Who should you tip and how much should you tip during the holidays? Those are questions consumers grapple with every year, and there’s no clear-cut answer. But there are guidelines, depending on the kind of worker you’re tipping.
In Consumer Reports’ previous national surveys, we found that about 6 in 10 Americans tip at least one of 14 common types of service providers. Those providers are apartment superintendents, barbers, child-care providers, school-bus drivers, teachers, fitness trainers, gardeners or lawn-care workers, hairdressers, housecleaners, mail carriers, manicurists, newspaper carriers, pet-care providers, and sanitation workers.
Who Gets the Biggest Tip?
Housecleaners were the most often tipped and the best compensated. In our most recent survey, their median tip was $50. Those in most other professions typically received a holiday tip or gift with a median value of $20. Least likely to be tipped were garbage collectors.
Slightly more than half of respondents didn’t tip at least one of the providers whose services they used, and 39 percent didn’t tip any of those on our list. Some nontippers said they reward only exceptional service, and about one-fourth said they don’t tip at any time, period.
How much should you tip? Below we provide some guidelines derived from survey results from Care.com, a staffing company, and our own research.
Tipping Guidelines to Consider
|SERVICE PROVIDER||HOW MUCH TO TIP|
|Babysitter, mother’s helper||Average day/evening pay for regular sitters, plus a small gift from your kids|
|Barber||Cost of 1 session|
|Bartender||$20 to $40 for someone you see regularly|
|Day care staff||$25 to $50 per staff member, plus a small gift from your kids|
|Dog walker, dog groomer||Cost of 1 session or 1 week’s pay|
|Doorman||$25 to $100|
|Hairdresser or colorist||Cost of 1 session|
|Housekeeper or cleaner||Cost of 1 session (median tip from our survey was $50)|
|Kids’ coach||Small gift from your kids|
|Landscaper||Cost of 1 session or $20 to $50 for infrequent service|
|Live-in help||1-2 weeks’ pay|
|Manicurist||Cost of 1 session|
|Newspaper carrier||$10 to $20|
|Nursing home/assisted living staff||$10 to $20 per staff member (where allowed), or food gift for the group|
|Parking garage attendant||$10 to $20 for someone you see regularly|
|Postal worker||Non-cash gift worth $20 or less (U.S. Postal Service guideline)|
|Senior care aide||$25 to $100, depending on frequency of care|
|Teacher, teacher’s assistant||Small gift from your kids|
|Waiter/waitress||$20 to $40 to someone you see regularly|