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September 16, 2011

Tipping Etiquette

by AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing

Corporations usually never advise their employees on good tipping etiquette. They leave it up to the individual to decide. When out to lunch or dinner with clients be sure to follow the correct tipping protocols to make a good impression as this shows not only the person serving you but also shows your clients that you use proper etiquette.

Tipping varies for each service and each individual and is not mandatory by any means but in American culture, it is expected. Most service providers make less than minimum wage and depend on tips to make an honest living. Tipping generally depends on the quality of service provided and usually is calculated before tax. Some people tip off of the total bill which is also fine to do. Unless you feel that the service was completely horrible, you should always tip something.

In different cultures around the world, tipping may in fact be regarded as insult rather than gratitude and so it is best to ask about the cultural tipping practices beforehand.

When you use a coupon or promotion for goods or services, you should always tip off of what the actual cost of the product or service is. Do some research to find out what the cost is before going in so you will tip accordingly.

Knowing when and when not to tip is important when utilizing proper tipping etiquette. One instance where tipping may not be appropriate is at some hotels. The house-keepers are unionized and their employers already take good care of them. These folks are adequately compensated and so tipping them is not expected. Generally if this is the case, there will be a sign notifying you in your room or suite. Otherwise, it is customary to leave $1-$2 per day.

There are always going to be confusing tipping situations in life. When these arise, use your best judgement and factor in the quality of service to determine how much to leave. Remember, tipping accordingly not only makes you look good (or bad) to others around you but can brighten someone Else’s day – you never know when you are making a difference!

Here is a breakdown of when tipping is appropriate and how much is considered fair:

At the Airport:

  • Tip the porter or skycap’s handling your baggage $1-$2 per bag depending on the weight of your bags.
  • If you use an electric cart to get around the airport, tip the driver $2-$3.
  • $2-$3 is customary for the airport shuttle drivers if they help you with your bags/possessions.
  • If you took a cab ride there, tip the driver $3-$15 depending on the length.

Dining In or Out:

  • At a buffet you only need to leave a tip if a server refills your drinks – $1-$2 otherwise, you do not need to.
  • If you are getting take out, you do not need to leave a tip unless you feel you have received great service. If you decide to leave one, $1-$2 is sufficient.
  • When ordering in, you should always tip the driver at least 15% of the food order (with or without tax included) and you should most definitely tip higher if the weather is poor and the food is still hot. If it took an extremely long time, you can tip lower.
  • At a sit down restaurant, it is customary to tip 15-20% of the total bill (with or without tax included – your call). The quality of service is a factor of what you should leave. If you received extraordinary service a higher tip is warranted (up to 30%).
  • If you are a frequent visitor of a fast food restaurant or coffee shop, then a tip is usually appreciated and the amount will be up to you. If you are only going one time, then no tip is needed.

Other Services:

  • When getting your hair done at a barber shop or hair cut chain, 10%-15% is customary. When getting your hair done at a salon, then the tip rate is increased to 15%-20% for the hair stylist.
  • Add an additional $2-$3 for the person who washed your hair (if applicable). If you get a scalp massage, then it should be raised to $5.
  • At the spa, you should leave 10%-20% of the services provided depending on how you feel afterwards.
  • For those of you with pets, you should tip the person who walks or watches them 10%.

Now go forth with your new tipping knowledge and impress others with your awesome tipping etiquette!

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