You know you’re supposed to tip your waiter and your bartender. And you get that it’s a nice gesture to throw a dollar in the tip jar at the coffee shop, especially if your drink order is complicated. But get beyond those standard transactions, and tipping etiquette can quickly get murky. Who gets a tip and who doesn’t? And if you do want to tip, how much should you give?
Tipping can be such a confusing and fraught practice that some people want to do away with it entirely, arguing that it’s not a consumer’s job to decide how much someone should be paid and that a reliance on tips is bad for workers who can’t count on a steady wage. Others see tipping as a way to get better service or reward a job well done. For now, however, tipping is here to stay, which means that you need to include a tip in the cost of many services.
“Tipping is a very personal decision, but it’s money that should always be factored into a budget,” said Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at CouponCabin.com, in a statement. “Plan ahead before going out to dinner, getting a haircut, or ordering delivery to understand just how much those services will end up costing. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in keeping a budget on track.”
Yet even committed tippers may sometimes neglect to leave a gratuity, especially in unfamiliar situations when the need for a tip is not clear. While tipping should always be done at your discretion, some basic guidelines about who to tip and how much are useful. To help you out, we’ve put together this list of five people you may not realize you should be tipping.
Keep in mind that tipping rules vary from country to country. The guidelines below are for the U.S. For advice on tipping in other parts of the world, see this article in Condé Nast Traveler.
1. Your tattoo artist
If you’re getting inked, tipping your tattoo artist is considered good form. Artists typically make a percentage of whatever you paid for the tattoo, rather than an hourly wage, so tips are an important supplement to their income.
Between 15% and 20% of the total tattoo cost is standard, according to Inked magazine. You may want to tip more if your tattoo is complex, or if you’re planning on developing a long-term relationship with your artist.
2. The airport shuttle bus driver
The bus driver who takes you from the long-term parking lot to the terminal or from the airport to the hotel would almost certainly appreciate a small tip, especially if he or she is handling your luggage.
“We make a minimum wage salary since we are allowed to earn tips,” an anonymous airport shuttle driver told Airfare Watchdog. “But it is amazing how many people do not give drivers a tip!”
You don’t need to tip shuttle drivers a lot. A dollar or two is fine, says Budget Travel, though you should give more if you have a lot of luggage or if your bags are particularly heavy.
3. Housekeeping staff
By now, it seems that most people should know that it’s a nice gesture to tip the people who clean your hotel room. But perhaps because you rarely interact with them face to face, many people neglect to leave a gratuity for the housekeeping staff – just 69% of people surveyed by TripAdvisor reported leaving a tip for the maid.
Between $1 and $5 a night is considered appropriate, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Leaving the tip in a marked envelope is best, and tip separately for every night of your stay, rather than leaving a large gratuity at the end of your trip, since you can’t be sure that the same person will clean your room every day.
4. Spa staff
People who frequently visit spas probably know that it’s considered polite to tip your massage therapist and other staff. But if spa treatments aren’t a regular part of your routine, you may forget to include a gratuity when you indulge in a massage, wax, or facial.
5. Furniture delivery people
You know you need to tip the pizza guy, but just 38% of people tip the person who delivers furniture or appliances to their home, according to a survey by Coupon Cabin.
Giving between $5 and $10 to each person who carries items into your house (and perhaps hauls away the old stuff) is considered a nice gesture, especially if the item is difficult to maneuver or needs to be carried up a lot of stairs, Constance Hoffman, the owner of the etiquette firm Social and Business Graces, told the Wall Street Journal. Ditto if you’ve hired movers to haul your stuff to a new house or apartment. If you have other items delivered, like groceries or flowers, a small tip may also be appropriate.
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