Tipping Guide: Your go-to source for how to tip

Who do you tip? There’s the obvious: waiters, bellhops, valets. There’s the not so obvious: Uber drivers, nail techs, tattoo artists. And there’s even the just-don’t group: Plumber, grocery store bagger, personal trainer.

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How much do you tip? Well, according to Peter Ricci, director of hospitality and tourism management at Florida Atlantic University, the general rule of thumb in Florida is “triple the tax,”. That is 15 to 22 percent. 

If you’re thinking about your last experience with someone in the service industry and shaking your head at the thought of tipping 22 percent, remember that Ricci believes and educates his students on this fundamental fact:

Good service should be rewarded with a good tip. 

Likewise, and while others may hate him for saying so, “It is indeed okay not to tip — if a server completely abandons you, is rude/insolent, etc.,” Ricci wrote in an email interview. “Our employees need our tips, but we need to reward good behavior.”

One way to do that is to tip up front. 

“The Idea behind tipping is that if you enhance your server with better tips, you'll get better service,” wrote Ricci. But in reality, how’s that even possible when general practice is to tip after the meal, event or service?

Whether you’re an on-the-money or you adjust how much you tip based on the quality of service or you encourage good service by putting your cash on the table to start, we hope this guide to tipping — who you should and shouldn’t tip and about how much — helps you out. 

Day-to-day

  • Bartender: $1 per drink
  • Food Server: 15-20 percent
  • Dog Groomer: 15-20 percent
  • Valet: $2-$5
  • Landscaper/gardener: $2-$50
  • Newspaper carrier: $10-$30
  • Food delivery: $2-$4

Moving in

  • Appliance or furniture delivery: $5-$10 per person. Give an extra $5 for assembly or dealing with strict, and sometimes rude, building employees.
  • Actual movers: $20-$50 per mover. The harder the move, the bigger the tip.
  • Cleaning person: Money or a gift that’s equivalent to a week's pay 

Travel

  • Airport skycap: $1-$3 per bag
  • Bellhop: $1-$3 for every bag delivered to your room
  • Housekeeping: $2-$5 daily, depending on the kind of hotel. For a higher-end hotel, give a higher tip.
  • Room service: 15-20 percent of the cost of the meal. If your receipt includes a service charge, that does not cover the tip. A gratuity charge does.
  • Taxi or car service: 10-15 percent. Add an extra $1 if the driver helps you with bags.

By the way, there are apps out there that help you turn these percentages into dollar amounts. Tip Calculator for iPhone has a 5-star customer rating and Tip N Split Tip Calculator for Android has a 4.5-star rating. Anyone can default to the standard mobile calculator, though. 

Health and beauty  

  • Hairdresser: 15-20 percent
  • Shampooer (They need love, too): $3-$5
  • Limo driver: 15 percent
  • Makeup artist: 15-20 percent
  • Manicurist/pedicurist: 10-20 percent
  • Waxer/threader: 20 percent
  • Body piercer: $5
  • Tattoo artist: 20 percent

Special events

  • Ceremony musician or live band: 15 percent of the cost, or $15-$25 per person if you did not pay
  • Chef: $100
  • Photographer/videographer:  $100
  • Event planner: 15 percent
  • Waiters: $20 each
  • Flower delivery: $2-$5 per arrangement
  • Gift wrapper: $1-$5

Skip the Tip

For a full chart of tipping etiquette goodness, see what Real Simple blessed us with. And yes, there’s more. 

Here's a final comment on the tipping tip from Ricci, and it's one you might consider practicing: “In today's busy world, many get so accustomed to their behaviors -- I always triple the tax. But that's almost a disservice, and it's not a measurement of how I was treated.”

Instead, Ricci is “working diligently” to tip up front very nicely in order to enhance the type of service he receives.  According to him, it’s worked out well so far. 

Could the same be true for you? 

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