DoorDash salary negotiation
Company Guide
June 22, 2021

DoorDash Salary Negotiation

This guide aims to equip you with the essential pieces of information you need for your upcoming DoorDash negotiation. DoorDash is the leading online food ordering and food delivery platform in the US; it has done exceptionally well during the pandemic, which has made it an attractive place for top tech talent.

If your situation is unique or you want 1:1 support to ensure you maximize your compensation, please sign up for a free consultation with our expert negotiators.

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Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Base Salary $150,000 $150,000 $150,000 $150,000
Signing Bonus $110,000 $85,000
Amazon RSU
% vesting (60 shares)
$10,000 $30,000 $80,000 $80,000
Performance Bonus N/A N/A N/A N/A
Stock Refreshers N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total Compensation $270,000 $265,000 $230,000 $230,000

Table of Contents

  • DoorDash Offer Compensation Components
  • DoorDash Negotiation Process
  • DoorDash-Specific Negotiation Advice

DoorDash Offer Compensation Components

Before starting any negotiation, it is important to make sure you fully understand DoorDash's compensation structure. DoorDash has a fairly standard set of compensation components. A typical job offer for a Software Engineer role at DoorDash should contain the following monetary components:

  • Base Salary
  • RSUs
  • Signing Bonus
  • Performance Bonus
  • Refreshers

This is what an example DoorDash E5 offer looks like over a 4-year period:

Refreshers are usually not specifically listed in the offer letter as they are performance-based, but more on that later. Performance bonuses are expected to be announced shortly, but not specified in May 2021 offer letters.

Furthermore, understanding the levelling structure at DoorDash can help you compare compensation at competing firms. DoorDash follows the same levelling structure as Google; the levels for the SWE role mentioned above are:

  • E3: Entry Level Engineer = L3 at Google
  • E4: Software Engineer
  • E5: Senior Software Engineer
  • E6: Staff Engineer
  • E7: Senior Staff Engineer
  • E8: Principal Engineer = L8 at Google

Base Salary

DoorDash has one of the most competitive base salaries in the industry. They pay a slight premium relative to Facebook and Google for similar roles (e.g. L4 Software Engineer). Even though DoorDash's base salary is better than that of its FAANG counterparts, we've seen them negotiate base salary up significantly, as long as the right levers are in place. Similar to most companies that operate in the US, DoorDash pays out base salary twice a month.

Restricted Stock Units (RSUs)

DoorDash's RSUs vest evenly throughout the four years. This means if you are granted $800K RSUs, you will receive the following:

  • Year 1: 25% ($200K)
  • Year 2: 25% ($200K)
  • Year 3: 25% ($200K)
  • Year 4: 25% ($200K)

DoorDash has historically had a 1-year cliff before the vesting of equity commences. This means that on the first anniversary of your role at DoorDash, you get 25% of the initial equity grant, after which all vesting happens quarterly (Feb → May → August → November). This is less convenient than Google, which vests every month but certainly better than Amazon, which is back weighted (higher % of equity vest in the 3rd and 4th year at Amazon). Note: as of June 2021, DoorDash employees reported that equity will begin vesting quarterly from day 1, instead of a 1-year cliff.

DoorDash equity is also competitive when compared to FAANG companies. For example, an E5 engineer at DoorDash can expect ~$150K per year in equity, which is in line with Facebook and Amazon; and slightly higher than Google. We have seen some movement from DoorDash when negotiating the equity component in their offers. However, DoorDash doesn't like to negotiate as much on this component when compared to FAANG companies.

For those who would like to know the exact details of how RSUs will be structured, I've included an anonymized quote from a DoorDash Offer Letter we negotiated recently.

"Restricted Stock Units. Subject to the approval of the Company’s Board of Directors or its Compensation Committee, you will be granted a number of restricted stock units (or “RSUs”), each RSU representing the right to receive one share of the Company’s common stock with an aggregate value of $400,000.00. The actual number of RSUs will be determined using the preferred share price of a share of the Company’s common stock, as determined by the Company’s Board of Directors (the "Board"), at the time that the Board approves such grant. The RSUs will be subject to the terms and conditions applicable to RSUs granted under the Company’s 2014 Stock Plan (the “Plan”) and the applicable RSU Agreement approved by the Board with respect to your award, including vesting conditions. The RSUs will be subject to service-based vesting in installments as follows, provided you remain in continuous service on the applicable vesting date: (1) with respect the first 25% of the RSUs, on the first company vesting date occurring on or after the 12-month anniversary of the date your service commences and (2) with respect to an additional 6.25% of the RSUs on each company vesting date thereafter. Our “company vesting dates” are February 20, May 20, August 20 and November 20."

Signing Bonus

Most DoorDash initial offers do not include a signing bonus. As mentioned in our other blogs, it is a common recruiters trick to leave it out of the initial job offer.

For most technical roles at DoorDash, it is possible to negotiate a signing bonus even if it's not in your initial offer. We can leverage your retention bonuses at your current company and/or competing offers to introduce signing bonuses in your counter offer. However, this signing bonus is not comparable to major players such as Facebook, who will give up to $100K signing bonuses for mid-level roles. Most mid-level software engineering bonuses from DoorDash are in the $10K-$30K range, though it is of course possible to go higher.

Performance Bonus

DoorDash did not start including performance bonuses in offers until very recently. It's still too early to tell if this is more similar to the Google and Facebook approach where +80% get their target or if this is like Amazon where <20% get their target bonus.

So far we have only seen performance bonuses in technical offers, though this may be expanded to non-technical roles.

Stock Refreshers

DoorDash offers very competitive stock refreshers. There is a biannual performance evaluation using a 1-5 scale:

  • Evaluation score of 3 → Meeting expectations
  • Evaluation score of 4 → Exceeding expectations
  • Evaluation score of 5 → Exceptional performance

If your performance evaluation is at a 3 or higher you will have equity refreshed in multiples (which vests over 4 years) as well as a base salary increase:

  • Evaluation score of 1 = 0% base increase and no addition to equity
  • Evaluation score of 2 = 3% base increase and no addition to equity
  • Evaluation score of 3 = 6% base increase and (25-33% of initial grant) addition to equity
  • Evaluation score of 4 = 9-10% base increase and (25-33% of initial grant) x 1.5 addition to equity
  • Evaluation score of 5 = 13% base increase and (25-33% of initial grant) x 2 to equity

DoorDash Negotiation Process

There are a few critical mistakes to avoid if you have not yet received your offer from DoorDash:

  1. Do not share your current compensation. In many states (e.g. California), it is illegal for companies to ask this, so you are certainly within your rights to say, "I do not feel comfortable sharing that information".
  2. Do not share your compensation expectations. DoorDash recruiters will sometimes frame this as "seeing if you are a fit for the role". However, it is in your best interest to deflect this question until DoorDash has extended an offer or indicated the compensation range. One possible response is, "right now, I'm focused on the interview process and don't have a number in mind, but I'm confident we will be able to get to a number that works for both of us."

Below is the standard process for candidates who go through the hiring pipeline at DoorDash:

  1. After the final round of interviews, the hiring committee responsible for your decision will meet. They will assign a score on their 1-5 scale, which can heavily influence your negotiation prospects. Following that meeting, you will often hear back from your recruiter within a few days.
  2. When you hear back, in some cases at DoorDash, we have seen that recruiters will tell you that you are being offered a position, but refuse to give you the initial offer until you share compensation expectations. Sometimes this can be deflected, and if not, you can usually take a little bit of time to think about it before coming back with a high anchor.
  3. When you receive the initial offer, make sure to document all the information and ask any clarifying questions about the offer with your recruiter. You may not be able to push for significant time extensions as DoorDash does like to explode offers. We recommend taking the time to do research beforehand so you can quickly develop an optimal counter offer. There is strength in preparation, especially in the case of exploding offers.
  4. Following the initial numbers call, set up a second call with your recruiter and share your counter offer numbers. The recruiters at DoorDash can be pushy and they often do not like to negotiate compensation. At Moonchaser, we create a unique tree diagram specifically for your situation with the most likely objections and ideal responses to those objections. The goal of this second call is to simply get the recruiter to take your counter offer number back because the recruiter will not have the authority to approve these new numbers.
  5. Within a couple of days, you will hear back from the recruiter with their ''final offer'', as DoorDash tends to give out exploding offers, the deadline to confirm is often very quick.

DoorDash Specific Negotiation Advice

There are few important nuances to note when negotiating with DoorDash. I'll list some of these below in addition to best practices to ensure you are ready for your upcoming negotiation.

Reticent to disclose initial offer: DoorDash has been unwilling to disclose the initial offer for several candidates we have worked with. They often try to gauge your compensation expectations and base their offer on that. This makes negotiations trickier, as it is critical you avoid accidentally anchoring low in your initial expectations call. Make sure you have a deep understanding of compensation bands for your target level and, when possible, deflect giving your compensation expectations.

Exploding offers: We have seen DoorDash give offers with very short acceptance times. In the cases where this happens, we have been able to secure extensions using our standard playbook (start with the recruiter, then go to the hiring manager; provide open-ended excuses, then progress to specific reasons). Sometimes recruiters will ask for verbal confirmation by the end of the week that you will accept the offer if they secure your requested increase. If you are happy with your counter offer, it's OK to agree to this.

Don't need offers in writing: Unlike Google, DoorDash does not usually require you to provide cross offers in writing. This can be useful because many companies avoid putting their offers in writing, which makes it hard to use them as leverage in other negotiations.

Not always willing to match cross offers: To some extent this depends on what score (1-5) you received during interviews, but we've seen a few situations where DoorDash was unwilling to match higher competing offers. There are still some options in these situation (e.g. looping in hiring manager, pushing for up-level, etc.), so definitely don't give up hope if this happens early in the negotiation.

Recruiters tend to be pushy: Although recruiters are friendly and the process is smooth most of the time, they often tend to push back on compensation negotiation. In some cases they seem more upset about these requests relative to FAANG recruiters. Continue to be polite but stand firm in your request, it is totally normal to negotiate and no hiring manager will hold that against you.

Negotiate Your Offer

1:1 Salary Negotiation Support

We've negotiated more than $5M in DoorDash offers in 2021. Our largest DoorDash increase was $285K.

Negotiation strategy

Step 1 is defining the strategy, which often starts by helping you create leverage for your negotiation (e.g. setting up conversations with FAANG recruiters).

Negotiation anchor number

Step 2 we decide on anchor numbers and target numbers with the goal of securing a top of band offer, based on our internal verified data sets.

Negotiation execution plan

Step 3 we create custom scripts for each of your calls, practice multiple 1:1 mock negotiations, and join your recruiter calls to guide you via chat.