Thanks to apps that find people to drive us around, deliver our food, and bring us our booze, tipping etiquette in the modern age is more confusing than ever. Plus, what about those old school rules like tipping the paperboy? Does that even still apply in a world where you never meet that person? And how much are you supposed to tip the hotel housekeeper anyway?
We’ve outlined everything you need to know about tipping in these modern times, so you’ll never be confused again. Just know that, unfortunately, even in a world that seems to be cash-free, tipping requires you to have lots of dollar bills on hand at all times. It’s a small inconvenience for all of the convenience.
EATING AND DRINKING OUT ON THE TOWN
If you’re getting a complicated drink, you should definitely tip, but don’t feel like you have to pay extra for the latte art because seriously it’s “art” that you’re going to ruin with your first sip and that no one asked for and that no one needs to see on Instagram ever again. Pardon the digression. If you pay for your coffee order with a debit card and there’s no tip option, don’t stress; just make it up to them the next time you stop by. And if it’s your regular spot and you always pay with a debit card, consider leaving $10 or $20 once a month in cash.
Tip: Leftover change to $1 is plenty
$1 for a beer, glass of wine, or simple cocktail. Two bucks for anything more complicated or if you’re drunk and annoying.
Tip: $1 to $2 per drink
Oh, did you think a mixologist and a bartender were the same thing? Silly, you. A mixologist almost never makes a vodka soda. Rather, he will use an excessive amount of ingredients to create a magic elixir you’ll pay anywhere from $12-$16 for, not including the $2 to $3 tip you’ll also leave because of the fact that he had to go to far off lands to capture fire from a dragon that he then used to smoke the Himalayan cedar plank he brought home from his vision quest that will be fed into a decanter and then mixed with the cocktail that will be served over one giant hand-carved ice cube. tl;dr: $2-3. Artisan mustache wax isn’t cheap, you know.
Tip: $2 to $3 per cocktail
We love the idea of tip-free restaurants where everything is included in the cost of food, but we’re not there yet. Until we are, leave twenty percent unless something egregious happened with your service, in which case, you should call the manager over and explain why you’re not tipping well. ‘Cause do you really think any waiter has ever been like, “Huh, an 11 percent tip. It must have been because I didn’t write down the order and then brought out the wrong entrée!” No. He’s like “Ugh, screw those cheap ass b****.”
Tip: 20 percent
There are those who will argue that you have to tip the valet when you drop the car off and when you pick it up. Those people are silly. But you do need to tip when you car is returned safely. Even if the service is complimentary. Anywhere from $2 to $5 will suffice. And no, “I don’t have any cash on me” is not an excuse.
Tip: $2 to $5
A dollar is plenty if you take a towel or mint. However, if you use the hairspray and ask for advice about your love life, you’ll need to leave at least two or three bucks
EATING AND DRINKING AT HOME
Praise [your choice of higher being here] that you can get wine, beer, and booze delivered straight to your door. With some, you have to decide on your tip before you receive the order, which is annoying, but will be less annoying when you pop that first bottle less than hour after you hit “place order.” Others let you tip post-delivery, which is good, but their prices tend to be a little steeper. The recommended amount is 10 to 20 percent, but probably around 15 percent is fair.
Tip: 15 percent
Whether you’re ordering from the restaurant or using an app, you should generously reward the person who is saving your lazy ass from having to do anything more than answer the front door. While a lot of people will tell you that you don’t need to tip more than 10 percent for delivery, you seriously need to give the person at least five bucks and that is that. More if it’s raining.
Tip: $5-$10 depending on the order; more if it’s raining
Caviar has a whole spiel about how they pay couriers a competitive rate for their services, and that tipping is not required. However, it is “appreciated.” Which means you should do it. Considering the delivery and service fee, 15 percent (or a couple of bucks) is probably plenty. You’ll need to hand it over in cash though as you can’t tip via the app.
Tip: 15 percent or at least a couple of dollars. Cash only.
Munchery says gratuity is optional, but does allow you to extend a tip either via cash during delivery or by specifying an amount during checkout. Considering there’s no difference between what a Munchery delivery driver is doing and what the pizza delivery guy does, it seems pretty obvious what you should do. (Hint: TIP.) The options are $1, $3, $5 or other. Leave $3 to $5 depending on how big the order is.
Tip: $3 to $5
Sprig says that tip is included. But those drivers don’t make nearly enough money. Give ‘em a dollar if you can.
Tip: Nothing or $1 to $2
Postmates says that a tip is not required, but they mean that in the same way that it’s not required that you brush your teeth twice a day, but you really should because it’s the right thing to do. You can add any amount after the delivery is complete via the app. It should probably be 15 percent to 20 percent, depending on what you ordered and the amount of hassle. For example, no need to tip more than 15 percent for something like a sandwich, but if you had a flat screen TV delivered, behave accordingly.
Tip: 15 to 20 percent
The tip amount defaults to 10 percent, which seems like a fair amount to us for grocery delivery since that can add up fast, though if it’s raining, 15 percent seems more reasonable, especially if the total is under $50.
Tip: 10 to 15 percent
If you’re going to check your bag at the curb, you’d better have some dollar bills on you to give the skycap.
Tip: $1 per bag; $2 per heavy bag
You’re under no obligation to accept the bellhop’s offer to assist you with your bags. But if you do take that assistance, you’ll need to tip accordingly.
Tip: $1 to $2 per bag delivered to your room
There are arguments that the hotel should pay housekeepers enough so that guests don’t have to tip on top of the room rate. That’s definitely true. But until that happens, you should tip $2 to $5 per night, depending on how much you’re paying to stay there and the quality of service. Pro Tip: Leave the tip every day for the best service.
Tip: $2 to $5 per night
If you don’t use the concierge, then, duh, you don’t need to tip. But if you ask for help with something, you’ll need to hand over a tip that reflects the difficulty of the task you asked him or her to perform. So, maybe $5 to $10 for a restaurant reservation and $30 for hard-to-get tickets. And be sure to hand it over after the task has been performed since someone else may be on duty when you check out.
Tip: $5 to $30, depending on the task at hand.
Check to make sure that gratuity isn’t added. If it’s not, then leave 15% of the cost of the meal.
Tip: 15 percent
Whether it’s a week-long rafting trip or a day spent exploring the pyramids in Egypt, it’s customary to tip your guide and the bus driver if it’s two separate people. Although that does not pertain to people who work in national parks.
Tip: $5 to $10 for the guide and driver on a day trip. At least 15 to 20 percent for tour guides who are with you for an entire trip.
The best thing about taxi drivers is that they tend to know where they’re going without relying on a stupid map and know the best way to get there while avoiding traffic and construction. They should be rewarded accordingly. And if they help you with your luggage, that’s an extra buck at least.
Tip: 15 to 20 percent depending on the service
Lyft now accepts tips through the app. It’s optional, but, you know: not really.
Tip: 15 to 20 percent depending on the service.
Uber says “there’s no need to tip” and, accordingly, there is no way to do so via the app. However, the site also says if you have cash and “decide you would like to tip, your driver is welcome to accept.” This creates issues, like tipping so that your rating doesn’t suffer. And it changes the best thing about Uber, which is that you don’t have to deal with any exchange of money. Still… when you think about it, especially considering that Lyft now encourages tipping, it’s probably the right thing to do.
Tip: $1 to $5. Cash only.
ALL THAT OTHER STUFF
Bartender at an Open Bar Party
There’s a good chance tip is included in some way, shape, or form, but do you want stiff drinks and good service or watered-down drinks that take forever to pour? Exactly. If you put down $10 at the beginning of the night, your evening (and cocktails) should be a lot better as a result.
Tip: $1 per drink
If your car is covered in dog hair and slobber or you just got back from a long road trip, you’ll need to throw down some more cash. Otherwise, a few bucks is fine.
Tip: $3 to $5
Tip: $1 per coat
Tip: 15 to 20 percent
Emergency Roadside Person
Did you know you’re supposed to tip the person who comes to help you when you accidentally lock your dog in your car? (Don’t ask.) Yup, you are. Of course, if you’re stranded on the side of the road with a flat, you may not have cash, but if you do, $5 to $10 is appropriate, unless the person owns the company who is helping you.
Tip: $5 to $10
Tip: $5 to $10 per person depending on how heavy/cumbersome it is. More if there are stairs involved.
This is important. If the person who shampoos your hair is not the same person who cuts or colors it, then you need to tip that person a few dollars.
Tip: $3 to $5
Anywhere from 15 to 20 percent is a good amount. If you’ve been going to the same person forever, it’s also nice to leave a little more during the holidays.
Tip: 15 to 20 percent
Tip: 15 to 20 percent
Yes, it sucks, but every single mover needs to receive a tip and that tip needs to reflect the difficulty of the move, including heavy furniture, stairs, distance, etc.
Tip: $25 to $50 per person
DURING THE HOLIDAYS
You don’t have to give this person cash, but probably they’d rather have cash than a scarf, so…
Tip: Two weeks pay
Yeah, you know that guy or gal who you call when you’re locked out or your toilet is overflowing? You’re supposed to tip ‘em at the end of the year for a job well done. Even if you never call them for anything, they’re still the people who solve all of the problems for the buildings, including issues you (hopefully) never know about.
Tip: $20 to $100
It’s not really appropriate to fork over cash (even if that’s probably what the person who takes care of your children wants and most needs), but a gift ranging in cost from $10 to $50 is a great way to show this person who much you appreciate what he or she does. And, yes, it can be in the form of a gift card, which is the next best thing to cash.
Tip: $10 to $50 gift card
Tip: Equivalent of one week of service
Omg, you have a doorman? Fancy! Of course, there’s a price to pay, especially if he accepts packages, dry cleaning, and does other little chores on your behalf.
Tip: $20 per person if it’s a rotating crew; $50 if you have one main doorman
Tip: Equivalent of one visit
Newspaper Delivery Person
You may never even see this person because he or she comes while you’re still sleeping, in which case you can call the newspaper to ask where you should send a check.
Tip: The price of one session
USPS policy states that your mail delivery person can’t accept cash or gift cards. However, gifts worth $20 or less are acceptable. Time to start baking cookies!
Tip: Something homemade and delicious
Much like the USPS, FedEx drivers aren’t allowed to accept cash and UPS drivers are discouraged to do so. But considering how much stuff you probably get delivered, it would be nice to give them some tasty treats or a small token of your appreciation.
Tip: A physical gift (edible or otherwise) that’s not worth more than $20
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to be relevant to a national audience.