Question: How Much Do You Tip? Basic Tipping Rules & Guidelines

A Man Walks Into A Bar...


A man should know his way around basic tipping etiquette, but the rules can get complex – especially when you travel. Certain axioms apply when it comes to tipping, and here are some basic guidelines we’ve compiled for you. More importantly, we want to know for this week’s question: what rules do you use when it comes to tipping?

Waiter, Server, Delivery: 15% + Round Up The Change

Whether you’ve worked in a restaurant or not, you’re living in a recession and you’ve probably done a good job of watching your expenses. Why should tipping be different? Stick with 15% per post-tax dollar as a generous and fair amount. Round up the cents to the nearest dollar (if you’re OCD) and consider it a bonus. Adjust accordingly for large alcohol purchases (you don’t need to tip 15% on that single $50 bottle of wine). If the server goes above and beyond the call of duty (think bottomless drinks), then take it to 20%. If you can tell a server is not busy and still makes you do the work, take it down to 10% per pre-tax dollar. Don’t stiff. Add 5%-10% if you’re using a gift certificate for a majority of the meal’s cost.

Concierge: $10+ per request

This depends entirely on the competency and complexity of your request. Restaurant recommendations are not the same as front-row seats, and most concierges you encounter these days are nothing like the ones depicted in the movies. Simple, offhand recommendations don’t necessarily require a tip, but if they call and get you a table ready and waiting, then the ball is in your court.

If a concierge hands you a business card and says it’ll get you to the front of the line (club, bar, concert), you should expect that. If it doesn’t then the concierge has done nothing more than make you look like an ass. If the ropes are pulled back and doors opened, you might suddenly find yourself a rockstar, even if for a moment. Cue positive impression with coworker or female companion. This automatically qualifies a generous tip.

Some choose to tip per request, but it’s more memorable to tip a good concierge (especially if you know you’ll be staying there again) a single lump sum at the end of the stay.

Housekeeper: $3-$5 per day

Housekeepers have a dirty job. If you’re the man you think you are, then you know taking care of people with the worst jobs is always sound advice. Use this opportunity to make someone’s day and tip properly. Count up $3-$5 per day and give it to the front desk in an envelope. If you’re in a mass franchise hotel (Super 8, La Quinta, etc), then leave it on the nightstand notepad with a simple jot saying “thanks.” Recognition is often all people need to make their day.

Bellhop/Porter/Valet: $1-$2 for taxi/directions, $2 per bag, $5 per car

This valet is carrying your bags. Enough said. The bellhop is hailing you a cab. Enough said. The Valet is driving your cherished new car. Enough said.

Room Service: $5

There’s a moment of awkwardness when the room service attendant rolls in a cart. He’s required to offer a display of the spread you’ve just ordered, often after a depraved night out, sultry morning with your girl, or taxing night of late-breaking deadlines. At this very moment, that person is not living the life you are. Be a gentleman about it and make sure you hand this person a few bucks, a thanks, and a nod.

Spa Therapist or Masseuse: 15%

I don’t personally use spas when I go to hotels, but I know people that do. Often hotels will spare you the awkwardness of tipping a spa or massage therapist by including gratuities in the bill (usually a practice I find annoying, but not here). Make it 20% if you get one at a Las Vegas casino while player poker, but it’s still seen as an act of douchebaggery unless you’re paying for everyone’s buy-ins.

Taxi or Car Service: 15%

The person paying for the ride or fare is always responsible for the tip. If you feel obliged, just pick up the next ride. It all works out in the wash. Just make sure you tip the driver appropriately. That means use exact change whenever possible (don’t use coins).

Barber or Stylist: 20%-25%

Your barber or stylist is responsible for the way your hair looks, a direct reflection on your style and outward appearance. If you’ve got a regular barber or stylist then you probably have a simple rapport and routine for your hair (e.g. 4 guard on the side, a little off the top…). Make an impression with the person that finally gets your hair the way you like it. If your hair costs $20 to get cut, give them $25 and commend them on their work. Leave a lasting impression every time and you’ll never deal with the hassle of excusing your chop top do.

Bartender: $1 per beer, $2 per drink, $5+ for a good chat

Most guys have bars they like, but not necessarily a bar they’re a regular at. If you’re on the road constantly, then you’re not vested with a hotel bartender, but if it’s slow and you happen to strike up a half-way decent conversation, you at least owe the bartender a fiver for the conversation alone + tips. If she is painfully attractive or even just pleasantly so, then you’re entirely at your own sober or not-so-sober discretion. As for your more frequented haunts, stick with something called the One/Two/Change rule: $1 per beer, $2 for two beers, etc. Always leave the coin change (typically quarters) unless there’s no green to go with it.

Still craving more tip knowledge? Visit, Frugal Dad, and for more.


How much do you tip? What rules do you use when it comes to tipping

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