TIPPING DILEMA: Should you tip an Uber driver? What is an appropriate amount? The rise of on-demand apps and cashless services are raising questions regarding tipping for services.Image: iStock
New York - On-demand apps make life easier: A few taps on my phone and I can get a cab in minutes or groceries delivered to my door.
The hard part? Figuring how much - or if - I should tip the people who drive me around.
Part of the confusion arises from the companies themselves. Some don't allow tipping through their apps, even though they say tipping is allowed. And the policies posted on their websites can be unclear.
Don't become 'heartless in the process'
Just like other service professionals, we should tip these types of workers, says Sharon Schweitzer, etiquette consultant and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. Many of them have to reach into their own pockets to pay for gas, bike repairs or other costs, and a tip can help them make ends meet, Schweitzer says.
She says: "The apps are designed for us to evolve to a cashless society. However that doesn't mean we become heartless in the process."
Indeed, cash is best if you have it. Some companies, like FreshDirect, will deduct processing fees that credit card companies charge before paying the driver, so they won't get the full amount of your tip.
Uber doesn't allow users to tip through its app because it wants to keep the ride cashless. You can tip if you want to reward good service, however, and drivers can accept - Uber clarified its policy to say so after recently settling two lawsuits filed by drivers - just remember to bring cash. Rival service Lyft lets customers tip through its app within 24 hours of the ride.
Forgot the cash? At least give their driver a good review on the app, Schweitzer says.
Amount you should tip: 20% of the cost of ride.