Ask A Driver

Increasing Tips

With rideshare payouts lower than ever, tips are increasingly playing a key role in our earnings. Tips can either make or break a day. A lot of drivers, like the one below feels that certain groups of people do not tip.

This is far from the truth. I used to be one of these believers as well. If you have ever worked in the service industry, as a waiter or waitress or know someone who has (which would be hard), you have heard the stories. This “type” of person (I am not going to say any groups as I am not trying to contribute to stereotyping) never tips. I hate when they walk in.” I have to admit, I have heard these stories over and over again and came to rideshare with the same thoughts. At first when “these” people would tip, I was shocked. Like “Hey, they never tip.” But 5 years later, with 7,000+ rides, majority of these being in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the world. I have come to realize, people who tip and people who don’t tip come from all walks of life.

The Secret: 
I can sit here and type out all kinds of ideas how tips. From free bottles of water, to tipping signs, like this one, the list can go on and on. Want to know the secret?

You HAVE to connect to people on a personal level.

I can not stress this enough! The secret to increasing your tips is by connecting to people on a personal level. Riders see you as a mindless drone when they get into the car. You have to make them realize you are just like them.

**The drivers who are great conversationalists also get tipped the most.

I personally do not give bottles of water away, because I fear they will end up as trash, and thus more of a nuisance, but I can see how the bottles of water (and/or other goodies) you may offer may seem to work just fine. However, they are simply serving a way to break the ice and get the conversation going. “Hey, here is a bottle of water.” “Thank you, I am so thirsty, I have been outside all day.” — This allows you to ask about their day. It is a conversation starter. Having a (not one sided) but two sided conversation with a rider allows you to connect on a personal level. When I say personal, I do not mean, a romantic intimate conversation, it can simply be y’all both enjoyed the weather today. Finding common ground is key.

I am sure there are riders out there who drink the water and don’t say anything and still tip, but why did they tip? Because you offered something not everyone has, and they appreciate it. That is just as important as connecting with them.

Peace and Tranquility 

There are times a rider does not want to engage conversation, and that is fine. Do not push them to do so. Offering a quiet, comfortable ride can be just as important to generating a tip as small talking your way to getting a rider to connect with you. However, this takes away the personal connection and because of this, the rider does not feel obligated to tip you after they exit the vehicle.

Rich vs. Poor 

So back to the original reason for this post, the one thing you have to understand is that a “filthy rich” person is going to have a hard time connecting with the average Joe, which is a rideshare driver. That is not to say you cannot have a conversation with them. Remember, they are human. They go to the restroom the same as us. (maybe on gold throne, but still the same process). Small talk is the same with a “rich” person as it is with the rider who needs to hold down two jobs to make ends meet. As a driver, you have to come and realize this. Sometimes they want a quiet, peaceful ride and often, providing this generates a tip. However, that takes out the personal connection equation, and therefore, a lot of the quiet riders will not tip.

Tipping Stigmatization based on Ethnic Backgrounds

Both riders and drivers come from all walks of life. While we may not have the same life experiences, we can still connect on a personal level via small talk. You still need something to break the ice. Whether that is water, or someone cutting you off that scares both of y’all, there needs to be an ice breaker. For the riders who do not want to talk, often a quiet/peaceful ride is enough to generate a tip. Again, everyone is human. Sometimes we want to talk, sometimes we don’t. Being able to read your rider is important. This comes with practice.

The best way to set yourself up for failure is by assuming someone is not going to tip based on how they look or what class of society they belong to. They can sense your uneasiness about them (consciously or on a subconscious level) and it makes for an awkward situation. No personal connection is formed and that rider walks out thinking you have a bad attitude.

Assuming someone will tip just because (for example) they rely on tips themselves, like a waiter, or waitress, or exotic dancer, is just as bad as assuming someone is not going to tip based on their backgrounds. Why? Because you get complacent and complacency kills. You are in a customer service role and you need to act as such. Be polite, open doors if you are able to, load luggage,etc. Just be courteous.

In the end, we are all humans. There will always be a rider who never tips no matter what, for whatever reason. While it is true, that America is one of the few countries who has workers expecting tips, we can not pass judgment on about a whole race or class of society. The drivers who are great conversationalists also get tipped the most.

What are some things you do that you have found increases tips?

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