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How Much to Tip in Every Situation – From Your Hairdresser to Pizza Delivery to a Massage Therapist

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More Tips

woman delivering Pizza Hut items

How much should 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 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 always be an appreciative guest. To help gauge an appropriate tip amount, I scoured the information on ConsumerReports.com for suggestions of everyday instances for tipping.

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.


How much should I tip for popular services?

a bartender mixing alcoholic drinks

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.


Starbucks coffee cup

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.


Tattoo Artist

  • 15% to 20%

You definitely want to find a tattoo artist who is reputable for doing a good job. And just like any job well done, he/she deserves a nice tip.


money saving moving tips — flattened moving boxes you can get for free

Movers

  • 5-10% of the cost or $10 to $20 per person

Moving furniture is a lot of manual labor. If the moving company helps bring in and set up your furniture, they definitely deserve a tip. The amount will depend on the level of difficulty, the number of items they’re moving, and the effort of the crew, so use your own discretion.


Massage Therapist

  • 15-20% of service

At most day spas, it’s appropriate to tip 15-20% of the bill. However, if you’re getting a massage at a bargain price or are using a coupon code, the gratuity should be based on the actual retail value of the service and not the reduced rate.

If you’re staying at a resort spa, note that many spas add a service fee of 18-20% onto the massage or facial. If you think you received exceptional service, you can give the therapist additional money in the treatment room.


getting nails painted

Manicurist/Pedicurist

  • 15-20% of service

When it comes to manis and pedis, tip them like you would tip your hairstylist. With a 15% to 20% tip, you can’t go wrong! If you are having an extra service done, adjust your tip accordingly.


Car Washer

  • $2-$5 for standard car wash
  • 10-20% for detailing

For a standard car wash, a $2 to $5 tip is appropriate. Many times, car wash businesses have a general tip jar that gets split up among all the car washing employees. However, if you are having your car detailed, a 10-20% tip of the total price is more appropriate.


dog being washed

Dog Groomer

  • 15-20% of the service total

Dog groomers deal with all sorts of things on a daily basis that require a lot of tough physical labor and a whole bunch of patience. Your dog groomer lifts, pulls, clips, grinds, squeezes anal glands, bathes the dog, gets covered with water and soap, dodges bites and scratches, and deals with other common dog behavioral issues and things throughout the course of a day.

Showing your appreciation by tipping a dog groomer 15-20% of the bill is the least we can do.


Furniture Delivery

  • $5-$20 per person

The amount will depend on the size and complexity of the delivery. If the delivery person is delivering and putting the furniture together in your house, you may want to opt for the more generous tip.


House Cleaners or Maid Service

  • 15-20% of service

If you have a house cleaner who does a great job, it is always nice to show your appreciation by giving them a nice tip. However, the amount can vary on the amount of space they are cleaning, if they’re tackling a really dirty project (like a filthy kids bathroom), and how well the job is done.


Room Service

  • 15-20% if gratuity has not been included in the bill

According to a gratuity guide from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, room service staff should be tipped 15-20% of your total meal bill. However, some hotels may already include the gratuity on the bill, so be sure to check the fine print on the menu carefully. If this is the case, there’s no need to tip the staff directly.


golf clubs on course

Golf Course Caddies

  • 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 boxes from Pizza Hut

Delivery Person

  • 10-20%

The factors here include timeliness and the condition of boxes/bags of the order. Remember that they do not make your food, so if there is a problem with the contents that doesn’t involve transport, that’s something to speak with the restaurant directly.


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.


buffet style food line

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.


What about services booked through tech?

It’s hard to navigate proper etiquette when so many new services are booked through tech. Should I have a full-blown conversation with my rideshare driver? How many notes are too many for the shopper tackling my grocery list? And the most commonly debated question—what’s the appropriate amount to tip? With insight from etiquette experts, we’re also outlining the suggested tipping amounts for modern-day services below.

man driving a vehicle

Ridesharing services — between 10-20%

Uber originally boasted a “no-need-to-tip” policy, but that has changed over the last couple of years. When in doubt, you can use this helpful scale developed by Julia Boyd, an international etiquette consultant. She recommends tipping between 15-20% for exceptional service, 10-15% for good service, and 10% for average service.

That said, what’s considered exceptional, good, and average will vary person-to-person, but in an effort to make sure your driver knows how to perform “exceptionally”, let them know if you have a preference for the conversation level, music, or temperature.


GrubHub bag

Takeout delivery services — between $5-10

While many people say tipping 10% is fine, you should be tipping at least $5 for your order—and then more on top of that depending on the weather conditions. Coming from someone who lives in an area with unfortunately cold winters, we’re grateful for the delivery people who pick up our takeout while it’s snowing—they’re the real MVPs!

Just make sure your tip is reflective of the delivery and not the food itself. The driver can’t help it if the chef had a heavy hand with the spices on your General Tsao’s Chicken.


person carrying instacart bag

Grocery shopping and delivery services — between 5-20%

Yes, this is a pretty big range, but all grocery orders are different. As outlined on Quora, a good rule of thumb is 5-20% for grocery orders under $200, 7.5-20% for orders over $200, and around $15-$25 on heavy item orders (ones that include bottled water or large quantity packs from warehouse stores).

Luckily with services like this, you can gauge a job well done after the shopper has left your doorstep. Are your frozen products still cold? Is the produce fresh and vibrant? Did they communicate about substitutions or out-of-stock products?

Most grocery services default the delivery tip to 5%, but if you think your shopper did an outstanding job picking out the best fruits, lugging a large pack of water up your stairs, or suffering through inclement weather to get to your home, feel free to tack on a couple of extra bucks.

Hip Tip: Read why we’re huge fans of grocery delivery services!


postmates swag

Specialized delivery services — between 10-20%

For services that will deliver just about anything, like takeout food, office supplies, or a new computer, take into consideration what you’re asking when it comes to tipping. It also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that these individuals are making barely over minimum wage and are worth their weight in gold when it comes to convenience.

Small food orders probably won’t warrant much over the 10%, but when large, heavy, or bulky items come into play, you may want to consider upping that percentage.

Oh, and while you can hand over cash at delivery or tip through the app, don’t falsely promise that a tip will come to the delivery person later—they’ll probably out you on the Postmates subreddit. 😂


woman using a drill to assemble furniture

Miscellaneous services — between 0-10%

This is a tricky situation, as you typically set the price for the task you’re asking (and people who commonly use the service feel the company discourages tips). This one is completely up to you and can be based on how long the person worked on your project or if they went above and beyond.

Keep in mind there’s a reason you contracted out the assembly of your new IKEA bookshelf—deciphering those instructions can be a pain! Generally, a few dollars or 10% of the hourly wage should suffice if you’re looking to reward an individual for a great job.


kroger storefront

Grocery store pickup services — 0%, seriously!

When ordering your groceries directly through a store for pickup, you’ll be happy to know that the price you set out to pay doesn’t come with any other financial strings attached. A majority of the stores that offer this type of service have policies in place to prohibit tipping as a safety precaution to their employees.

Many store associates will let you know if they’re not allowed to accept tips should you try to slip them a few bucks upon pickup, but you can always call and speak to a store supervisor if you have questions about their tipping policy.


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

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

Do you take advantage of any of these convenient services?

Let us know in the comments which services you love and your thoughts regarding these tipping ranges. And remember, everyone approaches tipping differently so please be respectful of varying views in responses. 🙂


Guess who spends more on their haircut: Lina or her poodle?!

Join The Discussion

Comments 170

  1. KH

    As someone who has worked for a resort spa for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen the industry change greatly.
    We used to receive a much higher commission and guests were able to tip according to service.
    Now we receive a much lower commission per service and the hotel adds on a 20% service charge. What’s isn’t disclosed to guests is that we only receive a portion of that service charge. The hotel receives the rest. The guest has the right to ask the service charge to be adjusted accordingly and they can opt to leave strictly cash instead, which does go to the service provider in its entirety. This is always much more appreciated.

  2. Tricia

    How about tipping the EMT or paramedic that helps you or saves your life or the life of a loved one? They make less than most of these people that you tip. I will tip when I deam it necessary. I don’t let anyone make me feel guilty when I don’t and alot of people do. So many of these people should not be tipped especially when you are already paying for the service.

  3. tracy

    Tipping is so out of control. Where I live the baristas at the coffee shop makes $15 an hour plus tips. The nurses aids at the nursing home make $13 and can’t accept any form of gratuity as it’s considered a bribe for preferential treatment.

  4. Brooke

    I’m honestly tired of the whole guessing game! I’m at the point where I’d just prefer you to tell me the cost with expected tip included. Based on that information, I’ll either use your service or go elsewhere. I had my hair lightened, highlighted, cut and blow dried. I know this is generally an expensive process and as a mother of 2 on a tight budget, I feel guilty for doing anything for myself so I typically only do this once a year (around income tax time). The hair dresser took “before and after” pictures for her portfolio and promised to text them to me when we were done. My hair took approximately 2-3 hours. When finished, i was asked how much I’d like to leave for a tip. My total was around $120 and she did an excellent job. I happily replied, “20%” but after noticing the expression on her face, I wondered if I had said something wrong? I thanked her on the way out and she did not respond so the receptionist did. I texted her to thank her again, in case she didn’t hear me, and to asked if she would send the before and after pics. I never received a response. I later asked my neighbor who is a hair dresser and she told me that they view it more as clients should tip based off of the service provided and the amount of time spent, rather than the total. Huh?! She told me that I basically gave the girl $8 an hour and she was probably dissapointed. I’d love to hear a response from other hair dressers on that one. I agree with many who stated that this tip stuff is getting out of control. Where does one draw the line? Yes to servers, hair dressers, delivery food services, etc. I get it! No to the “tip jar” at Subway, Moe’s, the sushi guy at the buffet and the hands free carwash down the road from me! (Smh) Good grief! But that’s just my opinion.

    • Tricia

      Wow! My husband is an EMT and started at $8.38 an hour. He’s been in one ambulance accident where he had to be backboarded and sent to the ER because they thought he had internal bleeding. He’s been poked by a needle and has had to undergo one year of testing to make sure he didn’t contract any diseases from that needle. He has 6 herniated discs in his back from lifting so many patients over the years…..but a hairdresses is disappointed getting an $8 an hour tip on top of a $120 job!?!? Yeah no sorry. I only tip those who really survive off tips like waiters. The rest like tipping the mailman, cleaning service, furniture delivery etc is just ridiculous in my opinion.

      • Brooke

        Totally agree with you Tricia!

      • Emily

        That’s a $24 tip! That seems really good to me for a hair service. I am just as confused as you with this entire tipping thing.

      • Snazzytea

        I completely agree! Although servers in CA make minimum wage, not a servers minimum wage like in other states.

    • Anne

      I usually tip 20% also when I go in for hair cuts. I don’t do more expensive styles because I’m low-maintenance on my hair, but I don’t understand why she was upset that you didn’t tip her more. I would think 20% would be acceptable!

    • annie

      Hi Brooke. I am a licenced cosmetologist (stylist) of 23 years and your 20% tip was fine. Please do not let some money hungry, greedy, young, and obviously self centered ‘hairdresser’ cause you to feel we are all in agreement with ‘her idea of what she deserves’. I have a completely full clientele which consists of clients I have had for many years (most have actually been with me for my entire career. I love them like my family and would never make them feel like less. Some tip me more, but I would NEVER EVER (I cannot emphasize that enoigh)expect them to. I am greatly appreciative of those that can and do, but I treat every one of them with equal love and attention.

  5. Anna

    I had 5 to 8 2yr olds I did a preschool class with Monday – Friday. I changed diapers (some with major explosions from people bringing sick kids) been puked on and helped potty train. It was so exhausting but I did it because it helped pay for my kids to go to a private school. I didn’t even make minimum wage and received no benefits. They were able to do that because it was offsetting my kids tuition. I never got one paycheck but I never went around and said how unfairly I was treated or that I deserve more.

  6. Tory

    I’m a Licensed Esthetician at a Dermatologist office and 50% of patients do not tip. They either don’t know (because it’s a doctor’s office) or they just don’t. Some ask if they can because it’s still a service I am providing! The ones that don’t tip are the Chinese patients (my office get a heavy traffic of Chinese – and don’t think I’m racist because I’m Asian myself). Yet, when I go get a massage, they badger you to tip or they start yelling at you if you don’t *eyeroll*
    As for tips – I get a range from $5 – $15 (which is between 5-15% of the service). Sometimes I get gift cards as well.

  7. jodee805

    For those of us that go wine tasting make sure you tip your tasting room attendants accordingly. When you think about what you get and learn from them… they spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour educating you on the entire wine industry. It starts with the growing, harvesting, processing, characteristics, venue…. Tasting room attendants get paid very minimal. Most don’t get commission of wine sales so please tip according to service which is usually much more than a bartender gives 🍷

  8. nldaadmin

    I, too, wonder about places like Panera, where you place your order at the counter, and then, on your way to find a table, you get your own napkins, water, and drink refills. It’s not that different from Wendy’s. (We don’t eat out at more expensive restaurants because it’s not in our budget.) If you pay by credit card when you place your order, there is the obligatory screen that asks if you want to add a tip, and I usually do. But I don’t mind refilling my own water, so why am I approached to tip a nonexistent waiter? The most we get “served” is when they first deliver the order to the table- and nothing after that. (And that’s fine, and exactly what I expect from this business model.) Is anyone else flummoxed by this scenario?

    • Snazzytea

      I’ve seen that at places they don’t even deliver your food to you. You order and pick up at the counter.

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