DoorDash will start offering couriers an hourly rate while they're fulfilling orders

The app will soon accept online SNAP and EBT payments for some grocery orders.

Carlo Allegri / reuters

DoorDash says it will offer couriers a guaranteed hourly rate for "active delivery time" as part of a raft of changes to its platform. The company says that this rate will be in addition to tips — couriers keep 100 percent of tips from customers.

The Earn by Time option will sit alongside the existing model that sees Dashers receiving a payment for each order they carry out. Currently, they receive a base payment that depends on the estimated duration, distance and "desirability" of the order, along with tips and potentially promotional payments. Couriers can choose whether they want to be paid by time or per order for each delivery, and they'll see the minimum payment they'll get for both options before selecting.

The hourly rate will differ depending on the market, and it's prorated. "The rate varies by market and is calculated so that Dashers on Earn by Time earn roughly the same, on average, in comparison to Earn Per Offer. The rate currently ranges from $10 to $19.50," DoorDash spokesperson Julian Crowley told Engadget.

Dashers will only be paid for the time between picking up an order and delivering it, but not while they're on their way to pick up the items. So if the Earn by Time rate is $15 per hour and it takes 20 minutes to carry out a delivery, the dasher will receive $5 plus any tips. DoorDash will have measures in place to prevent couriers from trying to game the system. Meanwhile, consumers will have the option to add or increase their tip after the delivery. They'll have up to 30 days to do so.

DoorDash screenshots showing the option to tip a courier after delivery.

The minimum rate is coming into play ahead of New York City starting to enforce a minimum wage for food delivery workers. By July 12th, delivery apps will need to start paying their couriers in the city a minimum of $17.96 per hour plus tips.

"It is critical to note that Earn by Time is fundamentally distinct from the NYC earning standard," Cody Aughney, DoorDash's head of dasher and logistics business teams, said. "The key difference is choice: Earn by Time gives Dashers the choice over how they earn, whereas the earnings standard robs them of that choice altogether."

On a related note, DoorDash doesn't plan to roll out Earn by Time in New York City, California or other "markets with a legislated earnings standard," Aughney said. The company provides couriers with a guaranteed hourly rate in such areas already. DoorDash aims to roll out Earn by Time to the rest of the US by the end of 2023.

Elsewhere, a new initiative for Dashers aims to reduce downtime by allowing them to take on orders while they're on the way to the area they prefer to work in. DoorDash is introducing a new safety feature for couriers as well. They'll be able to share their real-time location with trusted contacts.

Along with new features for Dashers and merchants, DoorDash is revamping things for customers with its biggest app update so far. DoorDash will support online SNAP and EBT payments, making it easier for those who are enrolled in those programs to place orders through the app. You'll be able to order from more than 4,000 grocery locations across the US, including participating Aldi, Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer and 7-Eleven stores. DoorDash is also offering SNAP recipients two months of free DashPass access.

DoorDash will roll out the update to all users over the next few months. The new features include universal search, so you can look for a specific item, retailer or restaurant from almost anywhere in the app. There will be new tabs at the bottom of the screen called Browse, Grocery and Retail (the latter of which DoorDash describes as "a modern-day mall directory"). There will also be multiple carts as well. When you get peckish while filling out a grocery order, you can save your progress, order something for dinner and then continue where you left off.

Sceenshots of the grocery tab in the updated DoorDash app, showing users how they can order grocery items.

Update 6/28 9:30AM ET: Added comments from Aughney.

Update 7/3 12:55PM ET: Added clarification from a DoorDash spokesperson.