Many 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?