Why DoorDash Is One of the Fastest Ways to Start a Side Hustle

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  • Many people sign up for food delivery platforms like DoorDash to make money fast.
  • Perks include a quick approval process and fast payouts. 
  • Consider alternative side hustles if you're uncomfortable contacting strangers, your vehicle has poor mileage, or you live outside a big city.

It took me an hour to sign up, from start to finish.

Making money fast isn't easy. Side hustles can help. Americans know this, so 40% of Americans have a side hustle. Last year, I worked five jobs. Two were side hustles, including a gig delivering food for Doordash.

Regarding side hustles, Americans have a buffet of options to choose from. Here's a brief sampling of potential part-time jobs: 

  • Food delivery (DoorDash, Uber Eats)
  • Dog walking (Rover)
  • Clothing resale (eBay)

I've done all three. I've found the fastest way to start a side hustle -- to start making money right away -- is to deliver food. Here's why delivering food for companies like DoorDash is one of the fastest ways to begin a side hustle, and three reasons to consider alternatives.

Quick sign-up

Setting up a food delivery account with Uber Eats or DoorDash is fast. You download the app and follow the on-screen instructions. Some things you'll need:

  • Identity verification for a background check
  • Clear lighting so you can take a picture of your face
  • At least 30 minutes to complete the sign-up process

It took about 45 minutes to complete my DoorDash application and be approved. Just 15 minutes later, I hopped in my car and started making deliveries. That's about an hour of work from start to finish, and I was able to begin delivering immediately.

Compare that to signing up for Rover, the dog-walking app. While Rover is a great way to make money, your services as a dog walker or pet sitter aren't always in demand. Unlike DoorDash, you must create a compelling profile so people will hire you to care for their pets.

Fast payouts

Food delivery pays fast. DoorDash offers you two payment options: a weekly transfer to your checking account or an immediate transfer to your DasherDirect account. I opted for weekly transfers to easily route earnings from my bank to my stock brokerage account.

If you want immediate payments, you must apply for a DasherDirect account. DoorDash sends you a virtual prepaid Visa linked to your DoorDash earnings. It's the fastest way to spend money you make on DoorDash, but there are limits.

Compare food delivery platforms to resale platforms like eBay. eBay only pays you once per month. And you're limited by what you manage to sell. After signing up for DoorDash, you can start delivering immediately. 

Reasons to consider alternatives

DoorDash isn't for everyone. Here are three reasons to consider alternatives:

  1. Stranger danger. You may have to contact strangers when handing off food.
  2. Gas fees. If you own a gas-guzzling car, that will cut into earnings.
  3. Limited demand. You may struggle to earn income in areas with weak demand.

Stranger danger is a genuine concern. Customers may ask you to hand off food personally or drive to a sketchy neighborhood. While all drivers have the right to refuse delivery, doing so hurts their ratings, and they make less money. Alternatives like Rover and eBay don't penalize you for refusing service.

Consider gas fees. DoorDash doesn't pay for gas. However, some states like California require apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats to make minimum payments to delivery drivers based on gas prices and minimum wage. When I delivered food for DoorDash for two weeks, I made more than $20/hour. But had I driven a gas guzzler, my earnings would have dropped.

DoorDash gives new Dashers special privileges. One of those is the ability to deliver food whenever you want. But you lose that flexibility if you don't deliver often or accrue poor ratings. I stopped delivering as often when DoorDash started limiting my delivery windows. I'm lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, so demand is usually high, but other Dashers might not be so fortunate.

Should you try food delivery?

Try food delivery to make money fast with quick sign-up and fast payouts. But consider other side hustles if you don't want to contact strangers, your vehicle gets poor gas mileage, or you don't live in a heavily populated area like Los Angeles. 

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