Many people aren’t exactly sure who to tip, or how much to tip them. This is especially true during the holiday season, as the last few weeks of the year are thought of as a time for generosity. And that’s where this holiday tipping guide comes in.
Of course, sometimes, your barber is just your barber — 20 minutes to do the job with a little small talk while he works. Other times, he’s an old friend. Just like you decide how much to tip waiters based on how attentive they are, the decision of how much to tip your hairdresser, housekeeper and others may depend on their level of service.
Still, it’s nice to have at least some tipping guidelines to work with. So this holiday tipping guide is packed with amounts and advice on the proper tipping etiquette from a variety of sources, including Kiplinger and Gifts.com.
The tipping guide gives you a quick list of people who should get a little extra this holiday season, how much to tip them and any other tipping guidelines you might need. Take a look:
How Much to Tip: Cost of one week’s pay + personal gift
InvestorPlace’s Take: First up on our holiday tipping guide: nannies. Most tipping guidelines suggest nannies should receive one week’s pay, which certainly fits the bill financially.
However, Gifts.com goes beyond the simple question of how much to tip. The site also suggest giving nannies a personal gift, preferably something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. (Gifts.com also has a couple tips about what not to get the nanny.)
Per babysitters, one week’s pay works for tipping etiquette if they work frequently. However, if your babysitter mostly handles spot requests, the cost of one visit is fine for how much to tip.
How Much to Tip: Cost of one visit
InvestorPlace’s Take: This holiday tipping guide suggestion can really have a varying price tag depending on what you get done. A quick crew cut? Under $20. A complicated hairstyle and coloring? Over $100.
Still, the cost of a visit is widely touted as the golden rule for how much to tip your hairdresser during the holiday season.
Also keep in mind that the holiday tip should be in addition to a regular tip for each visit. And the normal guideline for how much to tip hairdressers? Typically 15% to 20% is proper tipping etiquette, varying more or less depending on quality of service, cleanliness and other factors, according to About.com.
How Much to Tip: $20-$30
InvestorPlace’s Take: Bartenders and waiters are the next folks in our holiday tipping guide. And you can file these tipping guidelines under not common, but still greatly appreciated.”
Of course, this tipping guide isn’t advocating hunting down every last man and woman that ever poured you a drink. But you should consider this rule for how much to tip during the holidays if you’re a “regular” at a local establishment, or even the bar at a golf or country club.
If you have that one waiter you always ask for or bartender who always tends to your beers first, proper tipping etiquette says you should consider a little extra something for the service.
Gardeners/Lawn Care Providers
How Much to Tip: $20 to $50
InvestorPlace’s Take: Gardening tipping guidelines actually vary, with some tipping guides recommending a flat cash payout of $20 to $50, and others — such as Business Insider — opting for the cost of one visit.
However, one thing that’s agreed upon for how much to tip gardeners? A tip is fine if you have one, regular gardener … but it can be skipped if you hire a service that sends different workers throughout the year.
How Much to Tip: $30 to $100
InvestorPlace’s Take: How much to tip in this next case will largely depend on how much work you needed from your building super throughout the year, as well as how timely those repairs were.
Even if your apartment was ship-shape, you still want to grease the wheels for next year. But if you’ve had several toilet repairs, late-night fire alarm fixes and a replacement refrigerator installed, pony up a little extra appreciation.
A holiday tipping guide from Kiplinger also suggests tipping doormen $25 to $100, and custodians $20 to $50, depending on the service, and pursuant to your building’s rules.
How Much to Tip: Cost of one week’s pay
InvestorPlace’s Take: You won’t see many people balk at tipping the cleaners — the next group in our holiday tipping guide. All that scrubbing, vacuuming and sweeping of someone else’s mess? It’s money well-spent for a thankless job.
If it’s a job well done, the cost of a week’s pay is how much to tip — if the cleaners are daily.
Of course, many people get regular services on a much less frequent basis, such as once a week, two weeks or month. If so, the cost of one visit is appropriate tipping etiquette.
How Much to Tip: Small non-cash gift worth less than $20
InvestorPlace’s Take: While this holiday tipping guide is mostly suggestions, the U.S. Postal Service actually has official rules about how much to tip:
“Carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.”
With such strict tipping guidelines in place, the mind automatically goes to foods. But don’t forget to consider allergies. To play it safe, chat up your local carrier about his favorite treats a month or two before the holidays.
How Much to Tip: Gift cards
InvestorPlace’s Take: While some holiday tipping guides might suggest a cash gift for a teacher, that could too easily be seen by other pupils or parents (depending on who’s around when the gift is given) as trying to get a leg up for your child.
Several blogs — including Rants From Mommyland — instead make the case for gift cards. A few tipping guides suggest pooling together with other parents on a gift … but that could create drama too if some parents don’t have as much to give during the holiday season.
Whatever you decide, check with your school district’s rules to see if they limit or forbid gifts.
How Much to Tip: $20 to $30
InvestorPlace’s Take: Last but not least on our holiday tipping guide: trash collectors. This one is fraught with all sorts of provisos, though.
For one, municipalities sometimes have their own tipping guides over how much to tip trash collectors — if you can tip them at all — so find that out first. Also, Gifts.com suggests only tipping if actual people are picking up the trash and loading it in the truck, but not if it’s a driver whose truck uses a robotic arm.
But perhaps trickiest of all is how to deliver the tip. Money left in an envelope taped to a trash can could be stolen or go unnoticed by trash providers. Our holiday tipping guide has the best solution, though: try to deliver it in person. If you can be home on a collection day, find out their usual pickup times and listen for the truck.