Tipping guidelines: How much do you give? (Part 2)

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(Note: This post is a continuation of Part 1)

First, I just want to make it clear that these are what *I* think is reasonable. Tipping is inherently a fuzzy thing – I’ve been working and travelling for business for about 2 years, and this is what I’ve picked up so far. At first I admit I was clueless on many things, and have stiffed at least 1 skycap and a few hotel maids. The first part of this post has some sites that offer tipping guidelines as well, and you’ll notice that they don’t all agree with each other either. Here are a couple more situations:

Maid: $1-$5 per night, depending on how nice your hotel is (Probably more if you stay at the Ritz, but I haven’t). Make sure you tip every morning, as the maids do change daily. I used to just leave a cumulative tip at the end of the stay. I suppose in the long run it’ll work out, but after actually talking to a couple maids they told me they prefer the daily tip.
(Casino Hotels: If you ask the maids at a casino to leave you extra coupon books from other rooms that they clean, you can get a lot of good extra coupons for gambling if you are savvy about that type of thing. I always ask and then leave a generous tip afterwards (not directly, as that can be a bit shady). They’re going to throw them out anyways! I got this tip from the Frugal Gambler, a great book for those that want to maximize their next Las Vegas trip. This book helped my sister win $300 from FREE contests. She didn’t have to even risk anything.)

Room Service – Usually a gratuity is already included, so it depends (Ask!). If it’s already 18%, that’s enough for me. If it’s 10%, I’ll add enough to make it 15-20%.
Bellhop: $1 per bag unless they’re really heavy (again, maybe different for nicer hotels).
Concierge: Varies widely depending on what they do and how good they are.

Skycaps: $1 per bag, unless really heavy then $2.
Beep-Beep cart driver that always seems to want to run me over: Never ridden it, although I’ve wanted to. Couple bucks? It’d be well worth it in certain airports.

Sporting Events:
If the event isn’t too crowded, you can usually try to go down to the lower seats. If there is a usher involved, you can try saying you “forgot your binoculars” and grease the person $5-10. I’ve never done this, besides just sneaking down into nicer seats. Just act like you belong there, I’ve never been asked for tickets yet.

Haircut: I get free haircuts now, so I don’t have to worry about this. Before, the person got 15%.
Massage: I’ve only had one, and I tipped them 15%.

Well that’s it for me. I’ll just add that in many countries that I’ve been to in Europe and Asia, tips are included in meals, etc. I personally like this is some ways, as I see the food AND service as part of the restaurant experience. If either sucks, I probably won’t be back. Also, the waitpeople there often actually make careers out of it, not like many young people here pulling double shifts to get through school.

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  1. I hate to tip under $2. Even if I get a $7 haircut from the local Korean clip joint, I still tip the girl $5. Maybe that’s because she’s cute, though. No. It’s the principal, darn it.

  2. A second comment, regarding Frugal Living. With “crude” oil up and gas prices maybe over $3 in the LA area now, you wonder how folks will react. I don’t think it’ll be by driving less. We have to show up to work monday through friday. Kids gotta get to soccer practice. Etc.

    I think it’ll be in the things you’ve been covering. How to spend money on other things more frugally. Get the haircut for less or free, for example. Cutting back on other expenses.

    Just digressing a bit from the tipping title.

  3. I think you need to devote another post in this series on “Tipping At The Casino”. It’s a different world. Kind of rubs of onto normal life too. I used to only tip a buck or two for haircuts, now it’s $5 like muckdog. Same with valet and maid service. Certainly you become more aware when other people are “stiffs”. But over-tipping looks bad too.

  4. Haircut at home looked like a nice idea till we actually did it. I live in a carpeted apartment and the cleaning after the cut just did not seem to make it worth it

  5. I was so embarrassed on a trip earlier this year when I didn’t know I was suppose to tip the skycap. The skycap is outside the main door that is right in front of the airline’s regular counter. The attendant said he’d make sure my luggage got on the plane like three times and I’m thinking, “Well, I HOPE so!” Then my friend stepped up and tipped him. I was both embarrassed for my own ignorance and irritated that he was so blatant about it. He wasn’t going to be working that hard to get it to the conveyer belt.

  6. Tip your whitewater rafting guide! Close to 40% of our income is in the form of tips. $20 for a group of 5 or so is standard for a couple hours of saving your life and giving you a ride you won’t forget…

  7. I work in Las Vegas as a Valet Attendent. We are constantly saying that $1 was a good tip the the 1960’s. Although we apperciate all tips as apposed to being stiffed, we believe that $3 is a good medium. Also, I feel like letting you in on a little secret… you can tip on the way in. Let’s say that you usually tip $5 at the end of service, Why not instead tip $3 in and $2 out. This way if, let’s say the dayshift attendent parks your car, but the swingshift attendent pulls up your car then you took care of both, and at the same amount you had planned on. (Not all places share tips) Okay one more secret. The more you tip on the way in the quicker you get your car. For example, did you ever wonder why someones car who came after you got their car before you? Well usually those are the guest who tipped on the way in. However to get the VIP treatment, one time on a busy night try tipping $20 on the way in. and $5 on the way out. You will get addicted to getting out before everyone else when there is a heavy wait.

  8. Thanks for the info on tipping your rafting guide!!

  9. I am a skycap at the airport in columbus and i disagree with the $1 or $2 per bag tipping etiquette. See what you this article is referring to are the skycaps that check in your luggage and provide you with a boarding pass. but this shouldnt go with the skycaps that work in baggage claim, which is what i do. We are with you a whole lot longer. we take your luggage off the belt, take your luggage where you need to go whether its right outside, across the street to a shuttle or taxi, to the car rental and wait through the whole process of you checking in there so we can load it in for you, or even to the far end of the parking garages. Now im not saying you have to tip a lot of money…i know times are hard for all of us. but for us willing to work and go that extra mile while making only $3.50/hour, we definitely deserve more than a few dollars. some bags are heavier than others and some customers have extra needs, so please just ask yourself how much you would have done it for, not listening to this out of date answer of $1. WE ARENT CHILDREN ASKING A PARENT FOR MONEY, WE ARE ADULTS, TRYING TO SURVIVE.

  10. You did not answer the most basic of questions about tipping. Do you tip on the before tax amount or the after tax?

  11. I like to tip on the pre tax amount, I think this is only fair. Especially since I live in CA and the tax on everything is astronomical as it is….

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