For better or worse, apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats have disrupted the food-delivery industry.
Since their launch in 2013 and 2014 respectively, restaurants across the country have outsourced delivery services to everyday drivers who use the apps to make some extra cash.
For customers, the apps make ordering food from just about any restaurant as easy as pressing a button on their smartphones. For drivers, it’s almost as easy to land a delivery job hawking food from local eateries.
But before you download your next job, take some time to review the key differences between DoorDash and Uber Eats so that you can make the most of your delivery gig.
DoorDash vs. Uber Eats: The Top Food Delivery Apps Duke It Out
The general premise of the two apps is almost identical: Customers place food orders at local restaurants. The apps alert drivers in the area with the order details. The first driver to accept the order picks up the food and drops it off to the customer. Simple enough, right?
There are several key differences worth noting, though. Some minor and some major. We took a deep dive into those differences, looking at pay, vehicle and job requirements, available locations, driver reviews and more to help you make an informed decision before you start delivering.
And if it’s too close to call, you can always sign up for both to see which one suits you better.
Round 1: DoorDash and Uber App Reviews
Because the apps are so popular, they’ve amassed almost 2.2 million driver reviews. Both companies require their drivers to use different apps than customers, a huge perk when trying to get a sense of drivers’ perspective. Employee reviews from Glassdoor are also included.
DoorDash Driver (Dasher) Reviews
Feedback from Dashers is overall mixed, but there’s a clear preference for the iOS version of the app. Trends in negative reviews across all platforms show that many drivers have trouble with glitches and crashes, especially Android users, and that the nature of the work takes a toll on their vehicles.
Workers reviewed DoorDash more than 47,000 times.
Uber Driver Reviews
More than 2 million drivers reviewed Uber. A caveat worth noting is that Uber has one driver app. That means it’s hard to get the opinion of only Uber Eats drivers because general Uber app reviews are mixed in. Overall, reviews are positive.
Trends in negative delivery reviews on Glassdoor indicate GPS issues and trouble contacting customer service. Several drivers mentioned problems with promotion and surge pay (bonus pay during in-demand times). Negative reviews regarding vehicle wear-and-tear are common.
Round 2: Job and Vehicle Requirements
To become a Dasher or Uber Eats driver, you have to meet a baseline of requirements, some are vehicle related and some are age and experience related.
To qualify as a Dasher you must be at least 18. Dashers need to have a valid driver’s license. There are no car requirements, and in some markets you can make deliveries on scooters, bicycles and motorcycles. Auto insurance is required.
To make automobile deliveries, the minimum age requirement is based on your local jurisdiction, plus at least one year of driving experience. Vehicles must be from 1999 or later. Drivers must be properly insured and can use bikes and scooters in certain markets. The age requirements are higher for those who prefer two wheels — 18 for bicycles and 19 for scooters.
Round 3: Sign-Up Process
Becoming a delivery driver for DoorDash and Uber Eats is simpler than landing a part-time job. Most of the process can be completed on your smartphone, but depending on which app you choose and where you live, you may have to complete some of the process in-person.
You can sign up to become a Dasher on the driver app. You’ll have to consent to a background and motor vehicle check (and pass both). They could take as little as a few days, but err on the side of a week or two.
After passing the checks, your city may require an in-person orientation. If not, use the app to request a starter kit. Receiving your starter kit may take an extra couple of weeks, according to driver reviews. The activation kit includes a credit card, which is required to pay for orders. Once you receive and set up the card through the app, you can start accepting orders.
For drivers new to Uber, you can sign up on the website or through the driver app. Because of the stricter vehicle requirements, the application requires more detailed information on your ride. A background check is also required, which may take a few days to process.
After the background check clears and your application is approved, you’re free to start taking orders. No in-person orientation or additional equipment is needed.
For current Uber drivers, the process is easier. You simply opt in to Uber Eats through the Uber app and start delivering without additional screening.
Round 4: Pay and Tipping
The two apps handle pay a little differently, both in how you will get paid and how you will pay for customers’ orders when you pick them up. Neither company offers guaranteed wages.
DoorDash’s payment model is going through some changes. The company announced that, as of Fall 2019, it will pay Dashers a higher base pay per order in addition to letting them keep 100% of their tips. Previously, and in some markets until the changes take effect, a customer’s tip would subsidize the Dasher’s base pay.
Dashers report earning between $10 to $14 an hour based on location (prior to the announced changes), but those earnings aren’t guaranteed. Pay is based on how many orders you accept per hour and how much customers tip you. DoorDash pays weekly through direct deposit, or you can access your earnings early through Fast Pay, for a fee.
When picking up orders, you must pay using the company-provided credit card that came in the starter kit.
Depending on your location, you can expect to earn $10 to $11 an hour on average. Again, those wages aren’t guaranteed because your earnings are based on limited orders and customer tips. With Uber Eats, you pocket 100% of your customers’ tips. You get paid weekly via direct deposit, or you can pay a fee to access your earnings early through Instant Pay.
You won’t be involved in the payment process for food orders. Partner restaurants are reimbursed directly by Uber.
Round 5: Available Locations
Both companies also have numerous offices around the U.S. that support drivers. In-person DoorDash support centers are available in 32 states plus Washington, D.C. Uber Eats does not provide a list of all its in-person support locations, dubbed Greenlight. Some unofficial counts indicate roughly 30 states have Greenlight hubs.
Final Round: Additional Perks
Promotional offers are popular with both DoorDash and Uber, but they’re temporary and vary by location. Aside from sign-up bonuses and referral codes, here are a couple perks that are here to stay.
A few perks unique to DoorDash include flexibility in delivery locations, supplementary insurance and health care services.
After you’re screened and accepted as a Dasher, you can choose to deliver in any other city where DoorDash operates, meaning there are no hard location requirements.
Dashers also get supplementary auto insurance and occupational accident insurance. The insurance plan covers up to $1 million in medical costs, a weekly payment of $500 for disabilities and $150,000 to dependents for fatal accidents. Coverage is automatic. There are no deductibles or premiums.
While DoorDash doesn’t offer health insurance, the company does partner with Stride Health, which provides free health care advising and assistance to Dashers who need help finding affordable insurance plans.
Uber Eats drivers get a variety of discounts and may be eligible for Uber Pro perks.
All Uber drivers receive discounts for vehicle maintenance and phone service plans. Uber also partners with Stride Health to provide health insurance and tax advice. Drivers automatically receive supplementary auto insurance, which covers up to $1 million in damages. There’s a $1,000 deductible before benefits pay out.
Uber Pro perks have recently expanded to all of Uber’s markets across the U.S. Only top-rated drivers receive Pro perks like tuition and gas reimbursement, and the program is designed for Uber drivers primarily, not Uber Eats drivers.
If you drive for both Uber and Uber Eats, your food deliveries may apply to Uber Pro, but Uber-Eats-only drivers aren’t eligible.
Final Decision in DoorDash vs Uber Eats
Ding! Ding! It was an even match-up. Uber Eats and DoorDash were neck and neck throughout. No knockout punches. A good few jabs by DoorDash’s insurance coverage and a couple hooks by Uber’s overall ratings and app convenience.
The decision goes to our judges. (That’s you.)
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.