Do You Tip Tow Truck Drivers?

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Tipping your tow truck driver is not expected, but it’s appreciated. The amount can vary depending on their service, professionalism, and the size of the job.
Tow truck drivers are often the unsung heroes of the road. They help get you and your incapacitated vehicle to safety—and that job comes with hazards.
Whether it’s changing a tire in high-speed traffic, jumping your battery in the dark, or hitching up your car in the rain, tow truck drivers help get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
And once they do… should you tip them? Car insurance comparison app and licensed broker Jerry is breaking down everything you need to know about whether you tip tow truck drivers (and how much).
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Do you tip tow truck drivers?

Tow truck drivers don’t expect to be tipped. While they are service people, they’re usually paid a living wage and don’t rely on tips for income.
But if you want to show appreciation for their hard work, a tip is a great way to do so. Here are some scenarios where tipping might make sense:

Bad weather

Working on a car on the side of a road is dangerous even in the best weather thanks to the proximity of speeding cars just a few feet away. Bad weather can take an already dangerous job and make it even more so.
If your driver is working in a torrential downpour while you sit warm and dry in the cab, a tip would definitely be appreciated.

Extra service provided

This can mean anything above and beyond the call of duty you summoned the driver for.
Did they drive you home? Did they call shops on your behalf to find parts you might need? Did they arrange transportation for you?
If your driver is giving you extra service, tips are a great way to show your thanks.

Quick appearance

No one likes sitting on the side of the road for an hour with a flat or an overheating engine. If your driver shows up quickly and with a sense of urgency, make sure you show them that you appreciate it.

Polite and informative

Your car is a valuable possession, and knowing what’s happening to it can help keep your mind at ease. If your driver is trying to make you feel comfortable and keeping you updated on every step in the process, be sure to show them the proper thanks.

Extra care taken

If you’ve spent a little extra on your car—whether that be time or money—you want to make sure it’s in caring hands. When your tow truck driver is showing extra care with your car during the process, take some extra care of them with a tip.
Key Takeaway Tipping tow truck drivers isn’t expected, but it’s appreciated if they provide excellent service, go above and beyond, or work in hazardous conditions to help you get back on your way.

How much should you tip?

Most people in the US go by the standard tipping system of 10 to 20% of the bill, depending on the level of service and professionalism—and that’s not a bad way to go about it. But considering tows are usually quite a bit more expensive than meals, it’s not always feasible.
Keep the following guidelines in mind:
  • For smaller jobs like jump-starting, fixing a flat tire, or fluid delivery, $5 to $10 is a good way to show appreciation.
  • Bigger jobs like towing, calling repair or parts shops, taking you home, or working in hazardous conditions should warrant a tip of $20 or more.

Things to remember

It’s true that the tow truck driver who showed up is just doing their job, so a tip really isn’t part of the culture beyond a show of appreciation.
Tow truck drivers work a labor-intensive job and they have a practical skillset that drivers can’t live without. They’re on call in every weather condition, no matter the terrain. Whether you’re stuck in a ditch or a downpour, tow truck drivers are always on the job.
Most importantly, the work they do is often risky. Roadways are dangerous places to be for anyone, let alone someone trying to fix a car. There’s always a risk of being struck by oncoming traffic or being injured while using the heavy machinery that the job requires.
Key Takeaway Tow truck drivers’ jobs are labor intensive and can be downright dangerous, so tipping is a nice way to show appreciation for the help they’re providing you.
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