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Should Uber Eats Show Couriers the Tip Amount Up Front?

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Uber Eats showing total amount INCLUDING tip up front? Will they? Should they?

Brian from the UDM Youtube channel has commented a couple times that my market always seems to get the first look at changes that these gig delivery companies roll out.

It looks like he got the scoop on this one. (Around the 11 minute mark in the linked video)

In his market, Uber Eats announced that they are testing a new feature. He received an email that said “Starting today, you'll see an up front price that includes the expected customer tip.”

Whoah.

Uber Eats is testing out a feature where the total amount including expected tip will be revealed with the delivery offer
Should Uber Eats show the tip amount as part of their offer screen? They are testing this in some markets. Is it a good idea or will it backfire?

This is a big change

You have to remember, it was only a few months ago that when you received an offer, you didn't know the name of the restaurant, you had no clue where you were going, and no idea what you were going to make.

They've changed all that. Now they present information that rivals almost everyone.

You know the restaurant.

You know the dropoff location. The screen even presents the nearest cross streets to the customer.

You know the total miles and estimated time.

The evolution of the Uber Eats offer screen
The evolution of the Uber Eats offer screen

The only thing you don't know is what the actual pay will be.

Until now.

At least in some markets.

Screenshot of a screenshot. This screenshot is from the UDM Youtube channel video where he talks about an email he received where Uber Eats is testing a new feature.

“You'll see an upfront price that includes the expected customer tip.”

Uber Eats has already been displaying what they expect your Uber Eats earnings to be in their offer screen.

That displayed amount is the minimum amount you would receive.

I've had a number of times where the Uber Eats portion was more than the promised amount. Some compare that to what Doordash does where their offer screen says “total may be higher.” Doordash does this on purpose to manipulate people into accepting lower priced orders.

The thing is, Uber Eats still pays based on the actual amount of time and distance involved in a delivery. The times where I've noticed a difference have usually been related to when there was a longer wait at the restaurant. To their credit, Uber Eats still automatically adjusts for that.

But this one thing has been true for me: 90% of my deliveries have paid a lot more than promised. That's because Uber Eats never factors the tip into the displayed amount.

Except for now in some select test areas.

Note that this is the EXPECTED tip.

One other thing that is different about Uber Eats than other platforms is that the customer has up to an hour to adjust to, add, or delete their tip.

This is not a guaranteed amount.

Doordash does allow someone to add a tip after the fact, though my experience has been that's only if the customer didn't tip through the app to begin with. Grubhub has no such option. Postmates is really the only other one where you can do anything after the fact.

Personally, I think this is a good thing. From a customer perspective, I think this is better.

There are just too many bad apples out there delivering. While I like that Uber Eats finally added the option to tip through the app when placing the order earlier last year, I'm glad they still allowed the option to make changes.

And when I see how some folks do deliveries through Grubhub especially, when they know there are no consequences whatsoever for bad service, there's just that part of me that thinks this is better.

But I do think that policy is going to lead to some problems. I'll get into that.

Why is Uber Eats testing this out?

Here's my take:

They're making a run at Doordash. To make a run, they need more couriers.

To get more couriers, they have to overcome some bad press among couriers.

Here's the thing: I barely delivered for Uber Eats at all last year. Which is crazy because they've become my dominant source of delivery income now. The real issue for me was that it was impossible to know what you were getting into on a delivery. When you COULD know that stuff with everyone else, well, I delivered for everyone else.

Uber Eats has quietly been adding in improvements in the information they've been providing with a delivery offer. It's actually gotten to the point where in my opinion it's easier to make decisions with them than anyone else.

That said, there are a lot of people who deliver for Grubhub and Doordash who are used to a more definitive idea of what they'll make. Not knowing the tip amount is a deal killer for them.

Even without Uber Eats buying out Postmates as they agreed to do last month, you could tell that Uber Eats is getting serious about delivery. They have made continual but quiet improvements in the app for drivers. And now, they're trying this out, and it's all about trying to get the drivers who don't like how they do things to give them a shot.

Is it a good idea?

That's a good question.

It's a really, really good question.

To be honest, I don't know.

I do think that adding that tip information would make Uber Eats more attractive to a lot of drivers. I believe that's the one thing that is keeping many from giving them another (or a first) shot.

I'm afraid it could backfire.

Could displaying pay amounts including expected tips backfire on Uber Eats?
Could displaying pay amounts including expected tips backfire on Uber Eats?

Personally, I'd rather they didn't include the expected tip in the order amount.

Here I am, preaching my 40 cent rule in other places on this site. I talk about making decisions based on what you're going to get paid.

So why wouldn't I want the tip included here?

There are a few reasons for this.

The biggest reason is, it's not a guaranteed amount.

Too many people see the offer amount as a contract within a contract. It's a promised amount. While yes, now you have a better idea what you'll get, Uber Eats is still going to be different than Grubhub or Doordash in that there's no promise.

The customer can change the tip. They can choose not to tip.

The first time someone gets paid less than it appears they were promised, that's going to create issues.

Knowing the tip amount hasn't been necessary to me.

Of all the changes that Uber Eats has made, for me the most irrelevant has been adding a dollar amount to the offer screen.

In fact, if anything, I found that I was doing what you could call reverse cherry picking. The lower the pay being offered, the more likely I was to take the offer.

That's because when the pay is low, I know that the distance is short.

What I've learned with Uber Eats is that is the most important thing to look for: Can I get it done quickly? Quick and short deliveries meant you could get more deliveries done, and that usually added up to earning more than if you waited for higher paying orders.

This one change would make my reverse cherry pick method almost obsolete.

Almost. I think there's still some merit to it.

Including the expected tip is going to create cherry picking issues for Uber Eats.

I say that in a loving way, considering that I see myself as a cherry picker.

If you're not familiar with the cherry picker term, that's a term for couriers who are very selective in the orders they accept.

The most simplistic version of cherry picking is to accept or reject based on what the order is going to pay. Some draw the line at $8 deliveries. Some draw it at $15. Anything less than their minimum and they'll pass.

Personally I think that's a stupid way to do things. But that's another topic for another day.

Including expected tip amount in the offer screen will open the door to more cherry picking with Uber Eats.
Including expected tip amount in the offer screen will open the door to more cherry picking with Uber Eats.
A Cherry picking history

When I started doing delivery in early 2018, Grubhub was the one platform where cherry picking was an issue.

People knew what the order was paying, and they knew the deliveries that weren't worth it. I write a lot about my beefs related to Grubhub trying to control drivers. They couldn't get drivers to accept offers.

Doordash, Uber Eats, and Postmates didn't have the same issues. You didn't really know when an order was a stinker.

Doordash did have a minimum pay amount they would display. But they still hid the tip amount, and you didn't know if a $5.50 offer was only $5.50 or $15. The problem is, under that model you received the same amount if the customer tipped $1 as if they tipped $4, and that led to accusations they were stealing tips.

(A quick little aside: It's interesting that I'm not hearing as many of those accusations about Grubhub who has essentially been doing the same thing during the pandemic. Maybe that's because their minimum was often around $9 per delivery compared to the $5.50 that was common with Doordash)

Anyway, Doordash was finally forced into changing their pay model due to the criticism. They had to be a bit more up front about what they were paying out. My observation has been, once that happened, they started having the same problems with cherry picking as Grubhub.

And they've gotten a lot worse about trying to manipulate drivers into compliance.

I don't want to see the same thing happen with Uber Eats.

I wonder if the cherry picking will hurt some customers who honestly intend to tip.

You have to remember that once upon a time, the only option for tipping with Uber Eats was after the delivery was completed. You have a lot of people who are used to that.

I always thought it was a bad way to do things, simply because it goes against the usual psychology of tipping. People are used to tipping when they pay. After the delivery, people are only thinking, “I'm hungry!!!” and not as likely to think about going back into the app to provide a tip.

That said, there are a lot of people who are used to doing this. I honestly believe you'll have a much higher number of people who intend to tip, and to tip well, who may be looking at delayed or cancelled deliveries because the offer amount is so low.

I'll be honest. I don't feel too bad for Grubhub and Doordash customers who don't get their food on time. You're asking someone to perform manual labor – to spend their own money on their own car, to bring you food. If you're not willing to pay for having that done, I don't feel too terrible if you don't get your food.

But that's where Uber Eats is different, in that many low offers aren't about them not being willing to tip. Instead, it's related to their usual way of entering the tip after the delivery.

This could really open the door to tip baiting.

There's been a huge problem for Instacart shoppers, with customers adopting a practice known as tip baiting.

What they would do is add a large tip when placing the order. That makes their order more attractive to shoppers and ensures that someone will take it. And then, the customer will remove the tip prior to the shopper getting paid.

During his episode on Youtube, Brian's (UDM) wife brought up this concern, that it could lead to the same thing with Uber Eats. I honestly thought that was one of the most insightful things I've heard on Youtube for awhile.

Once people get wind that drivers can tell if no tip has been placed, people are going to do the same thing here.

It's not a maybe. It will happen.

I see Uber Eats having a greater PR issue with drivers as a result of this change

Right now, Uber Eats has a bad rap with drivers when you don't know the total amount.

I see it as a bad move, trying to lure those particular drivers over by adding the tip to the pay amount. Those drivers are the ones who are going to scream the loudest the first time a customer pulls or lowers a tip (either due to bad service or tip baiting).

Think about it: Uber Eats shows $10 on the offer screen. That's because a customer entered $7 for the tip. The customer pulls the tip, and now someone who took the delivery based on $10 only gets $3. What do you think is going to happen?

You and I both know what's going to happen. All hell breaks loose.

What's going to happen with this?

I don't know.

I'm not sure if this is a test, or if it's part of a gradual rollout.

I hope it's a test. Personally, I hope the test fails.

The combination of the customer's ability to change the tip amount and the display of expected pay that takes that tip into account is one that I think would be disastrous.

Maybe my bigger concern is that Uber Eats's eventual scramble to make up for those orders that don't get picked up – which is inevitable if they start doing this – could make Uber Eats more like Doordash and Grubhub.

That's one of the reasons I've been much happier since doing more with Uber Eats. They are so much less controlling than the other apps.

But once this happens, something has to give. They'll have to scramble to make up for those low tip orders, or they have to try to manipulate drivers in the way Grubhub and Doordash do.

I don't want to see that happen.

I really hope they have the wisdom to see the problems in the markets they roll out.

Are you in one of the markets where Uber Eats has rolled this out?

Leave a comment and let me know what you're seeing.

Have you seen this happen? What has been your experience? Have you had any deliveries yet where the actual amount was less than was offered? Are you noticing anything with other drivers in your market now that this is happening?

Could this help someone else? Please share it.

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Devall

Monday 28th of September 2020

I like the new system, as it allows me to quickly calculate whether a trip is worth accepting. Better tippers are going to get a quicker delivery. After about 200 trips under the new system, I have not had a payment that was less than the estimated trip plus tip charge. I've probably had 20+ where they added in more than the expected tip. I've also accepted at least 15 trips where the amount was $3 (no tip), and in the end, only 1 of those added a tip after, so ended up just getting the delivery fee. This also could be that so many drivers declined those $3 trips in front of me, so by the time it got to me, was already 10 minutes or more late. Hopefully customers realize that a good tip equals better service and response time, and if they choose to not tip, drivers may choose not to accept the deleivery.

Agl

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

I understand but all I see is at then end of the month I make about $500-$1000 less for the same amount of hours. So it’s not worth it anymore. It sucks because I actually started to enjoy it. I hope that get back to that system.

Agl

Monday 28th of September 2020

“ I have not had a payment that was less than the estimated trip plus tip charge” And that’s the main problem... they know how much tip you’ll get before you even do the delivery. Before customers were putting whatever they thought was a good tip for your service. Now regardless of how good you are your tip will be, 99% of the time, what they said. All my trips had various amount before because the tip could go from $1 to $30 (my max). Now they all are around $2 to $6.

Pam

Thursday 24th of September 2020

I hate the new system. Tips are HALF what they were. I can’t keep doing this.

Dee

Saturday 26th of September 2020

I agree! I've started being super picky about which deliveries I take. It sucks because I enjoy delivering, but my tips have declined since this stupid change and it's not worth the wear and tear on my car anymore. Customers are going to find they're out of luck and have to go get their own food or they're going to be waiting a long time for someone to take the job.

Janice

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

I hate the new system. Making way less in tips than 2 weeks ago. Going to apply with Grub Hub.

Med

Friday 18th of September 2020

Hi, I’ve been doing this since june so it’s pretty fresh. In June, July and August I used to make more than half of my incomes from tips! Since they started to show the potential amount including tip, I feel like people don’t tip as much. Before, for a $140 day, $70-75 was from tips. Now I don’t even reach that and out of a $90 day, maybe $30 is from tips... It really feel like people were tipping more before they made that update. It’s not worth it anymore for me. Not sure if you guys have the same feeling.

Anonymous UBER Driver

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

I am in the kansas city area UBER eats rolled out the tip information here September 2 , I am like most of you other UBER drivers , I do not like the UBER expected tip info , cause it's not guaranteed , I liked seeing the guaranteed pay , I have yet to do deliveries on the new format , but knowing an seeing that UBER now shows the not guaranteed amount , I figured my average up per trip ,before the new update I hope I see my average amount for the delivery , or I will.have to get selective on what deliveries I take an decline , an if I see customers start to lower/slash there tips , I will have to be done driving UBER. Eats delivery , can't an won't be able to afford to drive UBER eats delivery , if my average per trip drops ,

Jeremy Wolff

Monday 7th of September 2020

The reason they include the tip, is now they can offer less money, because combined with a good tip, they know you will take the order. Before they were having to pay $8 sometimes on orders where you got a $20 tip. Now they can get away with paying you $5 on the same order. So what they have done is reduce surge.

I agree, before I would take orders where tip was likely only $1 or $2 because it was worth it with Uber's pay. Now I am declining almost all of those orders I used to take. I used to take $5 orders that I thought would tip $1 or $10, I took them both. But now, I am not gonna take a $6 order when the next order is $11 for same time and distance. This system screws customers who don't tip as much. So what Uber is gonna do is make doubles with a tipped and non-tipped order or require higher acceptance rate. I like the control. I like the old system too. Also, I like the mental challenge of doing math on each order to determine if it is good order!

Rian

Monday 7th of September 2020

Yea I use to get 8 dollar orders from uber and very high tips $10,15 sometimes 20 but with the new change now my income has deline and yet I'm still working same hours, same county.

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