The rise of the gig economy in the United States has resulted in an abundance of convenience.
You can order your dinner delivered straight to your door with Seamless, Grubhub, or DoorDash, your prescription delivered from Walgreens by a Postmates courier, or an Uber or Lyft car to drive you around.
Each of these services has some sort of delivery fee or minimum charge so do you still need to tip your Uber driver the way you would tip a normal taxi?
And if you do, how much is appropriate, and is cash better than tipping on your credit card?
Should You Tip Your Uber Driver?
Yes, you should tip your Uber driver. It’s good form to do so as they’re providing a service and most service workers (like waiters, hairdressers, and taxi drivers) are tipped.
On the other hand, tipping is technically at the discretion of the customer and indicates an appreciation for a high level of service.
Whether you tip and how much is a personal decision, often based on how much you liked the service and how much you feel comfortable giving.
If your Uber driver has gone the extra mile and handled heavy luggage, made multiple stops, or waited for you to come out (which is time they’re not paid for), then tipping is appropriate.
You would tip a baggage handler at the airport and taxis often charge more for multiple stops or waiting time.
In addition to not charging you for certain services, Uber also generally charges less for your ride than a normal taxi does.
Tipping helps mitigate this income disparity and enables the driver to earn a living.
While an extra dollar or two or more from you might not dramatically impact their income, an extra dollar or two or more from every ride over the course of their shift does add up and can take them from earning a minimum wage to earning a living wage.
So if you’re unsure, tip your Uber driver, especially if they’ve provided service above and beyond just getting you from point A to B.
How Much Should You Tip Your Uber Driver?
There is no set amount you need to tip your Uber driver.
As with many other services in the United States, 20 percent is considered a good tip for great service.
If your driver is polite and helpful, has a clean vehicle, and isn’t torturing your eardrums with loud music you don’t like, defaulting to a 20 percent tip is reasonable.
As long as you aren’t paying surge pricing, you can comfortably be tipping your Uber driver 20 percent and still not be paying as much as you would have for the trip in a regular taxi.
You may not realize how little of the fare you pay ends up in your Uber driver’s pocket.
There are upfront costs and Uber fees dramatically impact their take-home pay.
Uber claims to take 25 percent of the ride fare but service fees increase that number.
No matter how long or short your actual Uber ride is, Uber takes a pre-set fee from the fare.
This amount can be a huge chunk of a short, inexpensive ride, rendering your Uber driver’s take-home quite small.
And this is before accounting for gas, vehicle maintenance, and taxes, all of which are the responsibility of the Uber driver as an independent contractor.
So if your Uber driver has provided great or even just good service, plan to tip them around 20 percent in the United States.
Should You Tip With Cash or in the Uber App?
Uber has no official tipping policy rules regarding how you should tip or even that you do tip.
Tipping is wholly at your discretion, but Uber does offer you an in app tipping option if you’d like to tip drivers and don’t often have cash.
Some people prefer to tip in the Uber App and keep everything on their credit card and that’s perfectly fine.
You can choose to add a tip up to 30 days after your ride has ended.
So if you’re leaping out of the car and rushing for a plane or meeting, you haven’t missed your chance to tip.
If you’d like to add a tip to your ride in the app, you can do so after rating your driver.
After rating your Uber driver, Uber will give you the chance to leave them feedback and choose a preset tip amount.
If you prefer to leave a custom amount, you can do so by selecting “Enter Custom Amount” and entering the tip amount you’d like to leave your driver.
Tap “Done” to include your tip on your Uber-registered credit card.
Some people choose to tip in cash and Uber drivers seem to love it when you slip them some extra cash on your way out of their vehicle.
It’s immediate feedback and has the rumored impact of increasing your rider rating.
If you’re chasing down a 5-star rating as an Uber passenger, cash tips may help you get there.
What Do Uber Drivers Earn?
Uber drivers don’t earn an hourly wage or a set salary.
Rather, Uber drivers are paid for each Uber trip that is completed, but they don’t earn the total fare that a passenger pays.
The booking fee and the 25 percent fee are immediately deducted from the driver’s earnings.
Uber drivers are also responsible for a range of additional expenses like tolls, paying for their own cars and car insurance, and the regular maintenance and cleaning of their vehicle.
Oh, and they get to pay higher taxes as they’re technically independent contractors instead of employees.
So while you may feel like you’re spending a lot of money on your regular Uber rides, know that your driver is only getting some of that money and has a lot of expenses to cover to be available whenever you need a convenient ride.
Tip Your Uber Driver
While Uber’s official tipping policy is that you don’t have to, please do.
Whether you enjoy good customer service, like knowing you’re helping someone make a living wage, or just want a 5-star rating, tipping is a good way to ensure all those things.
Uber drivers work incredibly hard and even a few dollars here and there can make a big difference to both their bottom line and their outlook on working for Uber vs another gig economy company.
If you need help justifying the tip, you can always compare the cost of your Uber to the cost of taking a taxi ride the same distance.
Even with a generous tip, you’ll come out ahead financially and enjoy the convenience of having a car show up where and when you need it instead of standing outside, in bad weather or after a late night, trying to flag down a taxi.
Uber makes it incredibly easy for you to tip Uber drivers with just a few clicks so please do.
And if you really want to be a star, consider tipping in cash.