top Dasher.
You would have access to a rewards page found under the account section of your Dasher app, where you can see the benefits, requirements or qualifications, and you will have access to these rewards until the 1st of the following month.
This can also be extended if you continue to qualify on a monthly basis.
What are the Requirements to Become a Top Dasher?
If you meet the following criteria by the last day of the month with the below criteria, on the 2nd of every month, you are within qualification to become a Top Dasher, and how you can make sure you meet those requirements every month.
Please keep in mind that this is a beta program and there is nothing current set in stone for the long term, as they are always looking to grow and improve in the direction they believe is right for everyone.
The first requirement that was introduced is to have a high rating on is your customer rating. More specifically you are required to have at least a 4.70 rating.
The customer rating is based on a 5.00 rating system and is based on the last 100 deliveries you were rated on by customers and is on a rolling basis.
Now they have really built out the customer rating page quite a lot since the beginning of Doordash, and they have really made this page more actionable.
The 4 points that Doordash gives customers the option to rate Dashers on that is presented to you is:
Communication, how well or often you communicated to them about the status of their order.
Followed delivery instructions, how well you followed the instructions the customer gave to you.
Order Handling, how well you maintained the condition of the order.
Friendliness, how friendly you were with the customer.
Doordash has developed systems and specialized teams to handle the ratings that you received that can be considered unfair and have done a great job with that so any and every rating you have you have earned.
If you do need to get your rating up quickly, though it really isn't all that genuine and really promotes poor behavior but I have seen it done and if I am being honest I have done this before in the past, there is a simple way to do that.
Ask for one... no really, express the importance of ratings, ask for one, and say thank you in advance.
"Hey ratings are really important for us Dashers to help maintain our accounts and continue to provide customers the service and to help you get your food as quickly as possible. If you feel I have earned 5 stars on this order I would greatly appreciate you take the time to do that, and thank you in advance for doing so!"
This is more than enough, and it will help you get many 5 star ratings fast!
Another requirement that was introduced is to have a very high completion rating. More specifically at least a 95% completion rating.
The completion rating is based on a percentage system of the last 100 deliveries you accepted and is on a rolling basis.
Now I say it is a very high completion rating but it really isn't a big deal to hit. Unless you are one of those people who can't wait 2 minutes for an order to complete, I can't imagine you having a running problem with this.
Unless you are a dirtbag who steals food, in which case please leave my website, I am not making this platform for people who do this, I am making this platform for good people who want to know how to succeed in the gig economy!
I say that thinking that will make them leave, but let's be real, that isn't going to stop them.
Number of Deliveries Completed during the Course of Last Month
The next requirement that was introduced is the number of orders you have completed during the course of the last month. More specifically at least 100 deliveries.
This is on a month to month basis and resets at the beginning of the month, which really promotes people to keep driving and that is a nice feeling knowing someone can't just grandfather their way in on a perpetual basis.
This is relatively easy one to hit, it is really only here to make sure people are still doing the work to maintain their account.
Number of Deliveries Completed in Lifetime as a Dasher
Then the next requirement that was introduced when the program was first announced was the number of lifetime deliveries you completed in your career as a Dasher. More specifically at least 200.
Again super simple to hit, basically didn't want people who were fresh in the system to be considered to be a Top Dasher with literally no effort made.
Finally we have the only problem, yet the biggest problem of the Top Dasher program. This requirement was later introduced as a requirement to qualify, and that is a high acceptance rating. More specifically, wait for it, 70% or better!
Acceptance rating is calculated by a percentage system based on the last 100 orders you have accepted, and on a rolling basis.
Now if you have any experience as a Dasher, you saw 70% and said it is not profitable, and there is a truth to that. I have said countless times that 80% of the money is going to be in 20% of the orders you receive.
A healthy area with a solid tipping area allows you to have around a 35% acceptance rate without reaching a point where you are just not profitable. Any higher and you basically hit the jackpot as far as location goes.
Now is there a way where you can qualify without hitting the red, yeah but I am not sure if I would define it as worth it.
Basically you drive for as much profit as possible in every other day of the month, and during the last 2-3 days of the month, you put an all in focus on just amping up your acceptance rating until it is over 70%.
However, what you are then saying is that for those 2-3 days is you are disregarding your profits, costs, gas, mileage that you are allowed to actually write-off, as well as other factors that go into the day-to-day and overall purposes of being a Dasher for the Top Dasher program.
The Unspoken Truth about Top Dasher
To be clear, just because you fit within the parameters, doesn't mean you are a Top Dasher. This program is still in beta, and if I were to be
I have fit the parameters multiple times and for whatever nonsense reason their "Dasher Support" Team doesn't know how to fix it and every time you ask them they will give you a different answer every single time and all of them will lie to you and manipulate the facts to give an answer they don't have.
If this organization taught me anything, it is that if there is a system glitch of any kind, and they happen frequently, it doesn't matter who you are, how much you fight, how many times you argue with them over it, email and fight for what you earned, short of threatening a lawsuit, they will not help you.
In fact, there have been many angry people about this in the beta program and other forums and areas of interest to Doordash, such as social media groups where Doordash actually sees the posts and other forums of that nature, expressing this concern and there has been no change.
This can cause a massive dip in someone's income if they did not prepare properly and most people are forced to live paycheck to paycheck, and in my opinion, is very concerning as someone who is considering the program.
So far doesn't seem all that worth it. But let's look at the benefits to see what you can be gaining from the Top Dasher program that they feel is so alluring.
What are the Benefits of being a Top Dasher?
So now that we went over the requirements to qualify as a Top Dasher, let's go over some of the benefits that they have included in their program and see if it is truly worth it.
Flexibility in Use
The first benefit for being a part of the Top Dasher program is a drastic increase of flexibility of use on the Doordash platform as a whole.
You can literally dash anytime you want regardless of how busy it may or may be in your area, or neighboring areas.
You want to Dash at 5pm but there are no openings in the schedule, that's fine you can hop in anyway.
You want to drive at unusual times, no problem we got you.
You want to hop out of your current area and into another because you don't want to drive all the way back to the starting point, go for it!
This is the most notable thing about the Top Dasher program because you don't have to schedule yourself in all the time, and you can hop from area to area at your leisure.
It is also very complementary to the Doordash Drive program, which because you didn't need to schedule yourself in at all you don't have to constantly tinker with your schedule all that much and you get what you need with ease.
Priority with Orders
The next notable benefit of Top Dasher is the priority your receive when times are slower. This means before those who are not Top Dashers during times that orders are coming in slowly, you will receive those orders first if you are available to receive them.
Now this can be a double-edged sword, where all the orders are coming to you first that means good and bad orders, so that is going to hurt your acceptance rating just as much.
The other part of that is the point I made before and that's "if you are available to receive them". If you have another order already, you will not receive the orders you want anyway.
This benefit really only applies to slow times and realistically doesn't make as much difference as it should, even if it sounds nice.
Glory and Status
The nest benefit is the glory and status of just being a Top Dasher. There are two points to this, friends/family and Doordash themselves.
With Doordash, they do have councils and teams of people you can not only apply to be a part of, they pick out people and they actually make you part of their newsletter for different subjects.
They also might include you advice and quotes depending on what you say that they want to promote.
This part isn't guaranteed, but it is nice when they do give that to you.
What are the Disadvantages of being a Top Dasher?
Now that we went over the benefits of being a Top Dasher, let's go over the dark side of Top Dasher and maybe you will receive some clarity on why people who are against it feel so strongly about this subject.
The first disadvantage, and really the first thing people ordinarily think of, is the financial nightmare that comes with constantly trying to achieve Top Dasher.
Like I said, if you do go for it, you will have to accept orders that honestly no one should be subject to being cornered into, instead of making $200 or more from less work, you would be scraping in $150 with probably much more work.
Your return on time/investment will plummet and probably won't be able to write off nearly as much from your mileage because you have excessive miles.
No this isn't tax advice in any sense of the word, but between the taxes, gas costs, depreciation and other vehicle expenses that the wear and tear on the car will inevitably produce, you can kiss those profits good bye for 2-3 days.
Glory Gone Bad
The next thing we should talk about is the Glory and Status going bad or not in your favor. With the latest newsletter from when this article is published (January 2021), the gentleman was highly praised by Doordash for completing the most orders in the year 2020.
Now this poor guy in every forum, group and page I am a part of was torn apart for being the guy who did a lot of work and didn't make as much profit as he should have.
Now if this article was for the person who made the most money, there would have been a much different way people would look at it.
There is something to be said about haters and how they will be there to say something no matter what, but this is something I can agree with.
If you are working the hardest and not making as much as someone who is putting forth a fraction of the effort, then in the long game you are going to not get as far and you will exhaust yourself unnecessarily.
Development of Terrible Habits
The next disadvantage is that most Top Dashers develop a series of terrible habits which can hurt not just their financial position with being a Dasher but as anyone who is self employed.
When I was a part of the Top Dasher program, I made a good amount of money, but I developed a habit of thinking because I can start and stop whenever I want to I don't necessarily have to start now, I can hang out with friends and take it easy.
Now that was the start to a perpetual downward spiral for me, I developed a terrible procrastination habit, I was stressed about money because of it and I cared a little too much on how others perceived me as someone who drives for Doordash.
If for whatever reason on the first or second of the month I didn't see the Top Dasher status on my account, I hopped on the phone and railed the poor Dasher Support team member with my temper and opinions along with some very personal comments no one should ever say to another human being, even if they did deserve it.
It was that sense of entitlement and status that was such a toxic mess in my life for too long, in my opinion, because of the Top Dasher rush.
What is the Main Street Strong Pledge Program?
The Main Street Strong Pledge Program is a new introduction to Doordash's rewards and compensation structure introduced in January 2021 to reward dashers for a specific number of deliveries completed in a given month.
What they have claimed so far is that the number of deliveries is going to change from month to month and right now is only promised for the first half of the year.
Seems a bit too early to make a definitive decision on whether or not it actually makes sense to use this for actually factoring into every day usage since we aren't sure if this is something people are going to use in the long term but for now, let's have a look at what they said so far.
What are the Monthly Requirements to Qualify for the Main Street Pledge?
So what they have said so far is that during the month of January 2021 you need to complete 450 deliveries between January 5-31. They also claim that this is going to change from month to month, so the requirements may not be the same numeric values.
But for January 2021, you need 450 deliveries completed, which means you will need to break up the orders by the number of days in a week you work you can find how many you need to do in a day.
If you dash 5 days a week, you need to complete 24 deliveries a day.
If you dash 6 days a week, you need to complete 20 deliveries a day.
If you dash 7 days a week, you need to complete 17 deliveries a day.
This is assuming you have no challenges during the month and everything goes as planned.
Now this is possible for those who are dashing full time, but for those who aren't and are doing this on the side you might have some struggles making this work for you on a regular basis.
Also another thing to consider is what kind of deliveries you are accepting to accomplish this, if you are a cherry picker that may not always be possible without missing out on great orders.
What Does this have to do with Top Dasher?
Remember when I talked about the Top Dasher rush? If you were to continue what you were doing on a regular basis the same way that you would normally do, and go for the Top Dasher rush with this program in effect?
Now there is going to be a lot of intentionality behind it, but it is possible to get Top Dasher, the Main Street Pledge and be profitable.
So let's say you looked at the number of orders you did during the month 4 days before month end.
If the number of orders you have to complete for the Pledge is within the same range of percentage you would need to qualify for Top Dasher, it might actually be worth going for.
For Example, if you are at 15-20% acceptance rating and you did 400 deliveries during the month, you can do a Top Dasher rush to make up the difference of both.
For January it would be an extra $200 bucks added to your account, which would offset your losses for the Top Dasher rush.
However, if the number of orders you need to complete is much less than that of your acceptance rating, like you only need 20 more deliveries and have a 15% acceptance rating, it is not worth the profit loss.
I think Top Dasher is going in the direction of it being worth the pursuit, and I am liking how they are really trying to improve it. However, it is not quite there yet.
That being said, I would keep my eye on their progress and not quite turn it off in your mind just yet, because who knows how good this program will truly be in the near future.
This is not an article to bash on either side of this debate and if you like being a part of the Top Dasher program, I say go for what makes you happy at the end of the day.
The best part of the gig economy is that you are self employed and if you like how this is working for you, who is to say which is right?
With that said, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! I hope you found some value and that you can apply and help you succeed in this gig economy!