We all know how important it is to tip the people who provide a service to us. Whether it’s a waiter, a food-delivery person, or a hairdresser, it is generally considered important and ethical to tip in most situations.
However, the amount you tip, how you tip, and when it is okay not to tip, all vary from situation to situation. Plus, it can be an uncomfortable scenario to calculate how much you should tip at the very last minute.
Let’s go through a general guideline on tipping etiquette.
When You Should Always Tip
In some instances, there is no question on whether you should tip or not. Here, a tip is expected and necessary to let the service provider know you appreciate them.
Many of these people depend on getting tipped as they earn a base wage.
Restaurants are one place where you should always tip. Waiters are often being paid less than the minimum legal salary. So, tipping a waiter supplements their income.
Generally, you should try to tip between 15-20% of your overall bill. While tipping for good service, 20% is recommended.
When in a group, each person can tip some cash according to their meal.
Many people wonder if they should tip on the overall bill, including the restaurant tax, or the pretax amount. If it is affordable, it is always best to tip on the total amount.
When you’re at a bar and ordering drinks, you can just tip a flat amount rather than calculating a percentage.
You can leave $1 for a beer and $2 for a cocktail. If you order snacks or food and the service is good, you should then tip 20% of the bill.
When it comes to staying at a hotel, you must remember to tip the housekeeper who cleans your room. Rather than tipping a large amount while checking out, you can give 2 to 3 dollars each day to housekeeping. This is because, in many hotels, the housekeeper changes each day.
If you were staying with kids and pets, that means additional work, so you may want to consider tipping a little more in this case.
Hair or Nail Salon
Typically, 15% is a decent rate to tip at salons. It is best to keep some cash aside to tip the person who provided their services to you.
Many people believe in only paying the hourly rate that was agreed upon with the babysitter. However, it is a good idea to round off the figure to a solid number. This is a way of showing appreciation as some days can be hectic or involve additional chores. If the payment amounts to $45, you could pay $50.
For regular babysitters, you could buy gifts for them on special occasions and holidays, or pay a bonus at the end of the year.
When Tipping Is a Little Tricky
There are some situations where there is a grey area and no standard tipping rule. Let’s look at such services and how you can make tipping decisions.
It’s not necessary to tip at a coffee shop but it’s always considered a nice gesture. If you go to the same cafe regularly, get a special order, or good service regularly—consider tipping!
If they make latte art for you or serve something complimentary, you should try to tip. A good rule of thumb is 20% of your bill.
Food delivery persons don’t need to be tipped as much as waiters. When receiving your food, handing over 3 to 5 dollars as a tip is a good idea. If the delivery person arrived in less than ideal circumstances like rain or snow, or if the order was large, you should tip some more.
Although there is no obligation, it is sensible to tip movers especially if they moved heavy luggage or carried items up or down a flight of stairs. You should try to tip about $15 to $20 for each mover.
Taxi fares are usually so high that it can get tricky tipping taxi drivers. If you have the cash, try to spare 15-20% of the fare as a tip. Uber and Lyft will even calculate tips for you based on percentages.
You do not have to tip the doorman of your apartment building regularly. However, giving a monetary gift at the end of the year is a nice gesture.
This is a tough area to deal with. Sometimes, your hairdresser or waiter might make a mistake.
This does not mean you should skip tipping them altogether. If the mistake was repeatedly made or caused damage, you can tip them less than you normally would.
When NOT to Tip
In some circumstances, tipping is not necessary. In fact, there are some professions where tipping is considered a bad idea.
Usually, it is not allowed for teachers to accept cash from students or parents. It would be wise to consult the school for rules on gifts to teachers. Sometimes, there are also rules on the value of the gift, which cannot be exceeded.
Nurses, Doctors, and Therapists
Workers in the medical profession are often not allowed to accept money as a gift. It is better to give them a “thank you” card or verbally express your gratitude to them.
It is considered improper and inappropriate to give cash to employees at a workplace. A formal bonus is not the same as giving cash in this way.
Sometimes, the servicer can be extremely rude or ill-mannered towards you. If their behavior is very negative and unacceptable, it is okay to not tip them as a way to express your disapproval for bad customer service.
Whereas rude behavior falls under this clear category, you should not mistake it with poor or faulty service, which may or may not be the servicer’s fault.
For instance, if your food took forever to arrive, it may be due to a fault in the kitchen. So, in many situations, not tipping at all is not considered a good move.
If the taxi driver is reckless or ill-mannered, you do not owe them a tip in exchange for bad services. Similarly, a hairstylist who is inattentive, rude, or unapologetic after making a mistake also does not need to be tipped. If your room remains untidy or dirty, you can skip tipping the housekeeper.
The best way to go about these incidents is to keep an open heart and always judge the person fairly. As a general rule of thumb, always try to tip the person who provided you a service. In grey areas, trust your gut and try to give some extra cash if your budget can accommodate it.
You should also look up the tipping norms in other countries when you are traveling. For instance, most countries in Asia are relaxed and many restaurants there include service charges within the restaurant bill. In Europe, it is considered normal to leave the change as a tip or giving 10% or less in many situations.
Image credit: [KAROLINA GRABOWSKA]