Now comes the part where Dashers may fall from the pinnacle of high earnings per hour, per mile, and per trip. Expenses are a reality for all drivers, and must be taken into consideration when putting together the full economic picture of a DoorDash gig.
The cost of gasoline varies based on market fluctuations, whether driven by supply and demand or by seasonal changes. Your location and the kind of vehicle you drive will also affect how much you spend on fuel. Remember that delivery driving involves two rides: one from the driver’s location to the restaurant, and the other from the restaurant to the customer’s home or office. So, if you drive for DoorDash or another delivery service, you’ll spend more on fuel than the average rideshare driver.
A previous Gridwise article, which drew on a report by MIT, tells us that during 2018 rideshare drivers were spending between $.05 and $.27 per mile on fuel costs.
Insurance costs for delivery drivers might not add much to what you’re already paying for your vehicle’s policy. It is wise, however, to investigate buying additional coverage, since you will technically be using your vehicle for commercial purposes.
Some companies will tack on commercial coverage for as little as $20 per year, so be sure to shop around.
Drivers should also consider the costs of all forms of insurance, including term life insurance. A company called Bestow is making it easy for rideshare and delivery drivers to apply for affordable life insurance from a reputable provider.
If you’re a rideshare or delivery driver in the market for term life insurance, be sure to check out *Bestow.
Maintenance and Repairs
If you want your vehicle to perform reliably, at minimum you’ll be paying for oil changes and tire rotations. Add small repairs and the occasional brake and tire replacement, and costs quickly add up. Many drivers regularly set aside a portion of their earnings to cover these expenses, which is an excellent practice.
You can even calculate what maintenance might cost over five years. On its website, Edmunds offers an ownership calculator that estimates these costs based on national averages.
To help you out with your calculations, or to simply give you some ideas, we will use MIT’s data again to show you what insurance, maintenance and repair costs might cost in a year. They say it would be around $0.13 per mile.
If you’ve ever purchased or sold a used car, you know there are factors you look for when determining the vehicle’s actual value. You can use another easy-to-access Kelley Blue Book tool to see what using your car as a delivery vehicle does in terms of depreciation. The number provided by the MIT study cited earlier is $0.05 per mile.
Looking at the costs of fuel, maintenance, repairs, and depreciation, you’ll be spending at least $.30 per mile. Subtract that from the $1.04-per-mile figure we have in our numbers across all markets, and you’re earning $0.74 per mile driving delivery. It might even be slightly less, because your costs will be higher than those of the average rideshare driver as shown in the MIT data.
Don’t feel too glum when you see this figure. Remember that we haven’t added in your tips, any sign-on bonuses you could get, or any referral or incentive programs your company might offer.
One more thing – don’t forget about the Taxman. No one will be deducting taxes from your income, and as an independent contractor, you’re quite likely going to be expected to pay quarterly. Unless you’re super-proficient at doing taxes, investing in the services of a CPA could be worth more than you might care to find out, should you make errors that involve penalties, fines, and even worse tax-related problems.