Uber, Postmates and More: A Guide to Mobile Tipping Etiquette

Living & Spending, Travel
on July 26, 2016

These days, you can have everything from taxis to coffees, takeout to groceries, and even an on-demand mini bar delivered straight to your door. Because yep, you guessed it—there’s an app for that. However, that level of convenience doesn’t mean you should leave manners by the wayside. To master tipping etiquette in the digital landscape, follow this simple guide to tipping through seven top service apps (and others like them).



Uber App

The Service: Pioneers in the ride-sharing realm, Uber allows you to request a reliable ride in minutes from virtually any location, without worrying about reservations, taxi lines, or even handling cash. The service is completely digital, which means you pay through the app itself with your credit or debit card. Say “goodbye” to counting change and “hello” to convenience. But what about tipping your drivers?

In-App Tipping Option: Generally, no, there is not a tipping function on the Uber app—except in select locations, where the uberTAXI option is available.

Official Tipping Policy: According to Uber’s website, tips are not expected or required, but drivers are free to accept them.

Tips for Tipping: Contrary to popular belief, tips are not automatically included in the fare of your Uber ride. Yet, while tips are not a feature of Uber’s app, they are sincerely appreciated by drivers.  The etiquette experts at Emily Post Institute offer guidelines for tipping across industries, which explain that 15-20% tip is the norm for taxi drivers. Though you can’t tip through the app itself, you can take advantage of the app’s fare-estimate feature to calculate a tip and pool any of your friends’ spare bills before your driver arrives.



Lyft App


The Service: Another popular taxi-alternative and ride-share app, Lyft’s mobile app calls itself, “Your friend with a car, a ride whenever you need one.” Simply download the app, request a ride, and pay upon arrival for a friendly and completely cashless experience.

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  Lyft’s app does encourage tipping by offering a cashless tipping option along with your bill, which is typically presented at the completion of your trip. However, tips are not presented as a percentage of your fare. Instead, riders can choose from the options of “No tip,” $1, $2, $5, or “Other,” if they would like to create their own custom tip amount. If you accidentally forget, you can log back in through the app and add a tip up to 72 hours after your ride.

Tips for Tipping: While, 15-20% is the norm for taxi drivers, don’t forget that your tip is how you can encourage your drivers for their friendliness and excellent service, so look at your fare and use your best judgement for each individual ride. Don’t be afraid to make someone’s day! You can also read Lyft’s helpful hints for tipping their drivers here.





The Service: Postmates is reimagining the way goods travel about cities by offering on-demand delivery 24/7, 365 days a year. No matter if you’re craving your favorite Chinese takeout, low on household cleaning supplies, or find yourself in desperate need of a personal care package composed of candy and cold medicine, Postmates has you covered.

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  The app calculates a recommended 20% tip based on the total price—which includes your order subtotal, an operational service fee, and a delivery fee. However, users are free to tip any amount they choose. You can also read up on the breakdowns of Postmates’ fees here.

Tips for Tipping: Postmates’ delivery fee is not the same as a tip, so don’t forget to tip your actual driver for their time and care with your items. You can choose to tip when you initially place your order but Postmates also allows you to go back in and tip your driver after they have made their delivery. This means that, while Emily Post recommends a 10% tip for take-out drivers, you still have the power to adjust your tip according to the quality of service, good or bad.



Starbucks App

Starbucks App

The Service: Home of the classic Pike Place Roast and the Pumpkin Spice Latte, you’ll find a Starbucks around just about every corner. Their mobile app can now streamline your morning routine by helping you locate nearby stores and place advance orders from their full menu on the app, complete with nutritional info.

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  When you pay with the mobile app, Starbucks automatically allows a custom tip option with every order. They also have physical tip jars at each of their registers for those of us who still carry cash, so you can take your pick.

Tips for Tipping: Is your latte’s design looking especially fine this morning? Did you and your barista share a laugh and are now well on your way to becoming besties? Did your barista go above and beyond for you in any other way? Go ahead and tip a buck. It’s the generous thing to do. Just be sure to consider the amount of effort involved in your order—a triple shot cappuccino with extra whip and a cinnamon sprinkle definitely requires more time and attention than a black drip coffee.



Grubhub App


The Service: Grubhub is a leader in online and mobile food ordering. Thanks to these guys, more than 44,000 takeout restaurants in over 1,000 U.S. cities and London can now deliver your favorite meal straight to your couch. Netflix and yum.

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  Matt Maloney, co-founder and CEO of GrubHub.com takes tipping delivery drivers very seriously, and he offers a handy reference sheet of their policies on their Facebook page, which you can read here.

Tips for Tipping: Follow Matt and Emily’s advice: 10% is standard and $1-$5 is always appreciated.




The Service: Consider Instacart the fairy godmother of groceries, who transforms your shopping experience into three simple steps:

  1. Order fresh groceries online from your favorite local store.
  2. Schedule your delivery for a time that’s convenient for you.
  3. Get your groceries delivered directly to your doorstep.

Bippity, boppity, done.

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  Instacart automatically calculates a 10% and adds it to your bill. Visit their Help Center to read more about their official policies regarding tip calculation and where your tip goes.

Tips for Tipping: The 10% is standard for delivery drivers. However, if you would like to readjust your tip amount, you can log in and update it with a customizable amount. The Instacart Help Center walks you through that process here.



Minibar Delivery App


The Service: Minibar Delivery Service brings the party to you by delivering wine, beer, and liquor to your stoop seamlessly. You can also book a bartender to really kick your party up a notch. It’s “the easiest way to lift your spirits.”

In-App Tipping Option: Yes.

Official Tipping Policy:  According to this helpful section of their website, Minibar automatically adds a 10% to your bill, but this amount is fully customizable. In general, they recommend a 10-20% tip for your delivery.

Tips for Tipping: Our favorite go-to tipping expert, Emily, recommends that you give bartenders a 15-20% tip of your total tab and 10-15% for home deliveries. Play it safe and stick to 15% to keep everybody’s spirits high.



  • H Town Psych

    The Postmates recommendation is weird. If the app already includes a 20% tip (and the delivery fee is already pricey in many cities), why should we tip on top of that? Am I reading this wrong?

    • Friendly_Neighborhood_Admin

      The 20% calculated tip is just a recommendation, but users are free to tip whatever amount they like. Thanks for bringing this to our attention — we’ll adjust the text for clarity!

      • H Town Psych

        Ok. Thanks. That is clearer now.

    • Shara Karasic

      The Postmates driver receives very little per order and depends on tips. The delivery fee does not go to the driver and is not a tip.

      • H Town Psych

        Ok. Got it now.

        • Tag Master

          Thank you I’m glad you got it now

      • Tag Master

        To go people at the restaurant also depend on tips if Postmates make such poor wages that they cannot even be decent enough to give another Service employee a damn dollar thaen they need to find another way to earn money

        • Okieflyover

          Do you have to post multiple times and continue to show your ignorance.

          The take out person at Chili’s put it in a bag. The post mate driver might have driven 20 miles in his own car and spent his gas.

          Which one deserves a tip?

          • Tag Master

            with your crappy personality and general stupidity I’d certainly not tip you a dime under any circumstances. That’s the only great thing about Post Mates, The dummies who contract to them do not know what tip they got until later, So people don’t have to tip you at all & especially not because your staring them down like the dumb schlubb you are.

          • Tag Master

            haha, should change your name to something more descriptive of your patheticness, perhaps Okieshitwahedover

          • Okieflyover

            Do the closed captions in your head say Douchebag: When you start talking?

            Well, people do tip Postmates drivers so go back to your hole. Your crusade is lost

          • Tag Master

            i was the clear winner before the conversation began, unlike the leach you are being involved with such a scummy outfit and working from some app I’ve been at the same job for 28 yrs.

          • Okieflyover

            Did I say I worked for Postmates? You don’t know anything about me. I am not going to post my resume here, but if I did you would apologize

            I just pointed out that you don’t know the industry and that I know people that make good money and tips working for them.

            Better to remain silent and be thought the fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

            No one who reads your rants doubts you are a fool.

          • Tag Master

            I know people that work for postmates also and tell them to their face that they are wrong for expecting a tip when they are to trashy to tip to go people. i know several restaurants that have quit taking postmates orders. Post mates trolls websites for menus and does not even have the correct info to order by half the time, And no I’d never apologize to a deadbeat like yourself. Since you claim to be an Okie I’d be happy to meet face to face and talk more about it but based on the 1000s of posts you have made its obvious you prefer the anonymity and relative safety of sitting in front of a pc screen with your tally whacker in your skinner. Now shut your pie hole you unshaven,obese blowhard piece of a piece of a fools excriment

          • Okieflyover

            You just keep adding to the evidence of what a fool you are. Bravo.

          • Tag Master

            your rather quite a huge boring fool, I think youll just have to be blocked

  • Shady Johanson

    Create app like uber and some extra interesting feature I recommend you Elluminati Inc

  • Tag Master

    Post mate cost to go attendants 1.5% of the bill when they use the credit card but do not tip them. To go people loose money serving postmates because they do not tip.
    I’m not going to tip any postmates whatsoever because they themselves stiff the to go guys.

    • Ben Gfrorer

      It’s not our money to tip them, the customer would have to tip twice. We drive all over and wait, the cashier hands us food. The only person who is working other than the driver is the cook, it’s a small effort for the cashier.

      • Tag Master

        They are providing a service by bringing the food out the car or working as to go people who works for tips if you If you expect your customer to tip then you should tip also.. garbage- the end custoner is not getting served by a tipped employee when they pick up the go food.you are. Proofs in the pudding since many restaurants are putting Postmates on the back burner because they know they don’t tip. Therefore they don’t really mind making you wait. I think that’s fair you want faster services take care of them.or you may be there a while longer.

        • Tag Master

          Btw my best friend does Postmates part-time and he is the same as the rest pretty much not tipping to go people but expecting Quick Service and even though he is my great friend I still think he is a jerk in that regard for not giving at least a dollar. But like I said paybacks are hell I know for a fact because of my relationship to the restaurant industry that these Postmates are being underserved because the employees there are not happy with them

    • Okieflyover

      Stay in your hole. You really don’t understand the business.

      • Tag Master

        as per your photo, your about as hideous as you are stupid

  • Amanda Kusovich

    Ok, I drive for post mates. We do NOT get any tips unless you add one through the app. We do not get a % of your bill! We get a very small base rate, a couple bucks, then 10 cents/minute at the pick up, then a rate per mile from the pick-up to drop off location. We DEPEND on tips to make any money at all! I only average $5/delivery without tips, and I spend an immense time in traffic (NOT getting paid because I’m not moving). Don’t get me wrong, you can make money but you have to hit it hard and don’t give up for a long time. I usually go out for 8-10 hours at a time to make any decent money. Again, we depend on your kindness in the form of tips, PLEASE tip your delivery person.
    @tagmaster:disqus : Excuse me?!? Whom am I stiffing? How do I stiff a “to go guy”?

    • Ben Gfrorer

      I generally get $4 a delivery, no orders from 3-4 pm; so I take a break until after rush hour is over (too hard on the car to stop so much.) Tips are randomness, one lady gave me $8 for a quick wine delivery; many others gave $0-2 for large meals. Restaurants make you wait because they won’t take phone orders until you hand them a card, deliveries should be 2-3 an hour and it’s typically 1 per hour. What should be $15+ tips an hour is more like $7.80 an hour. For large meals it should do what restaurants do for parties of 6+ and add 18% for the tip. The 61c per mile is insane since the govt says it costs 54c per mile in using a vehicle, I wish I could sue them for their claim of $25 an hour (false advertising) but it’s just misleading not technically a lie (it’s a lie they can get away with.) Amazon Flex is much better, but not enough hours.

    • Tag Master

      Stiffing=not tipping a service industry employee. duuuuh.

    • Shawn K

      Postmates is collecting about 20% or more from the restaurant. They call this the service fee. If the restaurant isn’t part of the network the customer pays a service fee. In addition to this service fee, Postmates is collecting a delivery fee or monthly fee from the customer. If anything they should pay you more so its fair to the drivers.

  • Ginger Anne Farr

    Instacart still defaults to 10% BUT they now call it a “service fee” & your driver/shopper doesn’t get any of it.

  • Steven Nottingham

    Poeple who don’t tip the delivery guy are asholes.

    • Do you even lift bruh

      What would you call the company that doesn’t actually pay their employees a proper wage and instead relies on customers to make up for it?

      • Steven Nottingham

        American., America has alway been a tipped environment. Don’t like it go live where they don’t tip. See if you get the same quality service? YOu won’t. Go live in Europe. Everything cost more and the service is rude. You can’t change the system. All you’re doing is ripping off hard working people. Merry Christmas. Loser.

        • Tag Master

          Are you just ignorant? America is a continent I think you meant the United States get your facts straight dumbass

      • Okieflyover

        A restaurant.

    • Tag Master

      No more of an asshole than the postmate who does not tip the to go person.

      • Steven Nottingham

        So you want the Postmate/Uber Driver to tip for you? You pay the carry out. You could tip. You’re a cheap prick. Merry Christmas. Loser.

        • Tag Master

          No stupid and your reply makes no sense. Dummy I said I think a postmate should tip a to-go person for good service and attitude if they’re going to park in the to go parking spot & let them bring it out to their car. Whatever rectum wrecking you were taking because obviously you are having trouble focusing

        • Tag Master

          Hey stupid, we’re not going to tip twice we tip the the Postmates person who drops the food off it’s his responsibility to tip the to go guy if he parks in the to go parking and expects them to bring it to his car quit being such a moron and have a good New Year mother f*** face

  • Van

    Uber does offer an in the app option in all US markets. Please update your info.

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