tipping etiquetteMany of us engage in activities that result in receiving some sort of service from others.

However, it can be difficult to know how much to tip — and when it’s considered a social requirement to tip.

Tipping etiquette is different from industry to industry and country to country.

Tipping too much is usually not a problem; where most people struggle is not tipping enough or at all in a situation that requires it.

What is Proper Tipping Etiquette?

If you are concerned about tipping etiquette, here are some guidelines from the Emily Post Etipedia:

Tipping Etiquette at Restaurants

Most of us have someone else prepare our food at some point. However, it can be difficult to know when to tip. Many of us are familiar with the basics: Tip between 15% and 20% (pre-tax) for sit down wait service. But what about in other restaurant settings? Here are some of the guidelines to consider:

  • No obligation to tip for take out, but if the food is brought to the curb, or if you have a large or complicated order, it is appropriate to tip 10%.
  • Home delivery tips should range between 10% to 15% of the bill, with $2 to $5 usually appropriate for a pizza (again, consider the size of the order)
  • Bartenders should be tipped $1 to $2 per drink, or, if you have a tab, tip 15% to 20% of that amount.
  • You don’t need to put anything in the tip jar, but if you are a regular, or if you have been provided a little extra service, it makes sense to add something.
  • You still tip when you receive some wait service at a buffet, but the amount is only 10%.

The Emily Post Etipedia also offers helpful hints for more upscale dining options. You only need to tip the host/maitre d’ if he or she has gone beyond the call of duty to find you a table on a busy night (or if you are a regular). At that point, $10 to $20 is appropriate. When your car is returned to you, tip the valet between $2 and $5. Finally, tip restroom attendants between $0.50 and $3.

Tipping Etiquette During Travel

When you leave home, don’t forget to bring plenty of ones and fives. You’re going to need them. Tipping etiquette while you travel includes almost everyone who performs a service for you, from the skycap who takes your bags through the airport to the bellhop at the hotel to the concierge to the tax driver. Here is what the Etipedia says about tipping etiquette when you travel:

  • Anyone who carries your bags (skycap or bellhop) should receive $2 for the first bag, and $1 for each additional bag. If the bellhop provides additional service, such as room delivery of personal hygiene items, or picking up your dry cleaning, you should tip $2 to $3 per service.
  • Housekeeping definitely deserves your tip. Tip between $2 and $5 for each day of stay. Emily post recommends a note that identifies the tip with “Housekeeping – Thank you.” Personally, I don’t leave the tip daily, since I don’t like to have room cleaning services performed during my stay. Maybe it’s wrong, but I just leave the entire amount when I leave.
  • You don’t have to tip the concierge for answering questions. However, if the concierge does something for you, such as getting you tickets or reservations at a restaurant or spa, you should tip between $5 and $10. If the tickets or reservations were particularly hard to get, you should up the tip to $15 — or 10% to 20% of the ticket price.
  • Your taxi driver should be tipped 15% to 20% of the fare. And, if the driver has to load your bags, don’t forget to tip $2 for the first bag and $1 for each bag after that.
  • There’s no need to tip the doorman for opening the door (although you should smile and say thank you), but if the doorman carries your luggage ($1 to $4), hails a cab ($1 or $2 if it’s raining), or goes beyond what’s expected ($1 to $4), a tip is definitely in order.

Tipping Etiquette for Other Services

There are others that you might tip as well. At the salon or spa, those who provide you with services should be tipped between 15% and 20% of the services. At the hair salon, you might need to also tip a shampooer $2 or $3.

Delivery drivers, such as those that deliver produce to the door or deliver milk or other items regularly, should be tipped around the holidays. Depending on the frequency and size of the deliveries, $30 to $50 is usually appropriate.

Don’t forget the newspaper delivery person (if you have one). You can tip monthly, when you pay the bill, or you can offer a larger tip around the holidays. Generally, once-yearly tip should be the amount of about three-months of the subscription.

You should also tip your regular babysitter, nanny, gardener, and other service providers around the holidays. Your tip should be the amount of services rendered. For a gardener or nanny, tipping for one week’s worth of service is acceptable; for a babysitter, the average cost of one evening out is a good tip.

What do you think? How is your tipping etiquette?

photo credit: Dave Dugdale via photopin cc


Get the Money Dominating Toolkit

  • 6 Tools to Get Your Money Back on Track
  • The Ultimate Goal Achiever Workbook
  • 2 Free Chapters to my Best Selling Book
  • 21 Days to Destroy Your Bad Habits Worksheet

Comments | 8 Responses

  1. says

    I guess i’m guilty of not tipping enough. Sometimes people think that they don’t need to tip people for things they get paid for, but the truth is that the tips are part of their pay. Waitresses actually make only about $3 per hour, where as tips are a large portion of their pay. Even I am guilty of this, so everyone should strive to be fair and tip correctly!

  2. says

    I would consider re-evaluating how you dole out the tips for housekeeping at a hotel. I leave a tip out for each day where I get service. The problem with leaving it all at the end is that if they housekeepers don’t pool the money, you’re banking on the fact that you had the same person all week or that they share tips. Otherwise, you could be leaving a very generous tip for one worker and leaving others with nothing, even though they worked just as hard for you.

  3. says

    I think tipping has become the norm vs. really rewarding people for service. I think I am reasonably good at tipping, but I do have a problem with poor service. If really bad, I will talk to the manager or owner. I have trouble with what is between good and bad service. I usually will tip 15% for ordinary service and up to 20% for extraordinary service.

  4. says

    I always leave generous tips because I remember being in their shoes at one point in time. Unless the service I received was horrible, of course. Especially in restaurants where the majority of the server’s compensation comes from tips.

  5. says

    I’m a tough customer when it comes to restaurant. Maybe because of all those food TV shows out there, my taste bud has gotten very picky. Hence, my tipping is all based on how good the food was and I good the server was. Some servers, you just want to be very generous with tip because of the way they served.

  6. says

    Reading this, I think am on the undertipping category. Something I should definitely work on. I think it also does depend on the mood am in and the quality of service provided. All in all, I’ll try keep this advice in mind whenever am offered a service.

  7. says

    I think we have lost the point on tipping in the first place. It was originally intended to be given as a reward for excellent service. It bothers me that everyone thinks they still have to tip when the service they received was unacceptable. Still, most Americans will leave 15 or 20 percent at a restaurant when the waitperson was rude, and/or unavailable.

  8. Zac says

    You forgot about your morning barista! Baristas and other coffee-related workers rely on tips to make a meager living. In my experience, I would say to follow similar guidelines as you laid out for bartenders in this case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *