How to tip your Instacart and GrubHub drivers


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Are you familiar with food delivery service apps? They include apps like Grubhub and DoorDash, where drivers will stop at fast food or dine-in restaurants, place or pick up your order, and deliver it to your door.

Another similar service is Instacart, where shoppers will do your grocery shopping and take it to your door.

“I originally started with food delivery, doing GrubHub and DoorDash because they were the first to get to Colorado Springs,” said Jacob Duke, Instacart shopper and DoorDash and GrubHub delivery driver.

Those in the industry, like Duke, call it a gig economy.

“Basically to sum it up, gig economy is just, you know, working for yourself,” Duke said. “The app is your boss.”

He said the ability to make your own hours drew him in, making gig apps his full-time job.

“There’s always new gig apps popping up to replace the old ones, because they always tend to change their pay structure,” Duke said. “So, they’ll start paying you less and less as time goes on. I left a pretty well-paying job to do this.”

But when it comes to tips, he said customers can sometimes be confused on what to do.

“With GrubHub and DoorDash, they probably think you’re just coming straight from the restaurant,” Duke said. “No, you actually have to drive to the restaurant, sit there and wait on their food, you don’t know how long that’s going to take, and then drive to them. With Instacart, you actually drive to the grocery store, you do the actual grocery shopping and you deliver that to the customer. But on the InstaCart shopping app, where you buy your groceries, it tells the customer that we’re delivery drivers. So, I imagine they just think we just pull into the pickup spot, load their groceries and deliver them. I would tip $2, too.”

But Duke said Instacart’s tip procedure gives customers three days to modify their tip amount, with some changing their tips to be less, more, and sometimes cancelled completely.

So how should you tip?

Duke said if an app allows you to tip after you place an order, do that to ensure the shopper or driver keeps the full tip.

“So, what the customers really should do is try their best to tip cash, so that way gig app workers will make more money,” Duke said.

On Instacart, tipping is set up by percentages. Duke said their default tip is either a $2 minimum or 5% of the grocery order.

“A $200 grocery order, that’s a big grocery order, and you only get a $10 tip on it,” Duke said. “I mean, that’s a decent tip, but that’s really not worth the time and effort. I would say on grocery delivery, definitely 10% at the minimum, and food delivery I’d say a little bit more, because your totals are a little bit lower. Anything under 10% in all the gig apps is bad.”

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