When should I tip my Uber driver?
Always, unless you are extremely unhappy with the service.
Uber Technologies, Inc, famously discourages riders from tipping its driver “partners.” The company that claims to be purely a technology company refuses to program a tipping feature into its app. But here are nine reasons to carry a little cash for the driver.
1) Drivers don’t make that much.
Don’t believe the hype. The story of the $90,000 median income for an Uber driver in NYC was, and is, false. And since releasing those false numbers, Uber has lowered its rates dramatically. Some rides, especially the short ones, aren’t that profitable anymore.
In the United States, restaurant servers get paid a crappy wage, but make it up in tips. Driving for UberX is similar, except there are few tips. Tip ‘em.
2) It’s in your self-interest.
Tips make drivers happy. Happy drivers drive more often. More drivers on the network, mean less surge pricing. A few dollars here and there might save you 2x, or more, on your total fare. Tip ‘em.
3) The driver travels far to reach you.
Uber instructs its drivers not to begin the trip until you sit your butt in their car. Uber does not pay for time and distance traveled to get to you. Indeed, drivers call these dead miles, an expense, because they burn gas and wear down their brakes getting to you. So if you are asking them to travel longer than 10 minutes, they deserve a little extra. Tip ‘em.
4) You’re not ready.
Again, Uber drivers only get paid when they start a trip. Uber forbids its drivers from starting trips before the rider enters the car, and the drivers can’t cancel until they wait 5 minutes.
The app tells you when your driver will arrive. You can follow along on the map as the little black car approaches. Be ready, or tip ‘em.
5) Your driver gives you great advice.
Your driver might recommend a cool bar, a great restaurant, or, especially if you are in my car, the best craft beer to try.
You won’t get this from a self-driving car. Tip ‘em.
6) Your driver agrees to a quick shopping stop.
Drivers don’t have to wait for you as you duck into a store for another beer. They can (and should) end the trip and throw you back into the pool for another driver.
Also, drivers get paid by the minute and by the mile. While they are waiting for you, they are not driving, thus, limiting their income. In Phoenix, Arizona, the pay is only $0.06/minute; that’s only $3.60/hour! Tip ’em.
7) You ask the driver to bend the law.
It’s not your driver’s fault that you didn’t visit the restroom before leaving the bar.
Drivers need to maintain their clean records. If you ask them to speed a little–“step on it”–tip ‘em.
8) You aren’t going far.
Drivers make money by the mile and by the minute. Short trips make money for Uber because the booking fee represents a larger percentage of the total fare. And 100% of that booking fee goes to Uber, which takes a sizable percentage of the rest of the fare.
If your driver has to drive 5 minutes in order to give you a 5-minute ride, you are effectively cutting their hourly rate in half. Do the right thing, tip ‘em.
9) You eat or drink in the car.
In most cases, you ride in the driver’s personal car. Their kids will be sitting where you are eating that banana. Good drivers clean their cars frequently. This is unpaid labor, and if they use the vacuum at the car wash, it’s an expense.
The driver has the right to ask you not to eat or drink in their car. I am pretty lax about this, partly because of rating anxiety, partly because I am chill like that.
If you eat or drink in the car, tip ‘em.