How Much Should You Tip?

How Much Should You Tip?

While most of us know that it’s appropriate to tip our server at a restaurant, it’s not always clear whether you should tip the hotel concierge, funeral chaplain, and/or dog groomer as well.

If you leave a tip, how large should it be? Are there situations where tipping isn't necessary? Below are common situations where tipping is necessary:

Hotels

Hotels offer a variety of services making a gratuity situation more likely. A simple rule of thumb for hotel staff includes the following:

  • Hotel porter toting your bags – $2 to $3 per bag
  • Room service with gratuity included on the bill – $2
  • Room service without gratuity included – 20 percent of the charge
  • Housekeeping – $1 to $5 per day.

If the hotel is a five-star property, keep in mind that the service expectations are greater, and the tip should be as well.

Restaurants

When dining at a restaurant, the size of a gratuity depends on how well you are served, including whether your order is correct or if your server checks on you after you receive your food. For restaurant wait staff, 15 percent to 20 percent of the bill is a good amount to tip. When your party stays for an extended period of time, roughly equivalent to the time the restaurant could have seated and served others, tip twice the amount. You should always leave a minimal tip even for horrible service.

For takeout, no tip is necessary, but if you receive extraordinary service, like a waiter packaging your food, then tip $1 to $2 (up to 10 percent). For sushi, tip 10 percent for its preparation.

Trips

When you're on a trip, there is a level of uncertainty associated with how much to tip for various services.

For cruise employees, tipping policies vary, but each cruise line should inform you of the specific tipping policy when you board.

For airport curbside check-in, consider tipping $1 to $2 per bag and more for oversized bags. Airport shuttle bus drivers should be tipped $2 to $3, and 15 percent of the fare should be tipped to taxi drivers.

Beauty Business

Many workers in the beauty business get paid on commission only or minimum wage plus a small percentage of the fee. Salon/spa tipping suggestions include:

  • Massage therapist – 10 percent to 20 percent
  • Hairstylist – 10 percent to 20 percent
  • Manicure or facial – 15 percent
  • Barber – $2 to $3.

The best gauge is to consider the service you're getting and give what's appropriate.

Weddings and Funerals

With all that happens at major events like weddings and funerals, giving gratuities is easily overlooked. Wedding tips should be given based on the following:

  • Wait Staff – $20 to $25 per server
  • Bartender – $20 to $25 per bartender or 10 percent of the total bar tab
  • Coat Room or Bathroom Attendants – $1 per guest (paid by host)
  • Disc Jockey – $50 to $100
  • Wedding Planner – $50 to $100.

For tips at a funeral, you should consider tipping the presiding official, but any tips for funeral home staff are generally handled by the funeral home. Sometimes those fees are itemized on the bill, or they are included in the overall price that the family pays.

Remember, your tip may allow you extra service on the next visit, or the ability to get an appointment when others could not. However, don’t give a great tip for mediocre service. Be smart but realistic when you tip.