Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Tips on tipping for 63 services

You know how much to tip the pizza delivery guy, right? But how about the fishing guide, tour guide or tattoo artist?

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 7:51AM

This guest post comes from Coupon Sherpa.


How much do you tip a salmon fishing guide? Do you have to tip the coffee shop guy who takes your money after you've served yourself? How much do you tip a private yacht charter captain, particularly if he owns the boat?

It's not hard to guess how much to tip hairdressers, but do you tip the gal who washes your hair? How about if she gives you a head and neck massage as well?

Everyone seems to have their hand out these days, so we've put together the following general guidelines to help you make sense out of when to tip dollars or cents.


Restaurant and food tips:

  • Waitstaff: 15% to 20% of the total.
  • Bartenders: 15% to 20% if you run a tab, but $1 per drink if you pay up with each drink. Obviously, you'll save more on tips by running a tab, but you're likely to drink more.
  • Parking valets: $1 to $2, depending on the quality of restaurant or hotel.
  • Sushi chefs: 15%.
  • Wine stewards: 15% to 20% of your total wine purchase. This applies only if the sommelier helped select your wine.
  • Takeout food: 10% when you pay. Make sure you tip based on the entire check if you use restaurant coupons.
  • Mom-and-pop coffee shops: $1 if you're just purchasing a drink; 10% if you're running a tab or making a meal-sized purchase.
  • Chain coffee shops: 25 cents tossed in the tip jar, if they were nice and you feel like it. More if they made you a complex drink and served it pleasantly. Nothing if you got your own cup and filled it while all they did was take your cash.
  • Coatroom attendants: $1 per coat for up to five coats and 50 cents per coat for six or more.
  • Washroom attendant: $1.

Driving service tips:

  • Taxi: 10% to 15% is standard and 20% if the driver helps you with heavy bags.
  • Limo: 15% to 20% of the total bill.
  • Long-term-parking shuttle driver: $1 to $2 per bag if the driver assists you with your bags.

Hair salon tips:

  • Stylist: 15% to 20%.
  • Colorist: 15% to 20%.
  • Barber: 15% to 20%.
  • Shampoo tech: $1 to $2, depending on the length of the shampoo and if the tech gave you a nice head and neck massage first.
  • Nail technician: 15% to 20%.

Spa tips:

  • Massage therapists: 10% to 20% per massage.
  • Aestheticians/facialists: 10% to 20% per service.
  • Spa attendants: Tip 5% of your total bill at the front desk or directly to any attendant who went the extra mile.
  • Shave service: $1 to $2.
  • Makeup artists: 10%.

Delivery tips:

  • Pizza: $2 to $5 depending on the distance the delivery person had to drive. If you use pizza coupons, make sure you tip based on the total price of the check. Check first to make sure a small tip was not already included in the total price, but make sure this isn't a "service fee" not shared with drivers.
  • Furniture: $5 per large item delivered. You may want to tip more if the delivery requires a lot of setup.
  • Flowers: $1 to $10, depending on the size of the arrangement.
  • Urban delivery services: 5% to 10%.

Hotel tips: Remember to tip based on the total bill, even if you've used hotel coupons.

  • Housekeeping staff: $1 to $5, depending on the hotel's quality and extra services provided. Tip daily as staff varies and put the cash in a sealed envelope indicating it's for housekeeping.
  • Bellhops: $1 per bag. It's not necessary to tip extra for showing you where the bathroom is located.
  • Room service: 10% to 15%. Many hotels add the gratuity to your bill automatically, so be sure to check before you tip.
  • Valets: $1 to $2 based on the overall parking fee. Tip $2 if the charge is more than $10.
  • Doormen: $1 to $2 per bag if they provide assistance, but tipping is not required if the doorman just opens the door.
  • Concierge: Tipping varies with the level of service provided. No tip is necessary for simple requests, but tip $2 to $5 if the concierge arranges show tickets or restaurant reservations.

Casino tips:

  • Drink servers: $1 to $2 per drink.
  • Blackjack dealers: $5 chip per gambling session (higher at high-limit tables). Also, you can set up a side bet for the dealer as a tip, usually at the minimum betting level.
  • Poker dealers: $5 chip per dealer rotation (usually every half hour). If you win a big pot, tip a bit extra.

Travel and entertainment tips:

  • Salmon fishing guides: 15% is the average for independent fishing guides, but not less than 10%.
  • Museum guides: $1 per tour participant.
  • Tour guides: $1 to $5 per person if you're touring in a group, unless a service fee is included in the tour price.
  • Private yacht charter captain: 95% of charter captains turn tips over to their crew. Typically, a mate should get 15% to 20% of whatever the charter cost, particularly if they handled fish-cleaning duties.
  • Skycaps: $3 to $5 per bag.
  • Disc jockeys: $5 for requests; $20 to $50 from employers.
  • Musicians and singers: 8%.

Miscellaneous tips:

  • Gas station attendants: $1 to $2 for attendants who actually pump your gas, unless included in the cost. (Yeah, like these exist anymore.)
  • Grocery baggers: $1 to $3, depending on the number of bags delivered and loaded into your car; $3 for a full cart.
  • Tattoo artists: 10% to 20%, depending on the difficulty and amount of work performed.
  • Piercing technicians: 10%.
  • Movers: $10 to $20 per mover, depending on the amount of work necessary.
  • Tow truck operators: $3 to $5 per car towed, even if it's covered by AAA.
  • Shoe shine people: $3 per pair and $5 if the shoes are extremely dirty.
  • Dog groomers: $10.
  • Auto detailers: 5%.

Holiday tips:

  • Garbage collectors: $10 to $15 per person, but don't put the cash out with your trash.
  • Baby sitters/day care personnel: A small gift card for baby sitter's favorite store; $15 to $25 and a gift for regular day care.
  • Newspaper carriers: $5 to $15.
  • Personal trainers: Price of one session.
  • Tennis coaches: Price of one session.
  • Dog walkers: One week's salary.
  • Housekeepers: Half a week's pay during the holiday season or more if the cleaning person performs a lot of extra services.
  • Hair stylists: 30% instead of the usual 15% to 20%, unless the stylist owns the salon. You might buy a stylist/owner a nice gift during the holidays, however.
  • Manicurists: $10 to $50.
  • Mail carriers: Government employees are prohibited from receiving money as a gift or gratuity, but the Postal Service tends to turn a blind eye during the holidays. A $5 to $10 tip is sufficient, unless your mail is delivered by a different carrier each day. Even better, write a letter of appreciation to the carrier's supervisor.
  • Sherpas: Tip one yak for making it up the mountain and an additional yak every time the sherpa has to save you from falling off the mountain.

More from Coupon Sherpa and MSN Money:

Apr 26, 2012 2:55AM
Tipping for pizza delivery is way underrated. It costs about $.50 / mile to operate a car, so if you live 5 miles away from the pizza restaurant (a 10 mile round trip for the driver), then a 3 dollar tip leaves the driver 2 dollars in the hole. Even tipping the maximum suggested of 5 dollars, you're still not actually "tipping" the driver since all you are doing is paying the cost you would have paid if you had driven there to pick it up yourself. And that's even worse for the driver if he works for a chain that drops him to below minimum wage while he's out making deliveries.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.