Your Ultimate Guide to Tipping: Here's How Much You Should Tip Everyone from Taxi Drivers to Baristas
Figuring out what to tip someone can be tricky, especially when you're unsure if a tip is even necessary. "Tipping is truly a way to show your gratitude," says Lizzie Post co-president of The Emily Post Institute and co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast. "We need to think of it not as an obligation but as an opportunity to give thanks." However, the only thing worse than not knowing whether or not you need to tip someone is not knowing how much is considered appropriate. After all, no one wants to worry about whether or not they've left an adequate amount behind for the services that were provided. "The biggest thing people get wrong about tipping is undertipping when they're dissatisfied with service," Post says. "They think they are conveying a message of poor service in the form of a bad tip, but lots of things can cause holdups at a salon or restaurant, so they should be talking to a manager instead of shorting an individual."
So, what do you do when you find yourself in a situation where you're not sure if you're supposed to tip? "Don't be shy about asking someone who works there if a gratuity is expected or included," Post says. And if you already know a tip is expected, but aren't sure what to leave, Post has a goof-proof technique for that, too. "Move the decimal of the dollar amount of your total once to the left and double that number," she says. "That should get you close to 20 percent territory."
Ready for more expert advice on what to tip and when? We turned to Post and team at The Emily Post Institute for help breaking down the right tip amounts for different services. From bartenders to dog groomers, we're sharing the 411 on what to tip in any situation.
Per The Emily Post Institute, you should tip your waitperson anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the pre-tax amount of your total bill for sit down service. If you're being served family or buffet-style, the Institute says a tip of 10 percent of the pre-tax bill will suffice.
If you're ordering at the bar, the team at the Emily Post Institute suggests leaving a $1 to $2 tip for each and every drink. If you're running a tab, then leave your bartender a tip of 10 to 15 percent of the total bill when you close out.
For large delivery orders, the Emily Post Institute recommends tipping 10 to 15 percent of the total bill to your driver. If you've only ordered a pizza or two, the Institute says tipping your driver anywhere from $2 to $5 (depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery) is appropriate.
The team at the Emily Post Institute says you have no obligation to tip anyone for takeout orders. However, if extra service was required, such as curbside delivery or you've placed a large or complicated order, a 10 percent tip is generally in order.
If you're ordering from a place with a tip jar—coffee shops, bakeries, and other small businesses—the team at the Emily Post Institute say you have no obligation to leave a tip. However, if you're a regular customer, or your barista or server does something special for you, then you should occasionally throw a dollar or two in the tip jar to show your appreciation.
When it comes to tipping your doormen during the holidays, Post recommends giving either a lump sum of cash or a gift. "Take into account the style of building and level of responsibility," she says. "We recommend a gift of between $15 to $80 for a sole doorman, or $15 or more each for multiple doormen."
Trying to figure out what to tip your hair dresser versus the person who shampooed you can get confusing. That's why the pros at the Emily Post Institute suggests tipping a flat sum of 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of services, but asking for it to be split among all of those who served you.
Whether you're getting your eyebrows threaded or a new gel manicure, the experts at the Emily Post Institute recommends leaving your spa technician a tip of 12 to 20 percent of the total cost of services completed.
Not sure what to tip your dog groomer? Post says if your dog groomer accepts tips, you should leave them with "15 to 20 percent of the total cost of services, just like you would your own hair stylist."
If you use a dog walker regularly and they're able to accepts tips, Post suggests gifting them "a lump sum at the end of the year that totals a week worth of services." Do this instead of handing out small tips after every service, she says. In the event you don't use the same person regularly, you may want to tip after each visit.
Since certain retailers include free delivery services in the total fee, Post recommends calling the company ahead of time to inquire about suggested tipping. If you can't get an answer that way, she suggests tipping each delivery person between $5 and $20, depending on whether they uncrate, assemble, or install a piece of furniture. However, "be sure to have exact cash amounts ready, instead of asking them to split the tip between them," she says. That means you'll want to have two five dollar bills ready instead of one ten dollar bill.
According to the experts at the Emily Post Institute, you have no obligation to tip your hotel concierge for simply answering questions. However, if they make any kind of ticket arrangements or reservations for you, a $5 to $10 is in order for every reservation, or 10 to 20 percent of the total price for hard-to-get tickets.
Sometimes a handwritten note is in order to fully express gratitude. For a weekly cleaning person who visits your home, the team at the Emily Post Institute recommends gifting the cash equivalent of anywhere from one week to one month of service during the holidays or as a bonus, along with a little note giving thanks. When tipping hotel housekeepers, the team at the Emily Post Institute recommend leaving $2 to $5 per day, along with a note marked "Housekeeping—Thank you."
In these days of rideshare apps, it's easy to forget to tip your driver. However, the experts at the Emily Post Institute says a tip of anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the total fare (and a dollar for every bag they help you carry) is necessary no matter what kind of driving service you use.
They're driving your car, so you'll definitely want to give a gratuity to your valet driver. Per the Emily Post Institute, the proper amount to tip your valet driver is between $2 to $5—but only once the car is returned to you.