How Much Should You Tip? An Etiquette Guide

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Tipping, which formerly was an act of generosity to show appreciation to services rendered, is now becoming a customary act, which begs the question, how much should you tip?

Tipping has become necessary in America due to low wages, which has made workers dependent on the acts of gratitude shown by customers they provided services for.

How much you should tip is not a general knowledge people know by themselves. Sometimes, they are not even sure if they should tip.

If you are one of those people, you can read this article to find the recommendations for different hospitality industries.

1. Food services

Coffee shops and takeout counters

According to common etiquette knowledge, you don’t have to tip people in this industry because their services are not exceptional. You do everything yourself, like walking to the counter and order, then getting yourself a seat.

So, while they may have tip jars or other means of getting tips from you, it’s unnecessary to give. If you wish, solely out of your conscience’s sake, you can give the person who served you. But a pick-up food from a restaurant should be 10%


Tipping servers in a dine-in restaurant is something everyone knows they should do, but there isn’t a consensus on how much you should give.

A hospitality expert suggests between 15-20%. 15 percent should be for an average service, while 20 percent should be for an excellent service. Others may think differently. It’s really up to you, but try not to fall below the 15% mark.


There is a flat rate for beer and cocktails, which is $1 and $2, respectively. You can add more if you feel the bartender rendered an exceptional service; like ensuring your glass is never empty and being at your beck and call.


You can decide to tip through the delivery app or give the driver a cash tip in-person for delivery.

The government may tax tips on the app, but not the cash, which is why cash seems more reasonable. You can use the dine-in rate for how much you should tip, which is between 15-20%.

2. Hotel services


An authority on social etiquette, Emily Post, recommends leaving $2-5 every day in an envelope for your hotel housekeeper. Ensure it’s marked, “Housekeeping- Thank you” so the housekeeper gets it.

However, before deciding how much you should give, check the hotel’s quality level, the mess you made, and how long you stayed in the room. Is the hotel is a five-star? Tip higher. Left the room in a messy state? Tip higher. If you only slept there at night, tip lesser.


If you requested a concierge’s services during your stay in a hotel, tip when checking out. However, you might want to make some inquiries before tipping. If the hotel charges you a service fee, ask whether the concierge will get part of it.

Tip the concierge $5-10 if he helped with a small task. More significant tasks should cost $20 or higher.

3. Car services


You can use the same percentage for the dine-in restaurant on taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft. Also, tip via the app of rideshares since the drivers are entitled to all of it.

Tow Trucks

You can tip tow truck drivers from $5-10 depending on services rendered. If they helped to change your tires or jumpstart your car, tip $5. Towing your vehicle should be nothing less than $10.

Parking Attendant

You can tip $1-2 for services rendered.

4. Miscellaneous services

Hair/Nail Salons

You can go with 15-20 percent of the services rendered. If you require more than barbing your hair, probably washing your hair and massaging the scalp, a 20% tip is reasonable.

Babysitter or nanny

If it’s a one-off thing, you can use your better judgment to decide how much tip they should receive. But if they are working an hourly rate, then tipping isn’t necessary. Feeling generous? Give them a bonus at the end of the year.

5. Services That Don’t Require tipping

It’s prohibited to tip in some service professions. Here are some services that don’t need tipping:

  • Medical Professionals
  • Teachers
  • Sports Coaches
  • Camp Counselors
  • Package-Delivery Personnel
  • Contractors
  • Home Service Providers

Do you tip after a bad service?

If you have received bad service, give a subpar tip, but that’s after expressing your dissatisfaction. For example, a hairdresser styled something different from what you requested, tip 10% instead of 15-20%. But trying to avoid tipping altogether is not appropriate.

Refused tips

If people can’t accept tips like those that work in the professions listed above, you can write a thank you card or say thank you. Or, leave positive feedback with their line manager or people they work under.


There are no hard rules regarding how much you should tip for a service rendered. This article only serves as a guide to give an overview of what is expected. Use your discretion to decide what each person really deserves. But don’t be cheap by avoiding it altogether.

Do you think you are spending more than you earn? Learn how to spend less through these money management tips.