The Ultimate Guide on Who, When, and How Much to Tip

The Ultimate Guide on Who, When, and How Much to Tip

Some people don’t believe in tipping. Others tip poorly.

Personally, I don’t understand why tipping or not is even questionable. If the service you received was acceptable, you should tip.

However, not everyone feels this way. So I am going to go over some basics of tipping based on the service you received.

Who Should You Tip?

Most sources will tell you to leave a tip for restaurant servers, delivery people, valets, massage therapists, hairstylists, manicurists, tattoo artists, cab drivers, hotel maids, movers, wedding priests, bar tenders, grocery store baggers, and tour guides. There are probably others that could be added to this list, but those professions listed above should hit a majority of the service industry’s personnel. It also gives you a good start to answering the question of who you should tip.

My rule of thumb is if you have had any service done, you should tip the people who served or helped you. For example, you don’t need to leave one for each person working at the restaurant you just ate at, only your own server.

When Should You Tip?

Tipping should be based on the quality of the service you were provided. Now that I’ve said that, I will add that you should proceed with caution when you are considering when and when not to tip.

For instance, if you go out to eat and the food was not satisfactory, ask to speak to the manager about it rather than shortchanging your waitress. This is especially true when she, or he, worked hard to keep you comfortable by pulling a shade or moving you to a different table, keeping your glass full, and fulfilling your other requests timely.

The wait staff should be tipped according to their services to you. If you received poorly cooked food, that is not the fault of the waitress or waiter. Instead, the blame belongs to the cook. So make sure you are putting the blame where it belongs if you are not satisfied with your service.

If you are truly unhappy with the service of your waiter, then you can tip less than what is standard. However, I believe you should still leave something unless the service is truly horrendous.

How Much Should You Tip?

When it comes down to how much you should tip for the service provided to you, a good rule used to be:

  • 10% – if you weren’t totally happy with your service
  • 15% – if your service was acceptable
  • 20% – if your service was outstanding

This is how my parents always thought, but I think tipping these day is more important than ever. I try to tip 20% for standard service and more if the service is outstanding. Sometimes I’ve even been known to hang around after my parents have walked away from a table at a restaurant just so I can add to the money on the table.

Keep in mind if you are dining out with a large group, tips or gratuities might already be calculated into your total. In this case, check your ticket over carefully before adding a tip.

If your service was outstanding and you want to tip over and above the gratuity, then add a little extra. These people often put long hours in on their feet as they hustle around trying to fulfill your every request. Show them a little kindness and gratitude.

And remember, if you can’t afford to tip you can’t really afford to eat out. Tipping should be part of your budget for dining out.

What are the rules you follow for tipping?

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


  1. Do you believe in tipping when you get carry out food? It is something that as always been fuzzy to me as I have occasionally tipped for carry out. Mainly after I read an article that stated carry out servers can receive low wages.

    1. I don’t. I only tip for delivery. If I go get it myself, all they had to do was bag it instead of putting it on a plate. Then again, if I ordered like a large order for a party or gathering, I’d probably tip for that.

  2. I’m glad you touched on hotel tipping each day. I had never thought about it, and have always left a tip in the room when we checked out.

  3. Tipping is important because you are getting a service, and I tend to do the standard 15% most of the time. The line for takeout that is being pick up needs to be removed as it is quilting people to leave something. I think the establishment is trying to get more profits when I see that. Delivery is a different story.

  4. We tip for housekeeping but we don’t tip on the last day. I guess I see it that we tip for the experience that they’re giving us after the cleaning, and we don’t get any benefit after the last cleaning. The next guest does. I guess you could look at it that tipping on the last day could make up for the cleaning on the day we checked in, but as pointed out above, that could have very well been done by another housekeeper.

    1. That’s a tough call. I see what you mean about tipping because the cleaning makes your experience better, but if it’s a different cleaner on that last day and you don’t tip and she doesn’t get tipped by the next person (because she cleaned in between the two guests) she may never get tipped. I’d hate to have to do a lot of rooms between guests if it meant no tip vs. cleaning for a multi-night guest who tips during their stay.

  5. How do you feel about tipping for takeout? Every time there’s a line on the receipt to leave a tip, I feel obligated to tip. For takeout, I usually leave a dollar because the line is there, but I know a lot of people don’t tip for takeout.

  6. I always tip and we tip around 25% pretty much every single time. We like to go to the same places a lot too, so tipping well is something we always do. I know people who tip horribly and it always makes me cringe. You shouldn’t be going out if you can’t afford to tip correctly 🙂

  7. Love this post. I used to work in hotel housekeeping and very few people knew you should tip housekeepers. Not only should you tip them during checkout, but you should leave a few bucks every day, as it’s unlikely that you have the same housekeeper throughout your whole duration.

    1. Good tip! (haha, get it?!) I do think a lot of people don’t realize they will have different housekeepers each day, so leaving a little bit each day is definitely a good idea!

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