Tips on Tipping

Planning & Saving
on May 11, 2008

Tipping shows appreciation for good service, but its sometimes tricky to remember when and how much to tip.

We live in a tipping society, says Jodi R.R. Smith, founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Mass. (pop. 20,377). That means you tip people who provide personal services but you don’t tip professionals like doctors or plumbers.

The rule of thumb for most services is to tip 10 to 20 percent of the total charge. Tipping can vary regionally and culturally, so follow the practices of co-workers and friends.

When dining out, remember that restaurant wait staff often earn less than minimum wage and depend on tips for a substantial part of their income. If you’re a regular customer, being a good tipper can ensure that you get top-notch service.

Here are tipping guidelines for some common services:

  • Restaurant wait staff: 15-20 percent
  • Meal delivery: 10-15 percent
  • Hairdresser or manicurist: 15-20 percent
  • Airport skycap: $2 for the first bag; $1 for each additional bag
  • Hotel bellhop: $2 for the first bag; $1 for each additional bag
  • Furniture/appliance delivery: $5 to $10 per person
  • Dog groomer: 15 percent or $2 per dog
  • Tipping jars: No obligation

Becca Jarry, 34, a masseuse in Manchester, N.H., recommends a tip of $5 for every $30 of service. Jarry says tips matter to her because she rents space in the spa where she works, and therefore only receives a portion of the fee she charges.

Beth Lemanski, 26, a hairdresser in Englewood, Ohio (pop. 12,235), and a former restaurant server, understands that some of her customers cant afford to leave a 15 percent tip, but she says they make up for it by being regulars.

Loyalty is worth a lot, Lemanski says. Nevertheless, she adds: I tip everyone. I even tip my tattoo artist.

This article was originally published as Tips on Tipping on

%d bloggers like this: