Despite how commonplace tipping is in the U.S., it can still seem confusing to understand how much to tip for which services. Though common advice says to tip 15 percent to 20 percent, it may not always be obvious how much to tip for a service — or even when to tip at all.

With inflation rising, low-wage workers’ incomes aren’t keeping up. Only 37 percent of workers making under $50,000 per year who received a pay raise said it was for a cost-of-living adjustment, according to a Bankrate poll.

Tipping may feel like extra work for you to calculate, but it’s vital for some fields. Because the expectation is that tipped workers will make more through tips, they legally only need to make $2.13 an hour in the U.S, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Here’s how to show your thanks and tip appropriately for a wide range of services.

Key insights on Americans’ cost of living and tipping behaviors

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  • 47% of younger millennial workers (age 26-32) say their income hasn’t kept up with (or exceeded) increases in their household expenses due to inflation. (Bankrate)
  • 31% of working Americans who have received a raise in the past 12 months (as of September 2022) received a cost-of-living increase. (Bankrate)
  • Only 39% of those who received a raise in the past 12 months or received a better-paying job (as of September 2022) say their income has kept pace or exceeded the rise in household expenses. (Bankrate)
  • 63% of older millennials (ages 33-41) are likely to tip service staff like waiters and bartenders more during the holidays, the most of any age demographic. (Bankrate)
  • 42% of older boomers (ages 68-76) are likely to tip service staff like waiters and bartenders more during the holidays, the least of any age demographic. (Bankrate)  
  • 73% of Americans who dine at sit-down restaurants always tip when doing so. (CreditCards.com)
  • Only 13% of people who pick up takeout food always tip when doing so. (CreditCards.com)
  • 43% of consumers generally tip restaurant servers 20% or more. (Popmenu)
  • 32% of consumers typically tip delivery drivers 20% or more. (Popmenu)
  • 61% of consumers expect to tip 20% or more during the holidays. (Popmenu)
  • San Francisco is the most generous city in the U.S. for tipping, with 45% of orders receiving a tip of 20% or more. (Popmenu)

How much to tip at restaurants

The size of a restaurant’s gratuity depends on how well you’re served, including whether your order is correct and whether your server checks on you after you receive your food. Even if the service is poor, it’s recommended you leave at least 10 percent.* Check your tab carefully because some places add a gratuity to the bill. You may or may not want to supplement that.

For the wait staff at sit-down restaurants, the tip should be 15 percent to 20 percent of the pretax bill. Tips are not necessary at fast-food restaurants.

Additional tip: Some restaurants include a menu item such as “Beers for the kitchen,” where you can add several extra dollars to your bill to tip the cooks and dishwashers behind the scenes.

See Methodology.

How much to tip at bars

Common expectations when ordering drinks at a bar are to tip $1 per drink like beer or wine, and $2 per cocktail, which takes more work to make.

For open bars, it’s advised you tip at least $1 per drink. When bars have specials such as a two-for-one deal, best practice remains to tip for each drink you receive.

If you know you’ll be ordering multiple drinks over the course of a night, tipping $5 on the initial drink and then $1 for each drink after can be a show of goodwill to the bartender.

How much to tip at coffee shops

Just like alcoholic drinks, tipping around 10 percent to 15 percent on coffee, or about $1 on a drip coffee, is common practice.

Many people, when paying with cash, will tip their change, which is often accepted by baristas. You can also pay your Starbucks barista by leaving a tip with the app.

How much to tip delivery drivers

Delivery fees can be quite high, but that money usually doesn’t go to the driver.

Delivery companies like Grubhub advise paying a 20 percent tip on the total cost of your meal – if the delivery goes smoothly. If your area has severe weather, if the driver has to walk up several flights of stairs or if you are making a large order, tipping extra shows your appreciation for a difficult job.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Restaurant delivery 15% to 20% or more of your order total
Grocery delivery 15% or 20% of your order total, or more for a large order
Alcohol delivery 15% to 20%, more for heavy crater
Flower delivery $2 to $5

How much to tip at hotels

Expect to pay a variety of tips at hotels, and the bigger and more luxurious the property, the greater the amount.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Hotel porter toting your bags $2-$3 per bag at a basic hotel/motel; $5 per bag at a posh hotel
Room service with gratuity included on the bill 10% on top of the gratuity added to the bill
Room service without gratuity included 20% of the meal price
Toiletry/towel delivery $3-$5 at a basic hotel; $5-$10 at a fancy hotel
Doorman, if he hails your cab $5 to $10, even more if the weather is bad
Concierge who fulfills guest request $5 or more, depending on the difficulty of the request. Snagging hard-to-get tickets to a popular show or sporting event merits a bigger tip than suggesting a great place to eat.
Housekeeping $3-$5 per day for 1-3 people in the room; $10 per day if 6 people in the room; $10 per day at a luxe hotel. Consider leaving money daily for the housekeeping staff because they rotate.  Avoid leaving the tip on the nightstand – put it on a desk or counter.

How much to tip while traveling

If you are traveling outside the country, do a little research on tipping customs before you go. Tips are expected in Canada, for example, but not in Japan. And always tip in cash and in the currency of the country you are visiting.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Cruise ships Tipping policies vary among cruise lines, but each one tells you what is appropriate when you board.
Airport curbside check-in $5 per bag, a little more for gigantic suitcases
Airport shuttle bus driver $3-$5, or more if the driver helps you with your bags

How much to tip at weddings

The size and scope of the wedding determine the amount you should pay in tips. Carefully read the contract for the wedding and reception venues before deciding on gratuities, as they might be included in the price. Also, if you are the host, make sure service workers at the party do not leave out tip jars, since you would not want to burden your guests with leaving tips.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Wait staff $20-$50 per server for a sit-down meal, even more for the captain, depending on how lavish it is
Bartender About $20 per hour
Coatroom attendant $2-$3 per guest
Bathroom attendant $2 per guest
DJ $50 to $150. Read the contract.
Wedding planner Up to 20 percent of their cost, but even better is to refer new clients to them.

How much to tip at salons and spas

Hair styling is a licensed, skilled craft, and stylists generally recommend tipping around 20 percent. Consider tipping 22 percent to 25 percent for more labor-intensive hairstyles, such as adding highlights, bleaching or dyeing hair.

Some independent massage therapists charge all-inclusive rates for their services, but generally tipping 20 percent for spa services like massages, facials and more is advised.

Most all-inclusive resorts, however, don’t encourage tipping.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Manicurists 20% per nail tech
Hairstylists/barbers 20% for the entire service
Massages 15% to 20%
Facials 18% to 20%

How much to tip for transportation

Most ridesharing apps allow you to tip your driver through the app, but make sure to keep cash on hand if you’re taking a shuttle, taxi or limousine.

Generally, the longer the trip, the larger the tip.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Limousine driver 10% to 20% of the fare
Taxi driver 15% to 20% of the fare
Ride-sharing service, such as Uber or Lyft 10% to 20% of the fare. Even if apps for ride-hailing services do not give you an option to leave a gratuity, tip the driver anyway.
Shuttle driver $2 to $3 for a shuttle that carries multiple people, such as at airports. Tip more for a personalized shuttle.

How much to tip child care

Regardless if you’re showing appreciation to a teen babysitter or a daycare worker, tipping 15 percent to 20 percent for childcare workers is generally advised.

Additional tip: Consider giving your children’s daycare teachers a small gift or handmade treat during the holiday season.

Service Suggested guidelines for tipping
Babysitting 15% to 20% of the total
Nannying Year-end bonus of one to two week’s pay
Au pairs Year-end bonus of one to two week’s pay

How much to tip movers

How much you’ll tip movers depends on many factors, such as if you own a lot of heavy furniture or if the movers will be expected to bring items upstairs.

Tip more for a more difficult, labor-intensive move, and be sure to tip for each individual mover. Offering water bottles, especially on a hot day, can be another kind way to show appreciation for a difficult job.

Length of move Suggested guidelines for tipping
2 hours $10 per person
4 hours $20 per person
8 hours $40 per person

General guidelines for tipping etiquette

Tipping is more of an art than a science. These guidelines are a great place to start, but don’t feel like you have to stick to them if a worker gives you fantastic service and you want to show your appreciation.

“In general, for things like sit-down restaurant meals, haircuts and taxis/rideshares, I’d say a 20 percent tip is recommended,” Bankrate Senior Industry Analyst Ted Rossman said. “Unfortunately, many people are tipping far less — sometimes even nothing at all. But for all of those services, I think a 20 percent tip should be standard practice. These people are working hard and depend on tips as a big part of their salary.”

If you receive poor service, try to show empathy to the workers and bring up your complaint with them before leaving a small, or no, tip.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of tipped services. Additionally, don’t forget about tipping for other personalized services, like tattoos.

  • Don’t regard tipping as optional: Many people who work for tips rely on them to earn a living.
  • Tip according to the service provided: The more skill and experience that goes into a service, the more you should consider tipping. Someone who you have a personalized relationship with that knows your preferences also might earn a bigger tip, since they can offer knowledgeable advice and higher quality services.
  • Cash is not necessarily king: Check the tipping policy at a company before using their services. If there’s no way to tip a worker when you pay, ask if they prefer to be tipped via a peer-to-peer payment platform, such as Venmo or Zelle, or in cash. Just make sure to leave cash in a visible spot when you might not be present to speak to the worker in person, such as for hotel housekeeping.
  • Show appreciation for favors, too: You may tip a professional, but you’re unlikely to pay and tip a friend who’s helping you move your couch. Paying back a friend with a meal or a favor in turn is a kind gesture when you receive help for free.

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