Table of Contents
- How Much to Tip for Home Services
- You recently paid to have a satellite dish installed on your home, and then you gave the serviceman who did the work a $10 tip. After he left, you discovered his dirty footprints on your carpet. A week later, you lost reception. When you call the company for a repair, the same serviceman shows up at your door. Are you obligated to tip him?
- 11 People You Aren’t Tipping, but Should Be
- Cable/Satellite installers
- The airport shuttle driver
- Car wash employees
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- It starts with an awkward moment.
- 1. The exterminator
- 2. The cable guy
- 3. The spray tanner
- 4. The dry cleaner
- 5. The road service employee
- What is good computer user payment etiquette? – Should I tip for my computer repair service? – Should I tip my computer repairman?
How Much to Tip for Home Services
Philip Friedman/Studio D
3) Tip, but only give him $5 since he made such a mess on his first visit.
The correct answer: (1) In most cases, you don’t have to tip an installation or repair person. Although waiters and hair stylists rely on tips in addition to their salaries for their income, that’s usually not the case with satellite installation employees. Tip only if you feel the service was exceptional or the installer went above and beyond what’s normal to ensure your satisfaction. As for the mess this service person left the first time, this time ask him nicely to remove his shoes.
Peggy Post Etiquette Expert Peggy Post is a nationally recognized authority on etiquette, and an author and director of the Emily Post Institute.
11 People You Aren’t Tipping, but Should Be
People hate the cable guy, and not just Jim Carrey’s worst movie. They don’t show up when they say they’re gonna! They don’t unscramble all the pay-per-view channels for you like they did back in 1997 at your parents house! And I agree — bad service does not deserve a tip. But sometimes cable guys go above and beyond, especially the satellite installers, who have to fasten a dish in some hard-to-reach spots, like your roof. If they take the time to install it, and then school you on some tips and tricks with your new DVR, or if they hook you up with some extra HDMI cables for no charge, then you need to break out the wallet. Rewarding thankless work that will bring you and your roommates millions of hours of entertainment in the future is the least you can do.
So, how much? $20
The airport shuttle driver
Airport vans are convenient ways to get to the airport in three to four hours even though you only live 40 minutes away. But they’re so cheap! And that’s why we love them. But because we’re so focused on the cheapness of it, we forget the driver has to make a living. They have to sit in traffic and listen to people’s horrific travel stories all day, and that’s something you could not pay me enough to endure.
So, how much? Treat your airport shuttle driver like a cabbie, and tip 15-20%.
This is the FedEx argument all over again: they get paid well! They get benefits! Yep, some sure do. But how much would you have to be paid to deal with the kind of shit these plumbers deal with? Literally. I bet it’s a lot. While Roto-Rooter says they force their employees not to accept tips, there are plenty of independent plumbers out there who deserve extra for putting up with your shit. Again, literally.
So, how much? 10% of total job, or $10 for a smaller job
Car wash employees
No fewer than 47 people hand-wash the outside and vacuum the inside of my car when I take it to a car wash. It’s an amazing sight. The workers are always fast and efficient. But because there are so many of them, and people are confused about who to tip, many car owners are dissuaded from tipping at all. What if you don’t give the tip to the right guy? I’m here to help clear that up for you — give the cash to the guy handing you your keys. And they’ll make sure to divvy it up with the 340 people who helped him make your 1993 Chevy Lumina look baller as hell again.
So, how much? $2-$3 for a basic wipe-down, $5-$10 on a more expensive wash
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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and loves knowing when to tip people and how much to tip them. Follow him to common courtesy at: @LeeBreslouer.
Tipping really is one of the most confusing customs. In the United States, it’s one that’s had a long and troubling history and is often the subject of heated debates. That’s because there are no real “rules” for tipping, and the etiquette of it can seem pretty arbitrary. Besides varying opinions for who and how much to tip, customs vary by country as well. Ask a dozen people when and how much they tip, and you’ll get a dozen different answers.
That said, it is nice to have some guidelines to reduce the anxiety and awkwardness of not knowing if you should be tipping. Here’s what we found out for several categories where you’re likely to find yourself in a tipping situation.
- Food pickup/counter person: The Emily Post Institute says those jars at the coffeeshop or take-out counter don’t require tipping because it’s not a high level of service, although you can tip a little bit if you’re a regular customer or the server does something extra for you.
- Picking up from a restaurant: When you order from a diner or restaurant for pickup, a maximum of 10% tip will do, says Emily Post.
- Buffet: Tip 10% of the total pre-tax bill.
- Delivery person: Most of us know to tip food delivery people, who often use their own cars; however, do you tip a dollar amount or a percentage? Consumer Reports says to tip 20% of the bill or $3-5—whichever is higher. Do it in cash, please.
- Supermarket bagger: Many grocery store baggers aren’t permitted to accept tips. If your bagger goes above and beyond—maybe they take your bags to the car and load them for you—you can ask if they can accept a tip. A dollar or two is fine. If you’re shopping in a military commissary, it’s customary to tip your bagger, as these people usually work for tips only.
- Building supervisor: Opinions also vary greatly on this. You might want to tip when the super does some work on your apartment, but then again, it might depend on where you live. If you’re not sure, a holiday tip of $75 to $175 may make the most sense, according to Brick Underground.
- The cable guy: No need to tip, though an offer of a drink is nice.
- Home service providers (e.g., electrician, plumber, lawn service): No need to tip. If you have a relationship with someone who comes to your home frequently (a handyperson, for instance), you can offer a one-time tip at the holidays, according to Angie’s List.
- Exterminator: Because this can vary by area, call the company before you get service done to ask what’s normal.
- Home contractors: Angie’s List says most contractors say they don’t expect a tip (but of course appreciate them). saying that contractors expect to do a job for you at a specific price. However, if the workers do outside of what’s normally expected, go ahead and tip. Angie’s List says to tip no more than 20%, but if the job is an expensive one, don’t feel pressured to give a particular percentage of the bill.
- Furniture/appliance delivery person: $5-20 per person, depending on the size and complexity of the delivery. Check to make sure this isn’t already on your bill, says Consumer Reports.
- Flower delivery person: Teleflora advises tipping $2 to $5, or up to $10 if the plant is heavy or large. If the delivery is for an event (like a wedding), you may want to kick in a little extra.
- Gas station fill-up person: No tip needed if you’re in the last lonely state where you can’t pump your own gas. If you’ve chosen to use a gas attendant, tip $2-3.
- Mechanic: No tip needed.
- Tow truck: $5 to $10 if they help you when you’re locked out, $3 to $5 for a jump start/tire change; $5 or more for a tow.
- Parking attendant/valet: $1 to $2, according to Consumer Reports. If you’re assisted regularly by this person (like at your garage at work), that tip should be $1-2 per day.
- Concierge: $5 to $10 for reservations, says Consumer Reports. If they go above and beyond—say, getting you as table at a popular restaurant or show—you may want to tip $20 or more. If your request is simple (like directions), you don’t need to tip.
- Hotel housekeeping: $2 to $5 a night, according to Emily Post. Put the tip in a clearly marked envelope.
- Bellhop or airport skycap: $1 a bag or more if it’s heavy. Consumer Reports recommends up to $5 for a single bag.
- Rental car shuttle driver: $1 or $2 per bag if they help with your luggage.
- Theater/arena usher: New York Theater Guide says it’s not customary to tip ushers, but $1-$5 would be appropriate if you want to tip.
- Casino machine attendant: $1-2 after servicing your machine, according to Casino.org.
- Camp counselors: Depends on the camp. Some camps don’t let their counselors take tips, while others will send parents a letter with recommended tip amounts (e.g., $1 a day). When in doubt, call the camp to find out.
- Children’s party entertainers: $15-25, depending on the performance.
- Dog walker: Emily Post recommends giving a holiday tip at the end of the year, in the amount of up to a week’s pay.
- Tattoo artist: 15% is the minimum and 20% is the norm, according to Inked magazine.
Because the end of the year is a time to show your appreciation for the people who’ve helped you all year long, many people give holiday tips. We have a whole guide just for that.
General tipping guidelines
If you are in doubt about whether or how much to tip, ask in advance. The Emily Post Institute says, for example, that asking a receptionist or delivery coordinator whether tipping is customary can save you from embarrassment when it’s time to tip (or not tip)
If you’re still in doubt and want to tip, you can’t go wrong with 15%-20%. This depends on how good the service was.
Tipping is about expressing gratitude. The above recommendations are just that—recommendations. You should follow your gut and base your decision on whether to tip or not based on how regularly you see the person, how much they help you out, and perhaps how much their job or livelihood depends on your tip.
Hopefully the above tip examples will ease your mind the next time a possible tipping situation comes up.
This post was originally published in 2012 and was updated on 11/27/2019 to reflect more current information.
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It starts with an awkward moment.
A business transaction happens, and it’s hard to know what to do next — is a thank you enough? A handshake? Or is it a good time to slip somebody a few bills?
It depends on the service provided. While a waiter might be obvious, not all situations are as clear-cut.
“The reason why we tip is to show respect to the service provider,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert. “Part of our responsibility is to be a respectful community member and give to those who deserve a tip, without going overboard.”
She suggested that a good rule of thumb is “when in doubt, do.”
Here are a few people who may not first come to mind when considering gratuity.
1. The exterminator
There are generally two types of exterminators: those who do monthly maintenance visits, and those who treat a specific infestation. Exterminators in the latter category are usually tipped, said Timothy Wong, the director of M&M Pest Control in New York City.
Wong said there’s a clear tipping correlation between those who don’t have infestations, and those who do. Those with happier results are more inclined to tip.
“They will hug you, tip you, feed you, you name it,” he said.
2. The cable guy
The worker who comes to your home to install your cable may work for the cable company directly, or might be an outside contractor. A tip for good service is often appreciated.
“If he’s out there in the hot sun, maybe digging around under your house, you want to show him a gesture of kindness,” said Gottsman.
Some large providers — like Comcast — have policies in place that prohibit workers from accepting tips.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cash tip, Gottsman said. It could be a cold glass of water or lunch, especially if the job takes several hours.
Wyatt Carpenter, a technician in Canton, Ohio, said people tip him, especially on extreme weather days. This past winter, he said he worked in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.
“It’s not life-changing money,” he said of his tips. “Five, 10, 20 bucks….”
Another cable technician, Christopher McBriar, said while he doesn’t expect a tip, it’s nice to get $10, which he will use for lunch that day.
A nonmonetary tip he appreciates: When a customer is prepared for his visit. “They have moved the furniture away from the wall or unpacked the TV from the box … that goes a long way too,” he said.
Related: 10 big overtime pay violators
3. The spray tanner
Adding on gratuity for a hair stylist is fairly typical, but tipping for beauty services doesn’t end there.
“Makeup and tanning is so overlooked,” said Suzie Basset, a full-service salon owner in San Antonio, Tex. “That’s part of the grey area because just don’t know.” She said clients will occasionally ask her if a gratuity is expected.
“It’s uncomfortable for you, the payer, and it’s uncomfortable for me, the receiver, on how to handle that,” she said.
A safe bet is to tip salon service providers anywhere between 15%-20%. It is sometimes assumed that if the service provider is the salon owner a tip does not have to be included. Basset said that’s changing, and many owners now welcome gratuities.
4. The dry cleaner
The person behind the counter of your local dry cleaner may not be the same person actually doing the work of removing the stain from your shirt, but a small token of gratitude wouldn’t go amiss.
“If someone got a stain out of my favorite white dress, I would ask them, ‘Can I leave a tip? What would be a great way to say thank you?'” said Lizzie Post, the co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition.
It doesn’t have to be cash. The Yelp Gratuitous Guide to Tipping suggests some flowers or a bottle of wine. That may sound romantic, but, “if they remove a wine stain from your favorite Marc Jacobs dress,” it might be worth it.
5. The road service employee
Maybe it’s a flat on a busy highway far from home, or a dead car battery on a stormy night. A panicked moment, made manageable by the tow truck guy who came to the rescue.
CNNMoney (New York) First published April 16, 2014: 7:05 AM ET
What is good computer user payment etiquette? – Should I tip for my computer repair service? – Should I tip my computer repairman?
As computer experts, we discuss all the time what should be done to your computer. How to fix a computer virus? How to speed up your aging computer? But, what about you as the computer user? The end user. The consumer? How are you supposed to act as a person, not just a user behind your computer?
We get endless questions which we respect and appreciate regarding tipping, paying, and the all-things related to tips. The next few blogs, we will discuss a series of money questions we get from customers all the time when fixing their computers. This blog will be dedicated to if you should tip as a computer user.
Here are is the best way to handle tipping for your computer service:
- Should I tip for a computer service visit? Good question. We provide two kinds of computer services. We visit homes and offices and we get most tips from home users. Offices are typically on account so they are billed or the Accounts Payable rep isn’t on site or wants to be inconvenienced to pay outside of payroll for a tip. Plus, it is a nuisance to account for this expense and whether it is reimbursable. On the home end, the homeowner, the decision maker, a.k.a. the money person, is around to greet our computer technician and typically feels the right thing to do is tip. Our feeling is tipping is definitely not a requirement, but as any service person, i.e. food delivery person, refrigerator repairman, you should treat us to the same genre, of course, giving us a little better priority than your Chinese take-out delivery dude. That being said, if you genuinely feel our service was exceptional and are able to spare a few shekels, then tipping should be done.
- Should I tip when dropping off my computer at a repair shop? Now, when folks stop into our computer repair shop for a free diagnostic, should they tip? We have customers who get the exact solution to what needs to be done to their computer. If they do not proceed, but receive knowledgeable information on how they can fix their computer, then I’d say that is tippable. If they proceed with our service and pay for it, then that is similar to the previous scenario. If exceptional service, the tip should be provided. Where it gets mirky is how you classify our service. If you look at a computer repair shop like a car mechanic shop, well, then, no extra dollars should be exchanged. But, if you value the computer consultation as you liken your swedish massage at your spa, then, the high-end computer service you received should be greased and tipped.
At the end of the day, you pay for the dollar amount requested for your computer service. If you feel you received the best service ever or the tech went above and beyond, then that is reason enough to tip.
The next blog will discuss how much to tip. This is a a fiery debate as you can imagine.
Contractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.)
If you work with a regular contractor who cuts you a break from time to time, you may be compelled to offer a tip. Most of the time it isn’t necessary to tip an electrician or plumber, Mayne says. “However, if they do anything extra or spend more time than expected, a tip is always appreciated, with the minimum being $20.”
In-home health care worker
Before tipping an in-home health care worker, it’s a good idea to find out the policy of the employing agency. Many companies don’t allow their personnel to accept cash tips, Mayne says. But “if the home health worker is independent, anything the patient offers would probably be appreciated. In either case, small gifts with a value under $20 are generally allowed.”
Road service provider
In some cases, you may want to tip a road service driver when you don’t have to pay out of pocket to cover the costs of jump-starting a car or fixing a flat. This might apply to members of AAA or similar roadside assistance programs. According to AAA, its road service employees can and do accept tips. A range of $10 to $20 is a safe bet.
With the high price of cable and satellite service, a tip is likely the last thing on your mind. But if the technician’s beyond-believable service warrants it, and you’ve got it to spare, offer no more than $20.
For a local move (with no broken dishes), Mayne says $20 per mover is fair. If it’s long distance, consider offering more.
People often show their love for the mail carriers of the world around the holidays. But no matter the time of year, civil servants in America are forbidden by law to accept cash gifts. According to Mayne and others, you may offer your mail carrier a gift valued at no more than $20. “A gift card, a coffee mug, cookies, something that doesn’t have high value,” she says. “You don’t want to get them in trouble.”
Stacy Julien is a writer and editor at AARP Media.