In the United States, tipping can be confusing.
Knowing who to tip and how much to tip can feel impossible at times, especially when you want to tip well but you’re not sure of the average tipping amount.
So, how much should you give?
Here’s how much you should tip for most services:
- Wait staff 15-20% of the total bill
- Hairdressers and barbers 10-20% of the total bill
- Drivers an average of 20% of the total bill
- Hotel staff between $1-5 per service
- Nail technicians 15-20% of the total bill
- Bartenders 15-20% of the total bill
Twenty percent is the average amount for most services.
However, some services won’t always have a percentage and usually have a generally accepted dollar amount.
Quality of service is also a factor to consider when tipping.
Read on to understand how much you should be tipping for various services.
How Much To Tip For Every Service
Tip Wait Staff 15-20%
Waitresses and waiters are what most people typically think of when they think about tipping.
Many people work and earn their money from just tips alone, waitressing being one of them.
Therefore, it’s essential to always tip the wait staff when you go out to eat.
Tipping 15-20% of the bill is the generally accepted amount for wait staff.
Any less than this isn’t common, especially on more expensive bills.
However, the quality of your service is an important factor to consider as well.
If the wait staff was rude or disrespectful, it’s essential to contact the business manager, and you can give a less-than-average tip amount or even nothing at all.
Make sure you look at other factors before deciding not to tip.
If the place is short-staffed or super busy and you don’t get fast service, it’s not always the wait staff’s fault.
However, I’ll get more into that later.
Tip Hairdressers and Barbers 10-20%
Hairdressers, depending on where you go and the service you get, can get pricey.
For example, going to a high-end salon and getting a cut and color can cost upwards of $200, so you might not think you have to tip if you’re already paying that much.
However, this isn’t the case.
You should tip hairdressers or barbers 10-20% of the service cost.
While you might not think this is needed because you’re already paying for the service, you have to consider the materials used for your service and the time it took to do it.
This is especially true when it comes to coloring hair.
Tip Drivers an Average of 20%
There are various driving services that you should tip, including food delivery drivers, rideshare drivers such as Uber and Lyft, and taxi drivers.
Tipping these services is essential, as most of these workers pay for their gas, and you’re paying for their time.
You should tip most driving services the average 20%.
However, there are some exceptions to this.
Ordering food with a delivery service, like with pizza delivery, comes with a tip option, which you can give online when you place your order, or in-person with cash.
Either way, the average amount to tip a delivery driver is 20% of the bill.
However, if your bill is small, giving around $5 is preferred.
Note that many food deliveries include a service fee or delivery fee.
This is not considered a tip that goes to the driver.
It is a fee the business charges to offset some the of the added cost of offering delivery.
Rideshare and Taxi Drivers
Using a rideshare service such as Lyft or Uber makes it easy to tip, as you can include it on the app.
The general amount to tip rideshare services is 20%, and the best way to tip them is to add it to the bill through the app.
With taxi services, giving 15-20% of the fare is ideal, and cash is most widely accepted.
There are more and more taxis that do accept credit cards now too.
Tip Hotel Staff Between $1-5 Per Service
When you’re staying at a hotel, especially a nice, upscale hotel, you should expect to tip quite a lot.
Many of the hotel workers do earn a salary, but tipping shows gratitude and a job well done.
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Hotel workers, such as housekeeping, room service, valet, and bellhop, are typically tipped about the same.
Here is a breakdown for each service and the amount recommended.
Bellhops are the workers that get any luggage you have and take it to your room for you.
While this service might not be necessary if you are a light traveler, it’s a wonderful service offered when you have multiple bags.
Generally, you should tip around $1 to $5, depending on the number of bags you have.
For just a single bag, $2 is a good amount.
Valets are workers who will park your car for you, saving you from finding a parking spot and walking yourself.
Like bellhops, you’ll typically only see valets at more high-end hotels or establishments.
Like bellhops, tipping valets anywhere from $1 to $5 is the average amount.
Housekeeping is usually optional, as you can always hang a do not disturb sign on your door or opt-out of the service altogether.
However, if you choose to have housekeeping clean your hotel room, a tip is in order.
It’s important to tip housekeeping every day, as you can have multiple housekeepers during your stay.
The general amount to tip housekeeping is $3 to $5 a day.
It would be best to leave a note specifying that the money is for them.
Hotel Room Service
If you order room service, it’s essential to check and make sure the tip isn’t included in the total of your bill.
That’s because many places include gratuity in the bill itself.
If the gratuity is not included in your bill, you’ll want to tip the same as wait staff, so 10-20% of the bill.
Most of the time, you can either include this in your bill or give cash.
Give Nail Technicians 15-20%
Getting your nails done, like your hair, can get expensive depending on the service, but no matter what your service is, you should always tip to show gratitude.
Like hairdressers and barbers, tipping a nail technician 15-20% of the service is generally accepted.
However, more extensive services, such as a manicure or pedicure, might require a bigger one.
Tip Bartenders 15-20%
Tipping bartenders may vary depending on your service.
If you have a tab open, you’ll most likely want to tip 15-20% of the total amount, like many other services.
However, if you’re ordering drinks without a tab, tipping at least $1 per drink is an acceptable tip amount.
You can do this with cash or on a card.
Tip Fast Food Restaurants With Spare Change
A controversial practice is the presence of tip jars are the counter of coffee shops, pizza shops, and other fast food establishments.
Some people are in the camp that they do not tip because food is not being delivered or served to them.
Others feel that a tip is warranted.
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If you fall in the tipping camp, how much should you give?
There is no percent rule or minimum in these cases.
Most people will simply make cash tips using their spare change they get from their purchase.
Give Dog Groomers 15-20%
Whether you get your dog groomed at a local groomer or at a big box store, the amount you give is the same.
Typically you are tipping 15-20% of the total bill.
Many people will tip towards the higher end of the scale when the dog groomer provides exceptional service or goes out of their way.
The same holds true if you have a pet that is mean or difficult to deal with.
Give Holiday Tips Around $20
Around the holidays, many people tip their trash man and mail man, thanking them for their work all year long.
The amount you give is entirely up to you.
In most cases, people tip around $20 per service.
However, if you have put out a lot of large or heavy items for the garbage man, you might want to tip a higher amount for their hard work.
Tip Moving Companies $5 Per Hour Worked
Tipping movers is a polite thing to do.
After all, they helped you move all of your belongings to your new residence.
But how much should you tip a moving company?
The general rule is $5 per hour worked.
This amount is per mover, not in total.
So if you have two people helping you move and they worked for 4 hours, you give each one $20.
For moves that take all day, you can max out the tip amount at $40.
When it comes to a long-distance move, you aren’t expected to tip on an hourly basis.
In general, you should give $40 per mover when you are making a long distance move.
Give Your Car Mechanic $5 To $20
Most people don’t think about tipping their mechanic, but if you use the same technician on a regular basis and they do excellent work, it is appreciated.
Now, you aren’t expected to tip a mechanic after every visit.
In fact, this practice is along the same lines of tipping around the holidays.
It can be a once or twice a year thing.
The common amount to tip a mechanic is between $5 and $20.
If you plan to give once a year, go with the higher amount.
If you would rather tip more frequently, go with the lesser amount.
Tip A Tattoo Artist 20-30%
A tip for getting a tattoo is a common practice and in most cases, the tip amount is on the higher end compared to most service workers.
The accepted amount to tip a tattoo artist is between 20-30% if the cost of your tattoo.
You can decide on the amount you give based on a number of factors:
- Was the artwork original or not?
- How many hours did it take to complete the tattoo?
- Was it done in one sitting or multiple sittings?
- How intricate were the details?
- Was it on a hard to work on part of the body?
- Were many colors used?
This will give you a good idea for where your tip amount should fall on the accepted scale.
Give A Tour Guide 20-30%
If you take a guided trip in the United States, it is common to tip your tour guides 10-20%.
As with a tattoo artist, there are many factors that come into play for the proper amount.
- Was it an all day tour?
- Was it a walking tour or on a bus, boat, etc.?
- Was there a large or small group?
These factors come into play for deciding on your amount.
Also, this guide is only for the US.
Many other countries do not tip tour guides and in some cases, it is seen as rude.
So before you travel, be sure to visit some websites of where you will be staying to see if tipping is customary there.
How Do You Calculate A Tip?
For those who aren’t great at math and can’t calculate quickly in your head, don’t worry!
Calculating a tip amount isn’t as difficult as it seems.
As long as you have a calculator on your phone, or even a pen and paper, it’s easy.
To calculate, take the service’s total cost and multiply it by the percentage you want to provide.
For example, for a standard tip of 20%, you would take the amount of the service and multiply it by .20, which will then give you the tip amount for the bill.
Many services will even provide amounts for you at the bottom of your receipt, making things a lot quicker and easier than calculating them yourself.
Another option is going to the Tip Calculator website, which will quickly calculate different amounts for you.
Finally, here is an easy trick to calculate the tip amount in your head.
Look at the first number on your receipt total and double it.
This should roughly be 20%.
For example, let’s say your bill comes to $45.75.
Take the 4 and double it to get 8 and leave $8.
This comes out to about a 17% tip.
If you want to always get closer to 20%, then look at the numbers before the decimal point and round up.
Using the same example, look at 45 and round up the 4 to a 5.
Now double this to get 10 and leave $10.
This comes to a 22% tip.
What If I Had Horrible Service?
If you had horrible service, you might not be inclined to tip.
If your service includes the person being rude, disrespectful or lacking at all, you must contact the establishment or the manager, especially if the service warrants no tip at all.
It’s essential to think about the situation before deciding not to tip.
Sometimes, especially for wait staff or bartenders, it’s not always their fault.
Whether the place is swamped or short-staffed, they’re overwhelmed and trying their best most of the time.
Alternatively, the server might just be having a bad day and while not ideal, it projects out on customers.
So be sure to take these possibilities into account before not leaving a tip.
Why We Tip In The United States
It is customary to tip service workers in the United States because they earn a substandard living wage.
Because of the way the wage laws are, restaurants and other service companies can pay workers less than the Federal minimum wage.
Because of this, many service workers rely on tips to help them make ends meet.
Finally, whenever you can, try to tip using cash and not a credit card.
The reason for this is the credit card processing fees.
These fees usually total around 3-4% per transaction, so while you are leaving 15%, in reality it is much less after the fees are taken into account.
At the end of the day, most businesses in the service industry in the United States sees tips as a standard practice.
For many services, a good rule of thumb for how much to tip is 20% of the bill.
Of course, if you experience good service, you can leave a higher one and if you receive poor service, you can leave a low one.
The bottom line is to remember that tipping is normal and knowing the standard amount per service is critical.