How Much You Should Tip Your Uber Drivers and When to Do It

FT Contributor  | 

Although it’s common to tip many other service professionals, including waitstaff, bartenders, and taxi drivers, many riders are uncertain what the correct tipping protocol is when it comes to Uber drivers. While tipping isn’t strictly necessary, it’s always greatly appreciated by your driver.

The average Uber driver only makes about $10.80 an hour, so tips can help them stay afloat financially. You should definitely tip if your driver goes out of their way to help you and makes your ride as smooth and safe as possible.

You Should Tip Your Uber Driver If They…

Help You Carry Luggage/Groceries/Bags

Whether you’ve just finished a hefty grocery shopping excursion or have a lot of luggage when you travel, you should tip your Uber driver if they help you carry any items. Handling baggage isn’t usually in an Uber driver’s job description, so it’s a good idea to thank them for their help by leaving a tip.

Are Pet-Friendly

Not all Uber drivers are pet-friendly, as pets can cause damage to the interior of a car, and may distract the driver or be otherwise difficult to deal with. Drivers may also be allergic or uncomfortable around animals. If you book a ride for yourself and your pet, you should be sure to tip your driver to thank him for accommodating you and your furry friend.

Can Help Boost Your Passenger Rating

If you have a low passenger rating on Uber, tipping your driver can be a quick and easy way for them to write you a positive review. Whether you were way too drunk that one time or just ended up with a driver who rated you poorly, there are a hundred reasons why your passenger rating might not be so great.

If you have a low passenger rating, however, Uber drivers may be less likely to accept your request for a ride, especially during busy times when there’s a lot of competition for rides. Leave a tip for your driver, and they’ll probably leave you a good review — and both of you will be happy!

When Their Vehicle Is Clean

Many Uber drivers spend a lot of time making sure their vehicle is as clean and welcoming as possible, from vacuuming the seats to getting their car detailed to offering free water bottles. Keeping the car clean as a driver takes time, money, and effort. If you appreciate the lengths to which your driver has gone to make your ride comfortable, consider leaving a generous tip.

Are Genuinely a Nice Person

Uber drivers come from all sorts of different backgrounds and walks of life. Many drivers work nights and weekends in order to supplement their incomes and support their families, while for others Uber is a full-time job when they can’t find other suitable work.

If your Uber driver is a genuinely nice person who you enjoyed chatting with, you should consider leaving them a tip. A few extra dollars might not mean much to you, but it all adds up. In general, it’s always a good practice to tip service workers of any kind, as tips can be the thing that makes or breaks their earnings for the day.

Drive You a Long Distance

While many people use Uber for short trips across town, occasionally you may need to book a trip for a longer distance. Although longer Uber trips are more expensive, you should still be sure to tip your driver. The farther drivers get from an urban area, the more difficult it is to find passengers who need rides.

In some cases, drivers may need to drive most of the way back to your original location in order to find a new passenger, burning gas and spending time during which they’re not getting paid. If you think your longer trip might pose an inconvenience to your driver, be sure to leave them a tip to thank them for going out of their way.

Make Multiple/Unexpected/Time-Consuming Stops

If your driver makes multiple stops for you, you should definitely consider tipping. Unexpected stops can shave dollars off your driver’s hourly rate, and are an inconvenience to deal with. Whether you’re dying to hit the drive-thru or need to pick up a friend before going bar-hopping, make sure to compensate your driver if they go out of their way to stop for you.

Accept Your Rowdy Friends

When it comes to spending a night out with your friends, Uber is a safe and convenient way to get to and from your destination. Ride-sharing apps like Uber discourage drunk driving, and you never have to choose one of your friends to be the designated driver. If you pack into an Uber already a little rowdy, however, you should be sure to tip your driver.

If You Tell Them You Will

If you tell your driver that you’ll tip them in the app, you should definitely go ahead and tip them. While it can be easy to forget about tipping after arriving at your destination, many drivers rely on tips to make ends meet, and may be hoping that you’ll leave them a few dollars in exchange for a safe and enjoyable ride. If you’ve indicated to your driver that you’ll be sending them a tip, make sure to follow through.

How Much Should You Tip Your Uber Driver?

As with other industries in which you tip service providers, the basic rule when it comes to tipping Uber drivers is to tip around 20%. For a $100 ride, for example, you should tip your driver $20. For shorter trips, a good rule of thumb is to tip $2 to $4, even if that might be a little over 20%. If you’re stretched thin and can’t quite swing an average tip, however, don’t let that stop you from tipping at all. While you should always try to be as generous as possible, any tip that you leave your driver is much appreciated.

How to Tip Your Uber Driver

When it comes to tipping your Uber driver, it’s never a bad idea to tip with cash. This also means that you get a chance to thank your Uber driver in person for their service, and express your gratitude for the ride. If you don’t have any cash on hand, however, you can always tip drivers in the Uber app using the same payment method you used to pay for the ride. You can tip drivers in the app for up to 30 days after your trip. According to Uber, tips go directly to the driver.

No matter where you’re driving to or from, it’s always a good idea to tip your Uber driver. Uber drivers who go out of their way to help you or who are especially pleasant definitely get generous tips. However, even if you have a perfectly average Uber driver, you should still consider leaving a tip. Tips can provide a meaningful increase in income for drivers, and every little bit helps.


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