Do You Need to Tip Uber Drivers? Ride-Share Tipping, Explained
An Uber ride will likely be much nicer and more convenient than a traditional cab, but should you tip your driver—and will your decision affect your passenger rating?
Catching an Uber, Lyft or other ride-share is a great way to get from point A to point B. It’s affordable, super convenient and just like a taxi … except not exactly. Which raises the question: If you tip taxi drivers, do you tip Uber drivers? And if so, how much should you tip? Should you tip more depending on the type of car they drive or amenities they offer? And how should you give the tip to the driver? We know—you’ve got questions, and so does everyone else!
“I’ve been driving for Uber since it started, and even I get confused about the tipping etiquette rules sometimes, especially as they’ve changed several times,” says Kelly Jensen, a platinum-level Uber driver in Denver. “When Uber first started, one of their selling points was that the price was all-inclusive, and drivers weren’t even allowed to accept tips. Now, it’s the opposite, and the app prompts you to tip every ride. So I totally understand when customers get confused!” (FYI, Uber started in 2009 but didn’t allow optional tips until 2017.)
The biggest difference between traditional cabs and ride-share services is that taxi drivers are employees of a taxi company, which provides and insures cars, while Uber drivers are independent contractors driving their own cars. This means Uber drivers get paid differently and assume a higher amount of personal and professional risk, which means—yes—the tipping rules are different, says tipping expert Valerie Sokolosky, author of Do It Right, a comprehensive etiquette guide. (This business model also puts passengers at higher risk, like with these Uber scams.)
Tipping can be tricky! Once you’re up to speed on Uber tipping, find out how much to tip a hairdresser and hotel housekeeping.
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Do you tip Uber drivers?
Yes, you should always tip your Uber, Lyft or other ride-share driver, says Sokolosky.
Jensen is a little less definitive. “I would never say I expect a tip—it is always optional,” she says. “But I will say that the majority of people do tip, and I always really appreciate it because that’s a big part of my income.”
How much should you tip Uber drivers?
Similar to tipping for other services, like getting a massage or going to the nail salon, the rule of thumb is to tip 20%, says Sokolosky. So if your ride costs $30—an average cost for a moderate trip in most cities—then you’ll tip $6, for a total of $36. If the trip is short and the fare is low, don’t tip less than $2, even if that’s more than 20%.
Do you tip Uber drivers more in certain situations? Of course, you can tip more or less, depending on the situation and the service. Sokolosky recommends considering a 25% tip if:
- The driver helps you with bags or luggage
- The ride is unusually long
- You require special accommodations
- You need to make a stop
- You have a low passenger rating (they can choose not to accept your ride!)
- You requested a nicer car or higher-tier driver
Another situation to consider is if you made a mess in the car or were otherwise not a great passenger, says Diego Serrano, a gold Uber driver in Seattle. If you puke or make the car unsanitary, Uber will automatically charge you a cleaning fee of $10 to $150. But if you, say, spill a drink or drop a sandwich, it’s a good idea to offer a higher tip because the driver will have to clean up before picking up another ride. Same goes if you bring a furry pet or a screaming baby. “An extra tip isn’t necessary, but it is being, like, a decent human,” Serrano says.
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What should you tip on if you’re sharing an Uber: the full ride or just your portion of the ride?
The Uber app offers the “tip” option only to the person who originally requested the Uber. The app doesn’t split the tip between other passengers. Those passengers can offer their own tip to the driver in cash or pay the other person back, but those arrangements are unofficial.
“It is nice to at least offer to cover part of the tip via cash or Venmo if you’re sharing a ride,” says Serrano. “But just make sure someone is leaving a tip, and don’t assume it’s already covered.”
How much do Uber drivers make per hour?
Wondering if driving a ride-share would be lucrative for you? It’s one of the top side-hustle ideas! But first know this: Pay for Uber drivers is made up of a base fare, customer tips and other incentives. Uber calculates base fares (or the “upfront price”) via a proprietary algorithm, which includes the estimated trip time and distance from origin to destination, as well as demand patterns for that route at that time. It also includes any applicable tolls, taxes, surcharges and fees. Uber sometimes offers additional money to drivers on top of the base fare as an extra incentive. For instance, during busy weekends, they may offer a $400 bonus to drivers who complete 30 trips. Tips are money on top of all that.
Base rates and promotions can vary widely between drivers and locations. For instance, Uber drivers in busy metropolitan areas tend to make more than drivers in rural or suburban spots. Tipping around the world is different for taxis and ride-shares as well.
The bottom line: Uber drivers aren’t paid hourly—they are paid per trip—but it works out to an average of $14 to $22 an hour nationwide, according to Uber. However, Ridester, an independent site for ride-share and delivery drivers, says the U.S. average is closer to $8 to $15.
How should you tip?
The easiest way to tip is through the Uber app. Once the ride is completed and you’ve rated the driver, you’ll see a prompt to leave a tip. The app will automatically calculate the tip options for you, so it’s as easy as tapping a button.
You can also hand the driver cash directly. Many drivers prefer cash, since they see it as tax-free income (although technically cash tips should be reported for taxes).
Do Uber drivers know if you don’t tip?
Yes, your driver will know whether or not you tipped and how much. That said, the driver will not be privy to this information until you have submitted your ride rating and your driver has submitted the passenger rating. In short, your rating will not be affected by how much you tip.
What happens if you don’t tip your Uber driver?
Worried about taking a hit to your rider rating if you don’t tip? Don’t be. Your driver can’t see the tip (or lack thereof) until after they’ve rated you as a rider.
“I always see tips as a bonus, so I’m not angry if someone doesn’t tip,” says Jensen. “Sometimes you just can’t, and that’s OK. I’ve been in those places in my life.”
However, if there was something wrong with your trip, Serrano says that your driver definitely wants to know about it immediately so they can make it better. “Don’t suffer in silence,” he says. “Just tell me—I’ll make it right.” Of course, remember to be polite when you do it.
Should you tip a rude Uber driver?
Taking a ride-share is one of those situations where, yes, you should almost always leave a tip—even if the driver was rude, says Sokolosky. “Drivers have bad days too, and it’s really about having empathy for others,” she says.
But this is only true for mild rudeness. If your driver verbally or sexually harasses you, tries to extort money, threatens you, stalks you or is abusive in any way, you do not need to tip, she adds. In those cases, get out of the car as soon as possible, and call Uber to report the driver right away.
Now you know the answer to the question “Do you tip Uber drivers?” Next, test your tipping etiquette knowledge in other situations, from tipping waiters and delivery people to house cleaners and movers.
- Valerie Sokolosky, an etiquette expert and author of Do It Right, a comprehensive etiquette guide
- Uber: “How are prices determined?”
- Ridester: “How much do Uber drivers make?”
- Kelly Jensen, diamond Uber driver since 2014, located in Denver
- Diego Serrano, a gold Uber driver since 2019, located in Seattle