overhead view of cars in a parking lot

Where to Park When DoorDashing?

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In suburban and rural areas, parking is seldom a significant issue, even during the height of  “busy hours,” when it comes to everyone making a mad dash on getting their food delivered. 

When it comes to where to park when DoorDashing, it’s important that you get creative and it also depends on what you are parking for. Are you picking up or are you delivering? Oftentimes, where you park makes all of the difference in the world. 

In larger cities, parking is at a premium and you really do have to get creative, however, there are ways around parking meters, loading zones, and meter maids. It involves some socializing, signs, and a bit of finesse mixed with speed. 

But once you perfect your methodology, it really does improve the amount of money you can potentially make, because it increases your delivery speed. 

Table of Contents

Should You Use Hazards Lights or Not?

If you pay attention to blogs, they’ll tell you to use your caution hazards when parking at meters, loading zones, tow-away zones, or in front of fire hydrants. If you pay attention to the people who spend time DoorDashing, on forums and chat rooms, you’ll discover that it’s the exact opposite.

You should never have your flashers going when you are parked illegally, no matter how temporary it is. The reason why is because you will end up doing nothing more than throwing up a major “look over here, I’m parked illegally” sign for any police officer or meter maid on the same block.

This is especially true at night time when DoorDashers are at their most busy. It’s like lighting a torch and screaming at the top of your lungs. Don’t use your caution lights and certainly don’t use them when you are parked in front of a meter or fire hydrant. 

However, there is a time and a place where you should use your hazards and that is anytime you are parked off on the side of a major or heavily trafficked road or, in the unfortunate incident that you break down. You shouldn’t use them for any other circumstance. 

What to Use Instead of Hazards

You have a lot of choices here and one of the most important ones is to get to know the local police officers or parking enforcement officers. Be friendly and talk to them about what you do and why you are usually there. Ask questions. 

It may be that they will have some alternative suggestions for you that you had never even considered before. Also, it drastically decreases the chance of you getting hit with a parking infraction or worse, getting a boot thrown on your vehicle.

DoorDash sells “Delivery in Progress” signs that you can quickly and easily prop up in your window before you get out of the car. These are incredibly useful and they may not always get you out of a bind, but if you have to “dirty park” they can be a lifesaver.

Delivery Driver Mirror Hanger Sign for Amazon, Caviar, Doordash, Deliv, Grubhub, Instacart, Postmates, Seamless, Shipt, and More!
Click to Check Price on Amazon

  There are also other signs that you can purchase that essentially say the same thing, or something similar. If you decide to get one, you should do a combination of things. Get to know the local parking enforcer, and always use the signs, especially when parking in these areas. 

At the end of the day, DoorDash has a simple but clear message and policy on traffic tickets, toll costs, and parking tickets. DoorDash will not reimburse you for any of them. It’s in the Independent Contractor Agreement that you sign when you become a DoorDash driver.

In other words, it’s not like you can say that you didn’t know. What it means is that the risks you take are your responsibility alone. However, getting to know local law and parking enforcement and using the appropriate delivery signs will certainly reduce that risk. 

What Are Best Places to Park When Delivering?

Knowing where to park can make a huge difference in your bottom line. After all, the last thing you want is to have to park blocks away from your delivery point and spend most of your time walking.

  • Directly in the apartment’s loading zone
  • Designated delivery spots
  • Using valet parking
  • Know where one-hour and two-hour parking is
  • Free minimum limit parking garages
  • Know your areas

When it comes to picking up the order, why not park in the loading zone for extremely large orders? After all, you are loading food, and it’s as close to the restaurant as you can possibly get. It’s the quickest way to get your food loaded and be on your way.

Many restaurants, especially the ones who have fully embraced the new, independent contractor delivery system, will have delivery parking spots available. Be sure to hit these up as they will most likely be the closest parking position that you can get.

Valet parking is a good bet as well. Oftentimes, when delivering for parties, conferences, and major businesses, there will be valet parking available. Don’t park three blocks away and ignore the opportunity here. 

Simply let the valet know that you are there for delivery and so long as you leave your keys with them, it should rarely be a problem. This way, you unload right up front and your vehicle is ready to go when you walk out of the door. 

When delivering to businesses in the downtown district, it pays to know where your one and two-hour parking areas are. Even if you’ve gotten to know local parking enforcement there, it’s still a risky proposition to park in a meter spot. 

Knowing where your limited-time parking areas are will save you a ton of time and profits.

Look into the parking garages in downtown districts, hotels, businesses, and condos where you spend a lot of time delivering. You may be surprised to learn a few things, such as free limited-time parking. 

Many parking garages will allow you to park for free if your time there is limited to ten or fifteen minutes. This is especially true if you are delivering food. While many parking garages have elevators, many do not. 

You don’t want to have to race orders, especially large orders, up to five flights of stairs when you can simply park on the fifth floor and also do it for free. Also, it will really save your legs, especially if you’re going to be at it for several hours. 

Knowing the areas where you spend the majority of your time delivering is key to getting faster delivery times. If you know where to valet park, where your limited parking sections are, free parking garages, friendly meter maids, loading zones, and delivery zones, you’ll be a master DoorDash Deliverer. 

Remember to always play it safe, however, as the aforementioned DoorDash policy of not reimbursing you for tickets is always in effect. Sometimes it happens but if you know your delivery areas by the back of your hand, you will significantly minimize such incidents and maximize your earnings. 

Final Thoughts

DoorDashing for the first time is a learning experience and a day one DoorDasher is not going to be anywhere near as quick as a day 100 DoorDasher. Knowing when and where to park is crucial to your bottom line and as you gain veteran status, you’ll notice that your wages are increasing the more you learn. 

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