Splitting the Bill?


When to Tip (and Why You Should)

Tipping is important for many professions. The main reason you should always tip is that many employees aren’t even paid minimum wage, which is very legal for many jobs. Some employers expect their employees to get tipped and will thus lower their hourly pay as a result. Waiters and pizza delivery drivers are prime examples of this. They depend on tips to make a basic, livable wage. If they don’t get tips, their paycheck alone will not support them.  

But there are a lot of professions that warrant tipping that many people wouldn’t even think to tip for. Sounds strange, but it’s not, especially if they offer you services that are above and beyond what you would normally expect from them. An example would if your cable satellite technician spent 4 hours repairing your service when it was initially estimated to take only 1 hour. You thought about it and realized he or she was polite and professional the entire time. That they never even once complained to you or their boss. That would warrant extra compensation, don’t you think?

If you can, tip people who bend over backwards to offer you exceptional service. If they give you a 110% effort, you should in turn give them at least a 10% tip. Tipping is a way of recognizing great work and encouraging it to continue.  

To tip, don’t be flashy about it. Simply hand them the cash and thank them for their service. If you’re showboaty with it, it will seem more about you than them, which would defeat the purpose.

Tips for Tipping

It may seem confusing to remember when to tip and how much. You can avoid a number of awkward situations by accessing our recommended tips by service. Not every service comes with the same standard tip percentage. Some services should even be tipped using a set dollar amount rather than a percentage of what you’ve spent. When you are tipping as a percentage, you may question whether to use the pre-tax or post-tax total. While most people default to tipping on the final bill, you actually only need to tip on your pre-tax charge. This can save you a lot of money over time while still respecting the service you received.

Finally, you may wonder how to handle tipping when you’re splitting the bill with multiple people. Before you even order at a restaurant, request in advance that the checks be split to make it easier on your server. If you can’t split the bill, have someone in your group actually in charge of assigning amounts, otherwise you risk no one stepping up to the plate to pay the tip.

Another important note in tipping is to learn when tips are already included in the service provided. For example, if you dine at a restaurant with a large party, your bill may include an automatic gratuity. Similarly, some hotels may include tips with certain charges, such as room service delivery. In these instances, you don’t need to add any additional tip. Wherever you are, be sure to review your bill before you sign so you know whether or not to include additional tips or not.

Recommended tip per service

ServicesTypical Tip
Waiters and Bartenders15-20%
Food Delivery15-20%
Cab Driver15-20%
Hair and Nail Stylists10-20%
Hotel Room ServiceMay already be included in bill; otherwise 15-20%
Hotel Housekeeping$2 per person per night
Movers or Furniture/Appliance DeliveryTipping is not expected, but $5-$20 per person is good if you feel it is necessary
Contractors (Plumbers, Electricians, etc.)Tipping is not expected, but $5-$20 per person is good if you feel it is necessary
Parking Valet$2-$5 when dropping off, and another $2-$5 when picking up
Masseuse/Spa Attendant10-20%

Tip Table

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by Lauren Ward

Personal Finance Writer

Lauren Ward is a personal finance writer with nearly ten years of experience covering topics like loans, credit, and real estate. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.