Close Close Search

The Complete Guide To Uber Tipping [Proper Etiquette & How To Tip]

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Have you ever gotten out of an Uber and thought to yourself, “do you tip Uber drivers?” or “what is the proper Uber tipping etiquette?”

Well, you’re not alone.

I’ve thought the same thing multiple times over my course as both Uber driver and passenger.

I’ve given and taken thousands of rides over the years, and have an intimate knowledge of this topic.

Today I am here to reveal four things:

  1. Why you should absolutely tip your Uber driver on every trip.
  2. How much you should tip.
  3. The different methods you can use to tip.
  4. What your driver expects once the ride ends.

So without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Do You Tip Uber Drivers?

Yes. Riders should leave a tip after every Uber ride they take.

From a driver’s perspective, it takes a lot of money to keep your car running, and there are quite a few hidden fees involved that passengers don’t realize.

From a rider’s perspective, taking an Uber ride is pretty cheap overall, and definitely less than a taxi in most cases.

Even if it’s just a dollar or two, every little bit adds up.

The simple gesture of a tip is oftentimes also enough to make a driver appreciate the ride and rate you higher.

Should you tip?Yes
How much?10-20% of the total fare. Usually $1-2 on short rides, $5-10 on long rides
Cash or in-app?Either is fine

Uber Tipping Calculator

Now that you know the percentage you should tip, you can actually get more accurate.

To do so, check out the Uber tip calculator below that we’ve created.

Our calculator will tell you exactly how much we suggest tipping your Uber driver, based on the amount of your ride fare and the performance of the driver.

[formidable id=7]

How Much Do Drivers Make On Tips?

Drivers only make as much as riders are willing to tip them.

However, getting tipped, no matter how much or little, is a driver’s favorite part of the ride.

This is because drivers have many expenses that riders might not expect.

Typically driver expenses include gas, vehicle maintenance, and taxes (because they are contracted workers), insurance and mobile data plans.

I could write an entire article on this topic alone, so just watch the video below to learn more about Uber tipping, as explained by one of our favorite rideshare drivers.

Uber Tipping Policy

If you’re confused about this issue, don’t worry, it’s not your fault. If you’re a loyal user of the app, you may have noticed that the policy has shifted multiple times throughout Uber’s short lifespan.

Tipping on Uber is not something passengers (especially long-time users) are conditioned to do so it’s natural they would have questions about it.

Given Uber’s nearly 10-year war on tips everyone is wondering why they should tip their Uber driver at all.

But in a recent move to win back driver morale, tipping with Uber has now been made seamless in an update that built a tipping option right back into the rider app.

The company basically went from outright discouraging tipping to building an in-app tipping feature that suggests throwing a few bucks to drivers at the end of a ride.

We are going to show you how much to tip and how to actually do it below, but first, let’s talk about the reason I believe should tip your driver after every ride you take.

Why You Should Tip Your Driver

The main reason you should tip your Uber driver is because they’re providing you a personal service that involves your safety and comfort, and they simply don’t make that much doing it.

It’s not that they’re doing something wrong when driving, they’re just at the mercy of Uber and its aggressive price-slashing strategy.

Yet they’re out there working hard every day taking you safely to and from your destination.

Traditionally, tipping has always been a part of the car service business, whether it be taxis or limos, Americans have always tipped their drivers nicely.

It’s amazing people even have to think twice about tipping Uber drivers.

It’s customary to tip people who provide personal services.

The only reason this even seems to be a question is because Uber’s original CEO made a big deal out of telling everyone they didn’t have to tip on Uber.

This has since changed and that CEO has been ousted.

Another reason you should tip is safety.

If you had any idea how little drivers actually make, which I’ll outline for you below, you will appreciate the fact that it’s very difficult for them to afford the upkeep and maintenance on their vehicles.

A poorly paid driver will put off routine maintenance until the last possible minute.

That means driving around on worn tires that should have been replaced 5,000 miles ago.

Or going too long between oil changes.

This behavior is very unsafe for you as a rider!

The best way to ensure that Uber drivers are transporting you in safe cars is to make a small contribution via a tip at the end of each trip.

Your contribution combined with others will give him the extra cash he needs to properly maintain his car.

How Much To Tip

I recommend tipping the standard service amount, as you would in a restaurant.

I use a sliding scale depending on the level of service I receive during the ride:

  • 20% for outstanding service
  • 15% for pretty good
  • 10% for average
  • nothing for below average

In my opinion, since rideshare is a service, drivers should earn the amount of tips anyone in the service industry would expect.

I think it’s is a great way to separate the average drivers from the ones who truly care about their passengers.

If they go above and beyond to provide great service, reward them for it.

If they don’t? Well, then that’s what they have coming to them.

If you ask a driver, they’ll likely agree.

As we referenced in our Lyft Tipping Guide, here’s a screenshot from a driver’s reply on Quora.

A Quora reply explaining a driver’s take on Uber tipping.

Throwing even a couple dollars at your driver upon completion of your ride will go a lot longer than you think.

Many drivers give a good amount of rides every time they go drive, so even little amounts help pay for expenses such as gas, insurance, phone bills, and the other hidden costs of rideshare driving.

Just ask yourself, if you were driving would you want a tip?

How to Tip an Uber Driver

When the trip is finished the passenger app will ask you to rate your driver.

You have to do this before you can leave a tip.

Tipping Uber Drivers

On the next screen, you can leave a tip.

You can choose either a pre-set amount or you can tap “Enter Custom Amount”.

Tipping Uber Drivers

You can also tip Uber drivers using cash.

That’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t need explaining.

However, even without cash, you can tip Uber drivers using the app.

How Long Do You Have to Tip?

Uber allows passengers up to 30 days after a ride has been completed to leave a tip.

But of course from the driver’s standpoint – the sooner the better.

But if you meant to tip and forgot, don’t think just because a few days have passed that it’s too late.

It’s not too late until 30 days have passed. You still have time!

Does Tipping Affect Passenger Ratings?

It’s hard to say for sure, and this is a very highly contested topic among drivers.

Before Uber allowed tipping, there were drivers who said they’d never rate a passenger 5 stars unless they gave a tip.

That’s back when all tips were cash and given at the end of a ride.

But now that tipping can be done through the Uber app, drivers won’t know that you tipped until after they’ve rated you.

But as part of Uber’s 180 Days of Change – Uber gave drivers the right to rate trips retroactively.

If a driver “realizes” he rated a passenger too highly, he can contact Uber and say he’d like to change his rating.

So on the off chance that you really rubbed the driver the wrong way and he found out later that you didn’t tip, he could potentially lower your rating after the fact.

If you desperately want your rating to improve, the best way to do it is to give drivers a cash tip – before the trip ends.

Almost all drivers will rate passengers 5 stars if they know for sure they tipped.

And the only way they can know for sure – before they rate you – is if you tip them in cash before the trip ends.

With that said, it’s very unlikely that your rating will suffer much if you don’t tip.

Most drivers are not going to contact Uber afterwards to change their rating.

Here’s the sequence of what the driver sees and knows.

When you get dropped off at your destination, the driver slides a button over on the Uber driver app that officially ends the trip.

Immediately after he does that, he is taken to a screen where he has to rate you.

He cannot do anything else until he completes this step.

He can’t get a call from a new passenger until he finishes this process.

He has to rate you before he can do anything else.

Once he ends the trip and rates you, you then have several days to rate him and leave him a tip.

The sad truth is, most passengers never rate or leave a tip for their driver.

And this affects how drivers perceive passengers and makes them more likely to leave something less than 5 stars.

Since he won’t know if you tipped until sometimes days later, his rating will be based on his feeling toward you when you get out of the car.

The very best way to improve your rating is to simply say a cheerful good-bye and thank him for his service.

More than likely when you do that, you’ll get a 5-star rating.

Add a nice compliment in there, like, “nice trip” and he’ll be even more likely to give you 5 stars.

Don’t tell the driver you’re going to tip though.

Some passengers want to tell drivers they’re going to leave a tip because they know drivers won’t know until later – so they think by promising a tip the driver will give them 5 stars.

However, most drivers seem to believe that if a passenger says they’re going to tip – that’s a sure sign that they’re not.

They might therefore rate you 4 stars just to retaliate against you in advance for making a promise they don’t believe you’re going to keep.

But don’t blame them. They have picked up this practice from experience.

Too many riders have promised tips then never materialized.

Additional Reasons To Tip

We’ve all heard from Uber that drivers are making a ton – without tips.

Up to $90,000 a year in New York – according to numbers Uber released a few years ago (when rates were much higher than they are today).

We’ve also been told that tips were included in the total fare.

So the questions about whether we should and why should we should tip are certainly legitimate.

Let’s look at some of the questions and objections people have about tipping Uber drivers.

Aren’t drivers making more than I am already?

No, drivers receive a very small salary considering the work they do.

A few years ago Uber released some very rosy numbers suggesting that drivers in big cities like New York, Chicago and L.A. were getting into upper middle class territory.

But since then, Uber has slashed rates several times.

And they’ve added thousands of new drivers, making each driver less busy than they were before.

The rates are now about half what they were a few years ago – which means drivers make half as much on every trip as they did before.

Which in turn means they would have to drive twice as many trips to make the same money.

And it’s simply not possible to do twice as many trips.

What they also didn’t tell you was that the total income drivers were making was the gross fare figure, which excluded the driver’s cut after fees.

For example, if a driver racked up $90,000 in total fares for Uber within a year, Uber reported him as making $90,000.

However, after Uber takes their healthy slice of the pie (commission/fees), the driver would have actually only made about $67,500 according to my estimate.

Still not too bad – but not nearly as good as Uber wanted everyone to believe. $67,500 is certainly not $90,000.

And of course that was before all expenses that drivers routinely incur as part of the job.

So, no they aren’t making nearly as much as Uber led us to believe and they’re not making nearly as much as they were a few years ago.

They’re making far, far less.

I thought tips were included in the fare.

No, tips are not including in the Uber far.

And they never have been, even though for a long time Uber told passengers they were.

In the very earliest days, Uber told passengers that there’s no need to tip because it was already included in the fare.

However, that was never true.

A tip was never included in the fare and drivers never received any payments for tips.

They never received any payments outside of the normal time and distance charges.

Passengers who doubt this can look at their old invoices they received by email.

They detail what all the charges were for and they’ll never see a charge for “Tip”.

Why should I tip for a job I’m already paying them pretty well to do?

That depends on how you define “pretty well”. Drivers are making about $9 – $12 an hour, after all expenses, including long-term expenses such as major repairs and depreciation, are thrown in.

And whatever you’re paying your Uber driver it’s usually 2.0x – 2.5x less than you’d pay to take a taxi – depending on the city.

In the end, riders aren’t paying that much and drivers aren’t making that much.

So, a little tip goes a long way in helping drivers keep it together and continue to provide you with reliable rides. 

The drivers knew what they were getting into when they took this job – why should I reward them for making a bad choice?

That’s a good point. They did know what they were getting into in terms of driving.

Unfortunately for many drivers though, Uber changed the game plan halfway through the game.

Originally, Uber paid drivers 80% of the total fare.

Then they began lowering prices and increasing their percentage take, which came as a huge surprise for many.

Today the standard percentage Uber claims to pay drivers is 75%.

However, with the introduction of “Upfront Pricing,” Uber is now charging passengers more but paying drivers the same.

This results in drivers earning as low as 45-50% on the total fare.

In short, when you tip your Uber drivers, you’re offsetting the massive fees and expenses they incur while picking you up.

So again, a couple bucks goes a long way.

Drivers should find better opportunities and if I tip them I motivate them to stay where they are.

Fair enough. But did you know that according to various surveys, a large portion of Uber drivers are over 50 years old?

This is an age group where if people find themselves out of work, it can be very difficult to find work again.

Surveys have also consistently shown that about half of all Uber drivers have a college education or advanced degrees.

So, the old excuse non-tippers like to give that they’re helping to motivate those who they don’t tip to find something better, doesn’t really work here.

Drivers, on the whole, are a rather well-educated and hard-working group of people.

Most are doing this work because for whatever reason they can’t find anything better at the moment.

But that’s not necessarily because they’re lazy or they haven’t gotten a good education.

In the end, tipping Uber drivers shouldn’t be a hard choice.

We tip wait staff, we tip the people who do our hair, we tip all kinds of personal service providers.We even tip taxi drivers.

When we get into an Uber, that’s less than half the price of a cab, why shouldn’t we tip the driver?

With all this in mind, tipping uber drivers, really shouldn’t even be a question.

What do Drivers Really Make?

Everybody wants to know what Uber drivers really make. But it’s not like a traditional job where the employer incurs all the work-related expenses.

So, we can’t just look at the gross earnings figures because they only tell half the story.

An Uber driver, first and foremost has to bring a very expensive piece of equipment to the job… namely, a car.

When you work at McDonald’s you’re not asked to bring your own McCafe espresso machines priced at $13,000; and your own muffin equipment priced at $4,500!

If McDonald’s required their employees to bring that kind of equipment, they would surely pay them a lot more than minimum wage!

But that’s all provided at most jobs. Uber drivers on the other hand have to bring own equipment worth about that much and bring it to the job every day.

And they have to pay all the expenses related to it.

Drivers come up with different arrangements for obtaining a car, but for most, it’s a car that they have taken out a loan to purchase.

Some drivers, however, rent them by the week and pay exorbitant sums like $350-$500 per week.

On average, nationwide, Uber drivers earn around $16-$19 per hour. And it is estimated they drive anywhere from 18-25 miles each hour they work.

The easiest way to calculate their real earnings is to take the IRS’s standard deduction for mileage because that figure includes all the expenses of owning and operating a vehicle and averages it out among all vehicles.

In 2018 the IRS is allowing drivers 54.5 cents per mile as an expense deduction, that number for 2019 is 58 cents per mile.

The higher the IRS’s mileage deduction, the less money they’ll bring in – so they have every incentive to make this number as low as possible.

Therefore, we can conclude that this is a conservative average expense figure that takes into consideration all makes and models and driving conditions.

So, if an Uber driver brings in let’s say the top of the range, $19 per hour, but he normally drives 20 miles each hour he works, he would have expenses of $10.90.

This includes everything from cost of the car, to gasoline, oil changes and routine maintenance.

And it includes the cost of major repairs and depreciation.

When you subtract the full car expense from the driver’s earnings, you can see he doesn’t end up with much. In this case, he’s making just $8.10 per hour.

If you ask any driver what they make – they’ll always say it’s much more than that.

That’s because they don’t see or feel many of these expenses until a long way down the road.

They may not incur a major repair cost until two years from now.

And they won’t see and feel the depreciation until it comes time to sell or trade in the car.

When they go to trade it in and find out it’s worth much less than they thought – they’ll end up paying a much bigger price upfront on their next vehicle.

That’s when they’ll feel the depreciation.

Since no one gets a monthly depreciation bill it’s kind of an invisible cost.

You don’t see it or feel it, until it hits you at the end.

But it is no less a real cost than the cost of filling up their tank.

What do you think of Uber tipping? Do you agree that riders should tip on every ride? Let us know in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “The Complete Guide To Uber Tipping [Proper Etiquette & How To Tip]”

  1. Arguments are moving, but sentimental. We know from research, that once tipping becomes the norm, the salaries that workers make become almost irrelevant. In fact, tip inflation is a major phenomena in the fanciest restaurants in the biggest cities, while the cooks and fast-food workers often get nothing. Also, Uber is a worldwide company, in the non-USA developed world almost everyone has healthcare and proper social services; we do not need to rely on the social intricacies of tipping to decide who gets to eat (not to suggest that everything is perfect). Though Uber drivers don’t seem to make that much, the best way to solve that problem is via the market which could take time (as drivers realize the cost). Ultimately, tipping is consistent with the market if it is voluntary – however, to promote tipping as a social requirement creates inefficiencies and tit-for-tat responses; perhaps culminating in the ultimate victory for the anti-tippers – socialized transit and/or elimination of human drivers through automation.

  2. Think of it this way. You shouldn’t have to tip your Uber or Lyft drivers. By using this service you gave them business in the 1st place. if you don’t use this service they don’t get your business.
    Plus the people driving Uber/Lyft chose to do it as a job.
    I say if you tip then tip with cash directly to the driver. Thru the App Uber controls that. With cash that person gets the money directly. Most likely they won’t report it thus they get more money (wrong yes but who can track it?)
    I wish Uber/Lyft gave you a option to pay in cash instead of a credit card. If you pay in cash you don’t need to tip or tip less. No processing fee so Uber and the driver gets more money.

    • You should ALWAYS tip when you are given a service. Cash is always preferable. Service workers. No matter what field work hard. Uber drivers take a big risk evertime a passenger gets in there vehicle. Yes, it is there choice of profession. However, if you feel that strongly about not tipping. May I suggest you drive yourself!

  3. The major reason I hate US. Need to worry about tipping and other people’s earnings.
    Why do I need to tip and “help” him live. Why won’t he “help” me live by not getting a tip from me?
    US is horrible. Companies and the culture itself should learn to include all the salary in the price in the first place. Tipping culture made people “not want to help a customer” unless they get a few extra dollars.

  4. You are the pizza. Uber/Lyft is the pizza company. If the driver delivers the pizza(you) professionally and well, then tip the pizza driver.

  5. If drivers don’t make that much money driving for Uber then why do they do it? Get a job that pays more. It’s not the rider’s responsibility to make up any shortfall in the driver’s income. Nothing is forcing these people to be Uber drivers. All the arguments for tipping drivers are ridiculous. If they are not making enough do something else. Tipping should only be done if a rider feels he received exceptional service and wants to reward the driver for it.

  6. I agree with Ted C. Studies have shown that tipping is not as fair as including it in the pricing. The studies show that people’s tips are independent of service received i.e. in restaurants for example, some people at 10%’ers, some 15%’ers and some 20%’ers: they almost always tip the same independent of service. I am upset that Uber’s response to driver morale was not to increase rates by 10% and then to (maybe) allow tips for exceptional cases only. So I say, come on Uber…remove the tips and lets (together) pay your drivers more!

  7. I searched for this info because the Uber app always asks about Tips at the end and I remember always being marketed by Uber no tips are necessary, it seems they did a terrible job marketing this change since drivers truly aren’t making enough.

    Another point to make to the writer Brett, the federal mileage allowance has nothing to do with real world costs for what it is to cover your car expenses (even the IRS states this). It is simply the number that the government calculated to keep their costs lower for reimbursing employees. Even a basic car costs at least as much as this per mile to own. My previous car was a BMW 5 series which I was able to calculate cost me $1.04/mile. Needless to say my employer wasn’t happy when they asked me to drive more and then I asked to be reimbursed more.

  8. I’m glad to no longer be in the dark about the fact that Uber drivers don’t necessarily keep their vehicles in safe running condition. This article did not inspire me to tip Uber drivers. It warned me not to use them. Thank you for the warning. I will avoid Uber like the plague.

  9. Just a note from a Lyft/Uber driver: cash is king because those tips do not have to be claimed on my taxes meaning I get to keep 100% of the tip. Tips left through the app are put on my 1099, meaning I will eventually pay 25% taxes on every dollar I get. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

  10. I thing you are writing a book for how much you tip the Lyft or Uber drivers,overall it is service like everything else
    If you are not happy with service, you are not going to call again for ride. That depends on your expectations, this is public services. You are calling for any ride 1- being on time 2- clean car-3-polite-communication, at least keeping that standard you can tip from 5 to 20% and that is reward for being good / very good/excellent.

  11. Totally agree with you ! And it’s on Uber company, CIO how there are introduce tipping for drivers. If they are slashing rates then at list enough to advise to riders saying “good thing to tip a driver “

  12. I will tip if the experience was excellent, but otherwise I don’t see why you would. This is a contract job they agreed to do and hopefully knew the cost of said job going into it. The drivers get 75% of the fare. A taxi driver gets paid by the hour (presumably), with the company paying the cost of doing business. I see why one would tip a taxi driver if you had a good experience, but as an Uber driver you are not an employee. You are a “business owner” that you pay royalties to a company to use their name.
    Someone mentioned you don’t have to claim your tips if they are cash, but legally you actually do, you just choose not to so you don’t have to pay the income tax on it. You may get to keep 100% of that cash tip if you don’t claim it as income, but it is technically illegal to do so. So basically you just admitted to tax evasion.
    I paid $12 for a 3 mile ride one way to avoid airport parking fees. 4 days later I had to pay $22 to go back home. Each driver gave zero attempts to help me with my luggage, which isn’t a big deal for me, but most people would appreciate the help, and if I were a driver I would be concerned about them damaging/scratching my vehicle if they are going to throw it in the car themselves. The first driver said she needed to stop and get gas on the way. Wait. What? Seriously?
    Because I had to pay almost double the amount going back, I didn’t leave a tip because I feel like I got ripped off. Is that fair to that driver to not tip them, but tip the other because it was less expensive? I don’t think so.

  13. Whenever I read blogs or posts by those who make tips sound mandatory, it is usually entitled individuals who don’t understand the concept of service. For the record, I enjoy tipping and I often tip in excess of 20%. I enjoy rewarding individuals who take pride in going above and beyond and providing great service. Great customer service is a lost art. And many people in the service industry does not understand what entails great service. I feel this is due to a variety of factors namely that it isn’t taught any longer and that culturally younger generations feel more entitled to tips without putting in the work. The things I look for in great service are basics. Does the driver get out of the car to help load bags or baby strollers for example. Does he or she smile and ask how you are doing? Do they run their air conditioning on a warm day or better yet ask if the temperature in the car is comfortable versus keeping the windows open to save on A/C. Those are the basics. Every driver should do that. Do you need to offer bottles of water, a temporary charging cable for your phone or open doors for you? No, but that would be nice and would result in bigger tips. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t even do the basics yet demand tips. They feel that if they show up to pick you up and drop you at your destination, they are deserving of a tip. I don’t agree. I worked in the service industry and received great tips and often did better than my colleagues. And that’s because I understood what customer service was about and executed it. The people who complain of receiving poor tips are often the ones who fail to provide great service.

  14. I don’t agree with the author’s comments. Whenever I’ve told an Uber driver I was going to tip him well and take care of him, I never received a negative rating. The reason is my comment was made in sincerity. The driver was kind, and did a wonderful job. The driver similarly could tell my comment was sincere and appreciated it. You are essentially encouraging passengers to tip in cash by trying to intimidate them into believing that a driver will assume you are lying if you tell him or her you will tip them well on the app. And that is far from the truth. The question one should ask is why are they getting poor tips? Do they smile? Do they introduce themselves when greeting you? Do you know how many Uber drivers don’t even say a word when they see you another than a nod? The lack of manners and customer service appears to be the norm as you are just another number to them. I’ve been using Uber since it’s inception. The first Uber drivers emphasized customer service and clean/operational vehicles. Every year, the level of service appears to decrease.

  15. What about tipping when there’s surge pricing? Tipping 15% on a regularly priced $25 ride during a $100 surge price event is not small potatoes.

  16. Never ever ever tip your Uber driver. Tipping has gotten out of control. Uber is simply exploiting drivers and customers by tacitly or explicitly raising prices to fatten the monopoly network they’ve built. Profits driven by customer guilt. All jobs are a service to someone (customers, coworkers, citizens, et al). Do you tip at the DMV— they don’t make much money either.


Leave a Comment

Similar Articles

View All