DoorDash’s controversial tipping policy has been hitting the news and surprising many of its customers. Whether or not DoorDash decides to change its policies, it highlights a significant problem with the new gig labor economy.
If You Ordered DoorDash, Your Tip Didn’t Go to Drivers
At least, not unless it’s an exceptional tip. DoorDash uses tips to offset its own charges. It promises drivers a flat rate (such as $6) for each delivery. If someone tips $5, DoorDash pays the difference, not the full flat rate.
Essentially: tips are subsidizing the service.
Regardless of whether a tip occurs, the driver still makes the same flat rate. Which essentially means that the tip is going to DoorDash rather than to the driver.
The only exception is if you pay over the flat rate. If you give them a tip of $14, they’ll get the full $14. And DoorDash will pay nothing.
It’s Illegal for Employers… But They Aren’t Employers
Stealing tips in this way is illegal for employers to do. But DoorDash isn’t an employer. This is a problem with the gig economy: gig companies are doing things that are illegal in the current infrastructure, but aren’t illegal with this new industry.
Still, it may be a misrepresentation of their business model, which is something that the Department of Labor is looking into. When customers are of the impression that a tip is going to someone, that tip has to go to that person.
This is why restaurant owners can’t legally skim tips from their employees (though they still often do).
How to Tip a DoorDash Employee
In short: don’t. From DoorDash employees themselves, unless you’re going to pay an exceptional tip, there’s no point. They’re going to make the same amount of money either way.
There’s only one reason you should tip: if you’re going to give them cash. Cash is always appreciated and it’s something that DoorDash can’t take away.
The outcome of DoorDash’s labor case is going to be an interesting one, as it’s going to set the tone for new contractor-company relations. For now, many are boycotting DoorDash entirely—and the meal delivery market remains far more fragmented than any other gig service niche.