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How Much to Tip Grocery Delivery Drivers [What We Suggest]

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Key Takeaways

  • Tip grocery delivery drivers 15-20% of the total order cost.
  • Adjust tip based on order complexity, weather, and delivery distance.
  • Exceptional service deserves tips over 20% for their extra effort.
  • Tipping supports drivers’ income significantly, enhancing their livelihood.

Do You Tip Drivers for Grocery Delivery?

Grocery delivery is similar to a standard food delivery in that a driver is bringing your food to you instead of you picking it up yourself.

Tipping the delivery driver acknowledges good service and thanks them for taking that inconvenience off your plate.

Drivers do a lot of work to get your food to you, so we always suggest tipping on your order.

How Much Do You Tip Grocery Delivery Drivers?

For grocery delivery, a tipping range of around 15 to 20 percent of the total order cost is a good starting point. This is better than tipping with a flat rate like in food delivery, as the effort and value of the grocery order can vary significantly.

You may tip less for standard services and basic deliveries like curbside pickup while going for the higher end (or more) for exceptional service.

Remember to tip the driver for free deliveries too, as these few extra dollars are an appreciation of the service provider, regardless of the app’s promotions and delivery fees.

By considering key factors like order size, bad weather conditions, and exceptional service, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed tipping decisions that support delivery workers fairly and eliminate the guesswork.

Understanding Tipping Etiquette for Grocery Delivery

Tipping plays a critical role in ensuring fair compensation for many service workers across different industries. While grocery delivery services are no exception, many people find it a bit tricky to set a proper tip for this service.

Tipping on delivery is usually suggested in grocery delivery because drivers typically rely heavily on them for a significant portion of their income. This is because grocery delivery drivers don’t earn a wage and are paid in service rates.

In addition to the great effort that delivery drivers make to prepare and pack the order, they also have to take care of various expenses, such as fuel, vehicle maintenance, and wear and tear.

Of course, tipping etiquette can vary depending on a few factors. For example, the regional tipping norms can greatly impact how you tip service workers in general.

Unlike in North America, tipping in some other countries where service workers are paid fairly is considered irrelevant or even unacceptable.

In other regions, tipping could be even more critical, so always consider these aspects while deciding how much to tip.

When to Tip: Identifying Tipping Factors

The 15 to 20 percent baseline is a good starting point. Yet, several factors can still affect your tip amount, either by upward or downward adjustment. Here’s a breakdown of some common scenarios and what you should do in them.

1. The Complexity of the Order

Grocery orders may take a lot of time to gather before the delivery phase. That’s why it’s a good idea to increase your tip when you request several items from different shopping isles.

Large orders with bulky items or highly specific requests also merit a higher tip for the extra time and effort involved. In that case, consider boosting the tip to 20 percent or even more.

2. Short vs Long Distance Deliveries

Long distance and remote deliveries cost extra gas and an equally long time to return to the city center.

This also applies to challenging delivery locations, such as multiple floors or gated neighborhoods. In these scenarios, it’s usually best to stick to the higher end of the tipping scale at 20 percent.

Alternatively, if you only make small/simple orders and you live a few minutes away from the grocery store, it’s okay to keep the tip at 10 to 15 percent.

3. Weather or Road Conditions

Most deliveries are made under typical conditions. However, in some cases, the delivery may involve extremely bad weather, passing through bumpy roads, or even both. In these situations, you should pump up the tip to compensate the driver.

4. Quality of Service

Exceptional service deserves recognition. If your driver is noticeably prompt, communicative, handles groceries with care, and goes the extra mile to ensure your satisfaction, consider an even more generous tip, starting at 25 percent or even higher.

This is also a good idea if the order involves rare situations, such as replacements or making special orders.

On the other hand, small issues like missing a specific request or slight delays might warrant a tip reduction, but not a significant one (around 10 to 15 percent tip should be enough.)

How Much to Tip Grocery Delivery

Most grocery platforms like Instacart, Shipt, and even direct supermarket deliveries adopt a similar service payment system.

So here’s a quick breakdown of the services in various cases and the expected averages for them:

  • Standard deliveries under typical conditions: 15 to 20 percent.
  • Large orders or orders with special requests: 20 to 25 percent.
  • Deliveries in inclement weather or challenging circumstances: 20 to 25 percent (small orders) and 25 to 35 (large orders).
  • Peak Times: Increase your average tipping by an extra 5% to make up for the extra time taken to power through traffic. This should also apply to the Holiday Season.
  • Exceptional service that goes above and beyond: 20 to 45 percent or more. This one depends on the quality of the service and your courtesy.

The Impact of Tipping on Grocery Delivery Workers

For delivery workers in the gig economy, tips are far more than just “a little extra.” They often represent the crucial difference between making ends meet and struggling to survive.

You should also note that the basic delivery fees are not the same as tips, as they only cover basic operational costs, and in many cases, they go mostly into the platform’s pockets to cover overhead costs.

This makes tips essential for drivers to make ends meet and earn a decent living, as without them, the driver may not make any profit at all.

A recent report by the CBC even touched on the importance of tips for gig economy workers, especially grocery delivery. According to the report, tips make anywhere between 40 to 70 percent of the entire earnings of most delivery people. as

Common Questions and Concerns About Tipping

Lastly, here are some common concerns and questions that most people have about tipping.

Is tipping expected for every grocery delivery?

The vast majority of grocery drivers, including all workers at popular platforms, expect a tip for their service. In fact, many of them wouldn’t take an order if it had no tips listed.

How do digital tipping options work, and are they preferred?

In most cases, tipping through the platform directly goes straight into the driver’s balance without cuts or commissions.

They also save you the hassle of changing bills and let the driver know the expected tip for completing the task successfully.

What to do if the service was unsatisfactory?

The first option to consider here would be removing the tip. This is the most straightforward option, and it reflects your experience accurately.

However, remember that drivers might not be responsible for all aspects of the service. If the issue was out of their hands or isn’t entirely their fault, partially reducing the tip should be a better way to handle the situation.

How does tipping vary for subscription-based or membership services?

This varies from one service to another. In some membership-based services, the delivery drivers earn wages for their work. In that case, keeping the tip to a minimum would be the way to go.

However, some of these drivers are still paid per service, such as Walmart+. In that case, you should treat it just like any other grocery service and tip as guided above.

How Does Tipping Work While Using EBT Cards?

You should tip even while using EBT cards. No-tipping will reduce your chances of matching with drivers. It also undermines the efforts and time of the delivery person.

Can You Adjust a Tip After Delivery?

In most cases, you can adjust a tip after delivery if you feel it’s necessary.

Some apps allow you to do it yourself, while others require you to contact customer service to make any changes.

However, you should only adjust the tip if your original amount doesn’t reflect the level of service the delivery driver gave you.  

How To Adjust a Tip on Different Apps

Here’s a bit of information on adjusting a tip in some of the more popular grocery delivery apps.

1. Instacart

Instacart only allows customers to decrease a tip for three days after delivery. After that, you can continue to increase the tip for up to two weeks after your delivery.

  • Go into the Instacart app
  • Select “Orders” from the bottom
  • Choose the order from your list of past orders
  • Select “More”
  • Select “Change” or “Increase tip”

Learn more about Instacart tipping.

2. DoorDash

You can only adjust a tip manually using DoorDash during the checkout process in the “Dasher Tip” section of your bill.

If you want to change the tip after the driver drops off your order, you’ll need to contact customer support to have a representative override it for you.

Not all requests are granted, though, especially if you’ve requested changes multiple times in the past.

Learn more about DoorDash tipping.

3. Grubhub

Grubhub’s grocery delivery is limited to convenience stores for now.

Still, if you only need a few items, Grubhub is a convenient way to get your order.

If you want to change the tip after your order is delivered, you’ll have to contact customer support.

You can do so through the app or on their website.

Learn more about Grubhub tipping.

4. Shipt

Once you leave a tip in Shipt, you can’t change it.

However, you’ll have unlimited time after receiving your order to leave a tip.

This option makes it easy to base your tip on the quality of service if that’s what you prefer.

Learn more about Shipt tipping.

5. Amazon Fresh

Amazon’s shopping service, Amazon Fresh, is a grocery delivery service with limited availability.

Tipping isn’t necessary on Amazon Fresh because the delivery drivers are Amazon employees, not gig workers.

However, you can change your tip in the app for up to 24 hours after delivery.

Learn more about Amazon Fresh tipping.

6. Walmart Grocery

Like Amazon, you can edit your Walmart Grocery delivery tip for up to 24 hours after a Walmart delivery driver drops off your order.

You can also add a tip for up to 14 days after delivery, although you should tip right away if you can.

Learn more about Walmart Grocery tipping.

What Is Tip Baiting?

An unfortunate side effect of being able to adjust your tip after delivery is tip baiting.

Tip baiting, in which a customer zeroes out a tip after a delivery driver drops off their order, is a common tactic when someone wants to avoid paying their delivery person a tip but wants to ensure their order gets delivered promptly.

Tip baiting is possible because most companies allow drivers to see the tip before accepting any order.

This option lets the driver know whether or not an order is worth the time and effort.  

As of 2022, most companies have made it difficult to tip bait.

For example, Instacart changed its policy to give you a limited 24-hour window to change your tip, while other companies require you to go through the hassle of contacting customer support.

Why You Shouldn’t Tip Bait

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t tip bait.

  • It’s a deceptive practice
  • Companies limit how often you can change tips
  • It could lead to the driver not accepting your orders in the future

Some companies, such as DoorDash, allow drivers to see a customer’s address before accepting an order.

If you’re known for tip baiting a delivery worker or have mistreated a shopper before, they may skip over your order in a queue the next time it shows up.

Ultimately, straightforward tipping is in your best interest for various reasons.

However, if you don’t want to leave a tip, you should be upfront about it instead of misleading a driver.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Rude Not to Tip Grocery Delivery?

Grocery delivery is a part of the service industry, which heavily relies on tips to support their income. That’s why some delivery persons might consider it rude not to tip them for their service.

Additionally, while not mandatory, tipping is considered a nice gesture and a way to express your gratitude for the Shopper’s excellent service.

Is 10 Percent a Good Tip for Instacart?

A 10 percent tip is acceptable for simple Instacart orders, but for more complex or time-consuming orders, tipping between 15 to 20 percent is recommended. Consider tipping more for exceptional service, as drivers value tips based on effort rather than the cost of groceries.

Do You Have to Tip for Walmart Delivery?

Like other delivery services, tipping is just an option and not mandatory. However, it’s always a good idea to add an average of 15 percent tip to your orders. This shows your appreciation for the driver and their efforts to provide quality service.

Final Thoughts: Embracing a Fair Tipping Practice

Grocery delivery drivers highly depend on tips, so always aim for a 15 to 20 percent tip for standard services.

You should also keep a flexible range and consider aspects like order size, distance, and weather conditions while estimating a tip.

While this guide gives you a starting point, you can also use the factors above to adjust your tip based on your own values and the specific circumstances of each delivery.

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