In the United States, the word “tipping” is used to reward high-quality service or as a kind gesture for one. But as the standard, it is totally optional.
But for the food delivery industry – Doordash, Ubereats, GrubHub, name them– this may sound a bit contradictory.
So why? And what happens if you don’t tip a food delivery service like Doordash? Let’s take a good look at this topic.
What happens if you don’t tip on Doordash?
So here’s the thing.
Tipping is still optional on Doordash. In fact, you could make any order without tipping – it’s definitely possible and doesn’t come with penalties nor would you be banned.
Of course, the company promotes it as being optional, so not doing it shouldn’t come with a problem, right?
Well, not actually.
Firstly, if you don’t tip or tip too little, you’re unlikely to get your order accepted by drivers.
And If later accepted, should take a reasonable amount of time, of drivers rejecting your order to finally find one driver that would accept it.
And in a situation where the base pay the driver earns from your delivery is really poor (e.g. when the delivery distance is way higher than the pay), you might not get your order accepted at all.
This is one reason most people find it hard to make orders or end up having their orders take long than expected.
It’s worth noting that this is not about drivers being greedy to only take orders with a tip. In fact, drivers can’t tell whether a customer Tips or not, from their end.
Rather, they can only tell whether a delivery is profitable, by comparing how much they earn with the distance it should take to deliver the order.
Hence, it’s common sense for humans to go after more profitable services.
But not exactly. Read on to the next section where we explain this better.
Why is not tipping a bad idea on Doordash?
We explained earlier that orders without tips are barely accepted.
But why? Shouldn’t the whole thing be optional?
Firstly, it’s important to understand how drivers are paid.
In the United States, DoorDash pays delivery drivers a base pay per delivery, which can range from $1 to $10 (based on what the company advertises).
However, on average, and from my experience as a driver, this is usually below $3 for all orders. It could go above, but I’ve personally never seen it.
And for orders that take 30 minutes to deliver? Barely up to minimum wage and wouldn’t be a good business model, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, that’s where tipping comes in.
On Doordash and most delivery companies, tipping is basically a supplement to drivers’ income.
It has basically gone from a “thankyou” fee to a mandatory fee.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a “thankyou” fee. But it plays a big and major role in what drivers earn, unlike in other industries –say saloons, local restaurants, bars, etc.
And the whole thing is due to Doordash’s poor base pay.
Relying only on the base pay of Doordash, we might not have drivers anymore.
Again, because Doordash base pay is poor.
For instance, here’s a video of a Doordash driver crying about this.
Doordash’s base pay is totally different from delivery fee.
How to tip right on Doordash: 3 Best Practices
So far, we’ve explained why it’s important to tip, what happens if you don’t, and basically, why you should.
But how can you tip right? What’s the most advisable way?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that there’s no one way to tip and you still have the freedom to do whatever you want to.
Either way, here we go;
Always tip before:
Not many people know this, but you have the option to tip at whatever time – before, during, and after delivery – on Doordash.
At a glance, tipping after delivery might be the most attractive – of course, that’s the industry standard. We always want to tip after a service, as a reward for a service well done.
However, that’s not entirely the case in the food delivery industry.
If you want to tip to get your order accepted or delivered, it’s important you tip before the delivery, as this is only when a driver can know how much he earns from your delivery.
Remember, drivers would always go for more profitable orders.
Consider tipping based on Percentage:
A common practice in many service industries in the US is to tip a percentage of the total bill.
Here, a tip of 15-20% is generally considered the standard.
However, keep in mind that if your order is small, a percentage-based tip may not adequately compensate the driver for their time and effort. This is where you may want to keep up a minimum.
Tip for Effort
You may also want to tip my effort if you wish to.
For instance, you can be generous to increase the tip of a driver if your distance is far (one good way to tip), if the weather is bad, or when it’s during peak time when they have a lot of orders on their deck.
Generally, If the driver had to go above and beyond to deliver your order, consider tipping a bit more to acknowledge their extra effort.
While you shouldn’t have a problem basically by not tipping, it comes with some cons like getting your difficult to be picked, delivered and you looking like a bad person, unfortunately.
Hence, at the minimum, it’s always best to tip!