Everything You Need to Know About Uber Tipping

“Should I tip my Uber driver?” The simple answer is: Yes, it’s good form to tip your Uber driver. The longer answer is: Well, it’s up to you. Like tipping anywhere, the decision to tip is a personal one, based on what you’re comfortable with and how much you liked the service. But let us make...

The longer answer is: Well, it’s up to you. Like tipping anywhere, the decision to tip is a personal one, based on what you’re comfortable with and how much you liked the service. But let us make the argument that for people who want to do their small part to help someone providing them a service, tipping is good form.

Why? Well, for one it’s usually of small cost to an Uber rider, and still cheaper than taxi options in most cities. More importantly, it helps Uber drivers and Lyft drivers make a living.

Especially for trips with multiple stops, heavy luggage, or if you made the driver wait five minutes for you to get out to the curb  which is time they’re not making money  it’s the right thing to do.

A dollar or two from you isn’t much, but those add up for drivers over the course of a shift and can be what gets takes them from minimum wage to a living wage. If you receive exceptional service, you should reward your driver for it.

Aren’t Tips Included in the Cost of Uber?

Tips are not baked into the cost of these services, but the good thing is that, even with tipping, rides are still more affordable than taxi options in most American cities, according to a report from Business Insider. As long as you avoid surge pricing, the report found that  even with a 20 percent tip to your driver  these apps were nearly always more affordable than hailing a cab driver.

And, again, tipping really helps drivers make a living. As independent contractors, these drivers take home a set amount of each ride price. But with upfront costs, and the cut taken by the company, the money from each trip isn’t close to pure profit for a driver.

Uber and Lyft say they take 25 percent of each ride, but with service fees, the number can actually be a bit higher. With gas, maintenance, and taxes, which drivers are responsible for in their vehicles, costs can pile up. Especially for short rides, it can be hard for drivers to make money, as these businesses often take a pre-set fee that doesn’t reflect the duration of the trip.

Tips help drivers make a living wage, and can often be the difference between the red and the black over the course of a shift. If your driver provides exceptional service, or even good service, you should leave them a tip.

So…What’s a Good Tip Amount for a Ride-Hailing Service?

There is no set amount that is necessary to give a driver.

Like with most places in the United States, 20 percent is considered a good tip for solid service. If your driver has a clean vehicle, doesn’t blast the heavy metal and is courteous, that’s a fair amount to tip. Apps will usually give you a few options to tip when a ride is completed (more on that shortly), and those options will usually fall in the 1530 percent range. From there, it’s up to you.

If you’re in Europe, of course, things can be different, but these apps’ automated tipping process should reflect what’s common practice whether you’re in Paris or New York or Salt Lake City.

What’s the Best Way to Tip?

It’s easy to do, as both Uber and Lyft automate the process and provide you with suggestions. But that’s not your only tipping option. Giving a driver cash is a perfectly fine way to tip. It’s understandable that some people prefer to keep things in the app, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we promise it isn’t awkward if you have a few bucks cash to just give that to the driver before you depart the vehicle. (Tipping Uber drivers cash also does wonders for those in search of higher passenger ratings.)

Those who prefer the comfort of a touch screen, have no fear: Both Uber and Lyft make it beyond easy with their in-app tipping option. As stated before, they do offer pre-set amounts, but you always have the choice to enter in your own amount to tip. It might look slightly different if you’re using an Apple or Android device, but here’s a basic rundown with a look at how it works in the Uber app.

When a trip is completed, you’ll be presented with this screen, which allows you to give your driver a rating out of five stars and, if you want, add a tip:

Uber Tipping: Step 1
Image: Uber

 To give a custom tip, just click on “Enter Custom Amount” and you’ll see this screen:

Uber tipping: Step 2
Image: Uber

Put in what you want, hit “Set tip,” then hit “Done” and your credit card linked to your Uber account will be charged.

When Should I Tip?

If you’re tipping cash, any time in the ride is fine. For in-app tipping, you can do so any time after the ride is over, and you have until your next ride to tip. You’ve got plenty of time, but that being said, it’s nice to provide a tip immediately following your ride as a courtesy to the driver.

Take your next trip and forget to tip your last driver? Easy. You can still tip the driver from previous trips, and you won’t even need to involve Uber support. In Uber, go to the menu, click on “Your Trips,” select the trip you want, and you will see an option to “Add a tip.”

Uber tipping

Add whatever amount you’d like in, hit “Done,” and you’re all set.

For UberPOOL or equivalent rideshare services, the practice is exactly the same. Whenever your leg of the trip is over, go ahead and make that tip happen.

Didn’t Uber Start With a No-Tipping Policy?

Uber never had a no-tipping policy, as you were always welcome to tip drivers cash, even though the app made clear to riders that it was in no way obligatory. For those recalling a day with no tips in ride-hailing apps, you aren’t misremembering  early in the days of the apps, tipping was not something that could be done easily in the app.

That changed a few years ago, and is now standard practice. These services now allow tipping as a way to give riders more control over how they reward service, but they mostly did it because drivers really wanted the option.

Uber began allowing in-app tipping in 2016 following a class-action lawsuit over the independent contractor status of its drivers. (Lyft made the option available slightly earlier as a way to appeal to drivers to work with their service.) And tipping is extremely popular with drivers.

Tipping provides drivers with a more tangible and immediate reward for providing exceptional service, and helps them bring in more money. For drivers who are trying to make ends meet and living on thin margins, tipping helps them earn enough money to live.

Will Failing to Tip Hurt My 5-Star Rating?

It’s extremely unlikely you will be punished if you choose not to tip. Passenger ratings are handed out by drivers, and they are asked to review their riders once the trip is complete. Most do so immediately.

As you have until your next ride to give a tip, drivers can’t judge you for tipping or not when they go to review you, because they know you have plenty of time to decide to tip. Drivers do have the option to go back and change a rating, but that would take time and we’d like to hope drivers wouldn’t be that petty and vindictive. All that being said, one way to make sure you aren’t punished is to toss them a buck or two at the end of a trip.

Tipping can help your rating, for sure  especially if you tip cash while on Uber rides. If you’re looking to bump up that personal rating by a star or two, tipping in cash is a really good way to do that.

Tip Your Drivers

These apps say it themselves: Tipping is in no way mandatory, or even obligatory. But as customers who like great service, or simply as citizens of the world looking to lend a hand to a fellow human, it’s good form to tip your drivers. These are hardworking people who are trying to make ends meet, and a small monetary gesture from you can make that happen. It’s still going to be more affordable than taxis in most places, and it’s certainly easier to use a ride-hailing app than it is to find and flag down a taxi driver. And it’s painfully easy to do it, with lovely pre-set buttons that allow you to tip with a touch of a finger.

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Owner of Gigworker.com 

Brett Helling is the owner of Gigworker.com. Since an early age, he has started business ventures and worked various side hustles in many different niches. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber and Lyft. In 2014 he started a website to share his experiences with other drivers, which has now become Ridester.com. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche by building and growing Gigworker.com. As the site grows, his insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more.

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