Just How Much Should I Tip?


With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to start thinking about giving thanks to the many people in our lives through holiday tipping.  It’s a topic that confuses many: how much to give and to whom?


Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, offers these tips:


–          Give what you can. Tips are appreciated, but not mandatory. If your budget is limited, opt for a small gift and a thank you note. If you’re unsure of who can receive tips, call the company and ask if there are specific guidelines. Someone in management will also be able to tell you if a cash tip or gift is more appropriate and what amount is customary.


–          Make a plan. Before you make a run to the bank, make a list of those people who have assisted you regularly. Once you know whom you’d like to thank, make a realistic budget of what you can afford to give. If you live in a major metropolitan area, the expected tipping range is slightly higher. Increase the tip for individuals with whom you have a friendship or those who go above and beyond the call of duty.


–          Hand-deliver your tip. When possible, deliver your gift in person accompanied by a handwritten card. Freshly printed, crisp bills are ideal. Gifts should be delivered on or before December 25, but may be given whenever you have contact with the person during the holiday season.


And as for how much to give:


–          Manicurist: $25 to $50 or a gift

–          Hair stylist: $50 to $100 or a gift

–          Barber: up to the cost of one haircut or a gift

–          Personal trainer: up to the cost of one session or a gift

–          Housekeeper: up to the cost of one visit

–          Au pair or live-in nanny: one or two week’s pay and a gift from your children

–          Teacher: A gift card or gift certificate for up to $25, or pitch in with some of the other parents and buy a more expensive gift certificate

–          Day care provider: $20 – $70 each, plus a small gift from your child

–          Babysitter: an evening’s pay, plus a gift from your child

–          Massage therapist: up to the cost of one session or a gift

–          Superintendent: $20 to $80 or a gift, depending on how helpful your super has been to you

–          Doorman: $15 to $100

–          Mail carrier: small gift or gift card up to $20

–          Newspaper carrier: $10 to $30

–          Sanitation worker: $10 to $30 each for private service; check your local municipality for regulations, as some areas may not allow tipping

–          Yard or Garden Worker: $20 to $50 or a gift card

–          Handyman: $15 to $50 or a gift card

–          Pool cleaners: up to the cost of one cleaning or gift card

–          Dog walker: up to one week’s pay or a gift

–          Pet Groomer: up to the cost of one session or a gift