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Is Tipping An Uber Driver Expected? How Much?

Driver with a beautiful passenger at the back seat.

Have you ever taken an Uber ride and asked yourself, ‘I’m I expected to tip the driver? And if so, how much should I leave?’ Well. If you have, you’re not alone.

I’ve thought the same thing not once but multiple times. The increased popularity of rideshare services comes with the query of tipping. But in the real sense, waiters get up to 20% tip.

So do hairdressers, bartenders, massage therapists, and other service professionals. I don’t think Uber drivers should be an exception. They go out of their way to navigate us through busy streets and rush hours, seeing that we get where we need to go safe and smooth.

While tipping isn’t strictly compulsory, the monitory gesture goes a long way and is always appreciated by the driver. Let’s dig in more about tipping an uber driver, why tipping is necessary, how much you can tip, and more. Top of Form

Does Uber Allow Tipping?

Man holding iPhone 6 showing an uber app.

Uber included tipping to its app just a few years ago, whereas other rideshare services have allowed tipping their drivers for longer than that.

After its launch in 2012, Uber’s initial stand was that tipping would make the app more of a hassle for drivers and riders. In one of the company’s blog posts written in 2016, they urged that their decision against adding tipping to their app was for the passengers and drivers to know exactly what they’d pay or earn on each ride without the ambiguity of tipping.

The company eventually decided to revise its policy in 2017 after grumbling from drivers and public pressure. More so, competing apps like Lyft and Via had developed a build-in tipping option. Uber limits its tip amount to 200%. So even if you feel extra generous, you won’t be able to leave $15 for a $5 trip, at least not on the Uber app.

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They put a ceiling on this to keep riders from over-tipping or mistakenly adding an extra zero.

How Much Should I Tip My Uber Driver?

Brett Helling, a former Uber driver who now runs a resource for drivers (Ridester.com), said that he tips drivers 10% to 20% of the cost of the ride according to the service level. But based on his data, riders who tip only leave 5.5% on average. An international etiquette consultant known as Julia Boyd agreed with Mr. Helling.

She endorsed a 10% tip for the average ride, 10% to 20% for a good ride, and 15% to 20% for an exceptional ride. Ms. Boyd said that some Uber trips are more expensive than an ordinary cab, but an ordinary cab offers ordinary services. Most Uber drivers have remarkably clean cabs and freshwater for passengers.

Nonetheless, if you’re stretched too thin to swing the recommended tip despite the trip being safe and efficient, that shouldn’t stop you from tipping. Any tip you leave to your Uber driver is much appreciated.

Why Should I Tip My Uber Driver?

Though you could be tempted to think the rate of your Uber ride is adequate, the driver might be getting a scanty amount of whatever you pay. With fares, bonuses and tips factored in; an average driver can make around $20 an hour and give about 75 rides a week. On removing the tips, the earnings drop to $15 per hour.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber take a percentage of drivers’ income, which can be as high as 42%. Hence, the driver is left with little. And on top of paying for fuel, drivers have other expenses like repairs, maintenance, taxes, etc. Drivers don’t get paid for the initial distance they travel to come and pick you up at your location.

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That’s referred to as dead miles. So tips can help your driver make a somehow decent wage and manage to give you another reliable trip.

When Do You Tip Your Uber Driver?

Male driver with a business woman passenger at the back seat.

Usually, it would be best if you tipped on every fair ride you take. Yet tipping becomes indispensable if your driver does the following:

Help You Carry Luggage or Grocery Bags

Whether you’re on the go with lots of luggage or you’ve just done a hefty grocery shopping, it’s worth tipping your driver if they assist you in carrying any stuff. It’s not within the job description of an Uber driver to handle baggage. Therefore, leave a tip to appreciate their help.

Allow You to Bring Your Pet Along

It isn’t obvious that Uber drivers are pet-friendly. Some pets are difficult to deal with, can damage the interior part of the cab, or the driver is just uncomfortable around animals. If you book a ride and tag along with your pet, be sure to tip your driver for accommodating you and your four-legged buddy.

If Their Car Is Clean

Many Uber drivers go out of their way to ensure their vehicle is as clean as possible. Keeping the car fresh and welcoming takes lots of time, effort, and money — from vacuuming the seats to offering free water bottles to passengers. Consider leaving a generous tip to appreciate the driver’s extent to make your trip comfortable.

Offered A Long Distance Drive

While longer trips cost more, you still need to tip your driver. If your drop-off location is far from the urban area, the driver might have to trek back to your original location to pick up their next fare. The way back means burning extra gas and spending time they aren’t paid for.

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Of course, this is an inconvenience, so be courteous by giving a generous tip.

Make Unexpected or Time-Consuming Stops

If your Uber driver makes unexpected stops for you, you should tip them. The stops can shave a few dollars off their hourly rate, creating another inconvenience. Whether you need to pick up some items or you’re dying to hit a drive-thru, compensate your driver for making the stops for you.

Puts Up With Your Rowdy Friends

Uber is always a fallback when you go partying with your friends, and you’re too tanked-up to drive. However, if you get into an Uber a little rowdy and your driver remains nice to you, appreciate them with a tip.

Does Tipping Affect My Passenger Rating?

A man wearing his seat belt.

When tipping was only in cash, some drivers swore they’d never give a 5-star rating to a passenger unless they’re tipped. Now that you can tip through the app, your driver won’t know whether you tipped until they’ve rated you. However, Uber gave their drivers a chance to rate retroactively as a part of Uber’s 180 days of the change.

A driver can contact Uber and change a passenger’s rating, perhaps if he ‘realizes’ that he’d rated too high. If you rubbed the driver the wrong way, and he finds out later that you never tipped, he could lower your rating. Though that’s a rare scenario, throwing a few bucks to your driver could help if you desperately need a good rating.

How Do I Tip an Uber Driver?

Passenger giving a tip to the uber driver.

When it’s time to tip your Uber driver, it isn’t a bad idea to tip through cash. After all, you get a chance to show your smile and express your gratitude for the ride to your driver in person. But if you have no cash in hand, you can always tip on the Uber app.

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You’ll use the same payment method you used to pay for the trip.

Tipping On the App

Tipping your Uber driver through the app is super easy. At the end of the trip, you will be prompted to rate the driver. After giving your rating, you’ll see an option to add a tip — go ahead and do just that.

But if you’re not in a position to tip right away, Uber lets you tip your drivers for up to 30 days after the trip.

Tipping In Cash

If you have a few dollars at hand, cash tipping is the way to go. Some drivers even prefer the method and choose not to be tipped through the app.

Good to Know

Whether you give your tip in cash or through the app, your driver will receive 100% of the tip, Uber doesn’t cut. Drivers are just happy to get a tip. Some may not prefer cash and app tipping, but still, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Final Thoughts

Tipping your Uber driver makes sense because they’re offering a personal service involving safety and comfort, and it’s a natural norm to tip up to 20% to those who offer such services. Surprisingly, the norm might vary overseas — tipping expectations are lower in Japan. Instead, riders would simply round up the bill. And in Japan, tipping the driver is considered rude! But that won’t stop us from saying that tipping is a noble gesture.

A few extra dollars that don’t mean much to you adds up to the driver. Tips can be what makes or breaks their daily earnings.

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