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Knowing who to tip and how much can be confusing.  While most people will gladly accept your token of appreciation, in some cases your act of kindness can be viewed as an insult.  To make matters worse, there’s always that lingering question of “Did I tip enough?”.  Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of tipping rules that are sure to leave a good impression in any situation.

Bars and restaurants

Before you do anything, make sure the gratuity hasn’t already been added to the bill.  Some places automatically include the tip when serving parties of six or more.  Even if you receive bad service, you’re still expected to tip your server.  While writing a big fat zero on the gratuity line may feel like sweet revenge, chances are they’ll think you just forgot.  A better solution is to only tip 10 percent for poor service.

Server (sit down) 15 to 20 percent of bill, pre-tax
Server (buffet) 10 percent of bill, pre-tax
Bartender $1 to $2 per drink or 15 to 20 percent of the tab
Host No obligation.  $10 to $20 if they go out of their way to find a table
Washroom attendant 50 cents to $3
Sommelier 15 percent of the bottle cost
Valet $2 to $5
Coat check $1 per item
Tip jars No obligation.  It’s up to you.
Take out No obligation.  10 percent for curbside delivery
Food delivery 10 to 15 percent of the bill, at least $1 for bills up to $10

Quick tip:  We know math isn’t everyone’s strong suit.  Luckily, there’s a trick you can use to calculate a 20% tip without whipping out your phone.  Let’s say your pretax bill is $45.85.  Simply, round your bill up the nearest dollar which is $46.  Then move the decimal over one place to the left so you have $4.60.  From there, you’ll just double that amount.  This will give you $9.20 or a 20 percent tip.

Daily life

You may already know to tip your barber or hairstylist 15-20 percent but what about other service providers?

Barber 15 to 20 percent for a haircut.  $1-$2 for each additional service
Hairdresser 15 to 20 percent
Shampoo person $3 to $5
Manicurist or pedicurist 15 to 20 percent
Spa services 15 to 20 percent
Flower delivery $2 to $5 per arrangement
Furniture delivery $5 to $10 per person
Car washer $2 for a car, $3 to $5 for large vehicles, 15% for detailing
Dog groomer 15 to 20 percent
Laundry or dry cleaning $2 to $5
Movers $20 to $50 per mover
Roadside assistance $5 to $20
Grocery bagger Check store policy.  If allowed, $1 to $3 for bringing bags to your car
Handyman No tip
Gas attendant No tip


While tipping is customary in Canada and the United States, it’s considered taboo in some parts of the world.  In fact, if you try to leave a tip in Japan, China and South Korea you’ll come across as rude.  Before you leave for your next getaway, research their tipping customs so you don’t accidentally insult anyone.

Skycap $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
Doorman $1 to $4 for carrying luggage, $1 to $2 for hailing a cab
Bellhop $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
Housekeeper $2 to $5 per day
Concierge No tip for questions.  $5 to $10 for tickets or reservations
Room service 15 to 20 percent of the meal cost
Taxi 15 to 20 percent of the fare

Weddings and special events

When it comes to special events, it pays to read your contract carefully.  Some vendors already include gratuities in their pricing to avoid any confusion.  But if yours doesn’t, the following chart will provide a good idea of how much you’re expected to tip.

Planner 15 percent of fee up to $500.  No tip if they own the business.
Delivery and setup staff $5 to $10 per person
Photographer/Videographer $50 to $200 each.  No tip if they own the business.
Hair and makeup 15 to 25 percent
Transportation 15 to 20 percent
Officiant $100 to $500 donation to church.  Non-clergy, $50 to $100
Ceremony musicians $15 to $50 per musician
Reception band $20 to $100 per musician
DJ $25 to $200
Catering manager $100 to $300
Waiters and kitchen staff $20 to $50 each
Bartenders $20 to $25 each
Chef $50 to $150


During the holidays, we want to show our appreciation to those who have made our lives easier during the year.  In many cases, this means digging a little deeper into our wallet.  Here are some people you don’t want to leave off your “nice list” this year.

Gift wrapper $1 to $5 per item
Nanny One week to one month’s pay and a small gift from your child
Babysitter One night’s pay and a small gift from your child
Day care provider $25 to $75 and a small gift from your child
Teacher/tutor/coach Small gift from your child
Superintendent $20 to $200
Housekeeper One week’s pay
Daily dog walker One day’s pay
Doorman $20 to $150
Landscaper/Gardener $20 to $50
Newspaper carrier $10 to $50
Trash/Recycling collectors $10 to $30 each for a private service
USPS mail carriers Cannot accept cash, checks, gift cards or any form of currency
Hair stylist/colorist Cost of one visit
Manicurist/pedicurist $15 to $25
Shampoo person $10
Massage therapist $15
Personal trainer Cost of one session