Tipping can be a confusing practice in the United States, with varying expectations for different services.
While conventional advice suggests tipping between 15% to 20%, the appropriate amount and situations for tipping are not always clear.
According to a recent Bankrate poll, approximately 65% of U.S. adults consistently tip their servers at sit-down restaurants, with 42% tipping at least 20%.
However, tipping practices for other services vary. For instance, only 22% tip at coffee shops, 17% tip for furniture or appliance delivery, and 13% tip when picking up takeout food.
Tipping is essential in certain fields, as tipped workers can legally earn as little as $2.13 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
To help you navigate tipping in various scenarios, here are some guidelines:
Tipping at Restaurants:
- Tipping at restaurants typically ranges from 15% to 20% of the pretax bill.
- In cases where gratuity is already added to the bill, you may choose to supplement it.
Tipping at Coffee Shops:
- Common practice is to tip around 10% to 15%, which is approximately $1 for a drip coffee.
- Many customers round up their change when paying with cash.
Tipping for Delivery Drivers:
- Delivery companies like Grubhub suggest a 20% tip on the total meal cost, particularly for smooth deliveries.
- Extra tipping is appreciated for adverse conditions or larger orders.
Tipping at Hotels:
- Tips at hotels vary depending on the services:
- Bag handling: $2-$3 per bag at basic hotels, $5 per bag at upscale hotels.
- Room service with gratuity included: 10% on top of the included gratuity.
- Room service without gratuity: 20% of the meal price.
- Toiletry/towel delivery: $3-$5 at basic hotels, $5-$10 at luxurious hotels.
- Doorman: $5 to $10, with more for inclement weather.
- Concierge: $5 or more, depending on the complexity of the request.
- Housekeeping: $3-$5 per day for 1-3 occupants, $10 per day for 6 or more occupants.
Tipping While Traveling:
- Tipping customs vary by country, so research before your trip.
- Always tip in the local currency and in cash.
Tipping at Weddings:
- Wedding tipping depends on the event’s size and venue, so check contracts for gratuity inclusion.
- Hosts should ensure tip jars are not placed at the party.
Tipping at Salons and Spas:
- Tip around 20% for hairstyling, more for complex services like highlights or hair dye.
- For spa services, such as massages and facials, 20% is advised.
Tipping for Transportation:
- Most ridesharing apps allow in-app tipping.
- Longer trips usually involve larger tips.
Tipping for Child Care:
- Tipping childcare workers, such as babysitters, nannies, and au pairs, is typically 15% to 20%.
- Consider giving daycare teachers small gifts during holidays.
- The amount you tip movers depends on factors like the complexity of the move.
- Offer water bottles, especially on hot days, as a kind gesture.
General Tipping Guidelines:
- Tipping is an art, not a strict science. Use these guidelines as a starting point.
- Show empathy for poor service, discuss your concerns with the worker, and consider leaving a smaller or no tip.
- Remember that many workers depend on tips to make a living.
In conclusion, tipping is a customary practice in the U.S., and it’s important to tip appropriately according to the service provided. Always consider the level of service, and feel free to show your appreciation when you receive excellent service.