DoorDash tests a full-time employment option in New York as it launches ‘ultra-fast’ delivery

DoorDash announced today that it’s introducing “ultra-fast” deliveries in 10-15 minutes beginning with a single DashMart location in New York City. To start, ultra-fast deliveries will be offered from a new location in Chelsea, with more locations and partners coming over the next few months in New York and elsewhere. The company is additionally beginning to test a new model of employment which relies on full-time employees, not gig workers, to handle these new deliveries.

The company first launched DashMart, its digital convenience store channel, in April 2020.

DashMarts sell household items, as well as the types of things you’d find at a convenience store. They’re essentially micro-fulfillment centers that carry around 2,000 items, where DashMart warehouse associates pick and pack the orders, and then delivery workers, known as Dashers, come to collect the order and deliver to the customer. Starting today, DoorDash customers within the delivery zone can visit the DoorDash app or website and place an order from DashMart for a delivery. The company notes that the DashMart Chelsea location will be open from 7 am to 2 am daily.

To ensure the 15-minute delivery time, these ultra-fast deliveries are limited to a smaller radius from the DashMart location, which reduces the courier’s commute and ensures they’ll be traveling familiar routes. Their e-bikes will be capped at speeds of 20 mph, DoorDash says.

The company also announced that ultra-fast deliveries will offer a new opportunity for couriers who are seeking a set schedule and more earnings. DashCorps, a newly created DoorDash company, will employ courier employees who will work regular schedules and report to a manager. The employees will be paid an hourly wage starting at $15 per hour plus tips and will be offered other full-time benefits like medical, dental and vision insurance, Employee Assistance Programs, Flexible Spending Accounts and commuter benefits, among other things.

DashCorps employees will use a new app designed specifically for their work, which includes job responsibilities beyond delivery such as shelf-stocking, customer support and administrative work. They’ll wear a uniform and work an average of 20 hours per week, with many working full-time, the company says.

Currently, DoorDash works with over 400 local convenience stores and grocers in New York City, and says it plans to expand to more local bodegas through partnerships with DashCorps.

This new opportunity indicates that DoorDash is veering away from its strict gig worker model and shifting its strategy. It’s worth noting that DoorDash is among several gig companies that have fought regulations that seek to implement employment rights for gig workers. The company’s latest announcement signifies a departure from the existing gig worker model that it has fought to uphold.

“We’re proud to be a leader in providing economic opportunities that fit the lives of so many people. And now, we’re excited about the new employment opportunity that DashCorps offers for a different type of work,” said DoorDash president Christopher Payne in a statement. 

In addition to providing courier employees with safety training and equipment, the new courier app for full-time workers will also integrate DoorDash’s in-app safety toolkit, SafeDash. The recently launched toolkit is aimed at helping its delivery providers feel safe while they work. SafeDash is available in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Users on the delivery side of the platform across the U.S. will get access to SafeDash by the end of the year.

The company also announced that it has created a new small business advisory council that will inform its future partnerships with small businesses in New York. DoorDash has also partnered with the Yemeni American Merchant Association (YAMA), a small business advocacy and social support organization in New York.