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How Much Should I Tip For App Services?

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What should we tip when using new tech?

It’s hard to navigate proper etiquette when so many new services are booked through tech. Should I have a full blown conversation with my rideshare driver? How many notes are too many for the shopper tackling my grocery list? And the most commonly debated question—what’s the appropriate amount to tip? With insight from etiquette experts, we’re outlining the suggested tipping amounts for modern-day services.

Please keep in mind that these are merely suggestions. There is no definitive answer as to how much to spend when tipping, so use your best judgment and base your tip on the quality of service you feel you received.

man driving a vehicle

Ridesharing services — between 10-20%

Popular services: Uber, Lyft

Uber originally boasted a “no-need-to-tip” policy, but that has changed over the last couple years. When in doubt, you can use this helpful scale developed by Julia Boyd, an international etiquette consultant. She recommends tipping between 15-20% for exceptional service, 10-15% for good service, and 10% for average service. That said, what’s considered exceptional, good, and average will vary person-to-person, but in an effort to make sure your driver knows how to perform “exceptionally”, let them know if you have a preference for the conversation level, music, or temperature.

GrubHub bag

Takeout delivery services — between $5-10

Popular services: Skip The Dishes, Uber Eats, Grub Hub, Doordash

While many people say tipping 10% is fine, you should be tipping at least $5 for your order—and then more on top of that depending on the weather conditions. Coming from someone who lives in an area with unfortunately cold winters, we’re grateful for the delivery people who pick up our takeout while it’s snowing—they’re the real MVPs! Just make sure your tip is reflective of the delivery and not the food itself. The driver can’t help it if the chef had a heavy hand with the spices on your General Tsao’s Chicken.

person carrying instacart bag

Grocery shopping and delivery services — between 5-20%

Popular services: Instacart, Shipt

Yes, this is a pretty big range, but all grocery orders are different. As outlined on Quora, a good rule of thumb is 5-20% for grocery orders under $200, 7.5-20% for orders over $200, and around $15-$25 on heavy item orders (ones that include bottled water or large quantity packs from warehouse stores).

Luckily with services like this, you can gauge a job well done after the shopper has left your doorstep. Are your frozen products still cold? Is the produce fresh and vibrant? Did they communicate about substitutions or out-of-stock products? Most grocery services default the delivery tip to 5%, but if you think your shopper did an outstanding job picking out the best fruits, lugging a large pack of water up your stairs, or suffering through inclement weather to get to your home, feel free to tack on a couple of extra bucks.

Hip Tip: Read why we’re huge fans of grocery delivery services!

postmates swag

Specialized delivery services — between 10-20%

Popular service: Postmates

For services that will deliver just about anything, like takeout food, office supplies, or a new computer, take into consideration what you’re asking when it comes to tipping. It also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that these individuals are making barely over minimum wage and are worth their weight in gold when it comes to convenience. Small food orders probably won’t warrant much over the 10%, but when large, heavy, or bulky items come into play, you may want to consider upping that percentage.

Oh, and while you can hand over cash at delivery or tip through the app, don’t falsely promise that a tip will come to the delivery person later—they’ll probably out you on the Postmates subreddit. 😂

woman using a drill to assemble furniture

Miscellaneous services — between 0-10%

Popular services: TaskRabbit

This is a tricky situation, as you typically set the price for the task you’re asking (and people who commonly use the service feel the company discourages tips). This one is completely up to you and can be based on how long the person worked on your project or if they went above and beyond. Keep in mind there’s a reason you contracted out the assembly of your new IKEA bookshelf—deciphering those instructions can be a pain! Generally, a few dollars or 10% of the hourly wage should suffice if you’re looking to reward an individual for a great job.

kroger storefront

Grocery store pickup services — 0%, seriously!

Popular services: Kroger grocery pickup, Safeway pickup, Walmart pickup

When ordering your groceries directly through a store for pickup, you’ll be happy to know that the price you set out to pay doesn’t come with any other financial strings attached. A majority of the stores that offer this type of service have policies in place to prohibit tipping as a safety precaution to their employees. Many store associates will let you know if they’re not allowed to accept tips should you try to slip them a few bucks upon pickup, but you can always call and speak to a store supervisor if you have questions about their tipping policy.

Do you take advantage of any of these convenient services?

Let us know in the comments which services you love and your thoughts regarding these tipping ranges. And remember, everyone approaches tipping differently so please be respectful of varying views in responses. 🙂

Up Next: Guess who spends more on their haircut: Lina or her poodle?!

Join The Discussion

Comments 43

  1. Emily

    Personally I wish that the service would include a charge to cover this and not leave it up to individuals to figure out how much to tip. It’s confusing to people too that they are paying a delivery fee or service fee to use these things then should still tip on top of that. I feel like our tipping culture has gotten out of control. And it’s not fair to the worker to get stuffed in a tip and not make a living wage. I will say that the thing I hate most is the tipping culture at hair salons and spas. I’m already paying $60-$100 for a service then need to tip another $20 on top of that. I think it’s just gotten out of hand and the amount you are expected to tip keeps going up. I should say before I get blasted for not wanting to tip that my husband and I are excellent tippers so please don’t hear me say don’t tip people. I just wish there was a way to include these charges so the customer knows up front what they are paying and the service worker receives a living wage.

    • Mel

      I am with you. Often what looks like a deal quickly becomes expensive when combined with a 15-20% tip. I have started to pass on delivery deals because they can end up costing me more than had I just picked it up myself.

    • Melissa

      Totally agree

    • mamabear7

      I agree!

    • CC

      Haha tipping is ridiculous in the states and has bled in to other cultures that once considered tipping an insult… but I think the most ridiculous I have encountered is either when I lived in Europe and public hospital doctors expected tips 😂😂😂 (of course with 🤬 universal healthcare they don’t get paid much more than an average worker with basic HS or college education in some countries… that’s why they all want to move to America or work in the expensive private hospitals you have to pay out of pocket for and are the only decent hospitals in non-uber wealthy countries with universal healthcare- that’s why they exist and are in every city in Europe)… or getting shook down at the Bolivian border by Bolivian border agents who require an “exit fee” that is money they are stealing from you (unless you encounter honest agents or have a good guide)…. i mean at first tipping came out of the Great Depression where out of work ppl would bus tables in hope of money as the only people who could afford to go out were rich- but they weren’t employed by the restaurants- the rich ppl would see their hard work and give them some money (tips)… restaurant owners then got ideas from this and were able to legislate a loophole where they don’t have to pay wait staff minimum wage and tipping is “required”… I don’t think ppl should feel obligated to tip those that make minimum wage or above (I mean for amazing service ok, but basic or below average, no) and delivery services should just charge a service fee that reflects time and effort for delivery so that delivery drivers aren’t losing money/not making at least minimum wage after gas and other related expenses… and I think a lot of the app based services like uber/lyft/instacart/etc exaggerate what ppl can expect to make- taking top earner earnings and saying something like “you can earn up to $20,000 a month!”- which is not the case for most and many ppl wanting to work with those companies don’t realize that it’s unlikely they will earn that much, or even close to that (like ads with the very fine print that results are highly unlikely) so they become frustrated and expect higher and higher tips

      • marissa

        By Europe, I assume you mean Eastern Europe. This habit of bribing doctors, teachers, government workers just for them to do their job has started in communism and is still alive 30 years later. And it is ridiculous. And yes, it has gotten out of control in America. People should be angry at companies who make loads of money but pay their employees crap and not at the people who are disputing this habit.

    • Ok

      Agree too. The companies should pay their workers at least minimum wage and not have it fall on required tips to help them earn a living, since there will always be people that stiff a good employee even after doing a great job. It’s just a bad, outdated system that doesn’t work.

    • Nancy

      Agreed. I don’t like feeling uncertain whether to tip or not in situations as well. I had a cable installer make a service call today. I googled and got differing opinions. A couple of people specifically said Comcast does not allow tipping, but one woman said her husband who works at Comcast accepts tips. I am still unsure and ended up not tipping the nice guy and I feel bad about it.

  2. Felicia Nevarez

    Thank you for this post. I deliver food with Uber Eats. I would greatly appreciate a tip, especially when the weather is not favorable.

  3. Casey Meyers

    I like the idea of being able to tip what I think is fare but some people are stingy and give hardly any tip or no tip at all. Just like at a restaurant the better the service the better the tip.

    • Sam

      But it’s their job. I don’t tip at all. If you don’t like your job then find another job that pays for what your desire. You should always give good service regardless or a tip.

      • Kalee

        If your job is so great then why don’t you tip? I use to deliver and not getting tipped is insulting. Even if it’s a dollar you have no clue how satisfying something is instead of Getting nothing. I grew up in a family of great tippers and we tip 20%+ when we go out. I don’t go out unless I can tip.

      • Jodi P

        If you do not tip, servers and delivery drivers will remember that. You will get the bare minimum of service in the restaurant, you will get the least experienced server, and your delivery will be scheduled last on the pizza guy’s run.

        Working your table or delivery takes their time away from the customers who do tip. If you do not like this, then don’t get food where they are working for tips. In the US, we tip. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not.

        If they have to suffer the consequences of your not tipping, then you likewise will have consequences. And restaurants DO NOT CARE if they lose a non-tipper as a customer. They DO NOT CARE. People who do not tip are a distraction from taking care of customers who do.

        This is how it is.

      • Ok

        I knew there would be those that proudly declare they don’t tip… Until things change, and companies are REQUIRED to pay their employees minimum wage, it will fall on the customer to give tips. I don’t like the current system and wish companies would pay their employees. Since it falls on the customers, there are those that will do a great job and then won’t get paid by people like Sam.

  4. Tricia

    I work for Instacart and usually the tip is about 5-10%. It’s always appreciated! If you feel like your shopper did great then please leave a 5 star review. Instacart offers extra incentives for providing quality services.

  5. Tina9222

    Non tippers…
    JUST STAY HOME!!! Even subpar service will get tipped, I tip Uber,Taxis and Lift $5.Everyone has a story. It’s the people that expect too much that are the worse! Even if someone puts gas in my car gets a buck,Big tipper here.

  6. Dealzgurl

    I tip for almost everything but it does get tiresome. It’s almost cost prohibitive after you pay the inflated grocery prices, delivery fee, and the tip. I don’t always have cash so I’ve even given change to make sure I have some kind of tip. I do not always tip for bad service though. I might give a dollar. I work too hard to reward bad service.

    • desiree hall

      we appreciate change also! it helps because sometimes we need change in the car to pay to park to pick up the orders!

  7. jwegner

    Shipt shoppers really count on tips. Shipt only pays them $5 and 7% of total amount. Without tips shoppers could be leaving their home, shopping and delivering for only $9 on small orders. Then they have to pay for the gas and the use of their cars. I think many people think they are paid better because they are paying the upcharge and the membership fee but thats not the case.

    • Emily

      Was just going to say this. I do shipt, and if I don’t get tips my hourly is well under minimum wage.

  8. A

    My unpopular opinion: I really dislike tipping. Do you tip your child’s teacher who pours their heart into your child day in and day out? Or a doctor that makes a crucial diagnosis?

    • Rae

      No, tips for teachers though we give them gift cards to their favorite places instead!

    • Jennifer

      Nope, but I do give my children’s teacher a few special gifts throughout the year. Even a nice thank you card and/or gift card may be appropriate. Many patients bring by baked goods to the doctors I work with.

  9. Marissa

    Could someone explain to me why you have to tip certain people in America? Is it because their employees are a bunch of greedy people who won’t pay them a decent wage and expect customers to not only pay for overpriced frozen food, but also pay most of the server’s wage? Or is it because some professions deserve to be tipped more than others? How exactly does this work? And what are the limits? Because at this point I feel like every year I am expected to tip more and more people. There are many people who do decent, hard work and they don’t get tipped? I mean I recently met this surgeon who had 18 hand surgeries in one day and he is a phenomenal doctor HE deserves to be tipped. Do we not tip him because he makes 6 figures a year? Does he not work harder than a manicurist or a delivery driver? Also, when did it become acceptable to expect a tip when you are a hair stylist that actually owns the salon? I for one am getting sick of it, so I am trying to use as little such services as possible. I work hard, too, but no one gives me extra money just for doing my job. It shouldn’t be my job to pay someone else’s wage, either.

    • A

      Agree 100%!

    • Jodi P

      You do not have to tip the owner of the salon if she does your hair. You do not have to tip the owner of any business. We do not tip medical or education professionals or workers, or anyone who is making a good enough wage to begin with, really.

      We tip people who are doing a very personalized thing for you, and they are paid low wages by their employers. Restaurant servers, food delivery people, (but usually not fast-food workers or anywhere you have to take your food from the counter, yourself) bar tenders, hotel maids, hotel bell hops and room service, salon workers, taxi/uber drivers, etc.

      We don’t tip retail store employees, like clothing stores, grocery stores, bookstores, etc. We don’t tip at gas stations (but it might be different in some states where a worker has to pump your gas).

      When in doubt, call the company and ask.

      • A

        So because someone makes a “good wage” you don’t tip? You do realize most physicians graduate college in their late 20s with mortgage size debt with high interest.

    • Ok

      I think you mean “employers “ and not “employees “ and yes, in my opinion it comes down to greedy companies that are not legally reusable to pay their workers minimum wages. Then it falls back on the customer for them to earn wages and even when they do a great job, there will always be those that are stingy and don’t pay a tip!!

  10. samIam

    My only complaint is a place where a tip cup is completely inappropriate. Like the tire replacement store i went to recently. The counter actually had a tip cup! I dont appreciate feeling like I’M the jerk for not tipping when its not even logical. LOL

    • Samantha

      My jack in the box has a tip cup at the register and drive through taped to the window. x)

      • jwegner


  11. Melinda

    So I work with someone who knows a person who works closely with Uber and I asked about tipping. She actually recommended tipping uber eats only if food is brought to the door (apparently because that is going above & beyond protocol) and to tip uber drivers if they provide “extras” helping with luggage, bringing it to room, coming inside to pick it up, etc. I really wanted her input because her husband is an “insider” and worked as food waitstaff in the past so I really didn’t want to mess up tipping because I remember how much I relied on the tips. I feel like some of these industries have grown and exploded so quickly that I have had a tough time keeping up with the protocol and don’t want to mess up a tip out of ignorance!

  12. Trisha

    My husband recently started driving for Uber, and I was shocked to find out how many people do not tip! I’ve been a frequent Uber passenger for awhile and I always tip. To me it is just something you do, just like you would tip a taxi driver.

    • April

      It is my understanding that the fare paid to Uber and Lyft by the customer already includes the tip. Am I incorrect?

      • Trisha

        No, unfortunately it does not. I think that many people assume that. 🙁

  13. Amy

    Out of curiosity… what is appropriate for orders picked up at the stores? (ie Instacart picked up at Wholefoods, or Order Pick-Up at Target)

    • Samantha

      Target employees can not accept tips for pickup/drive up either can walmart for drive up, it is against store policy. The money will go into the cash lost and found. I do not know about whole foods.

    • jwegner

      These people depend on tips if they are delivering it to your home. The businesses they work for are paying them under the min. wage just like wait staff.

      • Samantha

        Target pickups are done by target employees who are paid $12+ an hour to come to work and job duties including DU/OPU/ MyFAS. The person you are tipping wouldnt even be the employee who picked the order it would be the guest service person who brings it out to you. AND THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ACCEPT TIPS. Either is walmart. They could be fired if caught. Its completely against store policy. Like I said I do not know about whole foods. If a whole foods employee is handing you the food then they are most likely not allowed to accept tips either. If it is strictly through instacart then yes they can accept tips.

  14. SS

    Tipping is very common in USA but I don’t believe it is necessary to tip on everything. It’s not justified as people who are giving service are getting paid by company already, it may not be much but it should be companies responsibility to make sure their employees are paid fairly rather than pushing it on customers as a tip/gratuity. Moreover, I believe Uber/Lyft drivers are getting good share of money from the rides as the prices have increased a lot over a year. It gets difficult for Customers who are earning minimum wages and then have to tip to make things more expensive.

  15. KR

    I feel that tipping and not tipping is very arbitrary. I honestly can not tell between who you should and should not tip, aside of below the minimum wage category.
    Waitstaff, yes, that’s pretty straightforward. If a person earns below min wage, then tips are justified.
    But if they are already earning a living, why should there be tips, period? Just because you are part of the service industry and thereby come face to face with a customer, does that mean that you should get tips for doing your job well?
    Do you tip the people behind the scenes? Warehouse workers, construction crews, truck drivers, phone support staff, etc.? They frequently do not earn a huge salary.
    How about people you do come face to face with – cashiers, sales personnel, customer service clerks, receptionists, bank tellers? Are they really well-off? Should we tip them, too?
    Doing your job well should be the norm. If a job is not paying enough without tips, it may not be a job to hold on to.

  16. Nana Donna 2 6

    I’m curious as to what others think about tipping at small establishments where the customer goes to the counter to order their food and then gets their own tableware/napkins and water. The main menu item is brought to the customer. There are no “free” refills on beverages, except water, which is self-serve. There is a tip cup at the register. Same for the pizza places that only have pizza buffet and salad bar, one price for all you can eat.

  17. MB

    Ok so I have googled and googled. How much do you tip for botox? Medspa service- like microblading, microneedeling that are already expensive? I have read over and over no tip but I see option to tip on the credit card machine.

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