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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.


Emily is an evergreen writer specializing in health, beauty, fashion & living frugally. She has degrees in Business & Communication. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 185

  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?

      • Jessica

        We can see if weve been tipped! Considering most small/average orders only pay about $6-$8..a tip of at least $5 or more is what will insure we will take your order again! We dont get gas reimbursement…so most orders arent worth the time or gas, if it werent for tips!

    • Louie

      Not tipping your personal shopper is pretty much a promise that you’ll never get your groceries on time ever again. The reality is that these platforms do not pay adequately and thus 30%+ of earnings is tip.

    • Cat

      If classify you as “delivery person”. A personal shopper is someone who gets paid to use their opinion/knowledge of you and “what they’re selling” and applies that to the customers needs.

  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.

    • Lois Ambrose

      I tip a tow truck driver if they arrive in a timely manner and are kind.

  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!

    • Suz in OH

      I was glad to see your post on movers. I have offered beverages and snacks, and to go get food for them as well as tipping with cash. Also, I tipped the 2 men who loaded up a van with items I was donating to a charity. They are employed by the charity and I know they are not over paid by any stretch of the imagination.

  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.

    • animity

      Yes, yes and yes!!!

  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.

    • farmersdaughter

      I have to agree and I used to be a server. I don’t like tipping people for doing their job, I don’t feel like I should be the one to compensate for so called crappy wages. If that were the case, I would want to be involved with the hiring process. Where I live the minimum wage is $12 an hour, will raise to $12.50 an hour on July 1, 2019. This is more than I make with Social Security, I manage to live on it, so how is this a “crappy wage”? If someone is providing exceptional service, goes above and beyond normal service I am happy to leave a tip.

      • Amy

        Because food servers don’t make min wage and neither do personal shoppers.

        • ANGELA

          Some states, like Washington State, pay servers minimum wage. They do not have a server’s wage. So in Seattle, the barista is making $15/hr and the server at Olive Garden is making $15/hr.

  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

    • jackie ESPARZA

      thank you. taking one tomorrow at the airport. and yes you are right. but the last time this porter took me maybe two gates and put out his hand and said 5.00 or more please. I got so angry he got two dollars. yes he is doing a service .he also is getting paid his wages. if I did not have to use one I would not. sometimes people go way overboard. same as valet parking. if I did not have to would not use it. they expect a big tip .

  13. Justine

    What about if you’re ordering take out and not eating in? I always wonder if I should tip them.

    • Beth

      Justine I would love to know that also…..there always seems to be a line for a tip which is fine but what percentage would be proper?

    • Tippy McTipperson

      I never tip when I physically pick up food from a restaurant. Doesn’t make any sense.

    • tahaji

      I realize this was a day ago so the original person may not see this but most restaurants that have take out or online/togo ordering assign a wait staff to that function the same as they are assigned specific tables. Because of this I tip for online/togo orders.

    • Cas

      I don’t tip for take out. Is it awkward yes but I drive there, go in and pick up. To me it’s no different than going to Chick Fil-A, and I don’t tip there.

  14. Emily

    Don’t forget to tip your dog groomer. I know a $50+ dog haircut is already expensive but they’re just like hair stylists and have to rent the space in the salon and provide their own tools. I didn’t know that when I first got a fluffy little dog years agk. I asked on Facebook to mixed reactions and a friend asked their groomer friend about it and told me about renting space. That dog has since passed and my new dogs don’t need cuts, but I still get their nails trimmed at a salon and for those, I tip $5 total, which works out to $2.50 a dog. (The nail trim is $5 each) Our groomer is done with their nails in 5 minutes flat, so I think that’s fair. If my dogs are cry babies that day, I have been known to double it.

  15. ann

    What is with the “nice gesture” mentality. They are doing a job, not a favor. Tipping shouldn’t exist. Charges should include the wages, like most jobs. Can you imagine if doctors worked on tips.

  16. Teah

    I use to work at a resort. I asked the house keepers about tipping and they gave me a “tip”. Leave the tip some where out of site like under the pillow and/or through your stay, not at the end of it because they had “inventory inspectors” (usually managers) who go through before they clean to make sure nothing is broken, nothing is missing, mini fridge expenses are accounted for etc… and if the tip was in the open they would take it. I know this won’t apply everywhere, But it may in some places.

    • Marion

      This happened to me when I cleaned hotel rooms many years ago. The housekeeping manager would go in rooms and take tips.

    • Leah

      Sadly this happens all the time. I worked for a bed and breakfast for four years. The owner would go through and take the tips before we came in and cleaned. I always found it sad that the owner complained that people did not tip enough. At the time I worked I’m Idaho for six dollars an hour, under the table so she would not have to pay taxes. It was my first job while in highschool. My parents were friends with the owner.

  17. Damien Barber

    I generally agree you should leave a tip even if the service isn’t up to par, but I actually did run into 1 situation where it was appropriate to leave no tip/ obviously low tip (pocket change). We were at a Mexican restaurant and we were like 1 of 3 tables at the time (non-peak time). Took them forever to come take our order, never got a refill, never got the dessert we ordered (and by the time we found a server to complain to we were really just done with trying so didn’t bother trying to get it at that point). Just obvious the wait staff did not care to do their job at all. They probably spent most of their time out back smoking or chit-chatting in the kitchen (who knows where they were disappearing to). They also tried to mischarge us and failed to give us the proper change at first. It was terrible. Normally I tip well but I refused to tip in that circumstance beyond some pocket change.

    Also, lately I have been working a second job as a delivery driver for Grubhub and I definitely appreciate decent tips. A minimum $ amount also should be considered as 20% on a $5 order being only $1 when they are spending their time and GAS to bring you your food is a bit low. $4 minimum if the GH CEO’s suggested minimum, but honestly that seems a bit high (unless it is a long drive or something). Maybe $2-3 minimum or 15-20%, whichever is higher.

  18. MJHL

    Thoughts on tipping the owner/operator of salon who cuts your hair?

    • Mj

      When I worked at a salon, half the people tipped the owner and the other half didn’t. If it’s a very profitable business, I wouldn’t tip them, but give most of it to their assistant if they worked on you too. If it’s a small salon, and they just rent space I would consider tipping them even if they are the “owner”. I always tip massage therapists and esthethician’s. They often get lower commissions than hairstylists. So show them you appreciate their hands on hard work;).

  19. Matt

    I have always wondered about Takeout/Curbside to go. If you order your food online for the curbside to go, and then pull up and somebody brings it out to you, or if you go in to pick it up? Do you tip, or no? They did not go out of their way to make your stay better, they just carried your food for the 15 feet from one spot to another.

    I always tip when I sit down to eat, but this is the part that I am always confused with…

    • Kat

      Personally I never tip when I’m picking up food because they didn’t do anything extra. You don’t tip the McDonald’s worker when they bring you your food so don’t tip the person that brought out the food to your car either. It’s the same concept imo. I also don’t tip if the service sucked. I don’t agree with tipping in general because you’re just doing your job. Like teachers don’t get tips and they had to deal with your kids all year, not just a few hours on one night, lol. If someone does a really good job then I will feel inclined to tip and I definitely feel like service repair people and cable guys should get tips as well. Usually they are doing much harder jobs than just waiting tables. I wouldn’t want to climb in attics or do plumbing work ever but those guys have to. That deserves a little extra I think.

      • Amy

        You do understand that waitresses get paid less than minimum wage? Instacart, doordash and other shopper services also don’t get an hourly wage, they are independent contractors and get paid based on the order. Most of them make $3 an hr after taxes and gas expenses.

  20. Tracy

    I am a good tipper except I refuse to tip at fast and casual food places where I place the order at the counter and pick it up myself. Examples of this are the tip jars at Jimmy Johns, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, chinese take out places and the one that irks me the most is Papa Johns has a tip jar at the counter to tip when you pick up a carry out pizza!

  21. C

    What about the car hops at Sonic? I have never tipped them because they used to practically ASK for it ( “do you want your change!), which I feel is rude and therefore always pay w my cc.
    … But it seems to be the standard now and I do t really understand why.

    • Terri

      At least in my area, Sonic servers are paid waitress wages, not minimum wage. What frustrates me is that when you pay with a card at does not allow you to add the tip, so I generally skip Sonic unless I have cash on me.

  22. Amy

    Don’t tip personal shoppers? Are you serious? You tip someone to hang up your coat and fetch it when you want it but someone goes to a store and shops for you and delivers it
    To your house and you don’t
    Think you should tip? You must be on some kind of stupid with this article. When anyone provides a “service” for you it’s polite to tip them to show your appreciation because you are too lazy to go shop yourself. (Yes I know there are other reasons like illness and handicap).

  23. Janet

    Why wouldn’t you tip your personal shopper? Shameful
    This is a service industry

  24. Terri

    The link in the blue box: “Here are more situations when a tip is not necessary” goes to a page that I don’t believe is correct.

    • Cassandra (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the heads up, Terri. I have updated that link.

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