It is not for me to tell you how to spend your money. However, I would like to share some things with you about delivery etiquette that you might not know. I really do believe that at least a good portion of poor tippers do so unintentionally. If they understood more about how the delivery process works, they might be more likely to compensate drivers more fairly. I hope that this is helpful to some of you.
Many drivers, like waitresses, are paid a quite meager hourly wage. Their employers expect that their tip money will make up for this. Many people outside of the industry don’t realize this. When I was employed as a waitress I was only paid $2.25 an hour!
Unfortunately, most establishments require delivery drivers to pay for their own gas, or at least the majority of the cost. If you’ve been at the pumps lately, you all know how fast filling up the tank can empty out your wallet. It might not seem like you would go through much gas just driving around town, but it adds up fast, especially during winter months, when drivers tend to leave their car running in between deliveries (this is not just for their comfort, but for the quality of your food!)
Almost all drivers are also required to use their own vehicle. This means more wear and tear on their vehicle and more possible repairs, for which the money will be coming out of their pocket.
Consider the weather. Did you opt for delivery instead of carry-out or dine-in because its storming so violently that you didn’t want to leave the house? If so, remember that your driver is out battling the elements. They are at a much higher risk of having an accident, not to mention the physical discomfort. The tip should reflect this. In severely bad weather, I usually tip double what I would any other time. Also, be patient at times like these. You will usually be quoted a longer wait time than usual when you place your order, but understand that it might take even longer than that. Finally, you should always come to the door in a timely manner when you order for delivery, but this is especially important if its pouring rain. Have your money ready and your outside light on.
Special events mean special tips. If you live in a college town and it’s Homecoming weekend, don’t expect to get your pizza within 45 minutes. Realize that your driver is frazzled and overworked on days like these and tip accordingly.
Contrary to popular belief, delivery drivers do not just drive around aimlessly, jamming to music and taking unnecessary detours. The more deliveries they take, the more cash in their pocket. It is in their best interest to get your order to you as quickly as possible. If they take longer than expected, there most likely was a mistake at the store or an unforeseen circumstance, such as stalled traffic or bad weather. Don’t punish them for things that are out of their control.
Take into account how far away you are located from the place where you are ordering from. The general idea is, the more orders that a driver delivers, they more money they will make in tips. If it will take the driver 15 minutes to get your order to you, he/she could be missing out on 2 or 3 other closer deliveries. Theoretically, then, they are losing money while they drive to and from your delivery. It’s similar to the rule that if you sit at a table in a restaurant for a longer than average period of time, you should tip more, because the waitress is missing out on tips from new diners.
Know what the delivery charge means. Most people assume that when they are charged a fee for delivery, that some or all of this goes to the driver. This is in fact, often not true. When you call to place your order, ask how much the driver will receive and adjust your tip accordingly.
I think most people who tip poorly assume that delivery drivers are being paid more than they are. I think some people underestimate how difficult the job can be.