Whether it’s a part-time job, a summer job, or a job you take on to add a little jingle to your pocket, making tips as a delivery driver is a great way to make some fast, easy money. Although there are the occasional people who might lowball you on the tip, there are plenty of others out there who are more than willing to reward you for great service. Reading this guide will help you maximize your potential earnings as a delivery driver.
Step 1 – Never ask for a tip.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, asking for tips is generally frowned upon in the service industry because it’s considered rude and unprofessional. This is actually the fastest way to get fired (due to the fact that most food-delivery places have policies strictly forbidding this). No matter how badly you want one, never ever ask for a tip.
Step 2 – Don’t limit yourself to working at just pizza places.
A lot of people seem to associate delivery drivers with pizza places. And while working as a pizza delivery driver is still a great way to make cash, consider working for some other places that offer delivery services, such as: Jimmy John’s, Salad Creations, or Panera Bread. Some of these places, such as Panera, offer catering services. Catering orders can generally be quite large, sometimes in the ballpark of $200.00 per order. When you consider the fact that many people tip according to a flat percentage (such as 10%), you could potentially be making $20.00 per delivery.
Step 3 – Try to anticipate your customer’s needs.
If you’re delivering pizzas, consider carrying some extra napkins, food utensils, cheese and pepper packets, etc in your glove compartment. A lot of people appreciate it when you offer these sorts of items when making deliveries. It just might boost your tip a few extra bucks.
If you’re delivering a catering order, offer to set it up by placing the contents of the bags on a table or counter-top once you arrive. Hospitals, schools, and doctor’s offices LOVE this kind of convenience because most of their workers are very busy and don’t have time to set up their orders. This is one of the best ways to increase your potential tip.
Step 4 – Be on-time.
Nobody likes their food delivered late. Not only does this generally show a perceived lack of care for the customer from their point of view, but it also results in their food being cold. Don’t dilly-dally while driving to your next location; try to get there as fast and as safely as possible. In the unlikely event that something happens which you can’t control (ex: a passing train rolls by, you get stuck in bad weather, or get caught in an accident, etc) try calling the customer, and apologize for the situation, if you have their number. People will understand that things happen and they are usually very appreciative of a phone call. At the very least they’ll know you’re still on your way.
Step 5 – Try to get the card-holder to sign the bill if the order has been paid for by credit card.
There will be numerous occasions in which you’ll make a delivery paid on a credit card only to have someone who didn’t even place the order be willing to sign for the bill. NEVER let them do this if you can help it. Although it might seem like a great convenience, the problem here is that it almost always results in no tip. This is because the person signing for someone else (i.e.: a receptionist signing for a doctor who originally placed the order) often feels afraid to add a tip to the bill because they don’t want to be responsible for tampering with another person’s finances. The best thing to do in this scenario is to politely ask if the person who placed the order is around so that they can sign for the bill themselves.
Step 6 – Show the customer where to sign.
As stupid as this sounds, people are occasionally oblivious to the tip-total-signature lines found on most receipts. If you are concerned that they don’t know where to sign (a puzzled expression on their face is a good indicator), politely tell them something to the effect of: “All right ma’am, your total is $24.86 — if you could just fill out the top portion (the 3 lines) of the receipt we’ll be all set!”
A word of caution: As stated before, NEVER ask for a tip. Don’t even use the word “tip” in your vocabulary when telling them where to sign. Avoid wording such as: “Please fill out the tip, total, and signature lines” — this is a big no-no. Most people, after spotting the area in which they need to sign, will notice the tip line. Don’t worry!
Step 7 – Make small talk with the customer.
Nothing will hurt your tip worse than ringing your customer’s doorbell a few times, standing there with your back slouched to the side, and unenthusiastically stating the customer’s total for the bill once they arrive at the door.
Be cheerful. Greet your customer with a natural, pleasant smile. Ask how they’re doing, how their weekend was, or if they’re enjoying the weather. People generally love this (except for the occasional grouch) and seem to tip better when you do it. Even if someone is cranky or short with you just continue to be as pleasant as possible. Always remember to thank them after they pay you and be sure to tell them something along the lines of “Have a good day!”.
Step 8 – Consider investing in a GPS system.
GPS systems these days are relatively inexpensive and are a great resource to have when you’re on the road and you get lost trying to find a house or a building. I personally use a Magellan Roadmate 1470 and couldn’t be happier with it. It gives step-by-step directions and allows you to view your nearby surroundings in a 2D or 3D map display. You can typically find GPS systems at places like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, or any other big-box retailer that sells electronics.
Wherever you decide to work as a delivery driver, remember to always be safe while driving and to be courteous with your customers. Don’t forget the golden rule either: Never ask for a tip!