Tipping Etiquette


Tipping is an expression of satisfaction with a service that was provided. The more extraordinary the service, the bigger the tip. What do you do if the service is horrendous? Withhold a tip all together? Do you know when you are expected to tip and when it is not required? If it is a service that requires tipping do you know how much to give? Here are some facts and figures on tipping etiquette that may just clear up the confusion.

How To Calculate The Tip

  • An easy way to figure a 20% tip is to move the decimal point of the cost to find 10%, and then double it. For example, if the bill is $35.00, 10% would be $3.50, and a 20% tip would be $7.00. For 15%, you would halve the 10% and add it to the original number. For $35.00 again, that would be $3.50 + $1.75 = $5.25.
  • Another way to figure out the tip is to remember:

  • 10% = $1 for every $10,
  • 15% = $1.50 for every $10, and
  • 20% = $2 for every $10.

Waitstaff Tipping

Your tip should be 15-20% of the bill.

Take these things into consideration:

  • Did your server address you in a friendly manner shortly after you were seated?
  • Did the food come out in the right order?
  • Did your server check on you after the food was served to see if everything is to your liking? Refill coffee cups and drink orders?
  • Were empty dishes and other clutter cleared from your table?
  • Keep in mind your server is not responsible for how the food tastes. That is out of his/her control.
  • If your party is having a good time and stays well past the point where the table could have been reseated you should tip twice the amount.
  • If you have a coupon for a discount or a free meal you should tip on the full amount the food or free entrée would have cost.
  • Servers have to pay out a percentage of their total food sales to busboys, food runners, bartenders and the Hostess.

  • The restaurant will report approx. 12% of gross food and beverage income sales to the IRS. That 12% will be reported as income for the server! A 15-20% tip would cover that nicely.

  • Even if you receive horrible service you should leave a minimal tip of 10% rather than nothing at all. Servers can have bad days. Talk to the manager.

  • Servers get paid a very small hourly wage...nowhere near the real "minimal wage"! They are depending on their tips to pay their bills.

Bartender Tipping

15-20% or about:

  • $1.00 for a bottle of beer or a draft
  • $2.00 for mixed drinks
  • $2.00-3.00 for a more complicated mixed drink (such as Frozen Margaritas, Cosmopolitans)
  • If you get a drink "on the house" tip accordingly
  • At an Open Bar, even though the gratuity may have been included in the cost of the liquor, tip $1.00-$2.00 per drink.


Curbside and Take Out Orders and Pizza delivery

Tipping is not required. However, the server has to package your food, add the condiments, napkins and plasticware.

  • $1.00 to $2.00 or 10% of the bill would show appreciation
  • Sushi Take Out requires tedious preparation. A 10% tip would be appropriate.
  • If you order something To-Go from the bartender, he or she is probably pretty busy and has to take the time to package your order. Tip $1.00 to $2.00 for the drink you have while you wait and 10% for your packaged meal
  • Pizza delivery $2-5 for pizza delivery depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery

Salons, Spas and BarberTipping

In the Beauty Business many providers get paid either by commission or they receive a minimum wage and a small percentage of the fee. The same gratuity etiquette applies whether they work out of their home, rent a space or work in a salon.

  • Shampoo or other assistant $2.00 to $5.00 for each person
  • Hairstylist or Color Specialist 10-20%
  • Manicure or Facial 15%
  • Barber $2.00 to $3.00
  • Salon or Spa Package (if gratuity is not included) 15-20% split among all who provide services. If they make a mistake and you need to have something redone, do not tip again.
  • Massage Therapist 10-15%


Ground Transport

Taxi Drivers:15% of the fare. Give up to 20% if he helps with your bags.

Limo Drivers: 10-20% of the bill

Roadside Service for Rental Cars: A tip is not required

Cruise Ship Tipping

Crew Members and Average Recommended Tip

  • Dining Room Waiter $3-4.00 per day
  • Assistant Waiter or Busboy $1.50-$3.00 per day
  • Dining Room Maite D' $.50-$1.00 per day
  • Head Waiter or Head Server $.50-$1.00 per day
  • Room Steward $3-$4.00 per day

Cruise Lines

Several Cruise Lines will automatically include a gratuity at the beginning of your trip while other lines do not require tipping.

Most cruise lines will automatically add a 15% gratuity to the bar bill.

Automatic tip charges can generally be increased or decreased at the Purser's Reception Desk.

For spa services on a crew 15%-20% is recommended unless it is a cruise line that discourages any kind of tipping. Sometimes tips are included in the spa treatments so inquire before you make your appointment.

If you go on excursion in port you can tip $2-$5 to the tour guide for a full day tour and $1-$2 to the driver.

Hotel Tipping

If you're checking into a nicer hotel or resort ask if gratuities are included in the price of the room.

  • Valet or Parking Attendant $1.00 to $3.00 for returning a car to you. It is not necessary to tip them for parking the car.
  • Hotel Porter $2.00 to $3.00 per bag given to him when he shows you to your room.
  • Room Service: With gratuity included give $2.00, without gratuity included give 15-20%
  • Toiletry/Towel Delivery $2.00
  • Doorman: If he hails a cab $1.00 to $2.00. If he is helpful with directions or recommending a restaurant $5.00
  • Concierge: $5.00 to $15.00 depending on how difficult the requested task is
  • Housekeeping: $2.00 to $5.00 per day

Airport Services

  • Porter or Skycap: $2.00 per bag, more for over-sized bags. Curbside Check-in is an optional $2.00 more. If you arrive late and he helps you get to your flight in time give an extra $5.00 to $20.00
  • Airport Shuttle Driver: $2.00 to $3.00 per bag, more for heavier bag and only if he helps you with them!

Tip Jars sometimes do not belong on the counter.
Tip Jars sometimes do not belong on the counter. | Source

Tip Jars

Just because a tip jar is present on the counter it does not mean you are obligated to put a tip in it. Tips are not necessary at:

  • Starbucks
  • Any fast-food restaurant
  • Buffet-lines or cafeterias (If there is a person who comes around to refill your glass of water, etc., tip him/her personally $1-2)
  • Donut, bagel or coffee shop
  • Sports arena concession stands
  • Laundry service
  • Car wash - If there is a tp jar you can leave $2-3 for a car; $3-5 for an SUV or large vehicle. It will be split among the workers. Otherwise, tip the person(s) who towel dries your vehicle.

What is tip etiquette when it concerns a Tattoo Artist? Should you tip for a Tattoo?

See results without voting

Tattoo Artists

This seems to be a debatable subject. On one hand I read you are not required to tip a Tattoo Artist. Your repeat business and referrals of friends and family are often times more appreciated than a gratuity. True appreciation for the work of art means more to the atrist than any monetary gift. However, it has also been said that a Tattoo Artist gets a small wage and requires tips to earn a good living.

The price of the Tattoo alone can sometimes be very expensive...maybe you saved just enough for that...and a tip would make the whole experience cost prohibitive.

It has been suggested that 10-20% would be acceptable. I also read that if you think the Artist did an exceptional job and you wish to tip, a minimum of $10-$15.00 for a Tattoo that cost $150.00 or $20-$50.00 for a Tattoo that costs $200.00 or more would be appropriate.

What do you think?

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Comments 36 comments

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great tips for many different types of situations! Personally, I have no idea on the tattoo issue, though.

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

I appreciate the tips on tipping. Sometimes I am just not sure - especially when I have my car washed or am faced with a tip jar. Thanks for clearing that up.

Do you have any idea what I should tip a pizza delivery person? Is it by the number of pizzas ordered or total dollar amount? I live very close to you and you know how much snow we get - should I tip even more when having pizza delivered on those snowy days?

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Hi randomcreative. Thanks for stopping by. The Tattoo etiquette has me baffled too. I have two small tattoos and I don't remember tipping. Makes me feel bad now.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

hi ktrapp. Good question. I guess it's 15% of the bill minus the delivery charge they add. Maybe I should do a Part 2! Thanks for stopping by (and please don't talk about snow. Lol)

LuxmiH profile image

LuxmiH 5 years ago from Fort Pierce, Florida

My son worked in a Thai Restaurant before he joined the USAF. I always remember how he struggled to keep his head above water, conseqhently we tend to tip generously, more than 20%, especially at Thai and Chinese restaurants. Servers don't get tips in Australia and we found it difficult to get the servers attention once the meal was served. So tipping is definitely worthwhile. A well-written thought-provoking Hub. I had never really realized the variety of tips. Sounds like barkeepers do alright for themselves. Nice read.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thank you so much for the nice comment, LuxmiH:) I have read about other countries and tipping. Do the servers get more than minimum wage in Australia so they don't rely on tips? My daughter's tips are figured into her hourly wage so she is paid ridiculously low sometimes. It seems that the patrons in the US pay the wages of the servers and the restaurant owners pay them very little. I used to be a server so I do tip well... when I get good service. It's a tough job as I'm sure your son had told you. Where is he serving with the USAF? Thanks for stopping by.

5 years ago

Good hub. Voted up. Yes I think it is appropriate to tip a tattoist. In order to reach where they are, tattooists need to spend years of training and apprenticeship (when their income is very little indeed and when they may have gotten into debt even) and so once they are doing eventually what they set out to do it's courtesy to tip.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks for stopping by, f and thanks for the vote:) I do feel badly that I did not tip for my tattoos. It just did not occur to me at the time. What you said makes perfect sense.

5 years ago

YW. I guess it's all part of the customer acknowledging a service rendered.

What has been mentioned about the tattooist appreciating those who come back or refer others to him or her, is important, too, yes. But it's interesting that a tattooist told me that she worked not merely to make people come back but to make people feel good.

(Actually I do strongly feel that while 'feeling good' is so hard to define, inward and spiritual considerations are really the most important ones, and go far, far beyond how one enhances oneself bodily. SJmorningsun25, on whose writings we have both also commented, has written quite a lot along those lines; she's a very good and thoughtful young lady writer.)

Having said this about repeat business, I guess the wanting to receive repeat business is particularly significant when tattooing first timers at 18 (nowadays it often is 18 when go for their first ink 'rite of passage'.)

You say you feel badly now about not having tipped your tattooist, but maybe the way to make amends is to tip when you go for your next one, I guess.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

f, you write very well thought out comments and I do appreciate you and the time you gave to reading and commenting on this hub. I do want just a tad more ink and will remember to tip

5 years ago


I guess it's not surprising that you want more ink. Some ppl start getting it at 18, others wait a long time, but once the first ink milestone is passed, sooner or later the person usually goes back, and so often to the same artist or parlor; kind of like a compliment or extra tip to the tattooist or parlor.

5 years ago

(PS: by waiting, I meant, ppl sometimes choose not to get inked at 18, but the wish can subsequently be evoked, and a tattooist as a caring professional is often 'there' for his or her client over a period of years.)

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

I will use the same parlor when I decide to get more ink. My Brother-in-law and sis have quite a few tatts done at that parlor and always have the same artist. Thanks for stopping by f:)

5 years ago

Yes, well it's nice that you feel at home enough at the parlor to want to go back. So as a tattooed lady also your sister, and her dh, have both been back there as much as you have, too? That's nice, it must be a real compliment to the parlor when family members all go, and then go back again (siblings, etc., and sometimes even generational, it happens), kind of like an extra big tip to them, as if for the family to say, you are our home parlor.

5 years ago

(So sounds like you guys all feel real comfortable in that parlor, right?)

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Yes it's a nice and very clean parlor. The artists are very talented. My brother-in-law also refers friends there. After I wrote this hub I found out he tips as well as refers. My daughter got her first tattoo there as well...and her second!

5 years ago

Oh so you did already introduce or refer your daughter to the same parlor already, once she was old enough for needle herself. That was nice, and it must have been really nice for the same parlor folk to know that their tattooing is highly valued by the family. For them your referral of your daughter must have been like a really big tip! right?

5 years ago

Hope I'm not repeating myself in any way (I referred to what the tattoo artist told me the other day). But I suppose, if you think about it, referring her to them was really like as if you're saying to the parlor that you appreciate so much:

"You guys have needle skills and you have really known how to make me feel good. Now with your ink needles I really want you to make her feel good, too. Because we have decided that this really is the place to come when we want tattooing to make us feel good." (If it makes any sense.) Nice, wasn't it, for all of you.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Hi, f. Yes I do believe it is a positive statement to return to the same parlor and refer friends and family as well. They do notice and appreciate the compliment!

5 years ago

As well as family you've referred your friends too? Nice.

5 years ago

PS: Re-reading the article: 'True appreciation for the work of art means more to the artist than any monetary gift.' Yes, the importance of tipping aside, sounds like your own appreciation for, and artistic bond with, your tattooist, right?

5 years ago

(Great you started the other hub, too, on further aspects of tipping.)

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Hi f. I find tipping to be confusing. I'm never sure if I am showing appreciation or insulting someone! Thought I would do some research and put a hub together to help us out:)

5 years ago

Well, I think if it's retail, generally speaking, there is no tip expected. For some (not all) things which are services, then sometimes a tip is expected. Big corporations don't need or expect a tip. But a lot of independent operators who offer various services do often expect one, or at least hope for one. (So for example: if large corporations installed their own employees in tattoo parlors on their premises, I guess you could get away with being tattooed at list price, without a tip! But this is rather hypothetical, I guess ... )

Jewelz1313 profile image

Jewelz1313 5 years ago from Branson, Missouri

Nicely said. I too have a hub on tipping. I have actually had some controversy going on so I added a link to you hub. Thank you for the information.

I will be following your hub.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Jewelz! I appreciate your stopping by and leaving a comment as well as the link! I will check out your hub and see about the controversy.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm an over-tipper when I get good service. I place myself in their shoes. This is an excellent hub with great "tips" for tipping!:)

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Sunshine. Having been a waitress I do the same. I appreciate your comment and you know it's always nice to see you!!

5 years ago

pedrn44: "They do notice and appreciate the compliment!" Yes! you're really saying to the artist: 'You must make them feel good, too! because you made me feel good!'

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Hi Sandi,

I agree that great tipping etiquette is key and other than sit down restaurants, I'm sometimes confused. So I think this is a great and useful guide. Great hub!

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Alecia. Tipping has always confused me. I never knew if I was being cheap or overly generous. I'm glad you found this useful:)

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina

This is a great, comprehensive hub on tipping. Very good! I haven't got a tattoo yet, but if I do I will keep this in mind. A very helpful guide for all!

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 5 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

Hi tammy and thanks for stopping by:) The Tattoo tipping is something I did not know when I got mine and I do feel badly that I did not tip. Tatts are expensive the way it is!! I'm glad you found this helful.

4 years ago

'I do feel badly that I did not tip. Tatts are expensive the way it is!!' Oh but when you've done it you tend to think it's really worth it: kind of like a personalized, 'must have' luxury that the tattoo artist shares with you, and the tip to him or her is the acknowledging of the sharing, I reckon.

tammy: remembering to take enough cash as well as credit card is the thing.

pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 4 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin Author

I know, f. It was my first tat. Live and learn:)

4 years ago

Tat exhilaration (!) comes 'at a price', right?

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