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To Tip or Not to Tip. 19 People To Tip (and 11 You Won’t)

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pizza delivery tipping suggestion

When should I tip? When shouldn’t I tip?

Tipping seems like an easy concept — only it isn’t! Whether it’s who to tip, how much to tip, or if you’re even supposed to tip at all, I’ve had my fair share of moments where I ask myself “was that enough?” or “was that even necessary?” As a guide, I try to err on the side of more rather than less, mainly because I like to leave a good impression.

That said, at the end of the day, you do you. Everyone’s lifestyles are different! Decide on the amount that works for you and be an appreciative guest always. To help gauge an appropriate tip amount, I scoured the wealth of knowledge on TipAdvisor.com for suggestions of every day instances where tipping is common, along with some not so obvious situations.

Here’s everything you need to know about tipping…

Bartenders

$1 per drink or 15-20% of the bill
This varies depending on the atmosphere of the establishment. If your bartender is extremely knowledgeable about the drinks they serve, they’re friendly and conversational, or they buy you a round, I’d consider tipping a little extra.


Coat Check

$1 or $2
This applies only if it’s a courtesy coat check. If there’s a fee then no tip is required.


piano player in a lounge

Musicians (at a lounge)

$1-$5
Typically, patrons tip on their way out when a tip receptacle is present. Consider adding an extra dollar if they played a song you requested.


Musicians (at a table)

$1-$5
A good rule of thumb would be $1 per person in the musical group, maxing out at $5. Again, if you have a song request granted, consider throwing in an extra dollar.


top deck of a cruise ship

On a Cruise

$9-$13 a day
This amount is split between bussers, the cabin steward, Maitre d’, and waitstaff. Most cruises post suggested tips for services on their websites or in your cabin.


Restroom Attendants

$0.50-$1
If it’s a nicer establishment, they’re keeping the counter clean and restocked, and they hand you a towel, tipping is definitely a nice gesture.


tipping at a casino

Casino Dealers

Varies between casinos
Wages for casino dealers can widely vary between casinos, so tipping can be standard based on the location. You can tip by either placing a bet for the dealer, tossing a chip to the dealer, or tipping with bills when you cash out.

Tipping can also get the attention of dealers and pit bosses, which may make them more likely to provide drinks and comps during your time there.


Casino Server

$1 per drink
Even if you’re playing somewhere that offers free drinks while you’re actively participating in table games or slots, tip your server for each trip they make to the bar on your behalf.


tip your barista on handcrafted beverages and food

Barista

$0.50 to $1
Most tips consist of the change from the order, though this applies more to handcrafted drinks or when heated food is involved. Most baristas agree that a tip on a quick coffee isn’t necessary.


Takeout

$2-3 or 10% of the bill
Food for thought (pun intended): Some places keep your phone number on file with your name, so they’re likely to remember you on your next order. It’s best to leave a good impression.


golf clubs on course

Golf Course

Varies between courses
For tipping a caddie, your best bet is to ask the caddie master or head pro what is customary. If you’re having your clubs cleaned, tip anywhere between $3-5, plus a little extra if they bring them out to your car – though some clubs may have a no tipping policy. Tips for shoe service, like changing spikes, cleaning, and polishing, is anywhere from $5-$10.


Maître d’

$10-$20
This is the host of a nice restaurant. Times when you would consider tipping them: when they give you the best table, when they offer you a table without a reservation on a busy night, or if you just want to impress your date.


takeout delivery tipping

Delivery Person

10-20%
The factors here include timeliness and the condition of boxes/bags of the order.


Valet

$2-$5
If you’re not sure exactly how much, some people use the rule of thumb of $1 per $10,000 the car is worth.


tip at buffet style restaurants

Buffets

10-15% of the bill
This might seem a little out of the ordinary due to the self-serve aspect, but someone is usually still taking your drink order and clearing your table as you make trips to the buffet line. Tips can be more than this suggested amount in the case of great service.


Outdoor Guides

No standard
If you have an exceptional experience from a well trained and knowledgeable guide, consider a 10-20% tip. Some companies have a no-tip policy though, so don’t be shocked if your offer is turned down.


hair stylist trimming hair

Barber / Hairstylist

10-20%
This depends on a few factors: Did you ask for a more complex cut or style? Do you know them well enough to schedule outside of calling the salon directly? Did they fit you in last minute? In those cases, it’s better to tip on the higher-end. Also, if a different stylist colors your hair, tip them separately but at the same 10-20% rate. Lastly, if an assistant shampoos your hair separately from the stylist, it’s appropriate to give between $2-$5 to that person directly.


Hotel Housekeepers

$1-$5
As a rule of thumb, tips are typically $1 per person, per night. To ensure the best service, it’s best to leave the tip in an envelope for housekeeping each day rather than all at once at the end of your trip. If you make special requests, like extra amenities, consider throwing in a little more.


waitress taking order at restaurant

Waiter/Waitress

15-20%
This is the most common tipping situation, so I’m going to break it down a bit further:

If you have a favorite waiter or waitress, feel free to leave higher than the typical amount. Or if you like to visit the restaurant often, this will ensure the staff recognize you when you come in to eat, which could result in quicker/more attentive service.

If you have a poor experience, let your waiter/waitress know BEFORE leaving a bad tip. Many establishments will work to resolve the issue, such as comping your meal or issuing a credit for a future visit. If the issue is resolved, you should still tip as normal. If the issue is not addressed or the situation turns negative, you may opt to tip on the lower end, though you still may want to speak with the manager before leaving the restaurant to make your case.

It would be extremely rare to come across a situation where it is justified to not tip at all. The employees will likely remember you, and you may not feel very welcomed in the future.

Lastly, when using a gift certificate, promotion or coupon, remember to tip on the full meal value, not just on what was actually paid.


When are tips not necessary?

There are actually a few instances when a tip is not required, such as:

  • House Painters
  • Laundry Service
  • Personal Shoppers
  • Tailors or Seamstress
  • Telephone, Cable, Satellite, or Internet Installers or Repairmen

Here are more situations when a tip is not necessary.

For the following, a tip isn’t necessarily required, but offering them a drink for their hard labor in your home is a courtesy gesture:

  • Appliance Repairman
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Handymen
  • Home Services when the owner is the one completing the job

While I follow the suggested tipping situations and amounts, please keep in mind these are simply suggestions – a certain amount may work for one person’s lifestyle but may not be the same for another. Though tips can vary between customers, everyone should treat each experience and the people involved with respect and courtesy. Expressing gratitude and leaving with a big smile gives confirmation of a job well done.


Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer of self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.

Join The Discussion

Comments 152

  1. Andrea

    I’m not sure if this was the same as personal shopper..but i am part of the SHIPT grocery shopping…we call ourselves personal shoppers…I can say if it were not for tips we would be doing the job more as a courtesy to people than actually making any money…there is no specific amount and no guarantee for a to but when you carry 3 cases up pop out water up 3 flights of stairs..it is sure nice to be appreciated

    • Liz

      I’ve added the tip to my credit card the couple times I’ve ordered groceries and worry that the shopper won’t know that I tipped them since I’m not giving them cash at the door. Do you automatically see that someone has tipped, or do you just assume they have tipped through the app if they don’t give you cash? How much do you feel is right for tipping?

  2. Sophie

    Tipping is so archaic. Companies should provide a living wage to employees, so they don’t have to depend on tips to live. But, because we live in such a country, just tip depending on how good of service you get. Simple.

  3. Michelle Stadel

    Does anyone tip appliance deliverymen or tow truck drivers?

    • Maggie

      I don’t tip appliance repair guys, but I have tipped tow truck drivers — esp. when they haul-butt to get to me quickly so I don’t have to wait alone on the side of the road long. If they fix something on the spot so that I don’t need a tow to the mechanic, they’re definitely getting a tip — they don’t have to do that, and when they do, it’s an “extra.” If I’m traveling with my dog, and they bend the rules to let my dog ride in cab while towing my car, they’re getting a tip for that too (it’s a BIG dog).

      • Maggie

        I should add: the last tow truck driver who fixed something on the spot to save me having to be towed to the mechanic got $40 from me for his trouble. He was happy with that, and I was happy to be on my way without paying the mechanic.

  4. Carissa - All Day Mom

    I didn’t see moving men on here and it obviously doesn’t come up often (except for us haha!) We tip movers $40 per person. If they do a great job and hustle the whole time ask for them by name if you move again, and get their phone numbers so if you just need something heavy moved some day you can hire them for an hour. The movers we used twice we’re so appreciative of tips and food/cold drinks that I’d guess $20 per person may be the norm but that is a hard job and they deserve every penny! Also must buy them food! Pizza or take out is great, just ask what they like.
    As for servers getting a “living wage” hahaha! I made minimum $40 per hour not counting minimum wage at family restaurants like Olive Garden and local steakhouses. No way is a restaurant going to pay good servers $50+ per hour! The reason you get great service at a $30 per plate restaurant and crappy service at Denny’s (in general) is because good servers follow the money! I was a server and bartender for 15 years in CA, and no, I didn’t need the state to force my restaurants to pay me more! That’s not how the USA works! Hard work pays off; everyone does NOT deserve a high wage!

  5. Susan Domke

    I’m a massage therapist. We work very hard to give you the therapeutic body work that you need. Tips mean that you appreciated our knowledge and our physical work. $10 is a reasonable tip. I personally always tip $20. : )

  6. TeddyD

    UGH! I HATE tipping! (I DO tip) I just hate doing so, even more so after living in a country where tipping is considered to be rude. I feel like it can create an unnecessary awkward situation. I also wish taxes would be included in the price listed not added on at the register.

  7. Rob

    Not tipping carpet cleaners, etc.
    If you’ve ever seen the filth that comes out of your carpets and expected the technician to move your furniture, pickup your dog poo, clean your spilled wine, pee, grime, puke and dirt – a small tip is always appreciated.

    I may not tip the owners of a biz or guy with an attitude, but I always recognize someone who goes a little bit further to do an excellent job with a personal tip.

  8. Alana

    What about Laser Hair Removal or Botox? People tip on “salon services” like hair, nails, massage.. but don’t tip on “medical service” like lasik or teeth whitening? Are those considered services to be tipped? I’ve always wondered. Example- I would tip on an eyebrow wax, but I wouldn’t think to tip on electrology/laser hair removal on my eyebrows. What do ya’ll think??

  9. Margot

    I am a Lyft driver and I would say I only receive tips 10% of the time. I have a 5 star rating and I always go the extra mile and help people with their groceries, luggage etc. It would be nice if tips were more consistent. I will often get a tip on an airport ride, but not always. I would say you should tip your driver if they go out of their way to provide excellent service. If anyone is interested in Lyft as a driver or passenger, I would be happy to answer questions.

  10. rel8ted

    We tipped our mechanic for working us in and saving us vs getting our car fixed at a closer shop. We gave him 25% of the few hundred he saved us. He is now our regular guy. We get great service, and his wife was thrilled that he used the tip to take her out on adate night. I literally thought he was going to cry.

  11. Krys

    We try not to dine out or order food very often for the fact that we do not want to tip. When you add up the amount you probably tip for things in a year it’s an eye opener and may make you rethink whether those things are worth it or not.

  12. LCoco

    What about the porter at the airport if you need wheelchair assistance?
    If they make me wait while they can grab another handicapper I only give 2.00. If I’m the only one I’ll give them 5.00

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