For most of my childhood my parents worked in bars and restaurants. I even worked for three different restaurants and country clubs during high school. I would say that I learned the value of a dollar early on in life, and I also learned the importance of tipping people in the service industry. I’ve prided myself on going above and beyond the usual tipping norm for exceptional service, and usually still over tipping on even poor service. Though as I’ve gotten older and found myself in more situations, I realize that there have been plenty of times I have been unsure of whether a tip was appropriate or not. Most people are perfectly willing to accept money being handed to them, but others may be insulted, and while I want to be more than fair I also don’t want come off as pompous. I would go as far as to say I’ve had a touch of anxiety wondering whether to tip ‘this person’ or not. So let me allow you some peace of mind, read below for instances on when and when not to tip.
When Tipping Is Appropriate
- Pizza/Food delivery
- All restaurant service, including buffets. Though a customary tip at a buffet is around 10%
- Valet service. They provide a service, and if they provide it well, then the person returning your car deserves a tip. I like to make sure my car comes back in one piece prior to tipping, so the person parking it usually doesn’t get one from me. The amount I tip depends on demeanor and often times the weather. The colder and nastier it is, the more they deserve for having to endure those conditions.
- Carry out service. The people that work the carry out register at Chili’s typically receive more than minimum wage as tips aren’t expected. However, the person behind the bar fulfilling your carry out order does not. They deserve a small percentage at the least.
- Hotel housekeeping. Admittedly, I stayed in many hotels before I knew the proper etiquette on tipping these hard working people. The amount is totally up to you, but leave them something, they clean up the same rooms to the highest expectations each and every day.
- Furniture delivery. Yes you are already paying a large amount of money for delivery as it is, but these guys don’t get a cut of that. I know I can’t, nor do I want to, lift and carry some of the stuff they have to. I typically give them $10 each when they make a delivery.
- House cleaning. Yes they have set rates they charge you, but if they do a great job, then perhaps an annual bonus/tip is in order! They work just as hard as the rest of us.
- Lawn/Snow maintenance. Lawn maintenance and snow removal are no easy tasks, there is a reason many of us don’t do it. A tip after each season would be thoughtful!
- Hair Stylist/Barber/Massage services. These are knowledgable and necessary people that make us look and feel good! Often times they work for a salon that takes a large piece of the pie, an additional tip for their services is usually expected.
- Taxi rides. These people thrive on tips, when you stiff them it’s like they don’t get paid for that amount of time at work. I typically tip 10% – 15% of the fare, then again I don’t live in a bustling city like New York, so an outside opinion on the amount may help.
- VIP/Club/Bar coordinator. OK, this is a necessary evil. I have played the nightclub games in Vegas, and many other major cities. If you are a female, then stop reading now, you are all good. However, if you are a male, then expect to payout a suitable amount of tip money per person in your party. Say you are out with a bachelor party and you want in a Las Vegas nightclub on a Saturday night, you gotta pay for the real estate! Call ahead for table and bottle service, and expect to pay no less than $150 per person for the “IT” places. P.S. – Tip the person who organizes the reservation, then one who is about to seat you, and then the waitress and security tending to you…it will make it that much more worth it.
When Tipping is Not Necessary
- Cable/Satellite service. These are usually 3rd party contractors paid by the cable company. They are paid a fair wage for their services (at least to my knowledge), and tipping for their services may be misconstrued as an attempt at free perks.
- Dining in the U.K. and Europe. Believe it or not, tipping is widely not expected in much of Europe and the United Kingdom. Truthfully I didn’t know this until a 10 day trip I took to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam 4 years ago. I won’t lie, you may get better service, but it’s not a necessity by any means. **Warning: Many nightclubs in Amsterdam did charge for using their public bathrooms though, so don’t leave your Euro’s at home!
- Dry Cleaners. If you are like me then you make quite a few trips to the dry cleaner each month. Their job is to launder and press your shirts and slacks, tipping is most definitely out of the norm. However, if they provide a pick up and delivery service you may want to consider that.
- Roadside service (i.e. AAA). While I’m sure the people that replace your flat tire, or tow your car would love a little added compensation, there is no expectation of a tip involved.
- Grocery store clerks/baggers. I’m not saying these people are paid a glorified wage by any means, however, their compensation is not dependent on tips.
- Carpenter/Remodel/Handyman. If you are paying to have a deck added on to your house, a bathroom or kitchen remodeled, or your carpeting replaced, then throwing money at your contractor is very much unusual. A fair price is negotiated and agreed upon prior to the work starting, additional compensation is definitely not necessary. I know my boss doesn’t tip me when I do a good job at work…it’s what you are supposed to do.
- Sanitation worker. Yes, this is a job many of us wouldn’t exactly relish. But they are paid quite a decent wage, and tipping it unheard of, at least as far as I know.
How about you? Have any situations that you have wondered when and how much to tip? We all value good service, but many people fail to compensate properly for it. Remember these people in your life and you won’t regret it!