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How Much Are you Supposed to Tip an Uber Eats Driver?

Posted by Jamie on June 7, 2019

A TechJunkie reader posed an interesting question yesterday that got us thinking. It was; ‘I have started using Uber Eats and like the service. How and how much am I supposed to tip an Uber Eats driver?’ This brings up a whole bunch of questions around the service industry and whether you are ‘supposed’ to tip at all.

We all know that waiting staff, delivery drivers and other minimum wage service staff often depend on tips to pay the bills. That’s why it is so ingrained in our culture to tip even when the service wasn’t that good. But this brings another question, why are we supporting an industry that should pay it’s people properly rather than make them depend on the generosity of strangers? Unfortunately we just don’t have the page space for that as it’s a huge question!

Instead, let’s stick to the matter at hand, tipping delivery drivers when you order and pay through an app.

Tipping your Uber Eats driver

Most on-demand food delivery apps allow tipping and Uber Eats is no different. The feature isn’t obvious but once you receive your food and rate your driver, the option to tip is on the same page. It uses your existing payment method to tip the driver and will deposit the money in their account along with their delivery fee. Presumably without the cut they take from the delivery fee. That delivery fee is $5 where I am but Uber takes 30% of that apparently.

While I haven’t driven for Uber in any form, I know a couple of people who have and let’s say the pay isn’t amazing. It is better than nothing and the convenience of working on-demand offsets some of that low pay but it is still not the best paid work in the world.

That said, it is the driver’s choice to work for Uber knowing full well that tipping is much less common on this type of platform than if they were working in a cab, as waiting staff or somewhere where tipping was part of the culture.

Before Uber added the ability to tip, I never used to tip drivers at all. The driver’s I know understood this and didn’t seem to mind. Uber and the other apps are cashless systems so it is unreasonable to expect someone who uses such a system to have cash on them. That said, they always appreciated it if I have some spare cash on me and did pay a tip but as I don’t really do cash anymore, this wasn’t often. Apparently lots of Uber customers are the same.

How much to tip?

There are no rules on tipping but there are social norms. Depending on where you live, the average is between 10% and 15% of the total bill. I think that is reasonable and as long as that all goes towards the waiting staff, I have no problem with it. I have a problem with the industry making people depend on tips but that’s not the fault of the server.

Some find it easier just to round up rather than stick to a percentage. If that equates to something decent, I would say that’s a good idea. Although if you’re paying $19.50 for a delivery and round up to $20, that’s not so good. You can’t do this with an app anyway but it is another popular tipping calculation.

The drivers I spoke to about tipping all said much the same thing. They know that the app is cashless. They know that not everyone carries cash. They also know that not everyone tips. Drivers don’t expect to be tipped but very much appreciate it when they are.

Uber and the other apps may say that tipping isn’t necessary but if you know your Uber Eats delivery came from two dozen blocks away and arrived by bike within 15 minutes, I would say that effort deserves more of a reward than a measly five star rating!

If you’re going to be a regular Uber Eats customer, I would suggest keeping a few dollar bills by your front door to tip. You don’t have to and you aren’t expected to but I think it’s good manners to show appreciation for good service. An app is convenient for everyone but it’s a machine and dispassionate. Deliveries are still a human service right now so it makes sense to treat it like one.

You don’t have to tip Uber Eats or anyone. Nobody expects you to tip but it is a social norm and if you tip Domino’s or other pizza guy, why wouldn’t you tip your Uber Eats driver?

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