Tipping Guidelines for the Holidays and Beyond

If you're pinching your pennies a little tighter this year, you may be tempted to hold back on handing extra dollars to the service providers in your life. But, if you do, remember that skipping a worker’s gratuity, in many cases, would be like your boss saying to you, “Hey, guess what? We’re going to cut your pay by 20 percent this month.”
“For a lot of jobs where workers receive tips, you are their boss, not the employer they work for,” says Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at online salary database PayScale.com. Lee directs an annual study of how tips are growing and shrinking for 92 jobs, and what percentage tips make up of wages for each position.

The following list highlights 10 hardworking people who are likely depending on your tips this holiday season and throughout the year.

1. Bartender
Base Pay per Hour: $7.80
Tips per Hour: $9.60
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 55%

Enjoying a night out? The person pouring your peppermint schnapps will appreciate some extra cheer from your wallet. Typical tip: 10-15 percent of the bar bill.

2. Waiter/Waitress
Base Pay per Hour: $4.20
Tips per Hour: $7.00
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 63%

If you want to take the family out for a special meal, be prepared to tip your server. According to PayScale’s data, the person waiting on you is only somewhat recovered from a five dollar drop in base pay per hour last year. They still need your tips. Typical tip: 15-20 percent of the pre-tax bill, 20 percent at fine restaurants or if you have a large group.

3. Massage Therapist
Base Pay per Hour: $19.90
Tips per Hour: $3.80
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 16%

A massage can soothe that shopping headache and back pain from hanging lights. Help that masseuse enjoy a relaxing holiday, in return. Typical tip: 10-20 percent of the total, 20 percent if it is a really great massage.

4. Hairstylist
Base Pay per Hour: $11.10
Tips per Hour: $3.00
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 21%

Hairstylist’s wages and tips have gone up a bit this year. If that new do makes you smile, let them know with a full tip. Typical tip: 15 percent of the total.

5. Concierge
Base Pay per Hour: $12.30
Tips per Hour: $1.20
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 9%

If you have the opportunity to stay in a hotel over the holidays and need help from the concierge to get reservations for dinner and tickets to a show, be sure to show that person your appreciation. Typical tip: $5-$10 is average, more for special services or favors.

6. Doorman
Base Pay per Hour: $13.50
Tips per Hour: $2.30
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 15%

Doormen reported much lower tips this year than last. Be sure to express your appreciation to them for standing in the cold so that you have a quick trip from the lobby to a warm taxi. Typical tip: $1 dollar or more for help with luggage or finding a taxi on the street.

7. Parking Attendant
Base Pay per Hour: $8.30
Tips per Hour: $3.60
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tip: 30%

This is the person who runs down the street, through freezing winds, to get your car when you’re done at a restaurant, private party or other event. Make their night extra festive with a fair, or even generous, tip. Typical tip: $1-$2, depending on how far they travel to get your car.

8. Nail Technician
Base Pay per Hour: $10.60
Tips per Hour: $3.00
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 22%

For the ladies, bright, shiny fingernails and flowers painted on your toes can bring plenty of delight. For men, clean nails and a foot massage hits the spot. How much is it worth it to you to be pampered? Typical tip: 10-20 percent of the service 

9. Pizza Delivery Driver
Base Pay per Hour: $7.20
Tips per Hour: $4.40
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 38%

Frugal people may love this, often, inexpensive food. But, when it arrives at your door, you need to tip the person who brought it. Pizza delivery drivers’ pay is climbing back up from recession lows. They'll expect a normal tip. Typical tip: 15 percent for normal service.

10. Taxi Driver
Base Pay per Hour: $14.60
Tips per Hour: $5.00  
Percent of Total Hourly Income in Tips: 26%

The taxi driver who safely takes you, your luggage and other parcels from the airport to Grandma’s house has earned a tip. Pay attention to how much luggage they lift for you so that you can reward their extra effort. Typical tip: 15 percent of fare, $1 per bag up to 5 bags, $2 per bag for 5 or more bags or if bags are very heavy (50 lbs. each).

Source: Median base pay per hour, median tip per hour and percent of total hourly income in tips data are provided by Payscale.com.
Tipping data are provided by The Original Tipping Page, Essortment.com and www.tippingguide.org.

More from PayScale: 

Holiday Jobs for Extra Cash 

Best Paid Skilled Labor Jobs 

Retail Holiday Jobs at Gap

 

** All tipping and salary data updated as of November 9, 2011.

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