A Florida Gen Xer started driving for DoorDash after his business shuttered. He shares 2 tips for increasing your earnings on the app.

A Florida Gen Xer started driving for DoorDash after his business shuttered. He shares 2 tips for increasing your earnings on the app.
Jeff Greene, 55, has used DoorDash driving to pay the bills while he figures out his next career steps. Jeff Greene
  • Jeff Greene, 55, was forced to close his business earlier this year.
  • He's driving for DoorDash to pay the bills while he figures out the next phase of his career.

Jeff Greene, a 55-year-old based in Florida, needed a flexible way to keep his finances afloat, so he turned to the gig economy.

Greene used to own a manufacturing company but, earlier this year, he saw the writing on the wall: his business wasn't generating enough money to cover its costs. In July, he was forced to shut it down, he told Business Insider.

The loss of income that came with his business' struggles and eventual closure took a major toll on his and his wife's finances. He said they fell behind on their mortgage payment and almost fully depleted their savings.

Greene looked for a new job, but after the first month of his search proved unsuccessful, he was in a bind. He needed to find a source of income quickly, but he was concerned that if he took the wrong job too soon, he'd get stuck there — and never have the time to figure out the best next step in his career.

Driving for a platform like DoorDash or Uber Eats, he thought, would provide the flexible hours a 9-to-5 couldn't offer. While he was skeptical he would earn enough to make driving worthwhile, he decided to give it a shot.


"When we started struggling paying bills, I felt there was no other choice if I wanted to continue to interview and look for better opportunities," he said. "I could be a greeter at Walmart, but that would take all of my time, and I wouldn't be able to continue to find a better solution."

Over the last few months, Greene has driven between 20 and 40 hours a week for DoorDash. In September, he earned roughly $2,600, including customer tips, driving roughly 35 hours a week, according to screenshots of his drivers' app viewed by Business Insider. After accounting for gas and maintenance costs, he estimated that he's earned roughly $21 to $24 per hour as a driver. He said the income has been invaluable.

"At 55, it took me a bit to find my footing in the job market," he said. "The gig economy was a great way to bridge the gap."

Greene is among the millions of Americans who have turned to the gig economy to generate income. While some have had significant success, others have complained about declining earnings and low customer tips. For workers like Greene, the gig economy has provided an income stream while they figure out the next phase of their careers.

Reward perks and delivery bags can help drivers earn more

While driving for DoorDash has helped Greene pay the bills, he said it was tough early on. He estimated that he earned roughly $10 to $15 per hour pre-expenses before he decided to pursue DoorDash's rewards program, which provides drivers who meet certain criteria with access to higher-paying orders and other perks. Greene is a platinum driver, the top rewards level, and he'd advise drivers to get this status as quickly as possible.


Requirements vary by area, but platinum drivers generally need an order acceptance rate of at least 70%, a completion rate of at least 95%, a customer rating of at least 4.7 out of 5, and at least 100 deliveries in the last 30 days.

Greene's other piece of advice for drivers: buy DoorDash's pizza and catering bags. Catering bags can help drivers fulfill larger orders, while verified pizza bags can give drivers priority access to pizza deliveries.

"This is about a $50 investment that returns about $30 to 50 per week in opportunity, if not more," he said.

As he hoped it would, DoorDash's flexible hours have allowed Greene to explore other career paths. He recently received his insurance license from the state of Florida and said he plans to continue driving until he finds an insurance gig that pays significantly more than he's making hourly as a driver.

Working in insurance isn't his long-term goal, however. Greene said he has plans to start a new battery manufacturing company sometime over the next year. If this business doesn't work out, he hopes he'll be able to rely on an insurance job the same way he turned to DoorDash earlier this year.


In the near term, Greene still has significant financial challenges to grapple with. He said he may ultimately have to file for bankruptcy due in part to the significant credit card debt he's accumulated. Still, he said things would be much worse without his DoorDash income, and that he's optimistic about the next stage of his career journey.

"These lulls are common as an entrepreneur," he said. "The gig economy has just made them less painful."

Are you a gig worker willing to share your story about pay, schedule, and tipping? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@insider.com.