Who should you tip and how much?

June 28, 2004

Here are some suggestions:

  • Restaurant servers: Tip 15 to 20 percent of the total bill.

  • Restaurant bus staff: Usually, waiters pool tips and take care of the bus staff. If someone has been especially helpful - maybe cleaned up the drink you spilled - Peggy Post, spokeswoman for the Burlington, Vt.-based Emily Post Institute, recommended a tip of $1.

  • Buffet servers: Tip 10 percent of final bill.

  • Valet parking: Tip not when you drop off your car, but when the vehicle is delivered, generally $2 to $3, $5 at a more upscale place.

  • Porter: When checking in at the airport curb, tip $1 to $2 per bag. The person who pushes you in the courtesy wheelchair at the airport also gets a tip - $2 to $5, Post said. It depends on how far and which airport.

  • Pizza delivery person: Tip 10 percent, but individualize your tipping. If he had to climb four flights of stairs or drive through a snowstorm to hand over your large pepperoni and green pepper pizza, you might want to be more generous.

  • Hotel housekeepers: Definitely leave a tip, Post said. Since staff schedules vary, it's best to leave something for each night of your stay. A little note of thanks on readily available hotel paper also is nice to accompany a $3 to $5 tip at an upscale lodging place, $2 at a more moderate establishment.

  • Barbershop: Tip the hair cutter 15 percent, minimum of $1; nothing for the owner; and add $1 to $2 for a shampoo.

  • Beauty shop: Try 15 percent for one operator; 10 percent if several people chip in; $1 or more, depending on cost, for the manicurist; $1 to $2 for a shampoo. These suggestions apply if the owner does the work at the salon.

  • Massage therapist: For a one-hour, $50 massage, a tip of 10 percent is acceptable. This can be adjusted following the guidelines for a full-service fine restaurant. A 20 percent tip for a good massage is not uncommon.

  • Contractors: Tip the foreman $50 with $30 per worker.

  • Deliveries: For deliveries of furniture or appliances, $5 to $10 per person is a suggested minimum. If the delivery is large, heavy or difficult, or requires assembly, a larger tip is suggested, perhaps $20 per person. Tip $2 to $5 for normal flowers.

  • Carryout: Tip 5 to 10 percent if they show you the food and offer complimentary items (plates, napkins, silverware) and help carry large orders.

  • Limousine driver: Tip 20 percent.

  • Dog groomer: Tip 15 percent, no less than $2 per dog.

  • Taxi driver: Tip 15 percent of fare, no less than 25 cents.

  • Tow truck operator: Tip $3 to $5 for jumping the battery or changing a tire; $5 to $10 for unlocking a car; and $5 or more for a tow.

- Source: The Original Tipping Page on the Web at

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