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Home / Tips and Tricks / Are you too much or too small? How much you really need to tip at the bar, spa and more

Are you too much or too small? How much you really need to tip at the bar, spa and more


It is difficult to know exactly how much to tip. Let us be your guide. Angela Lang / CNET

Like it or hate it, tipping is one thing – especially in American culture. If you do it wrong, you can embarrass yourself ̵

1; or worse, offend the person you're trying to acknowledge. Even if you don't feel that it is your responsibility to subsidize the income of every bartender, restaurant server, or coffee shop barista with whom you cross paths, the reality is that American employers are only required to pay employees $ 2.13 per hour as long as tips their average wage up to the federal minimum of $ 7.25. That means that gratuity is responsible for the majority of the income of many US employees, especially in the service sector. But it is not always obvious to find out what a good tip is versus a wrong tip, or whether it is appropriate to even give a tip.

Like, do you have to tip every time you get a drink or when you pay your bar bill at the end of the night? Is it OK to give a smaller tip for terrible service? What about valets – are you really expected to give them a fiver every time they get your car (and are you the scum of the earth if you don't)? Are you a jerk when you carry your own suitcases to your hotel room, so you don't have to tip the doormen?

Some US states set higher minimum wages for tip workers than the federal $ 2.13 – such as Arizona, where tip workers earn at least $ 9 per hour, or Hawaii, where the base wage starts at $ 9.35. Opinions are divided as to whether that means that you can get away with a smaller tip or not (just look at the comments on this page ). Not only that, but the tip practices vary depending on the country or region, so it can become even more confusing when you travel abroad.

The best rule of thumb is to take into account tips for the full price of your meal, drink or hotel stay when planning your budget. With that in mind, here's a look at tilt standards in the United States, including how much, when and to whom you should tip – according to US News & World Report, WhoToTip.net and ArtOfManliness.com.

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You must take into account the cost of the tip before you eat out, especially in excellent restaurants where the bill can become quite large. Kent German / CNET

How much to tip in restaurants and bars

The good news is that you are not expected to tip the same amount in a five-star restaurant as when you order at the counter. But tips are acceptable, appreciated and even expected for a person who serves you and tidies when you are ready. The same applies to delivery and execution.

  • Coffeeshopbarista & # 39; s : $ 1 or so per drink, more for complicated orders (eg. Half-fat, fat-free soya bar with light foam and an extra shot) or less for simple orders (hot water and a tea bag).
  • Bartenders: $ 1 to $ 2 per drink (more for mixed drinks, less for draft cups) or 20% if you use a tab.
  • Dine-in restaurant servers: 20% or more for excellent service.
  • Buffet servers: 10% to 15%, depending on how many plates, forks and fillings you go through.
  • Fast-casual counter service: Up to $ 1 for taking your order, $ 2 to $ 5 for driving your table or delivering your food.
  • Restaurant execution service: 10%, more for large or complicated orders (such as a baby shower or office party)
  • Food delivery drivers: 10% or up to 20% or more during dangerous road conditions or special circumstances such as vacations and large game nights .
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It is common to leave between $ 2 and $ 5 a day for hotel housekeepers, especially if you leave a lot for them too to do.

Geoffrey Morrison / CNET

Tips for hotels, taxis, parking attendants

Another good rule of thumb is to give everyone a tip that you might as well do for yourself, such as cleaning your hotel room or carrying your bags.

With the exception of room service, most of the tips you give in a hotel are not so much based on the bill, but on the workload (how many bags they need to bring, etc.) or how much favor the person does for you (such as reservations in a fully booked restaurant or use a taxi during rush hour). In some cases it may be rude to refuse the help of a porter just because you don't want to break up with a few bucks.

  • Hotel porters: At least $ 2, or $ 1 to $ 2 per bag, depending on how heavy or cumbersome your luggage is.
  • Hotel Concierges: $ 5 to $ 10, depending on how much rope they had to pull for you.
  • Hotel room service: 15%. [19659015] Hotel management: $ 2 to $ 5 a day, more if you leave a big mess.
  • Bathroom staff: $ 1 to $ 2, more if you use expensive Cologne or other hygiene products.
  • Parking attendants: $ 2 for each key exchange, more for luxury cars.
  • Drivers of taxi & ride shares: 10% to 15%, more if they get you on time when you are late.
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Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Hair stylists, movers, babysitters, car washes

These are just a few services that you should include in the total costs, for example:

  • Spa & # 39; s: 10% to 20%, depending on the length and intensity of the service (you can ask at check-out if the employee receives all their tips).
  • Hairdressers: 10% to 20%, depending on the complexity of cut or style.
  • Guides: 15% to 20% or $ 1 to $ 5 per person in your group, depending on how long your program is and how knowledgeable or helpful your guide is.
  • Movers: $ 4 to $ 8 per hour, depending on the difficulty of your movement (such as extra stairs or exceptionally heavy items).
  • Dog walking service and pets: 10% to 20%, depending on the weather conditions (for walkers) length of stay (for sitters) and any special needs of your pet (such as medication).
  • Car washes: $ 3 for a basic wash, 10% for a complete detail
  • Delivery of furniture / appliances: $ 5 per person, more if they linger and help you rearrange or install .
  • Babysitters: At least round off to the next hour, if not add a whole bonus hour to the total.
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Cash is king when it comes to gratuities, but it is better to charge or debit the gratuity than to short-circuit the recipient. James Martin / CNET

Other things to keep in mind when tipping

  • Cash is preferable to credit, but giving a credit card tip is better than a shortage of cash.
  • It is rude to leave a deliberately small tip, such as a handful change after a $ 50 meal.
  • If you have exceptionally poor service, contact the manager. In extreme cases it is recommended not to tip.
  • The chance that a server spits into your food is relatively low, so we do not recommend tipping only to prevent retaliation. On the contrary, tip to acknowledge the work or service that has been done.

Originally published last year.
Correction, January 24:
Clarifies the American minimum wage system with regard to tips.

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