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How Much Should You Tip?

If service is top-notch, sometimes an extra $150 really is warranted.
Published
tip jar

Tipping is a standard practice here in the U.S. — so much so that it's second nature to most consumers. However, many still see tips as something extra, meant to be doled out based on how well someone does their job.

If you're always racking your brain about how much to tip, we're here to help. We've compiled a list of the most common situations where tipping is expected, and the standard tip amount for each one. Note that we aren't saying these tips are required — you're free to tip or not tip as you prefer. This list is meant to provide general guidance.

SEE ALSO: Are Tips Going Up?

What Is a Good Tip?

The standard number for a good tip varies from service to service. In general, a solid amount is about 18% of your bill. This falls in the middle of most recommended ranges, and should be an acceptable amount for practically any service.

How Much to Tip for the Most Common Services

Standard Tip Other Details
$5 to $10 It's good to show your appreciation, but if the tow bill is high (or you can't afford to), it's okay not to tip

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip Other Details
15% 20% It's best to tip the shuttle driver as you would a cabbie

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$5 per job $10 per job

When to Tip Holiday Tipping
When the job is complete $75 to $150 before Thanksgiving, or between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$10 per person $20 per person

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
10% 15%

Holiday Tipping Other Details
One week's pay, gifted before the holidays Exceptional service includes things like:
Cooking actual dinner
Cleanup that has nothing to do with the kids
Picking up kids at a play date or other event
Doing a big activity with kids
Dealing with a sick or difficult child
Accepting a last-minute booking
Staying later than planned
Other unforeseen circumstances

Standard Tip When to Tip
$1 per drink or 15% of total bill Before, if you want better service
After, if you don't care

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
50 cents minimum $2 to $3 per service

Other Details
Tip at least 50 cents if they hand you a paper towel
Tip at least $2 to $3 for services like mending hems or polishing shoes
Note that tipping isn't always allowed

Standard Tip When to Tip
$1 to $2 per bag
$5 minimum
When they deliver your bags to your room
When they pick your bags up

Standard Tip When to Tip
$1 to $2 Only if they handle your luggage

Standard Tip When to Tip
$20 When the job is complete

Standard Tip When to Tip
$2 to $3 for basic wipe down
$5 to $10 for more complicated washes
15% for detailing
When the job is complete

Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
10% Tip if your order is:
Delivered curbside
Complicated
Large

Standard Tip When to Tip
15% to 20% of total bill, or
$50 per server
When paying the final bill, or when the event is over

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
10% 15%

Standard Tip When to Tip
$1 per coat When dropping off
If you're feeling generous, tip an extra $2 to $5 when you pick up

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$5 $20

When to Tip Other Details
When you receive the service If they only provide directions, it's okay to tip very little or nothing at all
If they do something exceptional, err on the larger side and tip $20

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
15% 20%

When to Tip Holiday Tipping
When you pick up your pet $10 to $100, depending on the frequency of your visits throughout the year

When to Tip Holiday Tipping
Around the holidays Gift a bottle of wine or box of chocolates

Standard Tip Other Details
$3 to $5, depending on the size of the wash Consider tipping during both pickup and delivery if the people are different

Standard Tip When to Tip
$1 to $5 These employees are picking you up. You tip cab drivers, why not these drivers? Since most aren't expecting a tip, it'll be a pleasant surprise.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
Extra change $2

When to Tip Other Details
When paying Tip jars are usually divvied up among staff, so remember you're tipping the whole team and not just the person that handed you your order

Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
Small tip, $2 to $5 When paying for delivery

Other Details
It's not customary to tip for flower delivery. If you don't want your recipient to feel obligated to tip, go ahead and add a little on when paying for the delivery. Alternatively, you might want to tip if the delivery person will have to navigate several stairs, deliver in bad weather, or something similar.

Standard Tip When to Tip
10% or $2 minimum When you're paying online or when the food is delivered

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$5 per person $20 per person

When to Tip Other Details
When the job is complete Also feel free to offer cold drinks if it was a heavy or tough delivery

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$15 $25 Around the holidays

Standard Tip When to Tip Other Details
One week's pay if they visit regularly
Otherwise, $20 to $50
Around the holidays, or
At the end of a growing season
Tip in cash and include a sincere note of thanks. If you prefer not to give money, gifts are acceptable in the price range of $20 to $50.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
10% to 15% 15% to 20%

When to Tip Other Details
After the service is completed Tip everyone involved. If you have different people washing and drying your hair, they should each receive $5. The person doing most of the work should receive the biggest tip.

Standard Tip When to Tip
One week's pay Around the holidays

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$2 per night $5 per night

When to Tip Other Details
Daily Different people could be cleaning your room every day. Be sure to tip daily to show your appreciation to the whole team.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$15 $25 Around the holidays

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$10 $20 At the end of the night

Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip Other Details
$2 to $3 When you pick up your laundry Although it's not required, tipping is still a nice gesture, especially if they've gone above and beyond. Tip for stain removal, small repairs, or if the load is particularly large.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$15 $20

When to Tip Other Details
Around the holidays Tipping with non-cash gifts up to $20 is also acceptable

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$5 $25 For special efforts

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
15% 25% At the end of service

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
15% 20%

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
10% to 15% 20%

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip Other Details
$10 per person $25 per person If it's a particularly tough move, consider supplying cold drinks and lunch as well

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$15 per person $20 per person

When to Tip Other Details
After the ceremony, reception, or other event It's not necessarily expected, but it's a nice gesture to tip each musician these amounts

Standard Tip When to Tip
One week's pay Around the holidays

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$15 $25 Around the holidays

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip Other Details
$5 $10 This is meant to be a little extra gift for those hauling heavy packages to your door. Consider tipping more if they had to climb several stairs or if it's extremely hot outside.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$15 $25 Around the holidays

Standard Tip When to Tip
$10 When they assist with loading a heavy item into your car

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$2 $5

When to Tip Other Details
When your vehicle is retrieved It's also been suggested to tip when dropping your vehicle off

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip When to Tip
$20 $50 Around the holidays (but tip discreetly)

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$10 for smaller jobs 10% of total job

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$1 per bag
$2 per heavy item
$2 per bag if they bring your luggage to the counter

Standard Tip Other Details
$5 minimum You don't have to include a tip if gratuity is added onto the check

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$2 $3

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
15% 20%

Standard Tip When to Tip
15% to 20% of your fare After your ride ends

Standard Tip When to Tip
10% to 20% of the total tour cost
$1 per person when drivers double as guides
It's acceptable to not tip tour guides at national parks and other government sites

Other Details
For particularly amiable drivers, passengers might be asked to contribute $1 per person. If the tour is longer and has no built-in gratuity, passengers should each contribute $5 to $10 to the guide, and another $5 to $10 to the driver.

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
$1 to $2 per person for shorter rides
10%
20%

When to Tip Other Details
At the end of the ride Tip extra for things like:
Traffic
Construction
Other inconveniences
Distance
If driver helps with luggage or packages

Standard Tip Exceptional Service Tip
15% for adequate service 20%

General Tips for Tipping

  • Calculate the tip amount based on the total amount — not any discounts or gift certificates you're using.
  • Tip above the normal amount for exceptional service, if you're a regular client, or if you've been a bother.
  • It's okay not to tip if it's not deserved. Poor service shouldn't be rewarded. (The service would have to be awful, though. Even mediocre service deserves a tip of some kind.)
  • Tip extra if you take up a restaurant table for a long time.
  • Tip discreetly.
  • Note that overtipping too often can set a precedent.
  • When in doubt, tip at least a little something.

Readers, what tipping practices do you follow? Is there a service we forgot? Let us know in the comments below.


Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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43 comments
whitecapk
You can show respect to the writer by understanding that writers put a lot of research and effort into providing knowledge for their readers. This is a list of what is SUGGESTED to tip. They aren't telling you personally that you HAVE to tip this way. Some of these are common knowledge and some are not. There is a very good possibility that someone may actually search "how much to tip plumber" and find this information extremely useful to them. Just because "you know someone" in a field that doesn't expect or receive tips, doesn't mean that what she wrote is incorrect. These writers write for a MULTITUDE of people to read, not just a handful who apparently become immediately victimized by the content just because they don't think it is relevant to them.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
Hi everyone! We love the passion from all of you on this article, but some of the language was becoming hostile towards our writer and other users. We've removed a few comments as a result. Please continue to debate our content and other opinions, but please try to do so respectfully. Thank you!
taer
A free public opinion will likewise receive a free public's opinion. @obama sounds like now a day bullys that cry bully. Your constructive criticism then ended with negative name calling "human garbage". Guess it would take one to know one.
Redbaron1
How much for a waitress at a buffet?
LemonWackyHello
With food delivery, you should add that anything marked as "delivery fee", "delivery charge", "order fee", etc., goes directly to the restaurant owner/franchise holder/delivery service and that the delivery driver/independent contractor sees absolutely no part of it.
paulrph1
Wow us seniors are in real trouble. Maybe we should just EXPECT a tip for being a senior after all we have served our whole lives. I am tip poor.
vad1
My goodness. With all the tips I am supposed to be giving, I will need a second job!

I am a lawyer, and my plumber makes more per hour than I do.
mistermcfrugal
Laughable. Over the years I see these kind of pieces urging endless tipping. I've never understood the exact motivation of the writer. Does Julie Ramhold tip various people the way she urges you to tip? I wonder. Do various service people tip her for writing pieces like this? Hmmm....

Here's the bottom line for Julie and others who write pieces like this: I've never had anybody dying to tip me in my life. If people were constantly tipping me for almost nothing, I guess I'd be more willing to be open. If people don't like me refusing to tip for everything under the sun, hey, just let me know and I'll make sure to avoid doing ANY business with you or the company who employs you.
Wheelinandealin
Some tipping is OK,and it should always be for EXCEPTIONAL service.I would'nt tip many of the people suggested here,but I do tip my Mail Carrier,as she goes above and beyond her duties to see that my many packages are delivered safely to my door.
As for the person who mentioned tipping with cash,cash is not required for tipping.you can use your debit or credit card to tip too.
taer
To be fair you need to include the tip for your utilities, mortgage, car note, insurance(s), cell phone, cable bill... the folks at the dmv, our politicians....
likesowls
It is going to be interesting to see how tipping develops in the future as more and more people do not carry much, if any, cash.
SherryC
To follow the tipping advice, I would need to carry a lof of cash and start passing money around from morning to night. My question to the author is were you tipped to do this article?
garybryan
I do believe this tipping for EVERYTHING is really getting out of hand. I'm a doctor, when I complete my task re you, should you tip me? NO!
dealnews-jramhold (DealNews)
@ouwant1

We compiled these tables based on references from several reliable resources, and we linked to each of them in their applicable sections. As always though, tipping is up to each individual person, and if they don't feel like tipping in a given situation, we certainly aren't saying they should be forced to. This is simply meant to be a guideline for anyone who wants to provide a little extra in these situations.
ouwant1
Julie, where did you come up with all these tipping tables? It's ridiculous, to say the least. Tipping a plumber, a mail carrier, a personal trainer, a janitor, a laundry service dropoff, etc...? Who tips a plumber? So in order for me to go about my day, I'll have to stop at a bank and get $50 in ones, just to give away as tips? Is that what you're suggesting?

BTW, why are we even paying tips anyway? This should be the payroll expense of the employers, not the customers. For example: If you work in a restaurant, the waitstaff's salary should be the responsibility of the owner, right? Why are your employees relying on handouts from the customers? Restaurant owners have to absorb all that cost because when they are profitable, they get all the rewards. They do not pass any of their profit down to the staff. But the waitstaff are decreasing the owner's payroll expense by expecting the customers to make up the difference in tips. No one else in the world tips except the US.
LonnieMcClure
The day I'm actually expected to tip my plumber is the day I call a different plumber. I have a bit of an issue tipping someone that makes more per hour than I do. (Yes, I'm taking into account that what I pay the company per hour isn't what they make per hour).
DN131
There's no tipping in Japan and the service is great! The best part? There is no such thing as 'your server' - every staff member in the restaurant is there to serve you if you need it. Any one of them can take your order or help you out at anytime. I can't tell you how many times here in the U.S. when I've had to wait and wait for 'my server' to show up at my table, while other servers stream by, before I can get something. Plus there is the hassle of being seated in an unfavorable section because it's that server's turn to be seated. The whole concept is tipping doesn't make any sense. Why should I tip one guy $5 and another guy $20 - just based on the size of the checks - when in reality they probably did just about the same amount of work. The restaurants need to pay the servers a fair wage and adjust their menu prices accordingly.
wiwanski
Why don't we just stop this madness of tipping? People in service sector provide service and get paid to do it. This whole tipping is a US phenomenon, it should be eliminated. Travel the world, and you will find out how liberating it is to travel and NOT to tip. Plus, it makes life so much less complicated.
michael bonebright (DealNews)
@RT Heath-
People who specialize in wine selection are called sommeliers. In fine dining, their job is much more complicated than simply offering wines to patrons; higher-ranking somms are often in charge of maintaining a restaurant's wine selection -- usually they'll have the entire inventory memorized. Although they're involved in "front of the house" work (facetime with customers), their job is more akin to a Chef de Partie; the wines are their kingdom to run with input from restaurant owners and the Chef de Cuisine. Master Sommeliers can make upwards of $150k per year, but you're unlikely to run into one of those in the US.

Lower-tier sommeliers generally receive a cut of all tips, but it's acceptable to offer a talented somm a glass of wine from a bottle you've purchased. (It's a fancier version of sharing a shot with your favorite bartender.) Alternatively, you can discreetly offer a tip -- but again, this might be considered rude if you're in a fine dining situation.
RT Heath
Here's a tipping question that has bugged me for a long time... we're often out to dinner and buy a bottle or two of wine. The service and time involved in fetching the bottle, bringing it to the table, presenting it, uncorking and pouring is identical, whether the bottle was $20 or $150. I struggle with tipping $4 on the former and $30 on the latter. Should we tip a percentage or a flat rate? What are your thoughts on this?

Sometimes there is additional help involved, with the waiter helping us select a wine and often bringing samples of three or four to taste. We've experienced this more in Canadian restaurants - we visit Montreal every summer, enjoy upscale tapas restaurants and wine bars, and the service is almost always better than at home in Connecticut. Often, they'll open a bottle just for us to taste, willing to sell it by the glass to other patrons if we don't care for it. They really know how to treat diners and accordingly, we tip very well in such cases.
cru8
No one is forcing anyone to work in an industry that relies on tipping to make a decent wage. Whining when you don't make enough money is YOUR fault for working there and YOUR employer's fault for not paying you a decent wage. The restaurant industry has been screwing over employees for nearly a century. Search online for "adam ruins tipping".
jb_mn
I filled up with gas the other day. I pumped my own gas, cleaned my own windows and walked in the store to pay. The total ended up being $19.30 but when the cashier made change he dropped the 70 cents in a jar marked tips....needless to say I asked for my 70 cents. As some have mentioned, tipping is out of hand. TIPS was meant to be "to insure prompt service" nothing more nothing less. A real pet peeve of mine is adding a tip on the bill at the restaurant without my permission--the server has zero incentive to give prompt service if they know the tip is automatic. Back to tipping only if you get terrific service period!
Cheapster999
Non premium Uber/Lyft drivers: Short ride costs you $10.00 driver gets maybe $5.00. Driver spent 10 minutes getting to you, you were actually ready and waiting so no waiting time at $.18 minute, 10 minute ride to your destination. So driver spent 20 minutes completing your trip and will earn $5.00. If they manage to do 3 rides in an hour that's $15.00 and hour minus expenses of approx $7.00 an hour. The driver managed to earn $8.00 an hour. Now imagine what it's like to drive 30 minutes for a $10.00 fare (happens frequently). According to one survey your average Uber driver books approx $17.50 an hour. You should be tipping based on the total time involved for your ride and drivers should be booking at least $35.00 an hour.
hitori1
As someone who grew up in the US, I am comfortable tipping for a good service received.
What angers me are situations where customers are threatened with bad services if tip isn't "adequate".
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@zuma

I think that package one is at your discretion... again, these are meant to be guidelines for when you're driven to tip. I wouldn't tip for a regular package delivery, but I might for something heavy or specially-arranged.
Potny
This tipping everyone has gotten out of hand and posts like these are a big contributor. Please stop, before we know it we will be tipping the mini-mart guy...
CinciShopper
The answer is NO. You don't tip when you pick up food. I wouldn't tip a person working the counter at a McDonalds. Why should I tip at a person who is not doing anything other than handing me my food.
zuma
Tipping for "Package Delivery"? I should give the Amazon delivery person $5 to $10 every time he/she delivers something to my house?

Wow, that is something i have never done or even thought of.
Gaaldornick
My plumber charges around $70 an hour. He's not getting a tip. Also I am sick of those dumbass checkout machines asking how much I want to tip (when I am picking up food etc. If I didn't have a waiter/waitress I am not tipping when I pick up food.)
viauyeung
Gratuity fee is a requirement if you have a big party at the restaurant, I am guessing people dining don't leave much tips for the waiter/waitress. Make sure you check your bill correctly & avoid double tipping. For uber/lyft, I have a family requested a ride at 4am, short trip to DCA less than $10 ride. Wife, husband & baby, stroller, carseat & lugguages. I only get $1 tip at the end for them to used up all the space in my car. Best tipper ever! People should be paid by the employer? Why do W2 & 1099 exist? Why do I have to fill them out online before April 15th every year?
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@aiien

Ooooh, that's a good question. I personally don't tip unless there was something special they did for me, but I'm curious what others think?
aiien
Here's a situation that always confuses me. Should you tip when you're picking up food to go and you don't need any special help getting the food to the car?
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
Hey everyone! As we note in the intro, we aren't saying these tips are required -- you're free to tip or not tip as you prefer. But, tipping can vary across services, so if you've ever wanted to tip for something but weren't sure what's customary, this can act as a reference.
nestormart
No, thank you. I will tip if the service is good - excellent. I will not tip just because it is "expected", and i agree with some comments.
jb_mn
I don't need a list to tell me who deserves a little extra! Far as I'm concerned this list just gives employers an excuse to pay employees less. There are many jobs where people do a great job and never get tips. I have to wonder who thinks up these silly lists--surely no one I would ever tip!!! Slow news day?
BrutusSanchez
Some of those listed are questionable. For example, a bartender who hands me a bottle of beer is no more deserving of a tip than the kid who hands me a Big Mac. But here's one group that has given me exceptional service on occassion and is never tipped: flight attendants. They deserve it!
jgrimoldy
Tip a plumber? What about tipping the guy that fixes your computer? This is getting out of hand.
analyst
Tipping sucks. People should be paid by their employer; it's not a burden that should be shifted to the customer. And why would I tip a plumber, who's already charging me a fortune just to show up?
BBlacklow
USPS may not allow tipping, but the postal carriers sure do appreciate it ;)
dizzacow
I try to give the minimum where tipping is "expected," but give more if service is above average. I feel service workers should be paid a fair wage for the hard work they perform and not depend on tips to make a living.

I feel tipping in many situations causes some companies to not offer a fair wage to their employees. This causes employees to depend on tips (which highly fluctuate) and companies to pocket the difference or be overly competitive in price compared to other companies where tips are not as expected.
Sonfish
Tipping at restaurants should be based on the pretax amount...many fine restaurants now calculate their suggested tip this way.
tmozer
Some of the above I agree with, but some......your kidding! Tip a plumber???
CLS9
USPS does not allow tipping.