Tipping: How Much Should You Tip?

Tipping etiquette is confusing and can be awkward when you mess it up.  To make it worse, tipping practices are inconsistent and vary across cultures. Tipping also varies based on the quality of service provided.

One question most people struggle with is, “Don’t these workers get paid a salary, why should I tip?”.  In most service jobs, the workers make less than minimum wage and most of their income comes in the form of tips. Only a handful of states require tipped workers to be paid minimum wage before tips.

Here is your tipping guide for how much to tip whom and when.

Tipping Is About Gratitude and Appreciation

Though it involves the transfer of cash, tipping is about appreciating the person who provided the service.  A good attitude and a small amount of cash goes a long way in making the person feel appreciated.

Tipping on pre-tax or post-tax amount

Tipping a certain % of pre-tax amount is perfectly fine. In most cases, the difference between pre-tax and post-tax is small and doesn’t matter.

Do It Discreetly

Tip like a gentleman.  Tip discreetly and with class.  Please don’t be one of those guys who shows up at a restaurant waving a bunch of dollar bills.

Have Cash Handy

Always carry some cash with you. Though you can pay tips with a credit card at restaurants, and salons, there are many places where cash works best.  Parking lot attendants, valet parking personnel and others are usually not in a position to take credit cards.

It’s Not Always About The Money

You can tell the service provider’s supervisor on how good the service was.  Sometimes, that makes the person feel better than an actual tip.

Food Service

Waiter – 15% is appropriate, 20% for exceptional service. I leave a small tip even if the service is bad. Always check if the restaurant has already added an 18% gratuity to the bill.

Buffet – 10% is sufficient since the service provided is minimal

Food delivery – $3-$5 for pizza and other food delivered to your home

Bartender – $1-$2 per drink

Room Service – Most hotels now include 18% gratuity in the bill, otherwise I tip a minimum of $5

Takeout- None. I don’t generally tip on take out orders


Taxi Driver – 15% of the total, with $3 minimum.  This applies to Uber and Lyft drivers as well

Rental Car Shuttle Driver- $1-$2 per bag

Valet/Parking Lot attendant – $2-$5 when the car is returned to you

Airport or Skycap – $1 per bag, $2 for heavier bags

House Keeper at Hotels – $2 to $5 per night, paid daily. I usually leave it on the counter or on the desk, so they know it’s for them. These workers also rotate, so a daily tip is recommended.

Personal Care

Hair Stylist – 10% to 15% is appropriate

Masseuse – 15% of the total bill

Manicurist – 15% of the total bill

Shoe shiner at airports and other locations – $2-$3

People You Should Not Tip

Medical professionals/doctors, teachers and many company employees are prohibited from accepting tips.

Package delivery drivers need not be tipped.

When in doubt, tip 15%-20%

We all run into unique situations where we are not sure how much to tip. In those cases, tip 15-20%.

Do you agree with these guidelines?  How much do you tip?

Many European countries don’t have tipping. Do you believe tipping should be eliminated? Why?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Newsletter

Get exclusive tips and updates directly in your inbox.
Join 1,000+ users who get our newsletter!