How-Tuesday: Tipping Properly



As a former waitress, I can tell you it's the worst thing in the world to be stiffed on a tip. I used to beat myself up and ask myself, "What did I do wrong?"

But the truth is some people don't understand tipping and the importance of it. As a waitress I earned less than $4.00 per hour, so my tips were my main source of income. So I made sure to bust my butt and make customers happy. 

I now I have an appreciation and understanding of how tough the restaurant industry can be. So, lets lay down some guidelines for tipping. This goes for waiters, waitresses, barbers, hairdressers, taxi drivers, hotel bellhops, etc. People in those positions work hard for their money and deserve tips (especially when the service is good). 

From our good friends at Young & Free Indiana, Aly has provided us with some great knowledge of how to tip properly in different settings. 


  • If you've received okay service from a waiter or waitress, leave 15%. For super awesome service, leave about 20%. Even if you've gotten really poor service, don't leave less than 10%.
  • For a bartender, plan to leave about 15-20% of the total tab. Think about 50 cents per soft drink and $1 per alcoholic beverage.
  • However, in big groups (usually 6-8 or more) gratuity may be added automatically. Be sure to check the bill or ask your server! 


  • Tips for delivery drivers can be tricky. Take into consideration, even if there's a pre-added 'delivery fee' it may not actually go to the driver! Experts recommend no less than $2 per pizza, but the further the driver is travelling from, the more you should expect to pay. Again, 15-20% of your total order is recommended for the tip, with a minimum tip at $2. Check out this website for more advice on tipping your pizza (or other takeout) delivery driver!


  • Taxi Driver: This will vary depending on where you are, but 15% of the total fare is a pretty good rule of thumb. Be sure to leave a little extra if you receive help with your bags!
  • Hairdressers, Manicurists & Barbers: 15-20% seems to be a thing here, huh? Although, watch out - some hairdressers still live by the tradition of not allowing tips. It's always okay to ask.
  • Coffeeshop & Food Service Staff: We're talking about those little tip jars on the counter. No tip is required here, it's totally optional, but you're more than welcome to leave what you'd like. Even a bit of extra pocket change is acceptable.


  • Hotel Doorman: If you receive help with your luggage, $1 per bag is perfect.
  • Hotel Bellhop: Again, $1 per bag if they bring it to your room, but if you've only got one bag, then plan to give $2.
  • Hotel Housekeeper: This is another "maybe" thing. Ask your hotel if it's okay to leave your housekeeper a tip, and if so, you can give anywhere between $2-5 per night you stay.


  • Always, always carry a bit of cash on you. I'm not talking hundreds of dollars here, but a stash of $1 bills is always great to have, especially during trips where you know you'll be tipping a lot.
  • If you have a coupon or discount, your tip should be based on what your total would be without the savings.
  • Don't hesitate to tip a little extra if the service was awesome or a little less if the service is really poor.
  • If you've got a smartphone, download a Tip Calculator application - it figures out the amounts for you!

I hope this clears up some confusion you may have had with tipping. It seems 15-20% of your total is the magic number, when in doubt! For more information on proper tipping etiquette, check out this CNN article.


Tip wisely!

Lauren R.