Are you thinking of becoming a Dasher? No, not one of Santa’s reindeer—this is what DoorDash calls its delivery drivers. It’s a flexible gig that lets you earn on your own terms, when and where you want to. Here’s everything you need to know to get started and hit the road as a dasher.

1. Make sure you meet the requirements

Before you go dashing, make sure you meet DoorDash’s basic requirements:

  • Age: You have to be at least 18.
  • Vehicle: You can use a car, scooter, or even a bicycle in some cities.
  • License and insurance: If you’re using a car or scooter, you need to have a valid driver’s license and insurance.
  • Smartphone: You’ll need a smartphone to use the DoorDash app.
  • Background check: You have to pass a background check. DoorDash will review your criminal history and your driving record before they approve you.

2. Sign up

Head over to the DoorDash website or download the DoorDash Driver app to start the sign-up process. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Create your account: Enter your name, email, phone number, and create a password.

2. Select your vehicle type: Indicate whether you’ll be delivering by car, scooter, or bicycle.

3. Give permission for a background check: Provide your social security number and consent to a background check. This step usually takes a few days.

4. Upload documents: If you’ll be driving a car or scooter, you’ll need to upload a copy of your driver’s license, insurance, and registration.

3. Get your gear

Once you’re approved, it’s time to gear up! DoorDash will give you a free activation kit, which usually includes:

  • Insulated bag: A thermal bag to keep food warm during deliveries.
  • Red Card: A prepaid card you’ll use to pay for some orders.

Make sure you have all of the above before you start dashing. The insulated bag is important for keeping the food at the right temperature, and you’ll need the Red Card to pay for certain orders.

4. Download the Dasher App

The Dasher app is your new best friend. It’s where you’ll get orders, navigate to restaurants and customers, and track your earnings. Here’s how to get it:

  • Download it: Search for “DoorDash Driver” in the App Store or Google Play and download the app.
  • Log in to the Dasher site: Use the account credentials you created during sign-up.
  • Set Up: Follow the in-app prompts to complete your setup. Be sure to add your bank account information for direct deposit.

5. Start Dashing

You’re all set! Now you can start making deliveries and earning money. Here are a few tips to get you rolling:

  • Schedule or Dash Now: You can schedule your shifts in advance or use the “Dash Now” feature to start working during any times that you’re available. Make sure you’re in a “hot spot” area where demand is high.
  • Accept orders: When an order comes in, you’ll see the restaurant, delivery address, and estimated earnings. You can choose to accept or decline each order.
  • Navigate: Use the app’s built-in navigation to find the best routes to the restaurant and the customer’s location.
  • Deliver with care: Make sure the food stays upright and secure in your insulated bag. A friendly, timely delivery (and food that hasn’t been rolling around in your trunk) can lead to better tips and higher ratings.

6. Collect your cash

DoorDash pays weekly via direct deposit, but you can also use Fast Pay to cash out your earnings instantly (for a small fee). Keep track of your earnings in the Dasher app, and watch your bank account grow!

Extra Tips for success

  • Be strategic: Work during peak hours (lunch and dinner) to maximize your earnings. Look for high-demand areas with lots of restaurants.
  • Stay organized: Keep your car clean and your hot bag ready to go. It’s all about efficiency!
  • Customer service: A smile and a quick text update if you’re running late can go a long way. Great customer service can mean you’ll get higher ratings and better tips.