Basic tips on tipping: How much and to whom?

Basic tips on tipping: How much and to whom?

Waffle House CoffeeEvery time I get my hair cut, I'm faced with a dilemma — should I tip the barber or not? I usually get my hair cut in a small-town shop. I tip $2 on a $12 haircut. If I get to hear stories about Vietnam or histrionic political rants, I tip $3, even if I don't agree with the barber's viewpoints. (I tip because I've been entertained.) Sometimes, if I don't have enough cash, I don't leave a anything at all. Are these tips appropriate?

What about when I pick up Chinese takeout? Should I have tipped the guys who delivered our new gas range last fall? What about a hotel bellhop? A parking valet? Out of curiosity, I did some research on tipping practices in the United States. There's actually significant disagreement about how much to tip for even common services.

For example, you know you should tip your waitress. But how much should you leave? Some people claim that 10% is adequate. Others claim that 20% is standard. But I suspect that most of us learned to tip 15%, and to give more for exceptional service. (The wikipedia entry on tipping currently contains the bizarre claim that “18% is generally accepted as a standard tip for good service”.) Which amount is correct?

The concern around tipping stems from the need to get it right — offer too little, and you run the risk of offending someone; offer too much, and you needlessly impact your budget. Plus, there's actually significant disagreement about how much to tip for even common services.

After browsing dozens of pages, I drafted the following guide. The amounts listed are based on averages or on consensus, when possible.

“Tip: (noun) — a small present of money given directly to someone for performing a service or menial task; gratuity” — Dictionary.com

Food Service


It's common knowledge that you should tip your waitress. But how much should you leave?

Some people claim that 10 percent is adequate; others believe that 20 percent is standard. But a majority of us learned to tip 15 percent, and to give more for exceptional service. (The Wikipedia entry on tipping contains the rather bizarre statement that “18% is generally accepted as a standard tip for good service.”) So which is it?

Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Barista

None

Many people suggest putting coins in the tip jar.

Bartender

15% of total bill or $1/drink

Pre-tip for better service

Delivery Person (including pizza)

10%

$2 minimum

Maitre d'

$5

(… up to $25 for special effort)

Takeout

None

None

Waiter

15% for adequate service

20% for exceptional service. For poor service, leave 10% or less.

General holiday tipping guidelines


  • Holiday tipping is never required. Even when it's the social norm, you shouldn't tip if you can't afford it or you don't feel the person deserves it.
  • Tipping tends to be more common (and on a larger scale) in big cities than in small towns. The best way to determine the etiquette in your area is to ask around.
  • In general, you should consider giving a holiday tip to the folks who take care of your home and family, especially those you see often. The more often you see someone and the longer you've known them, the more you should tip. (Someone who works in your home regularly — such as a housekeeper — usually expects a tip.)
  • For personal services like manicures, massages, pet grooming, and fitness training, tip up to the cost of one session, but only if you see the same person regularly. For example, if you get a $60 massage every six weeks, your holiday tip should be about $60.
  • Public servants are not allowed to accept cash tips in the U.S., but it's acceptable to give a non-cash gift of up to $20. You might give a plate of cookies to your mail carrier, for example, or a book or a gift certificate to your child's teacher.
  • When you give a tip, include a card or a hand-written note thanking the person for their service.
  • If you tip cash, crisp new bills make a better impression than old wrinkly ones.

Home Care Service


Here's a list of people who often receive holiday tips and what they typically receive:

Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Babysitter or Nanny

One week's pay

None

Housekeeper

One week's pay

None

Building Superintendent

$20 – $100

It varies. Some people think this helps to keep a harmonious relationship with the super.

Doorman

Holiday gift

Bottle of wine

Furniture Deliverer

$5 – $20

It varies. Some people recommend offering cold drinks.

Garbage Collector

$15

(… up to $25 for special effort)

Gardener

One week's pay

None

Mail Carrier

$15

(… up to $20 non-cash.)

Newspaper Delivery Person

$15 to $25

(… up to $25 for exceptional service.)

Personal Care


Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Babysitter

One week's pay

It varies. Don't pay this for one-time babysitting.

Barber or Hairstylist

10-15% or 15-20%

Some people recommend $5 to each person who shampoos or blow-dries your hair, and others recommend up to the cost of one visit for the holidays.

Coat checker

$1 per coat

It varies. Some people recommend $2 to $5 upon retrieval.

Home Health Employee, Private Nurse or Personal Caregiver

(… up to a week's salary)

Check with the agency as some prohibit gifts.

Manicurist

15%

None

Masseuse

10%-15%

None

Nanny

One week's pay

None

Personal Trainer or Yoga Instructor

$20-$50

Tip discreetly.

Shoe Shiner

$2 or $3

None

Spa Service

15-20%

None

Office Service


Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Janitor

$15-$25

None

Parking Attendant

$15-$25

None

Travel


Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Bus Driver (not mass transit)

$1-$2

(… if he handles luggage.)

Cab Driver

10%

($2-$5 minimum)

Chauffer

10%-15%

None.

Gas Station Attendant

None

(or $2 -$4 – there's no agreement on tips).

Porter or Skycap

$1 per bag

(… $2 for heavy items, if the porter brings luggage to counter)

Hotel Staff


Service

Tip Suggestion

Comment

Bellman or Porter

$1-$2 per bag, $5 minimum

Or $1 per bag, $2 minimum

Concierge

$5

(… up to $20 for something exceptional; nothing for directions.)

Housekeeper

$2-$5 per night, paid daily or as a lump sum at checkout

Most suggest you tip daily.

Parking Valet

$2-$5 paid when your car is retrieved

Some say to pay when it's parked too.

Room Service

$5 minimum

(unless the gratuity is included in check)


Most of these relate to holiday tipping, but some suggestions are appropriate any time of year. Of course, giving a tip is an individual decision. J.D. Roth used to tip the barber extra if he got to hear an entertaining story about Vietnam or histrionic political rants. What influences you to give a larger or smaller tip? Do you have any suggestions to add?

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Scott
Scott
13 years ago

Please tip your barista the same way you would tip your bartender. Not only is pouring a proper shot of espresso is just as difficult as mixing a proper martini, but a barista will also prepare your food, serve it (along with your beverage), and bus your table.

Clyde
Clyde
8 years ago
Reply to  Scott

Tips less than 20 percent to anyone is stingy… and bad karma

Desouza
Desouza
7 years ago
Reply to  Clyde

it is only stingy if you are a poor yet entitled waiter or waitress who could not do something worthwhile with their life so you put on a fake smile for people you don’t really care about unless they voluntarily pay your wage for the job you chose. How about you do a damn good job because it is your job, rather than fake your sincerity until somebody gives you a reason to nut in their food. People who give this bullshit that waiters and waitresses work hard and deserve their tips forget that there are harder jobs out there… Read more »

gwen
gwen
7 years ago
Reply to  Desouza

i think you dont realize that most servers dont get an hourly wage over like $3 per hour. Which means ..THEY DONT GET A PAYCHECK (because the government gets it). So although you THINK you are ENTITLED to get someone to wait on you hand and foot without getting paid to do so.. maybe you dont realize that nothing in life is free. So tip your server AT LEAST 15%.

Clayton
Clayton
7 years ago
Reply to  Desouza

It’s easy to say my job is harder than yours, but a lot of waiters are trying to put themselves through school, like I did, and it’s still the most common freaking job for college kids. Not to mention how many single mothers wait tables in every restaurant, you seriously think their tight schedules let them work anywhere but Claim Jumper. Selfishness or Ignorance are the only good excuses for less than 10%. 10% already says poor service. The only reason tips increase down the line is because the job market increases, and your tip money is not pocketed by… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
7 years ago
Reply to  Desouza

I work in a casino as a cashier, the largest single tip i have received was 500$ off a $20,000 jackpot, but others have received more. Tips in a single night, i got $794 in a single night. The largest amount i have heard about at once, is $1000 off a $10,000 jackpot… The most in a single night goes to a blackjack dealer with $17,000 in a single night. The most money I’ve given in a tip is… on a first date… $32 tab and i gave a hundred. If i have money i tip always, give money to… Read more »

Dylahn
Dylahn
7 years ago
Reply to  Desouza

It’s kind of illegal not to make minimum wage. At the end of the month if the hours you worked coupled with the pay you received does not equal the minimum wage than the employer has to pay the difference, according to the U.S. department of labor. but if your not making above minimum wage being a waiter, than you should do something else. It’s not worth it otherwise.

Ellen
Ellen
1 year ago
Reply to  Dylahn

Minimum wage for servers is much lower than normal minimum wage because the gov’t expects tips to make up the difference. Servers are taxed on paltry minimum wage plus 15% regardless of whether you tip or not. Being a waitress was the hardest job I have done to put myself through college.

tata
tata
5 years ago
Reply to  Desouza

This is too funny. General rule of thumb is 10% for a waiteress….unless service is poor then nothing.
Who says you should tip 15% ?? That is a made up number. It always was 10% and it always will be.

And don’t give me reasons that waiters get paid little…hey, nobody ever forced them to work there….you don’t like it – work somewhere where they pay better.

Shan
Shan
6 years ago
Reply to  Clyde

I will add my 2 cents…which is all I have to give now. I don’t ever want to be stingy, ever but I’m not sure where this ends. I too, in my 20’s depended on my part-time bar tending job to make ends meet. I’m now in my 40’s and realized that was the most money I’ve ever made! After my degrees/after paying back loans and AFTER getting the job that the degree offered. I WISH I could make that much money again! I would generally make $100/hour in tips! TAX-FREE CASH! (back in the 90’s where this was more… Read more »

EK
EK
5 years ago
Reply to  Clyde

40 years ago the tip was 10%. I understand that the prices now more than tripeled and you say tipping less than 20% is stingy. Are you aware that this way you are paying more than 6 times the tip paid 40 years ago? After all the service is paid in the price and tipping is a tokenof appreciation. Do you think a boss will keep someone who gives bad service to a customer? If a restaurant waiter does not give good service he looses his tip and looses his JOB because the restaurant looses a customer. Let us be… Read more »

Julia
Julia
7 years ago
Reply to  Scott

thank you for this response, you took the words right out of my mouth! I manage and operate a cafe and my baristas undergo extensive training to learn to make great espresso drinks. Sometimes bartenders are just pouring glasses of beer which takes much less training time.

teleburst
teleburst
7 years ago
Reply to  Julia

@Jeff: “Let’s say you and 3 other people go out to dinner. Your total bill comes to $300. There were no problems and your service was “normal”. Your average dinner for 4. No special drinks. No extended stay at the table, chatting. 20% would be $60. Are you actually going to pay your waiter/waitress a $60/hr salary just for YOUR table? I sure as hell don’t, and never will. I believe there is a “percentage method cutoff point.” Wrong. You don’t get to just make up arbitrary rules. Well, actually you can but it’s just wrong. I’m sorry, but if… Read more »

teleburst
teleburst
7 years ago
Reply to  Julia

@Julia – that’s not a good reason to tip a barista. After all, sometimes baristas only pour coffee. The reason why you tip baristas is because they are serving you, but remember, a barista isn’t usually doing any more than counter service, while a bartender is usually doing extended bar service. If a barista is actually doing extended service for people sitting down at his or her counter, then, by all means, they should be tipped as a bartender would be. If you are just handing a cup of coffee to someone in a line, then that’s a different story.… Read more »

Susanne Powell
Susanne Powell
7 years ago
Reply to  teleburst

What many folks fail to understand is that your server works many hours filling salt shakers, cleaning their stations, windows, tables, setting up tables, desert areas, salad areas, etc. at 2-3 dollars an hour. Unless they are just awful, they should get the 15% just to make minimum wage. If servers give exceptional service they have earned a higher percentage tip. People assume servers just stand around waiting to serve YOU! Believe me they don’t. They work long hours for $2-3 an hour just to make your evening perfect so you can have an enjoyable dining experience. A real professional… Read more »

Roadrunner
Roadrunner
6 years ago
Reply to  teleburst

It is a fact that some waiters and waitresses don’t get paid minimum wage by their employers. Furthermore, that they only get paid $2-$3 per hour. Well a good idea would be for their employers to pay them at least minimum wage. Or even better would be for their employers to pay them 15%-20% of their sales ticket. They are the ones making all the money anyway.

JustaThought
JustaThought
6 years ago
Reply to  Julia

So my question then, Julia, is why don’t you pay your baristas a living wage and adjust your prices accordingly? Why is it left up to customers to subsidize your business by being held hostage to a practice that has turned a voluntary appreciation of good service into a mandatory social contract? Wouldn’t it be more fair to everyone involved if everyone absorbed the cost of higher prices instead of letting those who are more generous shoulder a greater share of the burden? If you can’t bring yourself to pay your employees, why should I? As for those making the… Read more »

Michael Langford
Michael Langford
13 years ago

Bartenders only get 10% of a tab, or 1 dollar per drink. If you’re only ordering one drink from that bar, ever, and he’s obviously serving favorites or “hot chicks” over you, don’t tip. If you’re making them make complicated drinks, such as mojitos (with real mint) or mint julips, tip more. Valet’s get paid only on pickup of your car, and get $1 in normal weather, $2-4 in inclement weather, except in major cities such as Chicago and newyork, where you add $2 to each of those numbers. For a waiter, when you have exceptionally poor service you are… Read more »

Dan
Dan
13 years ago

When you eat at a restaurant do you calculate the tip as percentage of the total before tax or after tax?

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

Good question, Dan. I live in a tax-free state, so I always forget about this. Most of the guides I found indicated that it didn’t matter whether you base the tip on the before-tax total or the after-tax total. My personal feeling is that the before-tax total is appropriate. Why should I tip somebody for sales tax? But I don’t have a definitive answer.

Career waiter
Career waiter
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D.

As a carrer waiter, please tip on your bill after tax… Most restaurants charge a tip pool from their staff. Normally 3-5% of that waiter’s total sales (including tax) goes right back to the restaurant. So when you tip 15%, your waiter only gets to keeps 11-12% of the tip… That’s not much… So for great service, tip 20%, when you receive terrible service tip 5%. If you completely stiff your waiter, your waiter actually pays the restaurant for you to eat there…

KG
KG
8 years ago
Reply to  Career waiter

Honestly, if the service is terrible, I am not going to leave the waiter anything. I mean, it’s too bad that he/she is technically paying the eatery but I guess they should have thought about that before they gave me bad service.

Lizzie
Lizzie
8 years ago
Reply to  KG

Don’t just Leave nothing, they’ll think you forgot or didn’t have the extra money, or just are a jerk and don’t tip at all. Leave very little, that way they see it.

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  KG

As a former waitress (who always tips; ten percent for awful service) I have to say service is relative. If you think your server is a jerk, they might just be over burdened or covering for someone else or whatever. If your food took a while or another table got their food first it could be the kitchen’s mistake or the luck of the draw on what your ordered. You can’t survive more than a few days as a waiter if you don’t bust your butt doing the job. You should always tip. Particularly if you live in a state… Read more »

Springs1
Springs1
8 years ago
Reply to  Career waiter

Vanessa “As a former waitress (who always tips; ten percent for awful service)” Awful service should be NOTHING and a report to the manager. They will *NEVER* ********LEARN******** if they get paid no matter what. Sometimes the service is so atrocious there’s no way that person deserves a penny even. A lot of servers are too lazy to try their best. They don’t care and feel ENTITLED no matter how they treat you. “You should always tip. Particularly if you live in a state that doesn’t give service workers federal minimum wage (for instance, Louisiana server minimum is $2.13 per… Read more »

Chris
Chris
7 years ago
Reply to  Springs1

Wow. You’re a piece of work, Springs1. I am not, and have never been a waiter, but I know that generosity speaks VOLUMES over your stingy and cruel attitude. What I don’t understand is why you think you’re such a better person than someone that has a heart to tip someone because they see that there are ALWAYS other circumstances that you can never be able to know at play. There’s lots of reasons behind the scenes of why you may get bad service. Does that mean you should add to those? You’re probably the person that sits and if… Read more »

Gabby
Gabby
7 years ago
Reply to  Springs1

@ Chris. Why should I reward a server who can’t do their job? If they are overloaded or having a bad day that will affect the experience of their clients, why should we suffer. The serverrs signed up for this position if they don’t like it they can find another job. I have worked as a server for 5 years at one place and 2 years as a lead server at another place. Some people you can never please and some people are great tippers thats the position when you sign up. Now I am one of those people working… Read more »

Muddy
Muddy
7 years ago
Reply to  Springs1

Just answer this.

Whatever your job is, whatever you are paid…do you perform at the highest level possible every minute of each hour?

Do you play solitaire on the computer…take a personal call…daydream…make an error?

Should your employer dock your wage each time you go the bathroom (and it’s not a scheduled break?)

Every job has some “wiggle room” – a down time when you/we aren’t as productive as other times.

For servers…those “down times” actually cost them money. Unless you work on commission, that’s not true for salary or hourly workers.

Just saying….

Brian
Brian
7 years ago
Reply to  J.D.

I live in a tax everything state I tip total bill post tax &% or less wont affect the tip much either way. I Tip 15% at restraunts for full service much less at service your self(buffet). the worse the service the smaller the tip. for superior service a 15+% tip and a call the the manager. the boss needs to know who does it right as much as who does it wrong. They usually only get bad calls and a good one lets them know that they and their staff are doing it right.

Chris
Chris
13 years ago

a bribe is a bribe no matter if it happens before or after the action. What makes a bribe is intent and expectation.

Springs1
Springs1
7 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris
“What gives you the right to view yourself above the server?”

When I KNOW THE *MENU* BETTER AND KNOW HOW TO DO THE JOB BETTER IDIOT!! I have proven to servers and managers even that I know the menu and how to do the job better than the servers do. It’s the TRUTH!!

Matt
Matt
13 years ago

Per the Tipping Ettiquette page (and many other tipping recommendation pages), you should not tip your cable, satellite, internet installers. As an Internet installer for the last 5 years I take offense to this. Why are we not tip worthy? I routinely make the extra effort to make my installs look nice. I run wire in hot attics. I run wire in dirty crawlspaces. I try to hide wire on the outside of your house. I attempt to make a computer with 2 years worth of spyware at least usable for no extra cost. My employer doesn’t care what the… Read more »

Missy
Missy
8 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I am not a bartender, but they get paid only a few dollars an hour and have to make their money almost strictly on tips, including waiters and waitresses. If you do something extra than what you were sent by your company to do, yes I feel a tip is due to you. But when you get paid a decent hourly wage by your company, I feel patrons should not be obligated to pay.

rich
rich
13 years ago

“Pre-tip”? Not sure what that means. Scott: Do you tip the cashier at Dairy Queen? The bagboy at the supermarket? The janitor at the office? It’s disingenuous to suggest that the only reason tips are conventionally given is because there’s some service involved. The service is why the company pays the employee. But bar staff, like restaurant staff, are paid less than minimum wage because they’re expected to make up the difference in tips. Baristas aren’t. Besides, the point of tipping the bartender is to get good service for your second drink. (Rule of thumb: Any place there is a… Read more »

HC
HC
13 years ago

I tip waiters 20 percent (pre-tax) for reasonably good service, although that’s mainly for the simplicity of table math. If I found the service only satisfactory, I might round back down to 15, but for the reasons below, I often don’t. If the service is so poor that I’m tempted to leave a 10 percent tip or less, I’m not going to quietly leave a cheap tip. I’m going to get up and go talk to the manager. I find tip-stiffing on poor service petty and passive-aggressive, and unlikely to fix the problem for other patrons. I usually put an… Read more »

--matthew
--matthew
13 years ago

Leaving a low tip for poor service at a restaurant doesn’t send the message that the service wasn’t good … it sends the message that you’re cheap.

When I lived in Canada, I was adamant about tipping. Now that I live in Japan and tipping is not expected/allowed, I’ve come to realize how much I dislike it. If I ever move back to North America, I’m going to be in for quite the shock!

Don
Don
13 years ago

Waiter …. It’s okay to leave nothing for exceptionally poor service, but only if you’re sure it’s the waiter’s fault.

Gotta say I disagree with this. I don’t care whose fault it is when the experience is bad. The waiter is pretty much my lone point of contact, s/he is gonna bear the brunt of my disapproval. And I don’t mean everything has to go right – I’ve had some catastrophic dining experiences that were made right by attentive and courteous waiters.

Kevin
Kevin
13 years ago

Do people tip the maids at a hotel regularly? I never knew I was supposed to do that until a few months ago. The only time I’veever done it was the night of my wedding when there flower petals all over the place. I felt really bad for whoever had to clean that place and left $25. As for general hotel stay, I don’t make a mess and don’t leave a tip.

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

I forgot to discuss the amounts that I generally tip. I don’t tip in Starbucks, because I don’t order fancy drinks. I rarely go to bars, but when I do, I tip 15% of the bill, which is what I also tip in restaurants. If I get great service in restaurants, I tip 20% or more even. Because I used to wait tables and know that a lingering table is a pain, I always add extra if I’ve taken a table for longer than normal. I have no problem leaving nothing if service was awful. There were times that happened… Read more »

Debra
Debra
13 years ago

Something you should know, waiters/waitresses are taxed on the amount of food they sell. When I was waitressing in Chicago – I got taxed 8% on the food I sold. And in Illinois they are not required to pay minimum wage – I only made $2/hr. So after taxes were taken out for the food I sold, I had a paycheck of only .20!! So that needs to be considered when you are tipping someone who is literally working for their tips. Tipping 15% actually turns out to be a 7% tip.

Annoyed
Annoyed
4 years ago
Reply to  Debra

The idea that you are only paid $2/hr is ridiculous. The claim is often made to support the continued extortion of customers. However the truth is that while the restaurant is only required to pay you $2/hr by law, what you failed to include is that if you do not make the federal minimum wage between the tip you earn and the $2/hr your employer pays, the employer is required to make up the difference. You will be paid at least minimum wage between tips and base wage.

Matt E.
Matt E.
13 years ago

I could never bring myself to NOT tip, even for poor service. First of all, I’m not an especially fussy person, as I’ve been on the other side of the diner-waiter continuum. ESPECIALLY if the restaurant is near my house, and I might visit it again and have the same waiter, I tip 15-20%. It’s karma: leave a bad tip, guy remembers you, bad service forever.

If I’m out of town, I might be a little less generous, though…

NLG
NLG
13 years ago

I think Matthew’s comment is interesting: Now that I live in Japan and tipping is not expected/allowed, I’ve come to realize how much I dislike it. Ideally, everyone would take pride in their work, so there would be no need for a merit-based rewards system for services performed. I really find it unnecessary. I think it is more demotivating than anything due to humanity’s innate ability to focus on negative aspects of life. Thus, if someone receives a bad tip, I would guess many people would dwell on this, which would generally affect their outlook and behaviour. This does not… Read more »

RKmase
RKmase
13 years ago

Nothing bugs me more than people who do not tip well for people who must work for their tips. First of all, If you can’t tip your server at least 15%, you have no business eating out. Secondly, stiffing a server is horrible. Like one suggestion above, talking to a manager is more appropriate. Stiffing a server is having that person working for (basically) free for you and all of your demands for however long you sit at that table. Unless you live in California (where servers are paid minimum on top of tips), servers make on average 2.15 an… Read more »

Matt E.
Matt E.
13 years ago

In all honesty, I find NLG’s comments naive. Of course a waiter is working for money. For so many of us, it’s simply a “waystation” job…something to pay the rent while we finish school. Restaurants only have to pay their waitstaff $2.15 an hour by law. That doesn’t cover a bar tab, let alone rent.

“Ideally, everyone would take pride in their work…”

C’mon. Ideally, none of us would HAVE to work. We work to earn money, the positive feeling you get from your work is the bonus, not the pay.

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

I think it’s interesting that different municipalities have different laws regarding minimum wage for waiters. It never occurred to me that they might not be making the same as anyone else. When I waited tables in Oregon, lo these many years ago, I was paid minimum wage. (I was actually paid more — I was the only member of the waitstaff to be given a raise while I was there. That caused some sour grapes, let me tell you.) Would I still think it’s okay to stiff a waiter for poor service if he’s only making $2.15/hour? I don’t know.… Read more »

Matt Haughey
Matt Haughey
13 years ago

As a former pizza delivery guy, I have to say the $2 minimum is nice and makes for a good average. Ever since I left the game, I’ve always tipped $5 on delivery below $25. A $5 tip was a big deal back then and people that did it got a reputation among the staff as sort of elite customers that everyone wanted to serve. We used to fight over who got to deliver to the known $5 tippers. I’ve noticed ever since I started using the same pizza place once every 1-2 weeks, I get my pizza within 15-20… Read more »

Ed Gerard
Ed Gerard
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt Haughey

I also tip the pizza guy at least $5 now.
I deliver newspapers and the pay I get basically pays for my car,gas, repairs, insurance.
I live on the tips.
Too many people who get the paper 365 days per year, (delivered to the door, per THEIR instruction) think it’s fine not to tip until December, and then it’s a $5-10 tip.
Thanks for the LESS THAN 3 cents a day for getting out of my car and walking the paper to your door!!!
I think it’s just ignorance, the people aren’t trying to be cheap.

Anon
Anon
13 years ago

“First of all, If you can’t tip your server at least 15%, you have no business eating out.” That’s a rather stuck-up comment. I’m a college student with a wife and one kid. I’ve only got ~$300 in the bank right now, and no job. I study from 9AM-9PM every day, with exception of Thursdays when I go into school at about 11AM. My wife’s business is just getting started, so income is pretty spotty. When it’s our aniversary next month, I may only be able to aford tipping 10% or 5% or whatever, but it’s pretty presumptuous of you… Read more »

Dm
Dm
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

You don’t. Servers make a lot less than minimum wage. You should be ashamed for tipping 5-10%.

whatever
whatever
4 years ago
Reply to  Dm

If he lives in California (or one of the seven states that pays servers at lest minimum wage), yeah, he can afford to eat out and not feel guilty tipping 10-15%. I’m so tired of people trying to tell me and others how much to OPTIONALLY tip. If I pay for my meal, I’m under no obligation to tip you, no matter what’s customary. I’ve worked various service jobs where tips were expected but I would never presume to tell someone how much to leave as EXTRA. Yes, even in the states where servers are getting only ~2 something/hr. Hopefully… Read more »

Kristine
Kristine
13 years ago

I am in the habit of giving my mail carrier a small gift at the holidays (usually a Starbuck’s card or some prepackaged candies- one year I baked cookies and he brought them p to the door to say “thanks but I can’t accept unwrapped food items”). It’s not so much a tip as a recognition of the individual behind the service. It surprises me how many people have never heard of this practice.

Robert Aitchison
Robert Aitchison
13 years ago

Good article. FTR at resturatunts I baseline at 15%, before tax of course. Good service gets you a better tip (sometimes as high as 25%) and poor service gets you less (sometimes nothing). Generally if you keep my drink full and don’t screw up the order your’e getting a good tip. As far as the above comment, I’ll say this, while I beleive that a tip is not an entitlement and is earned through good service you should plan on leaving a reasonable tip when going out. If you don’t think you will be able to afford a tip of… Read more »

James Kew
James Kew
13 years ago

“When it’s our aniversary next month, I may only be able to afford tipping 10% or 5% or whatever.”

I’m with Robert on this: you should consider the tip part of the cost of eating out, not as an optional extra.

This rather harks back to JD’s post on frugality and ethics: while you *can* stiff your server to save money, it doesn’t mean that you *should*…

Spoonman
Spoonman
13 years ago

Don, that’s a pretty ignorant attitude to carry around with you. A waiter is responsible for bringing your food and drinks to you, that’s pretty much it. If it takes forever for your food to be cooked, that’s not the waiter’s fault, nor is it something they can correct. I’ve worked in many a restaurant with poor kitchen staff who’d leave you waiting while your tip goes down and down. Do you take responsibility for everything that goes wrong in your company? Should you not receive a paycheck if some other department fails to deliver on their duties? Anon, so?… Read more »

tony
tony
13 years ago

at a real coffee bar (as opposed to a starbucks or the like) it is good to tip a buck for any espresso beverage. properly prepared espresso is harder to pull off than 99% of the drinks a bartender mixes and deserves encouragement in the handful of places where its done.

Dave
Dave
13 years ago

I live in Australia where tipping is a rarity and only done if the service warrants it. I’m not going to tip someone because they carried a plate of food from a kitchen to a table.

In my opinion you get paid to do your job by your employer. Why should I pay you extra to do the job that you’re already being paid for. If you’re not getting enough from your employeer then talk to them about it. Don’t get annoyed with me because your employeer doesn’t value your abilities enough to pay you properly.

chad
chad
13 years ago

What I don’t understand is why we need to tip. Period. I mean, people are paid to do a job, and if the rate at which the job is being paid is so low that it must be made up in tips, then all that the employer/owner is doing is offsetting what is probably the second greatest expense of operating a business [at least a service/retail based business] – such as the retail store I own – and making it the customers’ responsibility to pay the employees fairly. A tip for opening a bottle of beer? Are you kidding me?… Read more »

shane
shane
13 years ago

as a server people that tip below 18 to 20 percent are generally looked at as cheap. there are many things people don’t take into account when deciding what an adequate tip is. 1. servers have to tip out. at big popular restaurants we have to tip out pretty large amounts. if you are leaving 15 percent we are usually taking home 11 percent of that. i know customers shouldnt be worried about how much we have to tip out but i think thats why we appreciate it so much more when people tip you well. you have to take… Read more »

Melissa A.
Melissa A.
13 years ago

It used to be easy tipping here, because the tax (HST) was %15, so you just tip the tax! But I think it’s gone down to %14. I don’t really follow rules with tipping, I guess because I don’t often have a lot of money on me. But I tip at restaurants and at bars. I often forget to tip my hairdresser though.

Rob R
Rob R
13 years ago

For those of you who think waiters shouldn’t be tipped: waiting is one of the few jobs where relatively bright students can work part-time and still make enough money to make ends meet. Removing the tip, and making waiting (once rated as one of the most stressful jobs, because so many factors are beyond your control) a minimum wage job, would send most of those people somewhere else. As someone who waited tables for seven years, I think you’d see a dramatic decrease in the quality and helpfulness of your waiters–who wants to work for minimum wage? I agree that… Read more »

Dan
Dan
13 years ago

In Asia at least as well as 3rd world countries, tipping is unknown; waiters may try and return money left on the table. In Russia, tipping happens occaisonally, but is generally only done by tourists or at nice restaurants. Really, America is the one place I know where tipping is so important that we debate over tip amounts.

ThriftyTechie
ThriftyTechie
13 years ago

“When it’s our aniversary next month, I may only be able to afford tipping 10% or 5% or whatever.”

The net effect of your action is having the waiter pay for your action. The 15% tip should definitely be considered part of the bill. If you can’t afford it, order less or don’t go to the restaurant at all.

There’s a line between being thrifty and being cheap. Leaving a small tip is cheap.

Casey
Casey
13 years ago

I have also submitted this great article to digg. Keep the great content coming!

http://www.digg.com/business_finance/Basic_Tips_on_Tipping_How_Much_and_To_Whom

KC
KC
13 years ago

I think tipping a gas station attendent is really old school, and if it happens at all anymore probably only happens with working drivers.

A long time ago I drove a cab in Boston, and the other cabbies schooled me about tipping at gas stations. At our garage we all tipped, but I started noticing other cabbies and limo drivers doing it at other stations. These days everyone pumps their own. Which is all the more reason to tip on the rare occasion when someone else does the pumping.

Jon
Jon
13 years ago

I don’t feel too sorry for the server who received $.20 on their paycheck. I have a lot of friends (who are college students) bringing home $100+ a night in tips. And only a percentage of that is claimed as income, where a percent of that goes to taxes. When I dine out, I look around to see how many tables a server has. If he/she has 5 tables, and the tables turn over in an hour, and everyone leaves $5 (which is pretty light), the server is still making $25/hour, plus the hourly wage (which typically all goes to… Read more »

Karl L. Gechlik
Karl L. Gechlik
13 years ago

Gas station attendants in New york should be tipped if their is bad weather.

I always give at least 2 bucks to the guy who is standing in the snow while i am in the car.

I know other places it is mandatory to have the attendant pump your gas – then it would be different.

anon
anon
13 years ago

Mail carriers are Federal employees. giving them gifts is against the law.

Joe
Joe
13 years ago

I would just like to comment on post #14 Debra Says: “Tipping 15% actually turns out to be a 7% tip.” In reality what that means is that you are not paying taxes on more than half of your tip! They calculate the taxes on your pay check based on getting an average tip of 8%. It is common knowledge that most servers do not pay taxes on their full income. Not only that but they often get tax breaks based on a low reported income and expect everyone to feel sorry for them. For example I know of people… Read more »

Marie
Marie
4 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Lifelong server here, and you’re wrong. Servers who tip out are obligated to claim 10% of their total sales, and servers who don’t tip out have to claim 15% of their total sales. There’s no such thing as only having to claim part of what you make–that’s tax fraud. If you know someone getting away with that, that doesn’t mean it’s how it’s supposed to be done.

Keith
Keith
13 years ago

Always tip your barista! Pulling a good shot and making a good velvet foam require skill and practice, not to mention how hectic it can get behind the counter on a busy morning.

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago

Here’s a question that will surely rile up folks. FWIW, I tip 20% for food service almost without exception. Let’s say you and 3 other people go out to dinner. Your total bill comes to $300. There were no problems and your service was “normal”. Your average dinner for 4. No special drinks. No extended stay at the table, chatting. 20% would be $60. Are you actually going to pay your waiter/waitress a $60/hr salary just for YOUR table? I sure as hell don’t, and never will. I believe there is a “percentage method cutoff point.” As an aside, the… Read more »

Beth
Beth
4 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

You are so right that it’s not your problem, but the only way to ensure that it’s “not your problem” is to stay home. Try that next time.

Nate B
Nate B
13 years ago

Great guide but have disagree on cabs and doormen. If you’ve called for the cab (or sedan service) it’s right on. If you’ve hailed the cab from the street, as is common in NY and other metro areas, there’s a very decent chance the total cab fare is going to be in the $4-$7 range. A 10% tip would be in the $0.40 to $0.70 range, 2 dollars would be over double the ‘percent’ amount, not even considering $5 high-end min option. The guide I’ve heard most NYers use, for intercity travel (not to airports, etc.) is round up to… Read more »

David
David
13 years ago

I almost always pump my own gas. The last time that I didn’t, it was a cold, windy day in Boston and I had just tipped the car wash guys who were freezing as they dried off my car. Without thinking, I tipped the guy pumping gas two dollars or so. He was surprised but happy. When I lived in Switzerland, a guide like this one suggested only leaving the change as a tip at restaurants (leaving more would be taken as an insult). A bunch of us noisy Americans loved to eat on Sundays at a little Auberge in… Read more »

tomdobb
tomdobb
13 years ago

anon:

USPS employees are allowed to accept certain gifts. Here’s more info.

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

“One site recommended $1-$3, though I’ve never seen one tipped in my life” Some grocery stores forbid tipping, and put up signage to that effect. In other places, tipping is actively encouraged. When my husband was an enlisted guy fresh out of Basic Training and we had a new baby, he bagged at the commissary on weekends – working for tips only, they did not pay baggers – and that really helped make ends meet. I don’t know what the practice is now, or whether it varies from base to base. Something I haven’t seen mentioned – a tip is,… Read more »

Ben
Ben
13 years ago

To Jeff #44: When I worked for a year as a waiter during college, I experienced your mentality towards tipping 20% on big bills all the time. You should always tip 15-20% no matter what the bill is. Anyone who has ever worked as a waiter will agree. I don’t know what restaurant you are going to that $300 is “average” for 4 people (without drinks or anything special!), but if you are going to a place where you have to drop $75 for yourself, then you shouldn’t have a problem tipping $15 on the bill (as your share of… Read more »

aj
aj
13 years ago

tip your barista cause we invented the idea of tiping

teleburst
teleburst
7 years ago
Reply to  aj

“Empty class”. Pretty good self-description there, Desouza.

aj
aj
5 years ago
Reply to  teleburst

Thank man !

miles
miles
4 years ago
Reply to  aj

If I go out for breakfast it costs me $15 tops…great service ,refills etc..at 15% tip is $2.25…..to dinner at a steakhouse with drinks $60…15% tip is $9.00… both waitresses did same amount of work…why the discrepancy ?… % makes no sense

James Weirick
James Weirick
13 years ago

Just a few quick notes. I say that it’s never OK to not tip your waiter, even if the service was crappy. At least give a few bucks.

Also, I work as a grocery store bagger, and we do get tips. Although, people usually don’t tip unless you also carry their groceries to their car for them. But yeah, $1-$3 is about right. I’ve never gotten more than $5.

Ryan
Ryan
13 years ago

I worked as a gas attendant in Oregon for three months (where it is illegal to pump your own gas). I think it is polite to tip the attendant if they do something extra for you like clean your windshields/headlights, provide directions, etc. A dollar would suffice. I eventually stopped providing any extra services, because most of the time people even neglected to thank me for wiping their dirty windshields. Jerks. Also, my girlfriend informs me that the duration of her hair washing (basically, a scalp massage) at the salon is directly related to the size of her tip to… Read more »

kyle
kyle
13 years ago

tip when somebody does a service for you that is above what they had to do. don’t tip somebody for just doing their job, and tip based on what that extra service is worth to you. pre-tipping is called a bribe, and if i worked in a service industry, i would be insulted to recieve one

Colin
Colin
13 years ago

Useful list, had I had it BEFORE I visited the States. I got some very strange looks when I didn’t tip. However, I am very much of the opinion that tipping should only be for good service (as it is in the UK/RSA) and not just because someone’s done their job. Nobody tips me because I’ve done my job.

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