If you’re a beginner driving for DoorDash or even someone that has some experience on the platform, you may wonder what the absolute best times to drive for Doordash are. Knowing the best times to Dash is key as it can help you earn more money, especially in a more efficient manner. I will be providing the best times to dash in my market of Seattle, WA. Keep in mind that your area or market may vary a bit, but I truly believe that the absolute best times to dash are generally around the same time frame for drivers living in the US.
To understand the best times for Dash, you will need to understand what peak hours for DoorDash are. Generally, the peak hours (peak times) are the periods around breakfast, lunch, and dinner time. In some markets, this may be brunch, dinner, and late evening peak times. During these peak times, you should generally see the highest volume of orders coming in and also higher paying orders than during non-peak times. I want to clarify that when I’m talking about peak times, I’m not talking about Peak Pay which is DoorDash’s bonus pay during certain times which happens to commonly be around these “peak times.”
Peak times are different for weekdays and weekends.
Weekdays - Lunch
Lunchtimes are generally from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Those are generally the best times for Dash in the Seattle market. You’ll see most orders come through in the 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. time period in that peak time. In the Seattle market, we normally don’t get much business during breakfast times (7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m). We are more of a lunch/brunch market.. As for lunch peak times in your respective market, you can be prepared to start driving around 30 minutes before/after Seattle’s peak times.
Weekdays - Dinner
Dinner times are generally from 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in my market in Seattle. In that 4-hour window, I generally see the highest demand and highest paying orders around the 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. time as people are either almost at home or just got home from their commute. In most of the neighborhoods in my market, dinner time starts tapering off around 8:00 p.m and it is generally dead for food delivery by 9 p.m. as most restaurants are closed on weekday evenings by then. If I wanted to keep working after that time, I would be mostly subjected to taking fast-food drive-thru deliveries that are not beneficial for me pay-wise. In other markets or in your market, you should expect the same overall time frame or “absolute best time to Dash”, that is around the 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. window. Adjust 30 minutes before/after depending on your market. I do hear from other drivers in different markets where the restaurants close a lot later even during weekdays which results in their dinner window going all the way up to 10:30 p.m.
Lunch vs Dinner - Doordash Peak Times
Do you make more money from DoorDash during lunch, or do you make more money from DoorDash at night? Let’s compare the two most common peak times. In my market, I’ve noticed higher earning potential and higher-order demand driving for DoorDash at night. The consensus I’ve received from other drivers outside of my market is that you make more money driving DoorDash at night.
How much does a DoorDash driver make a night?
That really depends on your market and a whole bunch of factors, but let’s talk about my personal experience as an example. If I drive for about 3 hours during dinner time or nighttime around 5 p.m.-8 p.m., I average anywhere from the low end of $25/hr to as high as $45/hr. For the sake of this example, let’s just say I average about $32/hr during dinner time. These earnings do not include business expenses and are just raw numbers you see from your DoorDash pay. I get these numbers by generally accepting only high-paying offers and doing about 2-3 orders an hour. I use the Para app to see the item list and predicted tips to make an informed decision on my orders. I try to accept offers no lower than about $12, have a low mileage under 3 miles, and completion under 20 minutes. I get to benefit from being able to Dash in a wealthy area, so the customer base generally tips pretty well; it’s common for me to see a 15-20% tip percentage. I generally make more during dinner times just because of the sheer fact that more people are ordering, so I can cherry-pick more, and also, I deliver in a family-oriented neighborhood, so the item counts are higher per order and can help overall with tip percentage. Lunch on the other hand is a lot of smaller item count orders delivered to maybe someone that’s just ordering for themselves. There is potential to make more during lunch though… That lunch earning potential is with the DoorDash Drive or Catering program in which you can get huge catering orders that can yield you higher tips. The DoorDash Drive/Catering program has strict requirements and can vary in being accepted from market to market. I’m not a DoorDash Drive/Catering driver so I only get to see the regular orders.
The overall best times to drive for DoorDash don’t apply to weekends, and it is less strict in terms of timing. I’ve found that on weekends the windows for lunch/brunch, dinner, and even late-night dinner can extend past the common peak hours of DoorDash. For example in Seattle, my weekday lunch is generally from about 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. However, on the weekend lunchtime can start a bit earlier at 10:00 a.m. and can end at 2:30 p.m. The same situation sort of applies to dinner as the dinner peak time can extend past the “common best times” during weekends. Many restaurants in my area are open later on Friday and Saturday nights, So, it gives me more opportunities to accept offers. In your market, you’ll definitely see some similarities in terms of order volume and just being able to drive longer during these peak hours or peak times.
With the weekends generally giving drivers more opportunities to work longer does that mean that you get paid more? Does DoorDash pay more on weekends?
I don’t believe there is a yes/no answer to this. In my personal experiences, there are times I can make more on weekdays vs weekends or to be more specific I can make more on a weekday night than let’s say, a weekend lunch. In my market, there are a lot of factors with weather being the number one factor. Here in Seattle, when the sun is out, our demand really dies down compared to when it rains. A sunny Saturday may not be that enticing for me to go out to drive compared to a rainy Thursday night. You should experiment in your market to see if weekdays or weekends earn more with Doordash.
Let’s recap what are the absolute best times for DoorDash in 2022. As a general rule, the peak hours for DoorDash are generally the lunch and dinner times with the weekends being a bit more extended on those peak hours. The weekday lunch hours are from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., weekday dinner being 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in my market. With the weekends being a bit less restrictive. Knowing what these peak hours are can help you maximize your earnings as you’ll typically get the best orders and have the highest order volume to select from.
Maximizing Earning Potential with Tips Prediction and Tools
If you follow a basic demand, volume, mileage, and pay metric, you can be making more money than the average driver. But, with some tools, you can take your earnings to even higher levels. Not only is taking your earnings higher great but having the ability to make the right decision for you might be even more beneficial for you. One of the biggest cons of driving for DoorDash is not seeing the tip total during the offer screen. That information is generally hidden from drivers to a certain extent. Earlier, I used the Android Widget from the DoorDash app to see the item count to make a general guess on tips. This generally requires you to know the restaurants in your area very well. However, the Para app, this app takes less of the guesswork on your side and acts as your tip prediction tool. It isn’t always 100% accurate, but because you’re to see item count and check total, it can help you deduce if the order is worth taking or not. Delivery driver tools like the Para app or DoorDash widget can give you the biggest advantage in earning more money. You should also consider multi-apping to earn more. Work on multiple apps to give you the most options!
Use the knowledge of your market’s peak times alongside some tools like Para, the DoorDash widget, or even the DoorDash customer app (you can see how much items cost) to help you achieve the idea of being your own boss and making the best decision for you. If you’re still unsure what the absolute best time to dash is, I recommend you go out to Dash and do some experimenting. Take inventory of demand, times, restaurants, and locations and use that to make more money. Good Luck!