How Much to Tip in Every Situation – From Your Hairdresser to Pizza Delivery to a Massage Therapist
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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?
- $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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- $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.
- 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.
- $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.
- 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 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.
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. 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Specialized delivery services — between 10-20%
- Popular service: Postmates
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. 😂
Miscellaneous services — between 0-10%
- Popular services: TaskRabbit
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.
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:
- 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. 🙂