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How Much Should You Tip a Delivery Driver?

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Key Information

Delivery Fees ≠ Tips

Delivery fees often cover operational costs, not driver wages. Always tip separately to show your appreciation.

Standard Deliveries

Typically tip between $3 to $5 for regular food deliveries. Use this guideline regardless of contactless delivery.

Special Deliveries

Tip 15-20% for grocery deliveries; 10-15% for large orders or catering; and around 15% for courier services.

Factors for Variance

Consider tipping more for exceptional service, harsh conditions, or physically demanding deliveries. Reduce tip for delays, errors, or careless handling.

Ridester’s Thoughts:

I almost always tip, on every delivery, period. This is a service, so I treat it very similar to how I tip at restaurants. If a driver is earning a wage (such as an Amazon delivery driver), I don’t tip, unless they go above and beyond to earn it. If the driver is paid at service rates (such as an Uber Eats or DoorDash driver) I always tip, no questions asked.

The Importance of Tipping a Delivery Driver

In today’s fast-paced, app-driven world, not only has food delivery become an integral part of our lives, but also grocery delivery, courier services, and more.

From the convenience of a simple pizza for a movie night to groceries for the entire week, the silent hardworking delivery drivers ensure our items arrive on time.

These drivers, often self-employed in the modern gig economy, bridge the gap between businesses and your doorstep. They are the unsung heroes who often bear out-of-pocket expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance while sometimes making just around the minimum wage.

This makes tipping them not just an act of courtesy but an essential contribution to their livelihood.

Delivery Fees vs. Tips

A common misconception is that the delivery fee, sometimes added to your bill, directly benefits the driver. However, this fee usually addresses the operational overheads, such as platform charges, and doesn’t necessarily trickle down to the delivery personnel.

It’s crucial to differentiate between this fee and actual tips. Always ensure you tip separately, signifying your appreciation for their direct service.

How Much Should You Tip?

The size, type, and effort of your order largely influence the tip.

For standard food deliveries, offering a flat amount between $3 to $5 can be a fair practice, making the tip about the service rather than the cost of your order.

Follow the same tipping etiquette even if you request a contactless drop-off.

However, for more demanding deliveries:

  • Grocery Deliveries: With platforms like Instacart, considering the effort the driver puts into shopping and ensuring the freshness of your products, tipping around 15% for smaller orders and 20% for larger ones is recommended. Their frequent communication, updates, and sometimes substitutions further justify this percentage.
  • Large Group Orders or Catering: Orders exceeding $100 might make the regular 20% tip seem steep. A more realistic approach would be tipping about 10% for these larger deliveries and 15% for orders below $100.
  • Couriers and Errand Runners: Platforms like Roadie, GoShare, and TaskRabbit are reshaping the delivery landscape. Tipping around 15% for standard services and a bit more for heavy or multi-task deliveries can be a good rule of thumb.

Extra Effort Deserves Extra Appreciation

If a delivery driver displays exceptional effort, like braving multiple flights of stairs or showcasing outstanding customer service, consider tipping a bit more. These gestures highlight their commitment to ensuring the best experience for you.

When to Tip More

There are certain situations where the standard tip might feel inadequate:

  • Exceptional Service: If the driver goes above and beyond, such as managing a complex order or communicating effectively to ensure satisfaction, they deserve a little extra.
  • Adverse Conditions: Drivers working in unfavorable weather conditions or during peak traffic times are making added efforts to ensure timely delivery.
  • Physical Demands: Delivering heavy items, navigating multiple flights of stairs, or handling large orders single-handedly can justify a more substantial tip.

When to Tip Less

While it’s essential to be generous, there might be situations where a reduced tip seems justified:

  • Delayed Deliveries: If the delivery takes much longer than promised and the driver doesn’t communicate the reasons, it might influence the tip.
  • Incomplete or Wrong Orders: While this isn’t always the driver’s fault, it does affect the overall experience.
  • Poor Handling: If items arrive damaged due to careless handling, it’s a factor to consider.

However, always approach these situations with empathy, as external factors often influence service quality.

Practicing Good Tipping Etiquette

Your tipping method speaks volumes about your appreciation. Instead of crumpled bills or loose change, provide neatly folded money, ideally with a word of gratitude. If you’ve paid electronically, having the tip ready upon arrival ensures a seamless transaction.

In scenarios like large event catering involving several staff, entrust the total tip to the lead personnel, confident they’ll distribute it equitably among their team.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answer to our initial question — “How much should you tip a delivery driver?” — can vary between situations, but once you have basic tipping etiquette down, calculating the right gratuity isn’t so hard.

Here are a few frequently asked questions to help you navigate tipping during your next delivery service request:

vector graphic showing a scale of how much to tip grocery delivery drivers

1. Can I tip my delivery driver in cash?

Absolutely. Although most delivery apps are designed for you to pay and tip in-app with your credit card, there’s nothing stopping you from tipping your driver in cash.

Some drivers may actually prefer cash tips, since they’re able to spend it right away, instead of waiting for their payments to process.

When tipping in cash, the same tipping etiquette applies, though you may want to round up to avoid both undertipping and tipping with coins, which can be inconvenient.

2. Does tipping etiquette change if my order was delivered on bike or on foot?

No, the same etiquette applies for on-foot and on-bike delivery services.

Most, if not all apps match their contractors with delivery orders based on what they can safely handle, so you won’t have to worry about leaving a larger base tip for a biker who had to handle an extra large order.

3. Do I need to tip if a delivery fee was included with my order?

Yes. Delivery charges, service fees, and similar costs should be expected on top of your tip. These fees do not go directly to your driver and some actually go straight to the delivery company you ordered from.

Your driver tip is the only portion of your payment that goes 100% to the delivery partner you’re matched with.

4. Do I need to tip my Amazon driver?

Amazon, which does use contracted drivers for many of its services, is a unique delivery platform where tips are only sometimes accepted.

If you can tip, you can see the option after your delivery (usually for Amazon Prime orders). However, you don’t need to feel obligated to leave a tip on this platform.

Amazon drivers are paid significantly more than most contractors for gig economy apps and tipping for Amazon services isn’t custom. However, if your delivery driver took extra care to hide your package in a secure place, feel free to give them any tip amount desired.

Wrapping Up

Tipping is more than just a monetary gesture; it’s a way to acknowledge the effort and dedication of delivery personnel. They brave traffic, weather, and tight schedules to ensure you receive your meals in perfect condition.

A tip is a small token of gratitude that goes a long way in recognizing their relentless service. By understanding the nuances of tipping and following the guidelines above, you can make sure your appreciation is felt by those who make your food deliveries possible.

4 thoughts on “How Much Should You Tip a Delivery Driver?”

  1. Why not tip 50%? 100%? Let’s make it as easy as possible for these platforms not to pay drivers and pretend their prices are low.

    Reply
  2. I used to be a waitress. The standard tip for a waitress is %15, but we only made $3.50-$5.00 an hour. We also served their every need for the duration of their meal, rang up the bill, brought back change and unless a bus boy (usually making a dollar or 2 more an hour than us servers but not included in our tips) was on staff, we also cleaned and cleared the table afterwards. Delivery staff simply picks up orders and drops them off, most times never coming face to face with us as customers since the no contact deliveries started. I just Googled how much Door Washers are paid $25 per hour plus 100% of their tips. I say 5% for food delivery and 10% for shoppers should be more than enough. The standard tip was %15 because wait staff only gets half of the minimum wage standard….jsyk

    Reply
  3. Not sure what door washers has to do with delivery drivers? But if u order from Uber eats, grub hub or door dash.. they are all independent contractors paid for only the orders they deliver. I would base my tip on time on fair.. most orders take 20-30 minutes.. the tip is basically 100% of pay, since what they pay for cover car maintenance.. don’t forget when tax time comes those people are paying 7% more in social security that ur employer would pay. So if minimum wage is now $15.. what i can get per hour in an standard store.. and I pay an additional 7% in social security.. that’s $16 an hour.. tips are truly 100% of income once u take away car maintenance.. so if minimum time is 15 minutes minimum tip should be $4.. but reality most take 20-30 minutes so I’d say at least $6-$8 per order, that will but the driver at same pay as working in retail.

    Reply
  4. All drivers have to pay their own gas and car maintenance and you are putting miles on their car. That has a price. You are paying for the gas, the drivers time and the miles and the maintenance on the car. And also if the order is large or small. So you tip on that.

    Reply

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