How Much to Tip Your Uber or Lyft Driver

Uber and Lyft window decals on car window
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With the increased popularity of ride-hailing and ride-sharing services comes the question of tipping. How much should you tip an Uber or Lyft driver for a ride? Should you tip if the driver was rude or didn’t follow the route properly?

When it comes to tipping, you want to know precisely how much you need to tip your driver. We have answers to all your tipping-related questions below.

Why Should You Tip Your Uber or Lyft Driver?

When you take a ride through Uber or Lyft, you might think the rate alone is adequate, especially given the cost of the ride. However, the driver might be getting a very meager amount from the total fare. Here are some reasons why:

  • Ride-sharing companies take a percentage of the driver’s income. Although Uber calculates that it only takes 25%, the percentage can be as high as 42% in some cases, which leaves the driver with very little.
  • Drivers don’t only have to pay for fuel. They also have other expenses like maintenance, repairs, taxes and more.
  • The initial distance that the driver travels to come to your location is referred to as “dead miles” since the driver doesn’t get paid for them.

Arden Clise, the author of Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth and President of Clise Etiquette says, “The drivers don’t make much money to begin with… so tips help drivers to make a somewhat livable wage.”

If a ride’s fare is $30, you might think it’s sufficient for the distance you’re traveling. But the driver is not getting paid $30 – more like $15, and that’s before calculating their expenses. At that rate, it’s best if you compensate them through a tip.

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When Should You Tip Your Uber or Lyft Driver?

Typically, you should tip on every ride you take. However, tipping becomes essential in the following situations.

  • Luggage or Grocery Bags: If you’ve taken an Uber or Lyft from the grocery store and the Uber driver helps you carry your bags, you must tip them since they are not required to provide this extra service.
  • Pets: Irrespective of how much everyone loves their pets, no one wants your four-legged buddy to shed all over their seats. If a driver allows you to bring your pet along, make sure to tip them.
  • Extra Services: Tip your Uber or Lyft driver extra if they have additional services in their vehicle. For instance, if they offer you an aux cord, phone charger or water bottle while you’re in their car.
  • Rural Areas: If your drop-off location is in a rural area, it’s courteous to tip your driver a little extra since the driver will have to drive all the way back to the city in order to pick up their next fare.

How Much Should You Tip Your Uber or Lyft Driver?

If you’re wondering how much to tip a Lyft driver, it’s similar to what you would be expected to tip at a hair salon, nail salon or restaurant.

Brett Helling, the owner of Ridester and a former Uber driver, says you should tip 10% to 20%, depending on how good the service was.

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Meanwhile, Julia Boyd, an etiquette consultant, says you should tip 15% to 20% if the service is exceptional, 15% if it’s good and 10% if it’s average.

How to Tip an Uber Driver

Previously, you could only tip Uber drivers through cash, but now there’s an option for in-app tipping. There are two ways to tip your Uber drivers.

Cash

Cash tipping is the easiest and most preferred since you also get a chance to thank your driver in person for any extra mile – literally and figuratively – they may have gone for you.

In-app

You can also tip your driver through the app. When your trip ends, you will be asked to rate the driver. After rating, you will see an option to tip your driver. Uber says the tips go directly to the drivers.

Even if you don’t tip right away, you can do it later. Uber allows you to tip your drivers up to 30 days from the day you took the ride.

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How to Tip a Lyft Driver

You can tip your Lyft drivers in three ways:

Instantly

When the ride is over, you can choose an amount to tip and it will be reflected in the receipt along with the ride total.

Tip Later

If you want to tip later, go to the “Ride History” tab in your app and tap on “Tip driver.” This feature allows you to tip your driver up to 72 hours following the end of the ride.

However, if it has been more than 72 hours and the tipping option is no longer available in the app, you can select “Contact Support” from the app.

Then, tell Lyft the driver’s name, the date of the ride, the pick up and drop-off location, the amount you want to tip and the time of the ride. You can’t tip more than 200% of the ride cost or $50 through the app.

Default Tipping

Lyft lets you select a default tipping amount for each ride through the “Set Default Tip” tab in the Settings menu. You can choose a certain percentage or a dollar amount that will be tipped on every ride you take. However, this feature is only available for iOS users.

GOBankingRates’ Tipping Guides

Cameron Cole contributed to the reporting for this article.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He's helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he's not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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