If you live in the U.S., you know that it’s standard to tip for various things. We tip our servers and bartenders at bars and restaurants, we tip the valet when he brings us back our car, we tip our barbers and hair stylists, and we leave a little something for our maids when we check out of a hotel.
The list goes on and on.
So why are so many people confused as to whether or not they should tip their Lyft driver?
The confusion seems to come with the automatic payment method. Unlike a traditional yellow taxi, you don’t have to pull out cash to pay (and tip) your driver. So when there’s no cash exchanged or no need to sign a receipt, it can seem a little strange.
Lyft and other rideshare apps automatically deduct the amount for your bank account or credit card when the ride is over. The cash exchange never happens, meaning people don’t even think about adding a tip.
Uber caused a lot of this confusion when it first came onto the scene. And while Uber may have been bigger in the beginning, they’ve lost some of their riders to Lyft. Yet Uber still seems to dictate the trend when it comes to tipping a rideshare driver.
When Uber first started, they didn’t even offer in-app tipping. If you didn’t have cash, there was no tipping option. This led many people to believe that drivers don’t need to be tipped.
And that theory is 100% wrong.
But how much should you leave? Why should you tip at all? How do you do it?
Today we’re covering everything you need to know about tipping your Lyft driver. And if you’re a driver yourself, we’ve got some ideas on how you can increase the likelihood of getting that gratuity in the first place.
Why Should You Tip Your Lyft Driver?
What does your Lyft driver do that makes them deserve a tip? First and foremost, they provide you with an important service at a reasonable price. And like everyone else in the service industry, if they provide good service, you should give them a tip.
The second reason is based on the way that Lyft operates their business. Drivers do not receive the full amount of the passenger fare – Lyft keeps a portion of each and every ride. Those Lyft fees pay for app development, marketing, and paying their salaried employees.
Just because your ride costs $20 doesn’t mean your driver is pocketing $20. Drivers only receive a portion of the ride cost.
They do, however, receive 100% of tips.
Reason number three: Lyft drivers are independent contractors. They have to supply their own car and pay for their own expenses. They receive no salary and no guarantee of payment – not even a measly minimum hourly wage. Drivers pay for their vehicle, insurance, gas, vehicle maintenance, and repairs. And these costs take a significant chunk out of how much money they earn per ride.
The fourth reason you should tip your Lyft driver is that they spend a lot of time covering “dead miles.” What does that mean? That means that the driver earns nothing for the time it takes him or her to get to your pickup location.
They earn nothing for the time that they have to sit in traffic just to reach you. And they earn nothing after they drop you off and make their way to their next pick up.
So why should you tip your Lyft driver?
As a Lyft passenger, these things should matter. Sure, you’ll have a few extra dollars in your pocket if you don’t give your driver a tip. But the fact is, they are making very little money for providing you the service that you love. The expenses that drivers pay out of their own pockets are enormous, and that results in a very low hourly wage.
If you’re still not convinced that tipping is appropriate, think of it like this. If drivers are averaging minimum wage (and in some cases less) per hour, how long do you think it will be before they stop driving for Lyft altogether?
Do you want your favorite ridesharing service to stay in business? The only way to do that is to make sure your drivers are making enough money that it’s worth it for them to be on the road. And every time you tip you make it more and more worth their while.
How Much Should Passengers Tip?
Now that we’ve established that you SHOULD tip, the question becomes what is the standard tipping amount? The general rule of thumb is to give the same type of gratuity you would give a waiter in a restaurant, and that equates to approximately 20% per ride.
If you receive excellent service, tip closer to 30%. And by excellent service, we mean a driver that engaged in great conversation, offered you a bottle of water, or provided snacks along the ride. If your driver took an awesome shortcut and avoided traffic that would have made your ride cost more, he or she deserves a 30% tip.
If you have a full car of friends and decide to split the fare, it’s best if everyone throws in a little bit for a tip. A full car can be stressful for a driver, but you can make up for that by giving an awesome gratuity.
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How to Tip a Lyft Driver
Tip Your Driver in the App
Tipping is the right thing to do. And now that you know how much to give, the question becomes how should you do it? There are two ways you can tip your driver, and it’s safe to say that they’ll be pleased with either method.
The first option is to use the Lyft app. Once your ride is complete, you can tip in the app up to 24 hours after the ride. A screen will automatically pop up when the ride is complete, and you can add your gratuity right then and there. Otherwise, you can open the app the next day, view that ride in your “history” and add your gratuity later.
How do you tip your driver the next day?
Open the Lyft app and select “Ride history”
Select an individual ride and add the desired tip amount.
Give a Cash Tip
The second option is to give a cash tip. No one will ever turn down cash. If you have a few dollars in your pocket, hand it to the driver as you’re exiting the car. That way, you can’t forget to tip later. Plus, it’s a great way to say “thank you” in person.
So what do you do if 24 hours have passed and you just realized you forgot to leave a tip? You can add one up to 72 hours after the end of the ride. You’ll just have to navigate your ride history, find the driver you want to tip and select “tip driver.”
If for some reason the “tip driver” link is unavailable, you can still leave a gratuity by clicking on the “contact support button.” To do it this way, you’ll need to tell Lyft the full name of the driver, where you were picked up, and where you were dropped off. You’ll also need to indicate the date and time of your ride, as well as the amount you want to give.
7 Ways Lyft Drivers Can Increase Their Tips
As a driver, you know that getting tips can seriously increase your weekly earnings. And since we’re all about helping the Gig Worker, we’ve got some ideas for how you can do exactly that.
1. Make sure your car is spotless – inside and out
No one wants to ride in a dirty car. Vacuum the carpets and wipe down the upholstery. Nobody wants to get into the back of a dirty car, especially if they’re dressed for work or dressed to go out for the night, but don’t neglect the outside either. Take your car through the car wash as often as you need to in order to present yourself in the best possible way.
2. Eliminate strong odors
If there’s a mess or a spill in your car, clean it properly so that foul odors don’t overpower the passenger. And that doesn’t mean spraying a bottle of cologne or a gallon of Febreeze to kill the bad smell. Even “good” smells can be hard to tolerate if they’re too strong or too prevalent.
3. Ask the passenger if they’re comfortable
If it’s cold out, put on the heat. If it’s hot out, give them as much AC as they need. Some passengers are reluctant to ask a driver to change the temperature in the car, but if you ask them, they’ll probably be honest about whether it’s too hot, too cold, or too stuffy. If you can make your passenger comfortable throughout the ride, you’ve got a much better chance of scoring a tip.
4. Provide some extras
Gum, mints, or a bottle of water can go a long way. Stock up on some essentials at bulk stores and keep some things on hand to make your passengers more comfortable. In bulk, those items will only cost a few cents each, but they can result in good tips.
5. Be conversational, but know your limits
If you try to strike up a conversation with a passenger and they’re not receptive, let it go. On the other hand, if your passenger seems to want to chat it up, go for it. Just avoid those sensitive topics like politics and religion – unless you hold the same beliefs that rarely works out well.
6. Have charging cables available for Androids and iPhones
It’s inevitable – at some point, we all get down to one measly bar. If you can provide your passengers with a way to power up their devices, they’ll appreciate it.
7. Let your passengers control the music
If your passenger is into hip-hop, they’re not going to want to listen to country music for even a minute, let alone the duration of their ride. And vice versa. When your passenger gets in your car, ask them if there is a certain radio station they’d like to listen to. Alternatively, you can pass them an auxiliary cord and let them play music from their phone.
The point is that if you want to get tips, you have to provide the best possible service. If you don’t, you probably won’t see any gratuity at all.
There are lots of reasons why you should tip your Lyft driver. They provide you with an incredibly convenient service, they have a lot of out of pocket expenses, and takes a percentage of every ride – they don’t see all of that money. Adding small gratuities can boost their earnings and keep them on the road.
We tip tradition taxi drivers, wait staff, and many other people in the service industry, so it should also be standard to tip drivers from rideshare companies.
So if a driver provides you with excellent service or goes above and beyond to make your ride comfortable, it’s customary (and considerate) to give a tip.
You can tip in cash or through the app – drivers appreciate it any way you do it. So the next time you get in the back of a Lyft (or an Uber or any other ridesharing service) think about the person behind the wheel.
Think of the hard work they’re doing. Think of how little money they’re actually making. And think about how much you like the service. If Lyft drivers can’t make good money, then you’re likely to see a lot less of them on the road. And that means you’ll have to go back to paying those high taxi rates that made you start taking Lyft in the first place.