cash tip left by customer at coffee shop
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
July 3, 2024 ·  4 min read

From Your Hair Dresser to a Barista, Here’s How Much You Should Tip in Every Situation

Tipping etiquette has become controversial as customers are outraged that they’re expected to cover the cost of employees’ livable wages. In contrast, it’s a great way to show your appreciation for a job or service well done. Yet it can get confusing to know exactly how much to leave. Here’s a guide to offer some clarity in various scenarios.

Tipping Etiquette is Circumstantial

Overhead cropped view of woman leaving gratuity in restaurant
Source: Shutterstock

Although tipping is always a welcomed way to say “Thank you,” tipping etiquette has changed in recent years, particularly since the pandemic. For example, people began to question whether they should tip, considering that most restaurants were only open for takeout. Meanwhile, essential workers created new ways to serve others. It turns out that tipping etiquette varies depending on the circumstances, but unsurprisingly, it can be a nice gesture in almost any circumstance.

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Tipping Etiquette is More Inclusive

Bill book with restaurant bill. Leaving a tip at the restaurant. Big tip for the waiter or cook.
Source: Shutterstock

The first thing to note about tipping etiquette is that more service jobs should be rewarded with a tip. For example, it was always customary to tip for services such as spa or salon visits, food or beverage service, and personal services like the bellhop taking your bag to your hotel room. However, nearly everyone who provides a service should be given gratuity for their service if you’re following tipping etiquette. Interestingly, gratuity can be given in ways that aren’t always monetary, but knowing how much to give is important.

Tipping Etiquette for 10-20%

Waitress taking payment for order from wooden table at outdoor cafe, closeup. Leave tip
Source: Shutterstock

While previously it wasn’t necessarily an expectation to leave a tip for takeout, tipping etiquette calls for somewhere between 10-15% of the bill, which also applies to services like pet sitting, walking, or grooming, and food or grocery delivery.

Meanwhile, tipping etiquette calls for15-20% for these services:

  • Dining in
  • Car services like Uber and Lyft
  • House Cleaners
  • Furniture or Large Appliance Delivery
  • Hair Stylists
  • Nail Technicians
  • Massage Therapists

Tipping Etiquette for a Few Dollars

Man holding a tablet with tipping screen inside a restaurant
Source: Shutterstock

In many cases, $1-$5 is an appropriate tip. For example, bartenders should be given $2 per drink. Meanwhile, baristas should be given $1 per drink or $2 for complicated orders. However, some experts say that tipping etiquette doesn’t call for gratuity for “counter service,” which relates primarily to baristas and cashiers.

Another example where only a few dollars are required to meet tipping etiquette relates to hotel staff. On one hand, housekeeping should be given $1-$3 per night and $5 for providing extra cleaning services. On the other, the bellhop should be given $2-3 per bag plus $5 for room delivery.

More Costly Gratuity

Tip jar in restaurant dining room. Service industry tipping, minimum wage and gratuity concept.
Source: Shutterstock

Although a doorman can be tipped as low as $5 for their service and still follow tipping etiquette, those who go above and beyond, should be given an extra special thank you of around $15-$20. Valet drivers also receive higher tips post-pandemic, the range is $5-$10 or more for any special requests.

A personal trainer ranges from $10-$20 but doesn’t have to be given at every session. Tipping etiquette calls for an extra thank you at the end of a several-session regime. In contrast, service providers like Amazon and FedEx drivers should be tipped $5-$20 for large deliveries. Lastly, movers are given $20 per day, per mover. Or $50 for a supervisor.

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No Need for Tipping Etiquette

A handwritten note saying "thanks!" on lined paper with the tip of a pen.
Image Credit: herblady28 | Pixabay

Although tipping etiquette calls for some gratuity for most service providers, a few don’t expect a tip. Or in some cases, can’t accept a tip. For example, USPS and other government jobs prohibit workers from receiving tips.

Here are a few jobs or situations in which tipping etiquette contrasts with the previous information:

  • Teachers
  • Health care providers
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Open Bar Events
  • Poor service was provided
  • Gratuity has already been included whether electronically or included in the total bill.

Other Ways Show Gratitude

A black box wrapped in a light blue-green ribbon. Wooden background.
Image Credit: Image4you | Pixabay

Although everyone appreciates cash, there are other thoughtful ways to show your appreciation. A small note with a gift card or gift of no more than $50, around the holidays is a great way to say thank you and still align with tipping etiquette. Plants, flowers, or hand-written notes are also great ways to brighten someone’s day and thank them for a job well done.

Another great way to show your appreciation is to write a review. Small businesses thrive on reviews as they bring in more business. Writing a review takes very little time and your kind words will mean more to a small business and go further than a few dollars.

While some would argue that tipping etiquette and culture have gotten out of hand, it’s never a bad idea to spread a little joy if you can afford it. Furthermore, places you frequent will cherish your visits, and may even offer special perks like free extra sauce or coffee refills.

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  1. “Tired of ‘tipflation’? 5 times it’s OK not to tip, according to etiquette experts. CNBC. Ryan Ermey. July 5, 2023.
  2. The New Tipping Etiquette: How Much to Tip in Every Situation.” ToH. Charlotte Hilton. Andersen and Claire Nowak. December 6, 2023.