Mobile Tipping: A Guide For On-Demand Services

On-demand services are popping up like crazy, and it seems like there’s a new food delivery or ridesharing app every day. But as these service continue their aggressive recruiting campaigns, passengers are left wondering one question… Do you tip couriers and rideshare drivers?

These apps provide convenience to riders, and are definitely changing the way we do business and get services. But just because there is an increase in convenience doesn’t mean that service industry tipping rules don’t apply.

Here’s a guide to the most popular on-demand services, and our tipping recommendations for each.

Uber

Uber is the undisputed king of the rideshare industry, amassing a dominant market share and valuation north of $60 billion. There are many types of Uber services, from a simple ride to package delivery options. The cashless app makes on-demand services simple and bookable through a smartphone.

In-app tipping

In the past, Uber did not include a tipping option within the rider app. However, the company has recently reversed their stance on this, and now allows tips directly within the app. It’s pretty easy to use, but is oftentimes limited to a certain amount. Want to tip $20? There’s a $10 limit from what we’ve seen, so you’re stuck with that.

Official policy on tipping

Tips are still not required, but most Uber drivers will tell you that they appreciate, and sometimes even expect, a tip. Riders have 30 days after a ride to add a tip, and can do it via the app or on riders.uber.com. Or, if they prefer, cash can be handed to a driver after a ride. Officially, Uber takes no cut of driver tips.

Our Take

Tips aren’t officially required by Uber, but we suggest giving at least a dollar or two on short rides. Uber is, after all, a service industry. In addition, as time goes on, Uber drops rates and as a direct result, drivers make less money on each ride. Giving a couple dollars helps offset the costs of gas, mileage, and other expenses, and rewards drivers for giving great service. If they are rude or not worthy of a tip however, you can forgo tipping them.

One thing to watch for is Uber drivers who are pushy about tips. Some may have an Uber tipping sign, while others may directly suggest riders give a tip after the ride. Make sure these drivers don’t see you close the ride without tipping. If they do see you close your app without tipping, they may rate you a little lower out of spite.

Tip for drivers: the new update to the app allows riders to tip after a ride, but drivers must enable the tipping function within the Uber Driver App. If you don’t enable this option, riders will not be able to give you a tip.


Lyft

 

Lyft is the second biggest player in the rideshare game, and brands itself as “You Friend with a Car.” Lyft drivers are friendly, and you can tell that this company doesn’t go after the “businessy” vibe and demoraphic like Uber does. Lyft wants riders to have great experiences, but have fun at the same time. They pay drivers well and are almost always easily available when support is needed.

But are you supposed to tip Lyft drivers?

In-app tipping

Lyft offers an in-app tipping option for riders using their services. Tipping a Lyft driver is easy and only takes a second. Riders can choose from the options “No tip, $1, $2, $5, or Other”. Once selected, the tip amount will get added to the total cost of the ride.

Official policy on tipping

Lyft has pretty much always encouraged tipping drivers for good service. It’s still not mandatory, but highly encouraged. Lyft fares don’t include a tip, but the company makes adding one after the ride quick and easy.

Our Take

Lyft tipping etiquette is like any service industry, if there’s good service, then reward the driver for it. So how much do you tip a Lyft driver? That depends on how good and how long the ride was. For short rides, I suggest tipping $1-2, but for longer rides over $20, I suggest throwing the driver $5 or so.


Postmates

Postmates is the go-to food delivery service in the United States. They deliver groceries, office supplies, and other things in addition to food, making them a staple in every millenial’s arsenal of apps. Here’s what you need to know about Postmates tips.

In-app tipping

Tipping options for Postmates are baked directly into the app.

Official policy on tipping

Postmates encourages tipping couriers, and recommends a tip of at least 20% of the total price of the delivery. The total price includes the order’s subtotal, service fee, and delivery fee.

Our Take

Postmates, like most other on-demand services, pays customers well. However, do you tip Postmates couriers? I always do, and will continue to do so since the couriers are driving their own vehicles and racking up expenses and depreciation. The company also officially recommends a 20% tip, so it’s a safe bet to assume that most couriers will be expecting a tip when they show up with your food.


GrubHub

Grubhub is one of the largest online food delivery services, operating in more than 1,000 cities in the United States alone. There are tens of thousands of orders shipped daily, making this one of the go-to mobile options in this niche. So should you leave a Grubhub tip on your next order?

In-app tipping

Yes, Grubhub offers tipping options directly within the app.

Official policy on tipping

Apparently Grubhub is pretty serious about tipping their drivers. So serious that the company has published a lengthy piece on their blog titled “The Essential Guide to Tipping Your Delivery Driver“. Tipping a Grubhub driver isn’t required, but the company is obviously going well out of their way to HIGHLY encourage the act.

Our Take

Whenever I order food through Grubhub, I make sure to tip the driver. Like you would tip a pizza man from your local shop, tipping a Grubhub driver not only shows appreciation, but rewards them for the hard work they’re out doing. And when a company goes as far as publishing an official guide to tipping, and their CEO offers outspoken advice specifically related to tipping, you probably should do it.


Amazon Flex

Amazon Flex is one of the newest on-demand services to our list, and is gaining a ton of traction with users. Piggybacking on the immense power of Amazon’s brand, Amazon Flex drivers are making more, getting better service, and doing well by for customers.

In-app tipping

Amazon Flex provides in-app tipping for Prime Now customers. According to Azflexinfo.com, “In the Amazon Prime Now app, the customer can choose a tip amount, but Amazon provides a default amount of $5 or 10% of the order total, whichever is greater, with the text “recommended” placed next to the amount, in parenthesis.” If customers want to change this amount, they can do so manually.

Official policy on tipping

Like other on-demand delivery services, Amazon Flex doesn’t outright require a tip, but of all the services, they probably make it the easiest for customers to tip. By setting a default tip option, drivers are likely to see more tips flowing in.

Our Take

Tip your Amazon Flex driver. If a company goes as far as setting a default tipping option within the app, it’s a good indication that you should probably tip. There’s no blowback for not leaving a tip, obviously, but it’s obvious that Amazon is highly encouraging customers to do so.

Bonus: Amazon Flex: The Comprehensive Guide & Review


Our Take

After analyzing the various tipping options for these companies, it looks like most encourage tips, and some even go one step beyond that to make them available by default. Even the most anti-tipping company, Uber, has reversed course to now include tips within their app.

My personal take is that these types of on-demand gig resources are a service. That means that if drivers do a good job, they should be rewarded with a tip. Likeways, if they fall below expectations, they shouldn’t get a tip. After all, tips are a way of rewarding a service provider for their work, and should reflect the level of service the customer has received.

Overall, I think tips are great and I will continue to tip well on service.


How much do you tip on-demand drivers like Postmates, Doordash, Uber, and Lyft? Do you think tips are required? Let us know below!

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