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Uber Tipping Etiquette, Amounts, & Best Practices In 2023

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Have you ever gotten out of an Uber and thought to yourself, “do you tip Uber drivers?” or “what is the proper Uber tipping etiquette?”

Well, you’re not alone. I’ve thought the same thing multiple times over my course as both Uber driver and passenger. I’ve given and taken thousands of rides over the years, and have an intimate knowledge of this topic.

Today I am here to reveal five things:

  1. Why you should absolutely tip your Uber driver on every trip.
  2. How much you should tip.
  3. The different methods you can use to tip.
  4. What your driver expects once the ride ends.
  5. Changes in rider tipping over time.

So without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Key Information

Should You Tip?

Yes, you should tip Uber drivers. Except in a few certain cases, you should tip after every ride you take.

How Much To Tip

The industry standard for tipping Uber drivers falls between 10-20%, based on service quality.

Tipping Delivery Orders

For food deliveries, a standard tip is $4-$6 regardless of the order cost.

Most Passengers Don’t Tip

90% of UberX drivers reported receiving no tips or tips less than $5, according to our recent survey.

Ridester’s Thoughts:

Tipping, while not mandatory, is a gesture that shows appreciation for the service rendered. Remember, while you are enjoying a comfortable ride in the backseat, your Uber driver is navigating through traffic, ensuring your safety, and maintaining their vehicle to provide you the best experience.

Do You Tip Uber Drivers?

You should always tip your Uber driver. While it’s not obligatory, tipping Uber drivers is a courteous way to show that you value their service. It’s an acknowledgment of their effort and commitment to ensuring you have a pleasant ride.

We suggest tipping on nearly every ride. However, while tipping is a kind gesture, there are instances where it might be unnecessary:

When to Tip

When the driver provides a smooth, safe ride.

If they help with luggage or bags.

When they navigate efficiently or follow your preferred route.

If they go above and beyond, like returning lost items.

When Not toTip

Rude or unprofessional behavior.

Reckless driving.

If the driver refuses to follow a route you’re comfortable with without reason.

Any form of harassment or discomfort.

When to Still Tip a Rude Driver

Navigating the decision to tip can be complicated, especially when you’ve encountered a driver who comes off as rude or curt. However, before withholding a tip, it’s essential to consider the broader context.

Perhaps the driver had a long, stressful day, encountered personal challenges, or simply had a communication barrier that came off as brusqueness. It’s also possible that what’s perceived as rudeness is just a cultural or personal difference in communication style.

While it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and comfort, it’s also valuable to exercise empathy. If the service was generally efficient and safe, but only marred by a brief instance of perceived rudeness, you might still consider tipping as a gesture of understanding and compassion.

How Much Do You Tip Uber Drivers?

The general recommendation is 10-20% of the fare, but always consider the quality of the service. Typically, I will personally use a sliding scale based on service quality: 20% for outstanding, 15% for pretty good, 10% for average, and nothing for below average.

If you had an exceptionally great ride, feel free to tip more. For short trips, a flat amount like $2-$3 can be more appropriate than a percentage.

I firmly believe that ridesharing is viewed as a service, so tipping should reflect service quality. Many drivers offer multiple rides each time they drive, so even small tips can help offset costs like gas and insurance.

Reasons to Tip More

There are moments during your Uber ride when the driver goes above and beyond the usual service, which might prompt you to consider tipping more generously. Some specific scenarios include:

  1. Handling Excess Luggage: If you’re traveling with more bags than usual and the driver assists with loading and unloading, it’s a kind gesture to tip extra.
  2. Waiting Patiently: In cases where you might’ve taken longer to board the car or had to make a brief stop, and the driver waited patiently without complaint.
  3. Navigating Difficult Routes: If the driver had to maneuver through particularly tricky or congested routes to get you to your destination safely and promptly.
  4. Exceptional Customer Service: Sometimes, the driver’s politeness, friendliness, or helpful local recommendations can enhance your ride experience.
  5. Adverse Conditions: Driving in unfavorable weather conditions, like heavy rain or snow, demands extra caution and skill.

Try to humanize the driver, and think what you’d appreciate if you were in their shoes. If you’d appreciate a tip, consider throwing a few extra bucks their way.

Does the Service Level Matter?

The type of Uber service can influence your tipping decision. If you’re using UberBLACK or UberSUV, which are more premium services, drivers might anticipate higher tips. However, regardless of the service level, tipping should be based on the quality of the ride and your level of satisfaction.

Rider’s Tipping Responsibility in Shared Rides

Shared rides merge affordability with convenience in ride-hailing. When tipping in shared rides, each passenger decides individually, not collectively, based on their experience.

Despite the split fare, drivers consistently exert effort, often more, managing multiple pickups and drop-offs. It’s essential to tip based on the service quality, any added assistance, and overall experience, as it acknowledges the driver’s dedication in these multifaceted scenarios.

How to Tip an Uber Driver

After a trip, the Uber app prompts passengers to rate their driver. After rating, passengers can leave a tip.

Tipping Uber Drivers

On the next screen, you can leave a tip. You can choose either a pre-set amount or you can tap “Enter Custom Amount”.

Tipping Uber Drivers

Uber allows tips to be added up to 30 days after a ride.

Tipping through Cash

While many passengers appreciate the convenience of tipping their Uber driver directly through the app, there’s another, more traditional method available: cash tipping.

Handing over cash directly offers a tangible, immediate thank-you for the driver. From the driver’s perspective, cash can be preferable because they receive it immediately and without any potential processing delay or fees.

However, it’s essential to note the tax implications. Like any income, cash tips should be reported for tax purposes. Failure to do so might lead to complications with tax authorities.

That said, if you’re comfortable and prefer the personal touch, a cash tip can be a thoughtful gesture of appreciation.

Why Some Riders Don’t Tip

In some instances, riders don’t tip. This comes down to two simple reasons:

Background of Uber’s Tipping Policy

Since its inception, Uber’s approach to tipping has seen changes.

Initially, the company positioned itself as an all-inclusive service, implying no need for tips. This caused some confusion among riders. However, in response to driver feedback and changing market dynamics, Uber eventually incorporated an in-app tipping feature.

This move not only enhanced driver satisfaction but also clarified the tipping etiquette for passengers. In a short amount of time, the company basically went from outright discouraging tipping to building an in-app tipping feature that suggests throwing a few bucks to drivers at the end of a ride.

Comparison with Traditional Cabs

Traditional taxis have long operated on a different model, with tipping norms more ingrained in the experience. Drivers often rely on the tangible exchange of cash, and the meter prominently displays suggested tip percentages.

With Uber’s digital, seamless transaction process, it’s understandable that passengers might feel disoriented about tipping etiquette. This divergence in practices between traditional taxis and ride-sharing platforms may contribute to the uncertainties riders face when deciding whether and how much to tip their Uber drivers.

Related: How much to tip a taxi driver

A Changing Tipping Landscape

While tipping is suggested, there are a handful of reasons that tipping is starting to become less prevalent as time goes on:

  • Shift in Tipping Behavior: Many drivers reported generous tipping early in the pandemic, but it seems customers have grown more reserved recently.
  • The Taylor Swift Phenomenon: The mood of a city can influence tipping. For instance, during Taylor Swift’s concerts, the positive atmosphere saw a rise in tipping.
  • Digital Influence: Videos showcasing large tips on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok might have unintentionally set false expectations about the norm of tipping.
  • Business Travelers: Some drivers, especially in busy cities, have noted that many business travelers have tipping limits, which can affect overall tips.
  • Price Hike & Customer Behavior: With ride-hailing companies raising prices, customers might feel less inclined to tip. The sentiment is, “I’ve already paid so much for the ride, why should I tip extra?”
  • History of Tipping on Uber: Uber’s past decisions, like initially resisting in-app tipping, might have shaped today’s tipping culture. The delay in integrating a tipping feature has perhaps conditioned many users not to tip.

Thoughts From a Driver: Why You Should ALWAYS Tip Your Driver

Understanding the earnings of an Uber driver can shed light on the significance of tipping.

While it might seem that drivers earn a decent amount per ride, one must factor in various hidden costs. From fuel expenses, vehicle maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, to platform fees deducted by Uber, the net income can be considerably lower than the gross fare. Many drivers also work long hours to meet their financial goals.

While drivers gross between $16 and $19 per hour on average, they might net around $8.10 after accounting for these costs. Given that Uber fares are often cheaper than traditional taxis, and considering the customary nature of tipping in service industries, leaving a tip becomes a meaningful gesture.

Tips can play a crucial role in boosting their overall income, offering not just additional earnings but also acknowledgment of their dedication and service. Thus, every tip, big or small, can make a tangible difference in a driver’s livelihood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Tipping an Uber Driver Impact Passenger Ratings?

Tipping can affect passenger ratings. In the past, some drivers would only give 5-star ratings to tipping passengers. However, now drivers rate passengers before knowing if they’ve received a tip. Uber’s system allows drivers to adjust their ratings later if desired.

Do Uber Drivers See Your Tip?

Yes, drivers can see how much you tip them in the app. However, your tip is anonymous, and they cannot link it to your trip or profile.

What Happens if You Don’t Tip an Uber Driver?

Nothing drastic will happen if you choose not to tip. Your rating as a passenger won’t be affected. However, remember that tips make a significant difference in a driver’s earnings. So, while it’s your choice, tipping is a way to support the drivers who work hard to make your journey comfortable.

26 thoughts on “Uber Tipping Etiquette, Amounts, & Best Practices In 2023”

  1. Arguments are moving, but sentimental. We know from research, that once tipping becomes the norm, the salaries that workers make become almost irrelevant. In fact, tip inflation is a major phenomena in the fanciest restaurants in the biggest cities, while the cooks and fast-food workers often get nothing. Also, Uber is a worldwide company, in the non-USA developed world almost everyone has healthcare and proper social services; we do not need to rely on the social intricacies of tipping to decide who gets to eat (not to suggest that everything is perfect). Though Uber drivers don’t seem to make that much, the best way to solve that problem is via the market which could take time (as drivers realize the cost). Ultimately, tipping is consistent with the market if it is voluntary – however, to promote tipping as a social requirement creates inefficiencies and tit-for-tat responses; perhaps culminating in the ultimate victory for the anti-tippers – socialized transit and/or elimination of human drivers through automation.

    Reply
  2. Think of it this way. You shouldn’t have to tip your Uber or Lyft drivers. By using this service you gave them business in the 1st place. if you don’t use this service they don’t get your business.
    Plus the people driving Uber/Lyft chose to do it as a job.
    I say if you tip then tip with cash directly to the driver. Thru the App Uber controls that. With cash that person gets the money directly. Most likely they won’t report it thus they get more money (wrong yes but who can track it?)
    I wish Uber/Lyft gave you a option to pay in cash instead of a credit card. If you pay in cash you don’t need to tip or tip less. No processing fee so Uber and the driver gets more money.

    Reply
    • You should ALWAYS tip when you are given a service. Cash is always preferable. Service workers. No matter what field work hard. Uber drivers take a big risk evertime a passenger gets in there vehicle. Yes, it is there choice of profession. However, if you feel that strongly about not tipping. May I suggest you drive yourself!

      Reply
  3. The major reason I hate US. Need to worry about tipping and other people’s earnings.
    Why do I need to tip and “help” him live. Why won’t he “help” me live by not getting a tip from me?
    US is horrible. Companies and the culture itself should learn to include all the salary in the price in the first place. Tipping culture made people “not want to help a customer” unless they get a few extra dollars.

    Reply
  4. You are the pizza. Uber/Lyft is the pizza company. If the driver delivers the pizza(you) professionally and well, then tip the pizza driver.

    Reply
  5. If drivers don’t make that much money driving for Uber then why do they do it? Get a job that pays more. It’s not the rider’s responsibility to make up any shortfall in the driver’s income. Nothing is forcing these people to be Uber drivers. All the arguments for tipping drivers are ridiculous. If they are not making enough do something else. Tipping should only be done if a rider feels he received exceptional service and wants to reward the driver for it.

    Reply
  6. I agree with Ted C. Studies have shown that tipping is not as fair as including it in the pricing. The studies show that people’s tips are independent of service received i.e. in restaurants for example, some people at 10%’ers, some 15%’ers and some 20%’ers: they almost always tip the same independent of service. I am upset that Uber’s response to driver morale was not to increase rates by 10% and then to (maybe) allow tips for exceptional cases only. So I say, come on Uber…remove the tips and lets (together) pay your drivers more!

    Reply
  7. I searched for this info because the Uber app always asks about Tips at the end and I remember always being marketed by Uber no tips are necessary, it seems they did a terrible job marketing this change since drivers truly aren’t making enough.

    Another point to make to the writer Brett, the federal mileage allowance has nothing to do with real world costs for what it is to cover your car expenses (even the IRS states this). It is simply the number that the government calculated to keep their costs lower for reimbursing employees. Even a basic car costs at least as much as this per mile to own. My previous car was a BMW 5 series which I was able to calculate cost me $1.04/mile. Needless to say my employer wasn’t happy when they asked me to drive more and then I asked to be reimbursed more.

    Reply
  8. I’m glad to no longer be in the dark about the fact that Uber drivers don’t necessarily keep their vehicles in safe running condition. This article did not inspire me to tip Uber drivers. It warned me not to use them. Thank you for the warning. I will avoid Uber like the plague.

    Reply
  9. Just a note from a Lyft/Uber driver: cash is king because those tips do not have to be claimed on my taxes meaning I get to keep 100% of the tip. Tips left through the app are put on my 1099, meaning I will eventually pay 25% taxes on every dollar I get. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

    Reply
  10. I thing you are writing a book for how much you tip the Lyft or Uber drivers,overall it is service like everything else
    If you are not happy with service, you are not going to call again for ride. That depends on your expectations, this is public services. You are calling for any ride 1- being on time 2- clean car-3-polite-communication, at least keeping that standard you can tip from 5 to 20% and that is reward for being good / very good/excellent.

    Reply
  11. Totally agree with you ! And it’s on Uber company, CIO how there are introduce tipping for drivers. If they are slashing rates then at list enough to advise to riders saying “good thing to tip a driver “

    Reply
  12. I will tip if the experience was excellent, but otherwise I don’t see why you would. This is a contract job they agreed to do and hopefully knew the cost of said job going into it. The drivers get 75% of the fare. A taxi driver gets paid by the hour (presumably), with the company paying the cost of doing business. I see why one would tip a taxi driver if you had a good experience, but as an Uber driver you are not an employee. You are a “business owner” that you pay royalties to a company to use their name.
    Someone mentioned you don’t have to claim your tips if they are cash, but legally you actually do, you just choose not to so you don’t have to pay the income tax on it. You may get to keep 100% of that cash tip if you don’t claim it as income, but it is technically illegal to do so. So basically you just admitted to tax evasion.
    I paid $12 for a 3 mile ride one way to avoid airport parking fees. 4 days later I had to pay $22 to go back home. Each driver gave zero attempts to help me with my luggage, which isn’t a big deal for me, but most people would appreciate the help, and if I were a driver I would be concerned about them damaging/scratching my vehicle if they are going to throw it in the car themselves. The first driver said she needed to stop and get gas on the way. Wait. What? Seriously?
    Because I had to pay almost double the amount going back, I didn’t leave a tip because I feel like I got ripped off. Is that fair to that driver to not tip them, but tip the other because it was less expensive? I don’t think so.

    Reply
    • Uber drivers do not get paid 75%; it’s usually way less. Also, if you think $22 is insane for an airport ride (despite the distance), then you sound like your budget fits public transport rather than on-demand door-to-door service. Honestly, you just sound like you have a probably paying, not tipping.

      Reply
  13. Whenever I read blogs or posts by those who make tips sound mandatory, it is usually entitled individuals who don’t understand the concept of service. For the record, I enjoy tipping and I often tip in excess of 20%. I enjoy rewarding individuals who take pride in going above and beyond and providing great service. Great customer service is a lost art. And many people in the service industry does not understand what entails great service. I feel this is due to a variety of factors namely that it isn’t taught any longer and that culturally younger generations feel more entitled to tips without putting in the work. The things I look for in great service are basics. Does the driver get out of the car to help load bags or baby strollers for example. Does he or she smile and ask how you are doing? Do they run their air conditioning on a warm day or better yet ask if the temperature in the car is comfortable versus keeping the windows open to save on A/C. Those are the basics. Every driver should do that. Do you need to offer bottles of water, a temporary charging cable for your phone or open doors for you? No, but that would be nice and would result in bigger tips. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t even do the basics yet demand tips. They feel that if they show up to pick you up and drop you at your destination, they are deserving of a tip. I don’t agree. I worked in the service industry and received great tips and often did better than my colleagues. And that’s because I understood what customer service was about and executed it. The people who complain of receiving poor tips are often the ones who fail to provide great service.

    Reply
  14. I don’t agree with the author’s comments. Whenever I’ve told an Uber driver I was going to tip him well and take care of him, I never received a negative rating. The reason is my comment was made in sincerity. The driver was kind, and did a wonderful job. The driver similarly could tell my comment was sincere and appreciated it. You are essentially encouraging passengers to tip in cash by trying to intimidate them into believing that a driver will assume you are lying if you tell him or her you will tip them well on the app. And that is far from the truth. The question one should ask is why are they getting poor tips? Do they smile? Do they introduce themselves when greeting you? Do you know how many Uber drivers don’t even say a word when they see you another than a nod? The lack of manners and customer service appears to be the norm as you are just another number to them. I’ve been using Uber since it’s inception. The first Uber drivers emphasized customer service and clean/operational vehicles. Every year, the level of service appears to decrease.

    Reply
    • The consensus among Uber drivers is that most passengers who say they’ll tip in the app never do. Not even sure why passengers do this (instead of just not tipping) but it’s probably to assuage their own guilt.

      Reply
  15. What about tipping when there’s surge pricing? Tipping 15% on a regularly priced $25 ride during a $100 surge price event is not small potatoes.

    Reply
  16. Never ever ever tip your Uber driver. Tipping has gotten out of control. Uber is simply exploiting drivers and customers by tacitly or explicitly raising prices to fatten the monopoly network they’ve built. Profits driven by customer guilt. All jobs are a service to someone (customers, coworkers, citizens, et al). Do you tip at the DMV— they don’t make much money either.

    Reply
    • DMV workers are employees with benefits; Uber drivers are contractors who pay for their own vehicle, fuel, maintenance, etc. And they barely make minimum wage after expenses. If you don’t have the money/heart to tip, that’s fine. Encouraging others not to tip because you think Uber drivers should bear the brunt of Uber’s greed and subsidize your rides is not cool.

      Reply

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