If you’re a rideshare driver, a significant part of your earnings likely comes from customer tips. But while the Uber app always encourages riders to leave a driver rating and a tip, this post-ride notification can easily be swiped away. With an Uber tip box, you can give customers the chance to tip in the car while you’re providing great service.
There’s always a way to make more money when you’re an Uber driver — from sign-up bonuses to driver referrals — but longtime drivers on the rideshare app know that customer tips still make the biggest difference. When riders consistently tip (and tip 15% or more), your average driver pay can rise well above the typical $13.70 per hour. When they don’t, you may make closer to minimum wage.
Having an Uber tip box in your vehicle is a proven strategy that can encourage more riders to tip and give your earnings a boost.
- What Is an Uber Tip Box?
- How Uber Tip Boxes Work
- Benefits of Having an Uber Tip Box
- Best Uber Tipping Boxes to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Uber Tip Box?
Acquiring these tip boxes doesn’t have to be a big investment. Even a simple mason jar in a cup holder or a cardboard box on the center console can help you earn more cash tips. However, if you want to maximize the impact of your Uber tip box, we recommend investing in a container that’s more eye-catching or enhances the rideshare experience.
- Lockable: If you want to keep your cash secure without emptying out your tip box after every ride, you’ll want a lockable box. A locking feature may not be necessary if you have a two-way dash cam, but it can still save you the hassle of reporting thieving riders.
- Clear: Customers may be more likely to tip if they see other passengers have tipped before them. So if you’re just starting your day, you can add a few dollars to a clear tip box to encourage tipping.
- Visible: Some tip boxes come with some bright coloring or even LED lights, which encourages passengers to tip at night. If your box has neither of these, you’ll want to pair your container with a tip sign (or at least a small display card) that encourages riders to pay gratuity.
- Motivating: You can purchase tip jars that double as cell phone charging stations or that are attached to candy dishes, so riders feel compelled to tip if they use the amenity.
- Reachable: Most Uber passengers ride in the back of the car, so you’ll minimally want an Uber tip box which passengers sitting in the backseat can use. Many rideshare-friendly tip containers can easily sit behind your headrest, on your center console, or in your cupholders. Just make sure it doesn’t block a seat or disrupt your riders’ experience.
If you’re committed to a do-it-yourself tip box, you can still look for ideas online. However, if you want fancier boxes that can lock or that include charging cables, it may be worth the effort to just purchase one instead.
How Uber Tip Boxes Work
Uber tip boxes are simple from the rider’s perspective. As long as you have a tip sign or cash already in the container to guide your passenger and show them what it’s for, they’ll treat it just like a tip jar at a local coffee shop. If they have extra cash or coins, they’ll simply drop your cash tip inside.
These tip jars ensure that riders remember to tip as they’re having a great conversation with you or before they leave your ride. This can make the experience far more gratifying and convenient for the customer — especially if you thank them before they leave.
Benefits of Having an Uber Tip Box
There’s never a bad time to make extra money in your driving gig, and Uber tip boxes are tremendously helpful in helping you do so. Tipping in person can make customers feel great about themselves, but often miss out on this opportunity when tipping on their smartphones.
Beyond providing a more gratifying experience, Uber tip boxes can also help you earn more cash for the following three reasons:
1. Some Riders Prefer Cash Tips
Not every passenger you run into enjoys the standard Uber tipping experience. Some simply find it more convenient to pull out some cash on the ride while others like to limit their credit card use. Some may hold the common misconception that drivers have to pay Uber fees on tips received through the app.
By offering an Uber tip box, you give riders another avenue for tipping and make sure they remember to tip before they exit your car.
Plus, for riders who request an Uber without a smartphone, cash tips may be their only option. Your tip box will make tipping more convenient and eliminate any awkward customer exchanges.
Once in a while, you may also run into riders who just want to get rid of some coins (and will still tip you in-app).
2. You Get Paid Immediately
Unless you pay a transaction fee to use Uber Instant Pay, drivers only get payouts (including gratuity) once per week. But when you need to pay for gas, food, and other essentials, cash tips can be useful.
With an Uber tip box, you’ll have some funds available right after your rides. All you need to do is pick up the cash from your tip box.
3. You May Get Larger Tips
When riders tip you on their Androids or iPhones, they’re typically given the convenient choice to tip $1, $2, or $3. Fewer riders will enter a custom amount, which means you may be left with less than a 15% tip if your rider isn’t diligent. If they do enter a custom amount, it’ll often be an exact 15% tip.
On the flip side, when riders tip in cash, they may be more likely to overpay. Think about it: It’s rare that you’ll ever have exact change for a perfect 15% tip. And if you don’t have a dollar bill, the next bill up is $5.
Even if riders round up by just a few cents or a dollar per ride, these tips can add up quickly.
3 Uber Tipping Boxes to Consider (Plus a Bonus Accessory to Boost Tips)
Now that you understand what tip boxes are and why you should consider getting one, let’s look at three of the top tip boxes on the market. All will make effective tip jars, but some will be better for specific situations.
1. AdirOffice Acrylic Donation Box
Our first option is the most basic (short of taping a plastic cup to the back of one of your seats). It’s also the most affordable, at just over $10. The first thing we like about this tip box is that it comes with a lock. This will keep passengers with sticky fingers from prying any of your tips out.
The main disadvantage of this Uber tip box is that it doesn’t come with a way to secure it to your car interior. You’ll have to get creative with this. One option would be to drill holes in the back of the box and then attach it to the back of a headrest using zip ties.
You’ll have to be careful in doing this, as you don’t want to crack the plastic or render your front passenger seat uncomfortable or unsafe. Still, it works if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind using a MacGyver type of solution. We also recommend decorating the box, as it’s kind of bland in its default form.
2. LightWorks Labs Illuminated Tip Jar for Uber Drivers
This next Uber tip box isn’t a box at all. It’s an actual Uber tip jar, and it’s quite stylish. This tip jar is made of glass and is filled with blue LED lights to illuminate it (you can also set the lights to white or pink if you prefer). You’ll find the phrase, “Thank you!” printed on the jar within a heart shape. A metal lid fits on top of the jar and has a slot for passengers to deposit cash.
While certainly more stylish than our previous tip jar option, the extra style comes at a higher price tag of $29.99. Along with the increased price, there are also some design issues. The main problem is that you have to figure out how to attach the jar to your car.
The cup manufacturers suggest placing it in a cup holder near the passenger seats or using heavy Velcro to attach it to the center console. You could also use zip ties, chains, or even long Velcro straps to keep the jar in place on the back of the headrest. This does mean more set up work for you, however, time that you might better spend picking up more rides.
There’s also the issue of the lid, which doesn’t lock in any way. While it’s unlikely, a passenger could unscrew the lid and walk away with all the cash as they exit the vehicle. We’re not sure of a way to overcome this problem, except for physically offering the jar to the passenger at the end of the ride (though this could make it possible for them to snatch it out of your hands).
3. Carlos Cruz Rideshare, Uber, Lyft and Taxi Drivers Candy/Tip Jar/Box
Designed by Uber driver Carlos Cruz, this one of the fanciest tip boxes on the market. Not only does it include a box for tips, but it also includes a compartment for free candy, gum, mints, or whatever other incentives you want to have available for passengers.
Additionally, there’s even a built-in braided charging cable with iPhone, Android, and USB C phone chargers. Finally, the tip box contains LED lights to make it stand out at night, a lock to keep your tips safe, and a strap to attach it to your car’s center console
This is not your average tip box, and the price reflects that. At $95 (plus $15 shipping), it costs more than you might make in a typical night of driving. Is it worth the price? Reviews are mixed.
Many Amazon reviewers remark that it’s a superb product and an investment worth making for serious rideshare drivers. Others, however, complained that the clear plastic portion of the box was not a high-quality material or that they had trouble fitting the box in their specific vehicle (minivans, in particular, seemed to have trouble).
We think that having a tip jar like this could help contribute to an exceptional ride experience for passengers due to its built-in amenities. On the other hand, you can provide phone chargers and candy to riders without having to spend $95 on a box to hold them.
Honorable Mention: Tipdash
We couldn’t review Uber tip boxes without mentioning a popular option called Tipdash. It’s similar in many ways to the Carlos Cruz, except that it’s made of black acrylic and has a message printed on it that says, “Tips not required but greatly appreciated. Thank you.” It attaches to the center console, and it has an optional 3-in-1 charging cable and LED light with a remote control.
While it’s a good option for drivers (costing only $39 for the box itself or $59 for the version including the accessories), we can’t currently recommend it. This is because it’s out of stock on the Tipdash website. We hope that Tipdash resolves this issue soon, as it’s an excellent option (and the fact that it’s out of stock suggests that supply couldn’t keep up with demand)
Bonus Tip: Add an Uber Tip Sign
Even if you don’t want to invest in a tip box, adding a tip sign to your car can be a good way to make passengers aware of tipping. While Uber has added a tip option to their app, they haven’t gone to a lot of trouble to make it obvious to passengers.
To even see the tipping screen, a rider first has to rate the Uber ride. This doesn’t happen too often, so it’s in your best interest to encourage passengers to at least leave a rating. If you can get them to this point, then they’ll be able to see the tipping screen.
There are lots of tipping signs on the market. If you’re looking for a premade option, we recommend this sign (it’s pictured above). It covers the basics, is made of durable laminated material, and is easy to hang on the back of the driver’s seat.
If you’re of a crafty persuasion, then you can feel free to make your own sign. Express your personality and even use some humor if you can. Just be sure that it’s legible and easily visible to someone sitting in the back seat of your car.
You can feel free to combine a tip sign with a tip box or jar, but we think that having the tip sign is the bare minimum if you want to make some extra cash on your next Uber ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding an Uber tip box to your vehicle is an easy way to encourage riders to tip you before the ride is over. These frequently asked questions will help you learn about earning more with an Uber tip box:
Do I still need to report the cash tips I receive when filing taxes?
Yes. The IRS requires you to report all earnings, including tips, since gratuity is still considered taxable income. Though cash tips are admittedly harder for the IRS to track, they can still fine you if your reported tips are significantly less than what they’d expect an average Uber driver to earn.
Am I allowed to request tips through Venmo or Cash App?
Absolutely. If you want to give your rider even more tipping options, you can always add your Venmo username or $Cashtag to your tip sign. Uber doesn’t have any rules against this.
You can choose to accept tips through other online payment platforms like PayPal and Zelle, but be cautious about giving away your phone number, email address, or any other personal information.
Are Lyft drivers allowed to use tip boxes in their vehicles?
Lyft does not have any rules against tip boxes. As is the case with Uber tip boxes, Lyft tip boxes are a great way to receive tips from riders who may not tip in-app. If you’re driving for Lyft and Uber at the same time, we suggest recording how much you earned and clearing out your tip box before switching apps. This will keep track of your tips for tax purposes.
Can a rider still leave me a star rating if they don’t tip me in the app?
Definitely. Tipping is always optional in the Uber app, so riders who tip with cash can easily rate you and then choose a $0 in-app tip.
Earn More on Every Trip
You don’t have to be pushy to earn the tips you deserve. By installing an Uber tip box, you can give your earnings an easy boost — and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a few dollars. Try it out, and you may notice the results straight away.
Once you have your tip box installed, you can take even more steps to save on expenses and earn more. Get our tips and tricks for maximizing Uber profits, so you can make every dollar count. Then, check out our guide to the best dash cams for rideshare drivers to learn more. We also suggest these guides to learn more about other driving income opportunities:
- How to Become a DoorDash Driver
- How to Become a Postmates Driver
- Amazon Flex: The Complete Driver Guide
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.