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If you’ve ever taken an Uber, you’ve probably been asked to add a tip and rate your driver at the end of the trip. Some internal questions that may arise shortly after are how much should you tip or whether to tip at all.
Tipping can be tricky business, especially when it comes to rideshare services like Uber or Lyft because there isn’t a clear standard. Here is a guide to tipping Uber drivers that may help next time you take a ride.
Do you have to tip an Uber driver?
Uber doesn’t make tipping mandatory, so there's no requirement that you tip your driver. However, just like other workers in the service industry, Uber drivers often rely on tips to supplement their pay.
Uber rolled out its in-app tipping feature in 2017 as an effort to improve drivers’ earnings. Tipping can be a way to support that mission if it’s something that aligns with your values.
Another reason you may choose to tip an Uber driver is if they give you a top-tier experience. An Uber survey shared by the tech company in 2018 found some reasons that riders tip drivers include: having a clean car, sharing a good conversation, helping with luggage, making a phone charger available and playing good music.
How much should you tip an Uber driver?
After completing a ride, Uber suggests tipping your driver and prompts you to give a preset dollar amount — such as $1 or $5 — or enter a custom amount. You can stick with one of these suggestions or give a more generous tip if you want. If you need a benchmark, consider calculating your tip based on the total ride cost.
In the service industry, restaurants sometimes make the standard tip clear by leaving recommended percentages at the bottom of receipts or as a pop-up on the machine used for credit or debit card payments. Some restaurants suggest tipping between 15% to 20% of the bill — a benchmark you could also apply to Uber rides. For instance, if you take a $35 ride, you may decide to tip $5.25, which is 15%.
In the event an Uber driver delivers poor service, you may choose to give a smaller tip or nothing at all, similar to at a restaurant or bar.
How much do Uber drivers make per hour?
The average hourly pay of an Uber driver can range from about $8 to $31 an hour. That said, Uber states there are three major factors that impact how much drivers make: fares for trips, tips from customers, and Uber promotions that offer drivers extra cash for completing certain trips. The amount drivers get for rides also depends on the city they live in, how many hours they drive and how far they travel.
Most drivers aren’t taking home the average hourly rate because they incur so many expenses. For one, Uber charges a variable service fee for some trips. In addition, Uber drivers are independent contractors, which essentially means they’re self-employed and not covered by health insurance, retirement plans, employer matches and other benefits. Drivers also have to pay for expenses like their car upkeep, self-employment taxes, and gas out-of-pocket. Keeping all these costs in mind, even if a driver’s earnings are on the higher side, expenses can eat away at the take-home pay.
What happens if you don’t tip?
There is no consequence for not tipping. However, it can be a kind gesture, especially for drivers who rely on tips. While some argue that it’s an employer’s responsibility to pay service workers better wages, drivers offer a service that makes your life easier. For that reason, you may consider giving them a few extra bucks. If you can’t afford to tip, consider using cash-back credit cards to pay for your rides and your tips so you get some dollars back.