How to Manage Your Time More Effectively as a DoorDash Driver

Unlike jobs where your hourly rate is all you earn, as a DoorDash driver, time is money. If you can fit more deliveries into your day, your income potential expands significantly.

In busy areas, the business is there. The problem is squeezing it all into your working hours more efficiently, which means you need to become more effective at managing your time.

Delivery drivers do more than drop off packages. You’re juggling multiple pick-ups and deliveries, handling your schedule through the Dasher app, communicating with others all day, and navigating traffic.

A few minutes can throw the rest of your schedule off. Late pick-ups mean cold food and late deliveries. This equals upset customers, fewer tips, and complaints that tarnish your reputation.

All of these problems are solved with better time management. Ready to boost your income and reduce your on-the-job DoorDasher stress? Follow these tips to make it happen!

  1. Know Your Delivery Area

Every city is significantly different. For instance, compare Los Angeles, CA, and Norman, OK. Both are college towns, but if you’re working for DoorDash in LA, you’ll have more traffic and congestion to deal with.

As a driver in a place like Norman, you can expand your route radius and cover more miles. But in LA, you may want to slice your services to a select area that you know is populated enough to keep you busy without getting you stuck in hours of traffic.

When you know your delivery zone, you can take time to learn the back roads and avoid traffic jams. You’ll also know which orders to accept based on places you’re already headed, saving time going back and forth.

  1. Maximize Your Working Hours

Freelancing for DoorDash means you get to set your hours and work around your personal life. Yet, is it really using your time effectively if you choose to Dash when no one is interested in ordering food?

A surefire way to boost your income and make the most of your on-the-clock schedule is to work during peak hours. You’ll get more orders coming your way, and you can pick and choose the ones that pay the best and decline the others.

Peak hours depend on your city, but typically, they include the following:

  • 5 PM – 9 PM for the dinner rush
  • 9 PM – 2 AM for late-nighters (while there are fewer orders, there aren’t as many Dashers to compete with, either)
  • 7 AM – 10 AM for breakfast orders
  • 11 AM – 1 PM for lunch breaks

Each of these time chunks is preferred by Dashers and other delivery drivers, so you’ll have to be fast to grab priority orders when they show up on your app. However, in busy cities, there’s plenty of demand to go around.

  1. Connect With Your Frequent Businesses

In busy cities like LA, you’ll likely have a variety of restaurants and shops on your daily schedule. There will also be some businesses you repeatedly frequent, especially chains and the city’s popular mom-and-pops.

Whenever you pick up an order, take a minute to connect with the person or people behind the counter. Be polite and interested in their day. If you see the same people, get to know them. These manners may take you a couple of minutes, but the return you get will come back and reward you.

Businesses are run by people who can pick and choose which orders to put a rush on and which to delay. During peak hours, a restaurant worker could see your name as the pick-up person and push it through faster, cutting down your wait time, or see you arrive and rush your order through. 

It’s all about manners and what kind of impression you’ve made on those in your Dasher network.

  1. Use Your GPS

You’ll start to learn the roads and how to navigate them without any help, but you should always plug your destination into your GPS. You can use whichever platform you prefer. Some are more delivery-friendly than others, letting you input multiple destinations to get the most time- or fuel-effective routes.

Even if you’re only going to one place, we recommend using your GPS anyway. Those satellites are usually accurate to the minute. If there’s an accident, construction, or other delays, your little computer voice will let you know and suggest an alternative route.

Platforms like Wave let users input warnings about cars on the side of the road, speed checks, and other helpful tips. Sometimes, these are no big deal, but occasionally, the heads-up gives you enough time to take a detour and avoid traffic jams.

We know you know how to get there, but unlike the satellites, you can’t predict the traffic miles ahead. Let the GPS do that for you and get you to your destination as quickly as possible.


DoorDashing is an excellent way to make money, especially when you’re able to manage your time effectively. Use these tips to maximize your schedule and make every minute count.