Tip Guidelines 15% to 20% of the tab, Maybe I’m getting old, but I remember the days when a 10% tip to the waiter or waitress was considered normal. If you got great service, then a 15% tip would be in order. Then I remember when restaurants began tacking on the tip, usually 15% directly on to your check if you had a large group. But these days, the automatic tip is more like 18%!
On a recent trip to Japan, I was surprised to find that no one tips. Good service is just expected as part of the “product” you are purchasing, and can be used by establishments as a differentiator. In fact, I heard that there are other countries where tipping is not customary. Too bad that the custom of tipping will probably not go away anytime soon here in the U.S., nor will it get any simpler. For instance, how much should you tip your hotel room service person? What about the newspaper boy or the car wash guy? We even see tip jars now at all sort of self-service establishments. So what are the guidelines?
Well, as much as I wish we could become a society in which service providers considers it part of their normal job to provide good service, this is just not the reality. Having worked with several co-workers who come from those countries where they don’t tip, they often ask me how much and who you are supposed to tip here. Of course, this is not an easy question to answer. The fact is that the answer to that question seems to be constantly changing. However, at this moment the following guidelines should at least help to shed a bit of light on who and how much to tip.
Waiter or waitress at a restaurant – 15% to 20% of pre-tax bill. Remember, sometimes they have already added the tip to the bill. If you don’t check, you may end up tipping 30% – 40% without knowing.
Bartender serving you drinks – $1 to $2 per round. Or you can tip 15% to 20% of the tab.
Room service – 15% to 20% of pre-tax bill. Again, remember to check to see if the tip is already included in the bill.
Hotel doorman – $2 per bag for help with your luggage. You might consider more if you have unusually heavy or difficult to carry luggage.
Hotel bellhop – $2 per bag for help with your luggage. As with the doorman, you might consider more if you have unusually heavy or difficult to carry luggage.
Hotel maid service – $2 per night. Be sure to clearly mark your tip for ‘Housekeeping’ and pay the tip daily.
Valet parking attendant – $3 when pick up your car. Be sure this is in addition to any fee the establishment is charging.
Taxi driver – 15% plus $1 to $2 per bag.
Airport skycap – $1 to $2 per bag. Be sure that this is in addition to any fee the airline is charging.
Salon hairdresser or manicurist – 15% to 20%.
Food delivery person – 10% to 15%.
This is by no means an exhaustive list…and believe me, the list can be long. But you can pretty much get an idea of what to tip based on the guidelines above. You can always claim ignorance simply ask as well, although that might be embarrassing for some.