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Postmates Tipping Etiquette: What Gratuity Is Expected?

July 20, 2020 //

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As the gig economy continues to grow, on-demand tipping has proven to be new and uncharted territory for many modern consumers. After all, it’s hard to tell if our couriers expect a tip when pretty much every food delivery app mentions that tipping is optional. So when you’re ordering through Postmates, how do you figure out if you’re using proper Postmates tipping etiquette or not?

While on-demand companies can’t actually require customers to leave tips, there are definitely unspoken rules when it comes to tipping drivers, whether you’re requesting food delivery or a rideshare trip. Learning what is expected from you with every Postmates delivery can help you calculate how much you’ll actually be spending on every order.

Below, we’ll provide an in-depth guide to Postmates tipping and how you can use your app to leave a tip.


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Do I Need to Tip My Postmates Courier?

Postmates customers need to tip their couriers for every delivery request. Just like any waiter, bartender, or even hairstylist, your delivery driver is providing you with a service. In the United States, where Postmates operates, tipping for services is usually expected as a means of thanking service workers for their help.

Of course, the fact that Postmates delivery drivers provide a service isn’t the only reason you should tip. These couriers also rely on tips for a living. On average, Postmates couriers make $12 per hour, which is actually less than minimum wage in major markets like New York City and San Francisco. Plus, as independent contractors, drivers never have any guaranteed wages, which means they could be taking home nothing after an hour of extremely low demand.

Though the official Postmates tipping policy doesn’t require you to leave anything extra, you can see how tipping is essential to helping couriers support themselves and their families. While your courier may only be serving you face-to-face for a short moment, keep in mind that they were actually helping you behind the scenes from the moment your meal was ordered to the time they dropped it off.

Your tip is also the only part of your order cost that completely goes to your driver. Postmates won’t deduct any fees from the tips you leave, so you know that 100% of the money you add on goes to support your courier’s livelihood.

Postmates Tipping Etiquette

Woman sitting on the couch on her iPhone

So how much do you actually need to tip for each order? Most Postmates customers will tip at least 15% of the total price for their orders, just as they would at any standard restaurant. If you have a discount, make sure to tip based on what the regular price of the order would have been. This is the standard for an average delivery service that is completed with no issues.

However, if your Postmates driver provides particularly great service, we recommend increasing your tip to 20% — or even higher, if you’re generous. Some situations that may warrant a 20% tip may include:

  • If you had a particularly large order
  • If the courier is exceptionally friendly
  • If your driver drove and delivered in heavy rain or poor road conditions

When you come across a courier who doesn’t provide good service at all, you may be tempted to leave no tip. However, we recommend leaving no less than 10% in most situations, unless your delivery driver is downright rude or inappropriate with you. Your courier still depends on customer tips to make a living wage, and at the end of the day, a slightly tossed up meal or a missing napkin doesn’t actually ruin the delivery experience.

We also recommend considering whether or not an issue is actually your driver’s fault before docking their tips. For example, your driver may be late because of traffic, and your meal may be somewhat incorrect because of the restaurant. Instead of tipping less in these scenarios, you can report an issue to Postmates (you’ll be prompted when rating your experience), which may actually get you a refund.

How to Tip on the App

The Postmates app makes it easy to tip your courier — and hard to forget to do so — once each food delivery request is complete. To start the tipping process, all you need to do is open your app back up once your order is marked as delivered. Once open, you’ll actually notice that you won’t be able to do anything else on the app until you’ve rated the restaurant and selected a tip amount.

After giving the restaurant a thumbs up or thumbs down, you can select a preset tipping option ($1, $2, or $3) or customize your tip amount based off of your order total. We recommend adding a custom tip if you have a larger request, as a $3 tip is really only good for orders of $20 or less.

Once you’ve followed the prompts to submit your tip and are back on the Postmates home screen, you will have successfully submitted your tip. Your driver will receive the tip after about a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Postmates tipping: Brown paper bag surrounded by takeout food

Following Postmates tipping etiquette is the best way to ensure you’re paying your Postmates couriers adequately with every order. To learn more about what to expect when ordering on Postmates, read our answers to these frequently asked questions:

1. Do I need to tip when I order pick-up on Postmates?

When you order from the “Pickup” tab of the Postmates app, you do not need to tip. This is because these orders require you to head to the restaurant yourself when your meal is ready for pick-up, which means there won’t be a delivery person performing a service on your behalf.

While you are welcome to tip any employees who help you out in cash, tipping your restaurant is not expected, nor is it supported by the Postmates platform.

2. Can I tip my Postmates driver in cash?

Absolutely. While Postmates is marketed as a cashless food delivery experience, there are no rules against tipping couriers with cash. Simply hand your cash tip to the driver once you meet them at your door and receive your meal.

3. Will my delivery driver know the tip amount that I leave?

Unless you’re tipping in cash, your driver won’t know exactly how much you tipped them. The Postmates Fleet app won’t display tips until at least 24 hours after your order has occurred, and your name won’t be attached to the tip. While drivers may be able to deduce who left which tip if they aren’t making many deliveries, this shouldn’t affect you in any way, especially since Postmates doesn’t have a driver or customer rating system.

4. How does Postmates tipping etiquette compare to tipping expectations for other food delivery apps?

Whether you’re ordering from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, or any other on-demand food delivery service, the same tipping expectations typically apply. The vast majority of these apps rely on independent contractors, whose income largely depends on tips. Plus, just like Postmates couriers, delivery drivers for other apps are providing a service to you that deserves a tip as a sign of thanks.

5. Do I need to tip on top of paying my delivery fee and service fee?

Yes. Delivery fees and service fees largely go toward Postmates, as these costs are meant to support the platform in exchange for facilitating your order. These fees should not be considered a pre-added gratuity charge. The tip you personally add on, on the other hand, is a direct payment to your driver that supports their income.

Tip Postmates Couriers the Right Way

Although food delivery apps like Postmates may assure you that tipping is optional, we recommend treating it like an obligatory expense. Your couriers not only appreciate a good tip in exchange for their service, but as independent contractors, they depend on your tip to make a decent living on the platform. Just by adding a few dollars to your order total, you can help Postmates drivers continue helping customers like you.

If you’re ready to order delivery and tip your courier, but not quite sure if the platform is worth the full price, you can always grab a discount for your first order. Sign up with a Postmates promo code to get free delivery or big discounts on your first food delivery request.

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