Things Your Driver Won’t Tell You (TYDWTY.com)
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” —Cynthia Ozick
Improving your experience with delivery apps
Your tip isn’t….really!
Delivery drivers are independent contractors. Unlike servers in restaurants, their sole income is derived from a very low base pay plus the amount apps call a tip. Don’t be mislead, however. Its really not ALL a tip. A driver spends their time and their money to get you your order and should be compensated by you for that. They are saving you time and money by picking up and delivering you your order. You don’t work for free and you shouldn’t expect drivers to either!
Before we get started with examples, remember this: PLACE YOUR ORDER IN THE DELIVERY APP, NOT THE MERCHANT’S APP or WEBSITE whenever possible. Some restaurants STEAL or SHAVE driver tips so in order for your driver’s compensation to actually reach THEM, placing your order in Doordash, Grubhub or Uber Eats will ensure it ALL goes to them!
Now, on to our examples…
For the purposes of this guide, we are going to use the IRS deduction of 62.5 cents per mile (this is a driver’s cost for using their own car) and a rate of $15 per hour (25 cents per minute) as baselines for what you should add as driver compensation for your delivery. We are also going to use drive time as 2 minutes per mile.
Example 1 – Fast Food Order
You order a $15 meal from McDonalds that is 3 miles away. The average wait time at the restaurant is 5 minutes and we will assume the driver is 2 miles away from the restaurant. This translates to a total compensation by you to the driver as follows:
5 miles driven x 62.5 cents/mile = $3.13
Driver time is 5 minutes plus 2 minutes per mile x 5 miles (10 minutes) for a total of 15 minutes. 15 minutes x 25 cents per minute = $3.75
Driver tip – this is at your discretion but honestly, for fast food, it should never be less than 10% of the order total so in this case, $1.50
This means that when you place the order, you should be adding a total of $8.38 ($3.13+$3.75+$1.50)
In this example the driver is saving you a minimum of 20 minutes plus 6 miles of vehicle use.
Example 2 – Mid-level Restaurant Order
You order a $50 meal from a Chilis that is 5 miles away. The average wait time at the restaurant is 10 minutes and we will assume the driver is 3 miles away from the restaurant. This translates to a total compensation by you to the driver as follows:
8 miles driven x 62.5 cents/mile = $5
Driver time is 10 minutes plus 2 minutes per mile x 8 miles (16 minutes) for a total of 26 minutes. 26 minutes x 25 cents per minute = $6.50
Driver tip – this is at your discretion but for a restaurant you would tip a server, it should never be less than 15% of the order total so in this case, $7.50
This means that when you place the order, you should be adding a total of $19 ($5+$6.50+$7.50)
In this example the driver is saving you a minimum of 30 minutes (although when busy, it could easily save you a lot more wait time) plus 10 miles of vehicle use.
Example 3 – Luxury Restaurant Order
You order a $200 meal from a Morton’s that is 8 miles away. The average wait time at the restaurant is 15 minutes and we will assume the driver is 5 miles away from the restaurant. This translates to a total compensation by you to the driver as follows:
13 miles driven x 62.5 cents/mile = $8.13
Driver time is 15 minutes plus 2 minutes per mile x 13 miles (26 minutes) for a total of 41 minutes. 41 minutes x 25 cents per minute = $10.25
Driver tip – this is at your discretion but for a Luxury restaurant you would tip a server, it should never be less than 18% of the order total so in this case, $36
This means that when you place the order, you should be adding a total of $54.38 ($8.13+$10.25+$36)
In this example the driver is saving you a minimum of 45 minutes (although when busy, it could easily save you a lot more wait time) plus 16 miles of vehicle use.
Example 4 – Shopping for you
You order 20 items from a grocery store and want someone to shop for you. The grocery store is 4 miles away and the driver is 3 miles from the store. It will take your driver/shopper an average of 90 seconds per item to complete plus 5 minutes to check out. This means the shop will take a total of 35 minutes. Fair compensation to your shopper/driver is as follows:
7 miles driven x 62.5 cents/mile = $4.38
Driver time is 35 minutes plus 2 minutes per mile x 7 miles (14 minutes) for a total of 49 minutes. 49 minutes x 25 cents per minute = $12.25
Driver tip – this is at your discretion but for someone doing your shopping, 50 cents per item is generally a fair amount. This amounts to $10 for this shop order.
This means that when you place the order, you should be adding a total of $26.63 ($4.38+$12.25+$10)
In this example the driver is saving you a minimum of 50 minutes plus 8 miles of vehicle use.
****Please NOTE**** Suggestions for shopping compensation do NOT apply to alcohol or other large/expensive items. Alcohol order tips should be a minimum of 15% of the total. Large/expensive items like televisions should be tipped at a fair and realistic rate (If you want a driver to load and unload your TV and carry it to your door, be a good human and pay them well)
When a driver is presented with a delivery offer, THEY have the choice to deliver to you….or not. Fairly compensating them to work for you ensures that your order will not be repeatedly declined by drivers who may view a low offer as a lack of appreciation for the service they are providing. As a general rule, if you can’t afford to fairly pay your delivery driver, order your food for pickup and get it yourself. Not everyone can afford to use a delivery service, and recognizing that you aren’t entitled to have someone work for you without fair pay is the decent thing to do!
Q & A
Q: Shouldn’t delivery services be paying the driver for their time and mileage?
A: Yes, they should. They don’t. They do pay a small base fee to the driver (as low as $2) however, this really just covers the time they wait between orders when they aren’t able to earn but must remain available for customers. Honestly, the fee you are charged, in most cases, wouldn’t cover time and mileage. To do that, apps would have to raise their fees (which you would pay anyway). It’s up to you to ensure your driver receives fair compensation.
Q: These suggested amounts are way too high! I can’t afford to pay that much to a driver. What should I do?
A: Go pick up your order yourself. Place your order for self-pickup to save yourself wait time. Delivery is a luxury service. When you use it, the merchant makes a profit. The delivery app makes a profit. It’s not ok to cut your driver’s pay to make it all work for you.
Q: What if I don’t want to tip in advance because I want to make sure I get good service?
A: When you dine in a restaurant, you always pay the tip at the time of payment for the meal. That’s just the way it works. If you want to hold the tip portion of compensation over a driver’s head you can deduct the amount from the total suggested compensation, set your order for a “hand it to me” option (instead of “leave at door”) and hand the driver a cash tip when they hand you your food. To be clear, your up-front offer should still contain the compensation portion of your tip. Be advised, however, that the higher your up-front offer is, the more likely it will be that a driver will claim it quickly rather than your order passing thru several drivers, therefore, we recommend fully compensating your driver in advance.
Q: I live in an apartment, gated community, hotel, or hard to locate address, so the drop-off is difficult. Should I compensate the driver more?
A: First, please add the NAME of your Hotel or Apartment complex to the app’s Driver’s NOTES! Next, please include detailed drop-off directions including gate codes, building numbers, and turn by turn directions. Your driver doesn’t live where you live so while finding your home may seem simple to you, for drivers (especially at night) it can add time and make your delivery frustrating. This being said, if you don’t live on the first floor or there isn’t easy access to your front door (you know how long it takes to get to your door), then yes, give your driver a bigger tip.