In a late-night Tweet, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu announced that a “new model” is coming for the delivery app’s tipping policy — one where customers’ tips go directly to the driver.
Details were sparse, but Xu hinted that the changes to DoorDash tips will more closely mirror the policies of other popular delivery apps.
The announcement came after New York Times reporter Andy Newman documented his experience delivering food with DoorDash, Caviar, UberEats, Postmates and others. Newman went all in on app-delivery for a few days and averaged about $10 an hour, which is $5 less than New York City’s minimum wage.
4/ Going forward, we’re changing our model – the new model will ensure that Dashers’ earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order. We’ll have specific details in the coming days.
— Tony Xu (@t_xu) July 24, 2019
The policy change came in response to backlash from customers — not drivers.
How the Tipping Policy Works
Newman’s article highlighted that under DoorDash’s existing policy, a customer’s tip goes toward a guaranteed base-pay per delivery. For example, Newman wrote that he accepted a delivery that guaranteed him $6.85. His customer tipped him $3 through the app, but his payout stayed the same.
Most customers, it seems, assume that their tips go directly to their drivers and grew upset at DoorDash’s lack of clarity.
The problem, according to a DoorDash spokesperson, is that drivers prefer the status quo. Newman wrote that, despite tips not going directly to him, the money was better on DoorDash.
“I did typically earn more on orders for DoorDash than for Uber Eats and Postmates,” he wrote.
Dashers, aka drivers for DoorDash, took to online groups on Facebook and Reddit to discuss their concerns about the changes. Their reactions were mixed.
“I think most people who disliked [the current] system are people who don’t understand that this system is more consistent for drivers and shelters us from the bad tips and stiffs,” said Angelo Scaccianoce, an Ohio-based Dasher. “Now we’ll likely see guarantees go down and have to pray for tips.”
Other users say it’s not that simple, and that there are a variety of factors that go into the base pay of each delivery, including location, demand, bonus zones and other considerations.
The changes will likely affect rural and urban Dashers differently, which is a problem most delivery apps are already dealing with.
How Delivery Apps Handle Tips
Most delivery apps, but not all of them, offer a base pay per order in addition to drivers keeping 100% of their tips. Here’s the breakdown.
|Do drivers keep 100% of tips?||When do you tip on the app?|
|Bite Squad*||No||During checkout, before delivery|
|Caviar||Yes||After delivery (within two hours)|
|DoorDash||No (for now)||During checkout, before delivery|
|Grubhub||Yes||During checkout, before delivery|
|Uber Eats||Yes||After delivery|
|Postmates||Yes||After delivery. Can’t place new order without tipping or snubbing|
*Note: Bite Squad does subsidize its drivers’ base pay through tips, but each driver still receives a portion of each tip. Bite Squad is also the only delivery app listed here that considers its drivers as W2 employees, not independent contractors. Its workers get basic protections like workers comp.
How Much to Tip Delivery Drivers?
Twenty percent or $5, whichever is more. Full stop. Because some apps add hidden delivery fees into the final amount, it’s OK if you’re calculating 20% of the subtotal, according to many etiquette and food guides. If it’s a difficult order with difficult instructions, or if it’s raining, snowing or deathly hot outside, tip more.
And if you’re hazy on the tipping policies of each delivery app, there’s a simple solution that also allows you to adjust the tip based on the quality of service: Tip in cash.
Your driver will thank you.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.