Guidelines for Tipping
In the United States, and in many other countries, providing tips for
many services is customary and expected. What is frustrating is not
knowing how much to tip, or being unable to determine whether a tip
has already been included in the cost of a service. This page
provides some information that is commonly understood regarding
tipping, and a few of the lesser known facts.
How much to tip for particular servcies (in the United States)
Additional information on tipping can be found on many other sites including
the original tipping page maintained by Manny Gonzalez.
- Restaurants - The customary tip to a waiter at a restaurant is
between 15% and 20%. This should be calcluate befor tax. If the
service is very good tip near the high end of the range. If the
service is poor, tip near the low and of the range. Only if there are
serious issues with poor service should you tip less than 15%.
If you received any discounts on the check, add back in the amount of
the discount before calculating the tip. If you are dining in a large
group, or in some other special situations, check to see if the tip
has already been included in the bill (it will usually be listed
separately). Many restaraunts will do this on large groups. If the
tip is already included in the bill, you can adjust the tip upward if
you like, but be careful not to duplicate the amount you have already
- Buffet Restaraunts - Although you might not think you are being served at a buffet restaraunt, there are still servers that seat you, take away your used dishes, and stock the buffet items. For this reason it is still appropriate to leave a tip. I will usually tip 10% at these restaraunts, plus if there are manned stations that I use, typically an additional dollar or so to the server at that station.
- Hotel maids - Hotel maids should typically be tipped $1 to $3 per
day. I find that the best way to do this is to leave the tip under a
pillow, and if you like, in an envelope labeled as such. If you leave
the tip nighstand, the maid might be unsure whether the cash was
intended as a tip.
- Hotel porter - For bringing bags to you room you should tip $1 to
$2 per bag.
- Hotel dooman - For hailing a cab, you can tip $1.
- Hotel concierge - there is not a need to tip the conscierge for
answering a quick question, but if you use the concierge's services
for reservations, or other arrangements, or if you get a lot of advice
then a $5 to $20 tip for your entire stay is appropriate.
- Hotel room service - you should tip similarly as you would for a
restaraunt, but check you bill to see if a service charge has already
been included. If you see a service charge of 15% or more, this may
be considered as the tip, and you can tip slightly above this amount
if you received good service, but don't duplicate the tip if it has
already been included in your check.
- Parking Valet - Tip $1 when your car is retrived. It is up to you
if you tip as well when the car is parked. If there is a service
charge for valet parking (as distinct from the fee charged for parking
itself), I typically consider that to be in place of the tip but I
will round up to a whole dollar amount. If the charge is for parking
(and would be the same for self parking), then I tip the valet beyond
the amount charged.
- Taxi driver - You should tip a cab driver 15% to 20% of the fare.
If the trip is particularly short, and thus the fare low, I will
tipically tip higher, setting my minium tip for a cab ride at $3.
- Shuttle drivers - For parking or hotel shuttles I typically tip $1
per passenger, but if I am the only passenger, then I will tip higher,
usally $2. For shared ride shuttles, such as SuperShuttle, I will
typically tip 10 to 15% depending on the number of other passengers.
- Coat checks - Typically tip $1 per item checked.
- Skycap - If you use a skycap to check you bags at the airport, tip
about $1 per bag, or $2 if it is a large bag or otherwise requires
special attention. Some arelines have started to impose fees for
skycap services, and it is not clear if these fees go to the skycap,
or are kept by the airline or airport. If the fees are not going to
the skycaps, then it is still appropriate to tip - but feel free to be
upset at the airline. If the fees get distributed among the skycaps,
then it is ok to consider the fee as the tip.