Tipping Etiquette 101

Tipping and Gratitude 101

The tip you leave a server or bartender is exactly what the term gratitude symbolizes, your state of being grateful for someone’s service. So how do you determine the amount to tip after a meal, or how much to give the bellman as you pickup your vehicle from the parking valet? For several individuals determining a tip is based off their emotions and maintaing a reputation as being a “great tipper”, whether or not the service was great. If you’re unsure how much to leave then have no fear, as we offer suggestions and explanations of recommended amounts to leave on tipping etiquette. 

To help guide you when making this financial decision, we’ve provided this tipping etiquette 101 as a guideline of customary gratuities for various services. 

Waiter/waitress: 15% of bill (excl. tax) for adequate service; 20% for very good service; no less than 10% for poor service
Headwaiter/captain: often gets a cut of table server’s tip; so tip your server extra to reward captain, or tip captain separately
Sommelier, or wine steward: 15% of cost of the bottle
Bartender: 15% to 20% of the tab, with a minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink
Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat
Parking valet or garage attendant: $2 to bring your car to you
Washroom attendant: 50 cents to $1


Taxi driver: Varies depending on locality. Assume 15% will be enough; an extra $1 to $2 for help with bags.
Food delivery person:* 10% of the bill (excl. tax), at least $1 for bills up to $10. Should tip 15%-20% for a difficult delivery.
Grocery loader: Check with store policy if tips are accepted. If so, $1 for bringing bags to car; $1.50 to $3 if you have more than 3 bags.
Barber: 15% to 20%, minimum $1, for a haircut. For other services (shampoo, shave or manicure) tip $1 to $2 to service provider.
Hairdresser: 15% to 20%. (It is now acceptable to tip owner, unless he or she says otherwise.)
Shampoo person: $2
Manicurist: 15%
Spa service (e.g., massage): 15% to 20%. If service is provided by owner, no tip.
Staff at coffee/food retailers with tip jars: No tip required. It’s completely optional.
Handyman: No tip
Gas attendant: No tip


Skycap at airport: $1 per bag if you check-in curbside; $2 per bag if skycap takes bags to check-in counter.
Hotel doorman: $1 per bag for help with luggage; $1 per person for hailing a cab
Hotel bellhop: $1 per bag for bringing luggage to your room (but a $2 minimum if you have just one bag)
Hotel housekeeper: $2 to $5* per night
Hotel concierge: $5 for getting you tickets or reservations ($10-plus if they’re hard to get). No tip required when you ask for directions.
Cruise: Varies. Ask cruise line about customary gratuities.

When it all comes down to the gratitude, remember, this is the price of how grateful you are of their service, a cost that is entirely up to you, the customer.

Now, we want to hear your suggestions or experiences of tipping! How much do you tip a server, a valet or a housekeeper? Share this article with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Your comments or question could be chosen as our featured Money Question Monday and a phone call by financial expert Heather Wagenhals could dial your way to be live on the Unlock Your Wealth Radio Show.

Source: Emily Post Institute & Tipping.org
photo credit: Manny Hernandez via photopin cc

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