It’s the season for generous tips.
- The holidays are approaching and in this economy, your tips can make a big difference to service professionals.
- 15% to 20% is the gold standard for many tipping situations.
- You don’t usually have to tip people like your lawyer or accountant, but they might appreciate a holiday gift.
The holiday season is upon us, and while you should definitely tip generously all year round, tipping might be more at the forefront of your mind during the holidays. After all, for people who work in America’s service industries, much of their income may come from tips, and with inflation still up 8.2% from last year according to the latest summary of consumer price index, they can surely use a little help. Read on for a breakdown of the 10 times to tip, plus some notes on when you shouldn’t.
1. Eat at a sit-down restaurant
You should always tip your server at a sit-down restaurant, as they work hard to make sure you get what you ordered in a timely manner, as well as refilling your drink and making sure you have a good meal. . The etiquette gurus at Emily Post note that the traditional percentage for tipping your server is 15% to 20% of the cost of your bill, and it should be calculated based on the total bill including tax. Also note that some restaurants have waiter pool tips so that anyone working that night (such as bartenders, table busters, etc.) gets a discount.
2. Visit a bar
It’s also best to tip your bartender, because just like a restaurant server, he does his best to give you a fun night out. Emily Post says 15% to 20% works in this situation as well, or you can avoid the math by tipping $1 to $2 per drink.
3. Have a coffee
If your favorite coffee shop has a tip jar or tip field built into its payment system, whether or not to tip is up to you. If you’re a regular customer or your barista has created some particularly lovely latte art for you, it might be nice to put a buck or two in that jar.
4. Get food delivered
If someone braves the elements to bring your dinner right to your door, you really should tip them (specifically, as many food delivery apps note, 100% of tips go to the delivery driver, whereas that driver probably won’t see much of the service fee the app may charge you). Emily Post states that 10% to 15% of the bill is an adequate tip, or $2 to $5 for a pizza delivery.
5. Get your hair done or your nails done
It’s wonderful to have someone helping you look your best, and don’t forget to tip those miracle workers. Emily Post also advocates a 15% to 20% tip here, and remember that your tip can be split between everyone who helped you (for example, if another member of staff washed your hair before you to cut).
6. Get a massage
If you’re at a spa for your massage, it’s customary to tip in that 15%-20% range (see a trend?). But if you’re in a chiropractor’s office or physiotherapy clinic for your massage, you don’t need to tip.
7. Take a ride
It has long been customary to tip your taxi driver 15-20%, and you can do the same for a rideshare driver. If you are asked to rate your driver and they did a good job, give them a five star rating as this can help them keep their job.
8. Arrival (or departure) from a hotel
Emily Post notes that it’s best to tip your bellhop $2 for the first bag they carry to your room, and add an extra $1 for each additional bag. It can add up if you have a lot of luggage, but it’s nice to have someone else move those bags for you.
9. Have your hotel room cleaned
Although you can wait to tip housekeeping services until you leave after your stay, it’s much nicer to leave $2-5 per day (ideally with a note that says “Housekeeping”) to ensure that if different people clean your room every day, they will each get a little something.
10. Park your car
Finally, if you take advantage of valet parking, Emily Post notes that it’s customary to tip $2-5 when your car is returned to you after its adventure in the parking lot.
People who don’t need a tip
There are a lot of people in our lives who you think deserve a tip, but it’s best to give people like your accountant, your lawyer, or your child’s teacher a holiday gift instead if they really went above and beyond for you (or your child) this year. You also probably don’t need to tip the plumber who came to fix your leaky sink (unless it was an emergency and he came out on the fly, in which case he might appreciate a little extra). You’ll also want to check your restaurant bill if you went out with a large group of diners; many restaurants will automatically include a tip in the bill for parties over a certain size.
Another quick note about tipping: cash is preferred in many situations, and in some cases you may not be able to tip with a debit or credit card. I too have become one of those people who don’t often carry cash on them, but if you know you are going to benefit from services such as those listed above, it may be a good idea to have a few small bills at hand. .
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