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…
$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.
$1 or $2
This applies only if it’s a courtesy coat check. If there’s a fee then no tip is required.
Musicians (at a lounge)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
$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.
$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.
$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.
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.
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.
The factors here include timeliness and the condition of boxes/bags of the order.
If you’re not sure exactly how much, some people use the rule of thumb of $1 per $10,000 the car is worth.
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.
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.
Barber / Hairstylist
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.
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.
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:
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:
- 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.