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Tipping Etiquette

Updated on October 23, 2017

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.

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 tip 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

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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