Should you have a tip jar and ratings signs driving for Uber or Lyft?

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This is always a delicate and sensitive topic. It is Uber itself who initially trained the passengers not to tip as they wanted it to be a straightforward and cash free operation and tips were simply not allowed. They claimed that drivers were making a livable income without them. It was the upstart Lyft who, probably in a gambit to win over drivers, offered tipping on the app. That with losing a 2016 lawsuit prompted Uber into a sharp handbrake spin-around on that original notion and also allowed tipping on the app itself. But many passengers had already been trained not to tip- despite that added prompt at the end of their ride- and still were not. I find this more than bizarre in a tip giving culture- particularly as taxi drivers always expected their riders to tip and were rarely disappointed.

Having a Tip Jar in Your Vehicle as an Uber Driver

Now, to the tip jar. As soon as Uber gave the green light allowing their drivers to be tipped and they weren’t yet allowed to via the app (Lyft always had this option) tip jars appeared in every style, shape and form imaginable. The only thing Uber mandated on is that if a driver places a jar or sign in their vehicle that you must make clear is a sign stating:

“Tips are not included, they are not required, but are appreciated.”

Tip Jar Neigh Sayers

Let us fast forward to the present. There are drivers who fervently insist that a tip jar increased their tips by impressive amounts increasing their nightly take. But there are also drivers out there who would not even consider putting one in. The same can be said for rating signs being posted.
So let us examine the pros and cons attached to each approach.

Tacky, Crass and Unprofessional

The neigh Sayers biggest gripe is that it appears tacky, crass, unprofessional and simply not needed as being able to tip on the app has been available for several years at this point. They feel that their passengers should tip on the satisfaction of the journey alone and not by being badgered into it. They will add that they can clutter up the rear of the car, or front arm rest, on which it is placed. Those drivers believe that it will backfire and as they are already doing rather tastily on the tip front having one might even backfire. Also cash is required to be placed into the said jar and many people, particularly millennials simply do not use dollar bills anymore. That dilemma itself could be a game breaker for the driver who may not have encountered a tip jar on their ride before. Also those who do tip want, in general, to be seen to tip. Gentleman out on first dates are often keen to tip me generously in front of their companion.

Ease of Theft

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Then there is the possibility of theft- if the tip jar is easy to place dollar bills in it will be a relatively easy to retrieve them out again as their driver navigates a particularly harrowing freeway exit.

Rider Pressure to Tip Could Cause Negative Vibes

Also there is consideration that having a tip jar will generate lower ratings as the passengers feel pressured. This is exasperated if the jar is dangling directly at eye level.

The Argument FOR Having a Tip Jar In Your Rideshare Vehicle

However, the people who support using one generally have caveats as to the style of it and how a driver should behave.

Subtle and Professional

They argue that it needs to be subtle and put together in a professional manner. Not just grabbing an old fish bowl from your garage and writing “TIP JAR” on it with a fading permanent marker for instance. They claim that, as in most things, size matters. They tend to prefer small glass jar type ones that can be attached to the headrest with Velcro- and not swallowing up the center armrest console. It, they say, are both subtle and less in-your-face.

Unique Lighting May Set Your Car Apart from Other Rideshare Drivers

They also recommend adding some LED lighting inside the jar to maintain its visibility during those evening or crack of dawn drives. Nothing too bright but with a relaxing soft glow.

Amenity and Service Driven

A sign with the tip jar suggesting that a tip might be a nice gesture- along with a five-star rating- if you enjoyed the ride. Having chargers available in the back is also a nice compliment as passengers can sometimes be intimidated to ask for them. Being polite and friendly is also a key if you are utilizing one as is good driving. They recommend seeding the jar with a five-dollar bill and a few ones to encourage riders to tip as it goes along with the herd mentality syndrome. Believing others have tipped before you increase the likelihood that you will chose to tip also.

Conversation Starter

Another positive is that it can sometimes prompt conversation. Many passengers simply do not realize just how much of their payment actually ends up in their uber driver’s bank account. Many believing we get far more than we actually do. In that conversation you could add that Rideshare companies have been cutting back passenger rates at a fast clip and that drivers are making far less than they did just two or three years ago. You can also let them know that drivers pay for their own insurance, maintenance, and the big one- gasoline.

Bridges the Language Gaps

Also, those, like myself, who drive in large metropolitan areas pick up a fair share of foreign passengers. As tipping culture varies over the globe they are pleased to know the custom. This can help even if they do can hardly speak English as a tip jar is a universally recognized sign.

Prevents Driver Intimidation, Educates

Those with tip jars also assert they are doing their part in educating passengers on the etiquette of being a passenger. Tipping is a habit and like all new habits takes a while to become automatic. Every other service provided from dog grooming to chimney sweeping results in a tip….so why shouldn’t a rideshare driver?

Best Selling Tip Jar for Uber:

Rating Signs, Similar to Tip Jars, If Done Correctly Should Benefit Drivers

Rating signs also have people who love them and swear by them and those who refuse to put one in their vehicle.

Those who use them will share that many drivers do not realize anything less than a five is a fail- and that if drivers rating fall significantly they have to take an educational course and may even be taken off the app. Four out of five does not sound bad after all. The advocate placing a neat and polite veneered sign in the back of their vehicles clearly explaining this. They state they should be succinct and polite and that they can also prompt for a tip- as long as the correct Uber sanctioned legal vernacular is used.

These signs can also inform passengers that you have an auxiliary, can ask for it to be warmer or cooler, have all charger types available and even have water.

Those opposed to them will argue that like the tip jar they are an attempt to manipulate a result. Passengers might find them insulting and only rate three stars as a rebuttal.

Best Selling Uber Driver Rating Sign:

Conclusion

In conclusion it is- as it should be- up to the driver whether they procure either a ratings sign or a tip jar for their vehicle. Each driver has their unique set of circumstances and varying reasons as to why they do rideshare in the first place. Approaches, and the choices the driver make, will vary from location to location and even down to when the driver usually works. Is it the weekend evening partying crowd? Business and vacation passengers from hotel and airports? Rural or suburban areas? Some argue it is far easier for a female to adopt the tip jar or ratings sign than a male as they are generally perceived as less threatening. Same might be claimed for older drivers. Or it could be down to how outgoing of a driver you are as both devices are very passive. Some drivers have no qualms about opening up on how their pay has been impacted in recent times and can hold that argument in a mature and reasonable manner with understanding as to why the companies have chosen to do so. They can calm suggest at the end of the ride for the passenger to rate them five stars and mention that tips are appreciated but not necessary.

So, the choice is yours.

Drivers, what do you think about having a tip jar and rating signs in your vehicle? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

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