Tipping Tips – A Mom’s Guide to Gratuity



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When are you supposed to tip? It’s a question we all ask at some point in our lives. Let’s face it; tipping can be complicated and uncomfortable. Nobody wants to look like a cheapskate but you also don’t want to look like you don’t understand the value of a dollar.

Tipping is tricky. When do you tip? How much?

You don’t want to offend the person who’s offered you services but you also don’t want to look as if you haven’t a clue what you’re doing.

Rest easy, sweet mama! I’ve done the leg work and compiled this list for you. I’ve scoured the Internet and countless advice columns, asked in group forums, and researched industry standards to compile this complete(ish) list for you. I hope it proves handy and the next time you’re faced with the dilemma of how many dollar bills you should hand over, you feel confident doing so!

Bars/Restaurants/Coffee Shops

  • Bartender: 15% is standard; although, if you’re ordering complicated mixed drinks, 20% is more appropriate.
  • Waitstaff (Sit-down Style Restaurant): 15% is standard; 20% for good service and more if they offered you outstanding service. 10% or less if the service was poor and you know it wasn’t the kitchen’s fault. 
  • Waitstaff (Buffet Style Restaurant): 5-10% depending on how much work is done by the waitstaff
  • Barista: $1 per handmade coffee (espresso, lattes, etc); 50 cents for pouring already made drip coffee.
  • Takeout: No tip unless they go above and beyond or do something special.
  • Food Delivery: 10% with $3 as the minimum amount (add more if the weather is inclement and they offered you excellent service).

Hair/Nails/Massage/Spa Services

  • Hairstylist: 10% minimum, but if the person does good work, you see them regularly, and they take their time with you, 20% is more appropriate. 
  • Shampooer: $5 unless it’s an inexpensive haircut ($20 or less), then $2-$3. 
  • Manicurist/Pedicurist: 15-20% (higher if there is extra work involved for them).
  • Facial/Body Wrap/Massage Services: 15-20%

When Traveling:

  • Taxi/Limo Drivers: 10-15% of your total fare
  • Valet: $1-2
  • Bellman: $1-2 per bag. Tip more if they provide any additional services.
  • Concierge: For anything from dinner reservations to hard-to-come by theatre tickets, $5-$10. To ensure great service throughout your stay, add a $20 tip to the bill. 
  • Room Service: 15% of the bill unless gratuity is already added.
  • If you requested something special be delivered to your room (like a hair dryer, crib or an iron), tip $1 per item received. 
  • Maid: $2 per day
  • Cruises: Varies. Ask cruise line about customary gratuities.

Other Services:

  • Babysitter: 10-20% based on services provided; if you come home to a clean house or she went above and beyond and you didn’t ask it of him/her, tip extra.
  • Grocery Delivery (Full-service delivery company like Shipt or InstaCart): 10% of the total bill; extra if if the shopper does more than the norm (more than 10 miles from the store shopped at, lots of produce that required careful selection, an otherwise complicated, very-large or heavy order).
  • Roadside Service: $10 (more if weather is inclement: rain, very hot, etc).
  • Pet Groomer: 10% for short-haired, if well behaved. 15% for long-haired, well-behaved dogs; and 20% for the not so well-behaved dog. 
  • House/Pet Sitter: 10-15%; more if you sitter cares for your home/pet on a regular basis, animals require special treatment (medications, difficult animal, etc) or has gone above and beyond what is expected.

While it can be tricky, with a little bit of preparation, any situation where tipping is involved can be made comfortable. 

If you’re unsure what tip is appropriate, the best gauge is to consider the service you’ve received (and what lengths the individual went to on your behalf) and give what you feel is appropriate for the value of that service.

Any tip you give with a smile and genuine thanks will be appreciated more than nothing at all.

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Misty is a native Texan but moved to Corpus Christi in 2014 with her family of six when her quadruplets were just eight months old. (That’s right; quadruplets. As in FOUR babies born at the same time.) Misty and her husband Adam spend most of their time tending to their four three-year-olds. She enjoys sharing her adventures in parenting high order multiples and feels that, just as when dealing with quads, it’s always best with a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm. Most of the past four years feel like a blur, spent just trying to survive on God’s grace alone: a struggle with infertility, a challenging pregnancy, three moves (two with quads and one while pregnant.) an emergency delivery, 52 days in the NICU, her mother’s battle and ultimate loss to cancer, and then there’s that whole raising quadruplets alone in a city where she knew no one, miles away from friends and family, while the hubby worked out of town. Blogging and ridiculous amounts of Facebook posting have become a way of life not only in order to stay in touch with loved ones, but also to serve as a reminder of where her family has come from and all they’ve been through. Misty leads a busy life tending to the needs of four very active toddlers, substitute teaching, helping others learn about the amazing benefits of Young Living essential oils, and documenting her journey on her blog at www.lotsobabylane.com. Still, there’s always time in her life for God and crafts. Misty is an active member of Bayshore Bible Church and enjoys all things crafty (presently, all things vinyl.)