Written by Dobrina Zhekova | April 27, 2023
While most people are familiar with tipping guidelines in the hospitality industry, the question of how much to tip service providers in other sectors, such as ridesharing and luxury car and limousine services, could be confusing.
And with more and more people traveling for business and leisure and using apps to request car rides, it is important to address the issue so next time your driver drops you off at the airport, a special event, or a conference, you know if it’s appropriate to tip them, what factors to take into consideration, and ultimately, how much to tip them.
The short answer is: yes, always, and the golden standard is at least 15-20% of the total fare cost. Drivers, like servers, valets, and the barista in your favorite coffee shop, are part of the service economy. They often make minimum—or close to minimum—wage and rely on gratuity.
However, drivers, especially in the rideshare economy, also have many work-related expenses not factored into the rate clients pay, such as car maintenance, cleaning fees, gas for “dead miles” (this is the distance your driver travels from his last drop-off location to come to pick you up), etc.
The driver of a limousine or other luxury car service is expected to perform at a very high level, so tipping them is not only a good way to show appreciation but also mandatory.
Uber and Lyft drivers are part of the so-called gig economy. That means they are not full-time employees and have no fixed income. In addition, 25% of what you pay per ride goes to Uber or Lyft, which does not cover gas or vehicle maintenance.
Uber and Lyft have made cashless tipping possible directly through their respective apps. So a tip, especially when you are happy with your driver’s professional service, is highly encouraged. A minimum tip of 15% of the rate is an excellent place to start. You should increase this to 20% and 25% for exceptional services, such as your driver helping you carry bags or suitcases, providing you with water during your ride, or waiting for you for a few minutes while you had to run a quick errand, for example.
Remember that Uber gives you a 30-day window to add a tip once the ride is complete. For a ride through Lyft, you have 72 hours to add gratuity.
Limousine and luxury car service drivers are professional drivers who spend considerable time accommodating their clients and ensuring, for example, that their hotel ride to SeaTac Airport goes as smoothly as possible. And that encompasses everything from being on time, carrying your suitcases, opening the door for you, adjusting the air conditioning or the radio’s volume to your preferences, knowing a shortcut during rush hour—the list goes on and on.
A 15% tip is certainly expected at the bare minimum, with 20% to 25% being the norm and 30% gratuity for exceptional service. Of course, you can always leave more if your driver delivers a stellar experience.
Before calculating the final tip amount think about the following: did you travel alone or with family and kids? Consider tipping more than 20% if you and your guests have left the car in an untidy condition or if your driver has gone above and beyond to help you settle into the vehicle.
The duration of the journey will also define the tip amount. A higher tip is appropriate if you’re taking a longer trip or booking a car for multiple days, during which your driver must accompany you everywhere to accommodate your schedule.
Also, take into consideration the hours of service. Did your driver have to wait for you past midnight at the airport? Or did they drive you safely, comfortably, and on time for you to catch your 6 am flight? Then that’s certainly worth a good tip.
If you’ve hired a limo service for a special event, and the tip is included in the total, you can skip tipping.
Sometimes, companies would add gratuity automatically for events such as weddings or graduations because nobody can expect the bride or groom (or a high-school graduate) to carry a lot of cash or think about tipping on their big day.
You Can Always Count on Starline for Your Limo Service Needs
Starline employs top-notch drivers with years of experience and expertise in the field. So whether you are looking for reliable transportation for a business meeting that is on par with your company’s image or a personal event, Starline drivers pride themselves on providing clients with a safe and smooth ride in a pleasant and clean environment and understand that your time is of utmost importance.
You can view our list of services and find what best matches your transportation needs. You can make a reservation online today or call us at (206) 261-1191.