How to Make More Money from Tips as a Food Delivery Driver

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Whether you work for an on-demand food delivery app service like Postmates or Uber EATS or you deliver pizzas for your local Italian eatery, there are some strategies you can utilize if you want to ensure you get good tips and maximize your earnings. Here are some things I’ve come up with that help to keep the customers happy, provide exceptional service, and make sure they return to repeat business.

Text the Customer and Introduce Yourself

When customers order food online or through an app it can seem like a very mechanical experience. For all they know, a robot could be delivering the food to them. And while robot delivery isn’t the industry standard (yet!), it is still helpful to introduce yourself to the customer to help humanize the experience.

A simple text message that shows personality, tells them your first name, and offers to be there if they have any questions can go a long way in establishing that you are indeed a real person and are genuinely trying to consider their needs. Of course you need to hurry when you are working on deliveries, so I recommend using your phone’s text-to-speech feature or sending them a picture of a standard greeting so you don’t have to type the message each time.

This goes without saying but be VERY CAREFUL when using your phone while doing deliveries. It is better to send a brief text-to-speech message BEFORE YOU START DRIVING than to text while you are on the road. Always prioritize your personal safety above all else. 

Keep the Customer Updated if There Are Any Delays

If there are any issues, send the customer a text and let them know about anything that could delay their order. If you work for a company like Postmates, for example, where you have to place restaurant orders on behalf of customers, let them know if there is a long-wait time and give them an estimate of how soon you can get on the road.

Should there be any trouble with the delivery or if you need to substitute a menu item, call the customer and clarify what they would like to do.

Get Lots of Condiments and Free Stuff From the Restaurants

Unless the customer specifically tells you they don’t want a certain condiment or utensil, go ahead and grab whatever is available (for free at least) amongst the restaurant’s selection of condiments. If there are ketchup packets, soy sauce packets, salt and pepper packets, parmesan packets, plastic cutlery, napkins, taco sauces, breath mints, or anything similar that you can take for free- GET IT.

When delivering for Postmates, I even keep a small selection of ketchup packets, taco sauce, and soy sauce with me at all times just in case a customer ever needs it. This is a small way that you can show the customer you were thinking ahead of what they might want with their order.

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Smile, Be Courteous, and Make Small Talk When You Drop Off the Deliveries

Your interactions with the customer in-person will be very brief so make it count. You don’t want to act like a zombie who says nothing and just hands over a bag of food. Put on a bright smile, ask the customer how their day is going, and comment on the weather or make other forms of small talk as you hand them their order. If they have a garden or anything interesting in the front of their house, make sure to compliment it.

Plus, if you picked up extra condiments for them, this is a good time to specifically mention this to the customer so you get credit for doing so! Say something like, “I made sure to get some extra ketchup packets in case you needed them” so they know that YOU were the one who thought to pick it up for the customer.

Send a Final Text Message to the Customer Thanking Them

I always send a brief message to the customer after I finish up my Postmates deliveries where I include three things- a brief thanks for their business, a reminder to please leave a review, and a final wish for them to enjoy their food and have a good day. I NEVER mention anything about tipping, but might still casually nudge them in the direction of it.

In the Postmates app, the screen where they leave the review is the same screen where they tip (HOW coincidental! What ARE the chances?!). Thus encouraging them to review me subtly leads them towards tipping.

Conclusion

When it all comes down to it, the same age-old standards of customer service apply. Be helpful and efficient, respond well to the customer’s needs, and go the extra mile to demonstrate that you are going out of your way to make the customer happy. If they can tell you are making an earnest attempt to do well at your job that often can lead to higher tips.

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