Deciding how much to tip has never been easy. Plus, most people use credit cards and debit cards rather than cash these days. Given the near ubiquity of plastic gift cards, the decision of “how much” to tip also becomes a decision of “how” to tip as well. So we’ve saved you the anxiety. Here’s a brief guide of how much to tip in life’s everyday situations.
Restaurant service staff
Leaving a tip after a great meal is probably the only thing most people can agree on. The typical tip is 15-20%, depending on the overall level of the service. It’s best to add in a bit more if you had a large group order. This is also true if the waiter/waitress took any extraordinary steps to accommodate any unusual dietary or menu requests.
As a rule of thumb, you can give each mover $10 to $20 for a local move. For larger moves, as well as for moves that require crossing state lines, you should think about tipping $20 to $50 per person. Also, you can add more if you live on the top floor of a building without an elevator. That’s a good reason to add in some extra cash as a bonus at the end of the job.
Hairdressers and barbers
For most trips to the barbershop or hair salon, you should give a 15-20% tip. Where things get complicated, of course, is if multiple people helped out on your salon experience. As a rule of thumb, you should give 20% of the entire value of the visit. Then, let the person at the front desk figure out how to allocate the tip.
Back in the day, it was a no-brainer to give a 10% tip to your taxi driver. But we live in an era of Uber and private limo services. The new de facto standard is a 15-20% tip per ride. Most ride services will list the rules of tipping within the vehicle. Keep in mind that some bus lines and other transportation services (like the courtesy buses at airports) expressly forbid giving a tip to the driver.
For every trip to the local spa or salon for a massage, you should give a tip of 15-20%.
Car wash workers
This one is a bit tricky, since there are usual several people working on your car at one time. Always look for a tip box near the exit. Put your money directly in there if possible – that will reduce the anxiety. As a rule of thumb, you should give $2 or $3 for a car. You can give anywhere from $3 to $5 for a large SUV or truck.
Pet sitters and pet walkers
In this case, it’s best to give a one-time annual gift rather than a succession of tips every few days or every few weeks. Makes sense, right? Here’s where you can start using your gift cards, rather than trying to figure out exactly how much to tip. Most gift cards come in denominations of $10, $15, $20 and $25. Those are all reasonable gifts to give around the holidays.
If you live in a building with a handyman, you’ve probably used his (or her) services at least once during the year. The best time to show a little appreciation is around the holidays. This is when you can give a monetary gift of anywhere from $15 to $50. Here, too, you can just give a gift card.
If you’re still uncertain about how much to tip, just remember that you should never give more than you feel comfortable giving. In many cases, it’s the thought that counts. Most people who receive tips will admit that the range of tips can vary widely. Most are happy with just a gesture of appreciation. If you absolutely, positively can’t make up your mind – use The Rule of 15. You can either give a tip of 15% or a gift card worth $15, whichever one seems appropriate for the situation.