Home / Tech / DoorDash is under fire for its controversial tipping policy. We asked Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other gig-economy startups how much of your tips go directly to their workers (UBER, LYFT)

DoorDash is under fire for its controversial tipping policy. We asked Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other gig-economy startups how much of your tips go directly to their workers (UBER, LYFT)

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  • DoorDash is under fire for an opaque tipping system that customers are saying is misleading. 
  • In some cases, tips count toward the company’s guaranteed minimum pay for orders, instead of being added on top of the check total. 
  • A company spokesperson told Business Insider that this is an isolated case, and that tips are usually in addition to the minimum.  
  • We asked every delivery startup we could think of about their tipping policies. Here’s what they said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Not all DoorDash tips actually go to the courier on top of an order’s total.

The company’s opaque system, which went viral this week after a New York Times reporter worked for the company and wrote about his experience, has now come under fire from critics and customers who call their tipping system misleading.

In short, every DoorDash order comes with a guaranteed minimum earnings for the worker who completes the job. If the total ends up being less than that guarantee, then DoorDash kicks in the rest of the money. But in a small number of cases, the tip can also help make up that difference.

Read more: DoorDash uses a shady tactic that stiffs workers out of some tips and customers are furious

In light of that news, we asked some of the world’s most prominent gig economy startups, many of which function almost exactly like DoorDash, about their tipping policies.

Here’s what the companies said:

SEE ALSO: DoorDash has a tipping option in its app. Those tips don’t always make it to your delivery person, and now some customers are livid.


Uber drivers keep 100% of the tips given to them through the app, the company confirmed to Business Insider

“The easiest way to tip your delivery partner is through the app,” a spokesperson said. “Once your order is complete, you’ll be prompted to rate your delivery partner. Once you provide a rating, you’ll be given the option to add a tip.”

Cash tips are also an option, the spokesperson added.

Originally, however, tipping was optional on the ride-hailing service, and Uber pushed back strongly against adding the option. But after six years of requests from drivers, the company began launching the feature in the app in 2017 and eventually rolled out the functionality nationwide.


Similarly, 100% of tips on Lyft’s app go straight to drivers, Lyft’s website says and a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

Unlike Uber, Lyft has always had a tipping function inside its app. In 2018, the company said drivers had pocketed more than $500 million in tips.


Postmates, a nearly $2 billion delivery startup that’s currently pursuing an IPO, prefers you to tip through its app as opposed to cash. Still, it’s workers receive all of customer’s tips.

“Our fleet keeps 100% of their tips,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.

“As Postmates cofounder and CEO, Bastian Lehmann, noted in last week’s CNN OpEd members of the Postmates fleet will always retain 100% their tips and unlike competitors customer tips will never be used to eat into their base earnings,” the statement continued.

“Postmates is always investing in smarter matching technologies, enabling our Fleet to cumulatively earn even more in a given hour, even as we make adjustments over time. Even as we work through legislative & regulatory reforms to ensure gig-workers can access a more fulsome benefits model & safety net, Postmates has also been working with its Fleet Advisory Board to elevate the voice of workers and create a new suite of career, financial and health savings benefits.

After an order, customers are unable to to place another without taking action — tipping or declining to tip — in the app, according to the company’s website.


GrubHub, the massive, publicly traded company that’s also behind Seamless, passes 100% of customer tips through to its couriers.

Just like before, you’ll still keep 100% of your tips, and your per-order earnings will continue to be determined independently and separately from the tips you receive,” the company said in its most recent update to pay rates. “We remain committed to transparency and will still show the total amount you’ll earn before you accept any order.”

A company spokesperson confirmed this policy in an email to Business Insider. 


A GrubHub spokesperson confirmed that the same pricing and tipping policies apply for Seamless, which has been owned and operated by GrubHub since 2013.


Instacart, like DoorDash, found itself at the center of controversy earlier this year.

In February, the company reversed a policy that was similar to DoorDash’s current payment structure, and broke out tips from the guaranteed minimum earnings of $10.

“This meant that when Instacart’s payment and the customer tip at checkout was below $10, Instacart supplemented the difference,” the company said at the time. “While our intention was to increase the guaranteed payment for small orders, we understand that the inclusion of tips as a part of this guarantee was misguided. We apologize for taking this approach.”

A company spokesperson confirmed that 100% of tips submitted through the app are given directly to the shopper.


Deliveroo, which does not operate in the United States, has a tip function in its app and passes through 100% of those tips to its workers.

“Whether you tip or not is completely up to you,” the company’s FAQ reads. “You can tip in the app when placing your order or tip in cash when the rider delivers your food. Riders receive 100% of all tips.”


TaskRabbit, which isn’t necessarily delivery-specific, says it passes all tips on to its workers.

“Please Note: Tipping is optional and Taskers receive 100% of the tip amount in addition to the base rates they set,” the company’s website says. “The option to leave a tip will only be available for a 24 hour window after you receive your invoice.

Do you have experience working for a gig-economy company? Have a story to share? Get in touch with this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com