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6 min read

    6 min read

    Tipping is now live on the Uber app in over 100 US cities, and many drivers are starting to see their first ever ‘tips’ on Uber.  It will probably be some time before we have a good sense of how many passengers are tipping and how much they’re tipping, but I know this is one feature I’m really happy to see. So let’s see how it works!

    It's official - Uber tipping is here! How to activate tipping, how tipping works on Uber, and an interesting theory on the 'no tip' option -

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    Drivers and Passengers Need to Update/Enable Tips

    In order to give or receive a tip, you need to update your Uber app. Regardless of whether you’re an Uber passenger, UberEATS customer or Uber Driver, everyone needs to have the updated app in order to give/receive tips.

    If you’re a driver, you’ll also need to enable tips on the app in order to start accepting tips.  I took several Uber rides last week and most drivers hadn’t enabled tipping yet! Make sure you do that ASAP if you’re a driver. Here’s how you can enable tips:

    What Will Passengers See?

    Once passengers update their app, they’ll be able to leave a tip on future rides. Once the ride is over, the passenger will be prompted to rate their driver and leave a tip like this:

    Uber sends a notification to riders to leave a rating as soon as the ride is over (as seen above on the left) but only about 40-60% of passengers typically leave a rating. This means the only downside to the current set up is that not everyone will see the tipping screen. My hope is that Uber includes another notification alert 10-15 minutes after the trip is over reminding passengers to leave a tip – similar to what Postmates does on delivery orders.

    Once the rider goes to leave a rating/tip though, they’ll be given three tipping options based on the length of the trip.  As you can see below, Uber is still testing different tipping screens/amounts but there is a No tip/$0 option on the left followed by two incrementally higher tip amounts. For the most part though, on shorter fares, the pre-set amounts that riders can tip will be lower and for longer fares, the amounts will be higher.  The screenshot on the left was from a $5.35 minimum fare ride in Los Angeles.

    Why the No Tip/$0 Option?

    I was surprised to see the No tip/$0 option on my first ride and this is probably the number one complaint we’ve heard from drivers around the tipping feature. One theory from Jake on The Rideshare Guy Facebook Page goes like this:

    I think the ‘no tip’ option is there because they have to make a selection before hitting done. Also, psychologically… and it’s just a theory… I personally would feel slightly awful having to hit ‘no tip’ if the driver was good. I would never write ‘no tip’ on a server’s receipt, so maybe for some people the “guilt” would take over and they would do at minimum $2. I know that would get to me and I would never do ‘no tip’.

    This makes sense, but as a driver I know I would rather see three dollar amounts instead of giving riders the option to not tip. Ultimately, I think this is the one area where Uber should have done a much better job communicating why they went with this option because it’s really not clear to me: Are they trying to play psychological mind games with passengers as Jake suggests and get them to tip more, or are they just giving riders an easy out to not tip their driver?

    👉Related article: Essential gear every rideshare driver should have

    Custom Tip Amounts

    In order to leave a tip, riders will have to leave a rating and then select one of the two pre-set tip amounts.  Riders also have the option to enter in a custom tip amount but again, the maximum amount they can enter is limited by the distance of the trip. On this same minimum fare ride, I was able to enter $5 as a tip amount but $10 was not allowed. It probably still makes sense to carry around a Square reader just in case you get a passenger who wants to leave you a huge tip!

    Would Percentages Be Better?

    One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from drivers is that they’d like to see percentages instead of $ amounts, but I’m not so sure that would be better for drivers. On food delivery services like Postmates and Doordash, couriers get a percentage of the entire order value, so even though they might only make a $5 delivery fee, if the food total is $45, a 10% tip on the total ($50) is $5. Or in other words, you get $5 payout for the delivery and a $5 tip!

    But with rideshare, since the fares are so low already, I think the $ amounts are more lucrative on the short trips and % would be better on the longer trips. As you can see from the screenshot above, Uber presented the rider with a $2 and $4 option on just a $5.35 minimum fare ride.  The driver’s payout on that ride was $2.80 so a $2 tip is actually 71.4% tip!

    When Will Drivers Know if They’ve Been Tipped?

    Since the tip option shows up on the rating screen, you won’t know whether you’ve been tipped or not by a passenger until after you leave them a rating.  And in my experience, even if the rider tips immediately after the ride, the tip won’t show up instantly on your earnings summary. There’s actually a slight delay, but if they do leave an instant tip, you can verify this under fare details for that trip:

    Otherwise, about 30-60 seconds after a rider leaves a tip, it should also show up in your daily earnings tab and it will be denoted by a green checkmark:

    Since drivers can’t see tip amounts until after they rate the rider, drivers won’t be able to rate passengers lower if they don’t get tipped. But you do have the option of contacting Uber and asking them to change a rider’s rating by going to Trip Detail-> Help -> Issue with a rider -> I want to change my rating for a rider.

    It’s probably not feasible to do this on every ride, but there may be some riders who warrant this, like the guy who asks you to go through the In N Out drive-thru when it’s surging and ‘promises you a big tip’. 🙂

    Uber Tipping Frequently Asked Questions

    Uber has a good resource on their site all about how tips work, but here are a few answers to the most common questions we’ve seen about tipping:

    When will tipping be live in my city?

    Tipping will be rolled out to all US and Canadian cities by the end of July 2017.

    Can Uber passengers still leave a cash tip for drivers?

    Yes, you can still leave cash in addition to an in app tip or on top of an in app tip.

    Can Uber drivers still use tip signs?

    Yes, you can and should still use a tip sign as some riders still prefer tipping in cash and/or it may encourage them to tip more via the app.

    You can find a couple tipping templates courtesy of Ridester and Lime Resumes.

    How do I start accepting tips?

    As a driver, you’ll need to update your driver app and then accept the new tipping agreement.

    Are tips available on Instant Pay?

    Yes as soon as you receive a tip, you can cash it out on Instant Pay just like your other earnings.

    Drivers, what do you think about Uber’s rollout of the new tipping option and what do you like/dislike about it?  Or are you happy just to have a tipping option?

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    -Harry @ RSG

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.

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