Make Money

10 Ways Delivery Drivers Can Get Better Tips from Customers


Through different Frugal for Less posts, we’ve written about different delivery jobs and how much they can earn driving.

Such as these driving jobs:

  • Lyft – Make about $15 – $17 an hour
  • Uber – Make about $14 an hour
  • UberEats – Make about $11 an hour
  • Grubhub – Make about $10 an hour
  • AmazonFlex – Make about $18 – $25 an hour

As you can see, you can make a pretty good hourly wage working as a driver.

Most drivers also earn tips from customers, the average driver’s tip depends on who you’re driving for.

For food deliveries, it’s about $2 to $5 per tip, which is about 10% up to 20% for good service, and for rideshare drivers, it’s about $3 to $4 a tip, where 10% is the standard.

So what can you do to get more tips from each customer?

There are plenty of ideas, here are 10 different ways to get higher tips:

1. Try to Look Professional

You should try and look as professional as you can.

Keep your attire and appearance clean and tidy as you can.

As a rideshare driver, you should aim to dress in business casual and keep your car clean and fresh for your riders.

Delivery drivers can have a more flexible dress code, but should still stay tidy and presentable.

One delivery driver stated that when he was making food deliveries with a scraggly beard, he only received $2 in tips, but when he worked clean-shaven his tips went up to $2.50 or even $3.

A good factor in deciding what to wear is the area you serve – on a college campus you can get away with dressing in their sports team attire and jeans, while in the business district you should plan wearing button-up shirts and slacks.

It’s always best to follow your company’s dress code policy, if they have a uniform, keep it spotless and ironed.

2. Always Be Friendly

Another way to increase the chance of getting a better tip is to be friendly.

Smile and greet everyone by name.

Another strategy to try is to “talk like the customer”.

If you’re delivering to a college dorm, you can talk about college sports, pop culture, and use slang.

If you’re driving a client from a company, you can talk about their work, traveling, and the area (if they’re new visitors).

Just remember you don’t need to try too hard to impress people or make them like you, just be yourself and you’ll be more likely to be rewarded well.

Being an introvert, some may have trouble with breaking the ice, but it’s completely fine to drive in silence too, just don’t ignore them completely.

Statistics have shown that 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service.

3. Get Personal with Customers

Address the customer by name and remember any details about them.

You’ll never know if they become a regular of yours and remembering details really helps boost the tips.

As a delivery driver, remember their pets’ names and get friendly with their dogs at the door while the customer takes the food inside.

As a rideshare driver, remember their trip designations and ask questions on their next pick-up, such as “how was your trip to Boston?”

Let your customers ask you questions and answer them honestly.

Do avoid talking about certain topics, such as sex, politics, and religion, these are potential for clashes of opinion and not only will cause you to lose your tip, but receive a bad rating.

Overall, remember you are still representing the company you’re working for.

4. Be Considerate to Your Customers

Remember to be considerate during any delays or detours.

Call your customers if you’re going to be late.

They may still be annoyed, but you’re likely to get a better tip for being upfront and honest than for just being late.

If you’re a delivery driver, think like the customer and see what extras you can bring along.

For example, bring sauces and salad dressings if none were in the order, bring extra napkins and utensils, and the like.

Also, double-check the order against the receipt to avoid messing up the delivery.

It doesn’t matter if packing the order isn’t your job, you’re the face your customers will see and you’ll be the one blamed for any restaurant snafus.

You can also ease your ride customers by telling them about the route you’re taking, such as it being faster, avoiding constructions, and such.

Some ride share customers use GPS during their ride and this information would explain any discrepancies between your route and the GPS’s route.

One small way to be considerate as a ride share driver is to avoid using cologne or air fresheners as around 2 million Americans have fragrance allergies or sensitivities.

This shows the customer that they’re just not a “delivery number” and you’re actually are thinking of them.

After all, the majority (66%) of customers feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a service can provide.

5. Be Knowledgeable in Your Job

One more strategy to try and increase the likelihood of a larger tip from customers is to be knowledgeable.

You should know the “ins and outs” of your city – the tourist spots, the best places to eat, the best bars and so on.

This way, when you have a rider who’s visiting your city, they’ll have better “insider” information than the local guidebook can offer.

If you’re a delivery driver, you should know the restaurant’s menu – it’ll be even better if you’ve eaten there.

This way when you deliver your food goods, you are able to answer menu-related questions and make suggestions for their next order.

Be mindful that 62% of consumers say that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness is key for their positive experience.

Being knowledgeable helps build trust, shows you’re friendly, and makes them comfortable too.

6. Make Customers Feel Comfortable

As a rideshare driver you can garner more tips if you make your customers more comfortable during their rides.

Some different things you can make riders comfortable  include:

  • Assist in loading and unloading of your car
  • Offer water bottles
  • Offer snacks (via Cargo)
  • Provide a phone charger or USB port
  • Offer to play their radio station
  • Informing them how long their trip will take

Unfortunately, Uber or Lyft does not allow riders to request a specific driver for subsequent trips, but only sends requests to nearest drivers in the area.

So, if you frequent a certain area, it’s more likely you’ll get a repeat customer, and if you made them comfortable the last time they rode with you, the more likely they’ll tip big this time.

7. Go Big

Bigger is always better as the saying goes.

Start accepting larger orders.

Customers tend to give bigger tips for bigger orders.

Also, start picking up customers in the more affluent areas.

Those customers earning $50,000 a year or more tend to tip better – at around 20%.

Keep in mind that wealthy consumers find word-of-mouth and referrals from friends and colleagues extremely important when making decisions, so this will help with gaining more riders in the area.

Studies have shown that the best tippers are:

  • Baby boomers
  • Men
  • Those paying with a credit or debit card
  • From larger cities
  • Those making $75,000 a year

Keeping this data in mind when choosing a delivery or rideshare area can be an advantage to getting bigger tips.

8. Choose Peak Times to Work

Picking peak times to work your shift will help get more tips.

The simple math is the busier you are, the more tips you’ll receive.

It’s actually not about getting bigger tips here, but getting more of them.

For food delivery, the peak times to work are:

  • Dinnertime on Tuesdays
  • Lunch and Dinner on Wednesdays
  • Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights
  • Late lunches on Sundays

For rideshare drivers, the peak times to work are:

  • Friday and Saturday nights 8pm – 3am
  • Early mornings at around 4am for airport runs
  • Mornings 7am – 9am for rush hour
  • Evenings 4pm – 7pm for rush hour

Don’t forget that rideshare programs also offer incentives to work these peak hours as well as on holidays and other busy times.

Again, the more fares and deliveries you pick up during these shifts, the more tips you’ll make during that shift.

9. Give Them Their Receipt

This is more of a psychological trick, but actually giving them their receipt can increase the possibility of a bigger tip.

It’s all in the method in how you give it to them.

If you ask “do you want your receipt?”

You’d most likely get  people responding no because who wants more paper waste lying around, right?

But, if you say “here’s your receipt in case anything goes wrong”, this will make customers look more closely at the receipt to double-check – then they’ll see the tip line and remember to tip you.

You can also try saying “I double-checked your order, but here’s your receipt for your records in case there’s anything we missed”, this shows you care about your work – people tend to tip more for quality work.

The last trick you can try is writing a personal note, such as a thank you, on the receipt before you deliver it – this shows you being personal and giving your attention.

10. Ask for A Tip

I know this sounds rude, but in this day and age many people are actually overtly asking for tips after their delivery or rideshare.

There are several ways you can do this:

  • Highlight or underline the tip line on receipts
  • Place a sign or decal in your car
  • Ask if they need help with payment or tips (especially if they’re using an app)
  • Get excited about receiving a monetary bill, “Five dollars? Thank you!” – unless a customer really wants their change back, they’ll leave it alone

I left this option for last, as I’m still of the generation that still feels that asking outright for a bonus is still viewed as being rude.

But this would be entirely up to you and your personality, to be upfront and ask for a tip.

My Final Thoughts

A key thing to keep in mind as a driver is to think like a customer.

A good guide to follow is to think back on your own personal experiences with deliveries or rideshares and pick out the positive points you liked and emulate those, while avoiding the negative points you didn’t like.

Next, remember that you’re representing a company and any negative reviews, ratings, or complaints to that company will come back to you.

Not only will you need to impress your clients, you also need to satisfy your employer, after all they’re the one giving you the opportunity to work.

People tend to tell about 15 other people about a poor service experience.

People also tell about 11 other people about a good experience they’ve had.

Lastly, if you get a lousy tip, don’t feel bad or angry, it’s not personal.

Sometimes people react negatively because they’re having a bad day themselves, and their reaction may have nothing to do with you at all.

Getting into a stranger’s car can raise anyone’s anxiety level and they may respond accordingly.

Just remember to be friendly, smile, and reassuring.

Being angry or upset about a lousy tip from one customer is actually going to affect your tips from subsequent customers because you’re no longer happy and friendly.

Check out these resources on how to improve your job working as a driver:

Here are other ideas for driving jobs as a side hustle:

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