From AirBnB Hosts to Waxers, Here’s How Much to Tip in 24 Situations

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How much to tip
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Imagine, if you will: You’re in bed, eight hours into a deep Netflix binge, when suddenly — you realize you’re hungry. Like, really hungry.

So you pull out your phone, find the best late-night UberEats locale and order a spread fit for a stoned college kid: onion rings, loaded nachos, Buffalo chicken bites, a double order of mozzarella sticks and, to top it all off, a heaping bucket of shame.

Twenty minutes later, the delivery driver shows up at your door. You grab the bag, shout “food’s here!” to an empty house (you’re not fooling anyone — we know it’s all for you) and start to close the door.

But the driver’s not budging. He stands frozen, a look of awkward expectancy on his face. Is he waiting on something? Why is he holding out his hand? What’s going on?

A tip. A tip is what’s going on. Our friend the delivery driver is waiting for you to hand him a little extra cash for his trouble.

Tipping is Cool, Kids

In case you consider tipping optional these days, it’s really not. Tipped workers bring home just over $10 an hour on average, and in many states, the hourly minimum wage for tipped workers is as low as $2.13. That means that your server or bartender could rely on tips for 75% or more of their income. If you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford the service.

But in a day and age when practically every company seems to include a tip option on your bill or have it conveniently built into an online interface, it’s easy to forget, or simply not realize, when a tip is actually appropriate.

I’m here to tell you that tipping is still appropriate and appreciated in all the same old situations,  and thanks to some innovative conveniences (think: grocery and food delivery services), a few new ones.

So to quell the tipping confusion (and as a refresher for those of us who are still tipping like it’s 1995), here’s a handy guide that will answer the four Ws of tipping: who, when, where and why.

To determine proper tipping, I scoured online message boards geared toward people in the service industry and checked (and triple-checked) my numbers with my Penny Hoarding co-workers, who have collectively worked just about every job in the industry.

The Ultimate Guide to Tipping

Here are some numbers to keep in mind next time you’re out and about.

Food Service

Servers at sit-down restaurants: 20% for average service; more if the service is exceptional or you linger awhile, especially if it’s over something like a $2 bottomless mug of coffee; and no less than 10% for bad service. If it was truly horrible service, feel free to speak to the manager about your experience.

Bartenders: $1 per drink ($2 if it’s a complicated cocktail) or 15-20% of your bar tab.

Food delivery drivers: 15-20%, but never less than $2, even on a cheap tab.

Takeout: It’s never required, but order takers always appreciate $1-2.

Counter service tip jars: Not required, but if you want to foster a relationship with your favorite barista, a couple dollars never hurts.

Buffets: 10% for whoever clears the table.

Travel:

Valet: $3-5

Bellhop/curbside airport service: $2-3 per bag

Room service: If the hotel doesn’t include gratuity on your bill, you should tip 20%.

Housekeeping: $1-5 per day of your stay.

Taxi and Uber drivers: 20% of the fare.

AirBnb: Not necessary. A thank-you note and good review go a long way, though!

Beauty and Personal Care:

Hairdresser: 15-25% depending on how complicated or lengthy your service is.

Manicurist: 15-20%

Waxer: 20%

Spa services: 15-20%

Body piercer: $5

Tattoo artist: 20%

Miscellaneous

Grocery delivery service: 20% of the total bill; more if the weather is bad, or it’s a large load.

Laundry/dry-cleaning delivery: 15%

Dog groomer: 15-20%

Furniture/Large package delivery: $5-10 per person.

Movers: $20 per mover — more if the drive was long.

Tow truck driver: $5-10

Being Bad at Math is No Excuse

Pro tip (hah!): If you, like me, are really, really (I mean really) bad at math, you can download a tip calculator like this one. Just plug in a couple numbers, and it’ll tell you exactly how much to leave.

Another tip (hah! again) that has changed my life is this: When you get the bill at a restaurant, move the decimal point one place to the left, and then double the new number.

So if the bill comes out to $15.50, you would move the decimal point so that your new number reads 1.550. Then, you double the new number, getting $3.10. Voila, a 20% tip.

Remember, while we love a good deal (and a good coupon!) here at The Penny Hoarder, you should always tip on the pre-discounted amount. If you use a coupon for a salon visit, your tip should be a percentage of the regularly priced service.

Your Turn: How do your tipping habits compare to our guide?

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll never admit to having a double order of mozzarella sticks delivered — but if she did, she’d also want you to know she didn’t forget the tip.

Did this article help put money in your pocket?