How much should you really tip?



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When to tip and how much to tip can cause anxiety for some people. While some might feel compelled to tip just about everyone, others are more selective.

"I don't think tips are always called for, like with a plumber or electrician," says member Nina Rankin of Pittsburgh.

Either way, while tips are expected by most restaurant servers, service companies say they don't take tips for granted and equally appreciate a positive review or recommendation.

"Sometimes, referrals from family, friends and co-workers are the greatest tip of all," says Jennifer Miller, co-owner of A Do Hair Design in Indianapolis.

Below are some popular service categories in which most individuals often consider leaving a tip.


How much to tip movers

Doing the heavy lifting may not require a bonus.

"We never expect or ask for a tip," says Mike Atkinson, owner of Experienced Movers in Pearl, Mississippi. "We don't want to burden our customers with trying to figure in a tip after we've given them an estimate on the cost of the move."

However, grateful homeowners tend to show their appreciation to movers, regardless. For small moves or local moves, offer a $10 to $20 tip per mover. For larger moves or interstate moves, companies say a tip of $20 to $50 is appropriate.


How much to tip house cleaners

"If customers ask me about tipping, I tell them that it's never required, but would always be appreciated," says Linda Rabenberg, owner of Linda Rombach Personalized Cleaning in St. Charles, Missouri. "We don't expect tips because I pay my employees well, and house cleaning is fairly expensive to begin with."

Rabenberg says nearly all her clients leave a holiday tip or gift, which might consist of a box of chocolates or a monetary bonus equal to double the amount of the house cleaner's regular fee. "During the rest of the year, very few customers tip," she says.


How much to tip contractors

If you use a handyman or lawn care professional regularly, give them a $15 to $50 tip once a year — perhaps during the holidays — as a token of your appreciation for their hard work.

Contractors, such as plumbers and electricians, don't expect a tip. However, some homeowners feel compelled to reward those who go above and beyond.

"I have tipped my plumber," says Friday Hamlet of Box Elder, South Dakota. "He went out of his way to help me by driving to my home to hook up the water so I could wash clothes. All free of charge!"


How much to tip pet sitters and pooper scoopers

Pet sitters and pooper scoopers don't require a tip, but they say it's appreciated.

"I've had people give me gift cards for fuel or coffee," says Jim Skirvin, owner of K-9 Scooper in Fairfield, Ohio. "I certainly don't ask for anything extra, but it's nice."

If you regularly use the same one, provide an occasional 15% tip or annual gift.


How much to tip hairdressers or barbers

Tipping a hairdresser at a salon confounds even the best of us.

"Many guests have questions regarding how to tip when there is more than one person helping out," Miller says. "If someone other than the stylist shampoos your hair, that person will always be appreciative of a little extra money."

Stylists say they typically receive a 15% to 20% tip, but it varies.

"There are clients who always tip and clients who never tip," says Karla Watson, owner of Flip Hair Salon in Portland, Oregon. "Clients shouldn't worry about tipping a certain percentage, but should tip the amount they feel comfortable with."


How much to tip a driver

When hiring a bus, taxi or limousine service, be sure to check that company's policy on gratuity. Some strictly forbid it, while others build it into the rental price.

"We operate under different rules than most transportation outfits," says Kay Smith, manager of Caledonian Coach in Stafford, Texas, which provides private bus charters and tours. "It varies per region." Typically, the driver receives at least $1 per passenger.

It's customary to tip taxi drivers 15% to 20%. If you don't have cash, make sure the driver accepts credit cards.


How much to tip for a manicure or pedicure

In a nail salon, most times, the same nail technician will do both your manicure and pedicure and a tip of 10% to 20% is appropriate. However, if different people perform individual services, then be sure to split the tip accordingly.

"I'd say 95% of clients leave a tip," says Laura Puhl, owner of The Laura Gregory Salon in Columbus, Ohio. "If you can't, you can't — it varies. Some people tip way too much."


How much to tip at a car wash

A full-service car wash — which may include vacuuming, waxing and towel drying — should warrant a $2 to $3 tip for a car, or $3 to $5 for an SUV, truck or van.

Many places post a box for tips near the exit, with all tips split between the workers. If there's no box, give a couple bucks to whomever performed the final touches after the wash.

For full detailing, consider a 15% tip to the total cost of the car wash.

"I try not to place any expectations on gratuity," says Kenny Ryan, owner of Echelon Detailing in Carrollton, Texas. "The services we offer are pretty well covered in the cost. When it does come, it's a bonus."


How much to tip massage therapist

Massage therapists at spas often receive a tip of 15% to 20%.

"It varies from place to place, but most massage therapists work on commission as an employee of the salon or spa," Puhl says of her Columbus salon. "Any extra reward is always appreciated."

However, a medical or rehabilitative massage typically doesn't call for gratuities.


How much to tip animal groomer

Customers find pet groomers in a variety of settings — from big-box stores to mobile grooming vans. If you're especially pleased, tip 15% of the bill or $2 per dog. Be sure to offer a little extra for a filthy Fido.

"People will leave a larger tip if their dog is difficult," says Jennifer Lavelle, owner ofKool Dogs Training Academy & Kool Klips Grooming in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania. "But I always tell them it doesn't matter if they tip me or not."


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This article was written by Staci Giordullo, author at Angie’s List.

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