Tipping for Delivery

tipping-table-money.jpgJosh’s post made me consider tipping in NY and what is fair. I have had many personal service jobs in my life, and so I feel I have some unique perspective about tipping for things and what is fair. When I was a valet parker in high school, my boss used to make a comment about how while everything else in the world inflated from 1960-2000, somehow, tipping for parking was still a $1 standard. I always make sure to tip between $2 and $5 depending on the place and weather. Then, as a concierge, it was erratic. The more rich the person looked, the less they tipped. That was the standard.

Once I moved up in the world and became a waiter in college, I was continually disappointed about how shitty tips were, generally speaking. So, I think that as a respected voice in NYC, we should set the standards. Please see my suggestions below and let me know what you think is a fair tip for each service:

Waiter/Waitress: 17% before tip
Bartender: $1 per drink
Delivery Person: $2 (total bill under $20), $3 (bill is $21-$40), $4 (bill is $41-60) $5 ($61+)
Valet: $2 minimum, then base any addition on friendliness and quality of service
Hair Dresser: 20% of total bill
Taxi Drivers: $1 if he sucks and/or the cab smells like shit, $2 if I don’t feel like he wants to kill me, $3 for great service

Tipping Tips:
– In a parking garage, tip the attendant BEFORE you leave, and tell him you will get him again when you get back. This will get you much better service.
– In any tipping situation, it is a bad idea to pull out a wad of cash and then give someone one or two bills. Have the tip ready before hand, otherwise no matter what you give, it will seem cheap.
– At a bar, if you plan to be drinking the whole night, give the bartender a nice tip early on and make sure he knows who gave it to him and who is in your party. Subtract against that for the rest of the night.

What tipping ideas or standards do you use?

External Links:
New York Magazine
The NYC Insider

[Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks]

6 Comments so far

  1. KipEsquire (unregistered) on March 28th, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

    Regarding delivery: I only tip if delivery is free (i.e., pizza & takeout), but not if there is a delivery charge (e.g., UPS & FreshDirect). I’m not going to pay twice for the same service.

  2. Josh (unregistered) on March 28th, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    I try to base my tips on how difficult the situation is that I’m asking them to perform. For example, food delivery…I always give a little extra if it’s completely pouring out. And yes, if there’s a fee for the delivery, the tip is short by that amount.

    Artie Lange, of the Howard Stern show, mentioned the other day that he gets his pizza for free because he mentioned them on the air once, but he tips the delivery guy $20, which is what it would have cost him if he did pay for it.

    On this past weekends episode of This American Life (the radio version) they tested if a waitress would get a bigger tip if she was nice rather than aloof. They came to the conclusion that most people are set in their ways and give what they always give, unless the service is truly awful. The closer was, “It’s not that aloofness pays, it’s that niceness doesn’t pay.”

  3. eric (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 8:28 am

    Regarding waiters/waitresses, I generally tip 20% unless the service is substandard, in which case it’s down to 17% or 15%. If it’s god-awful and we have to complain or fight for service, it might be worse.
    For deliverymen, I usually tip something comparable to waiting, as in a nice percentage of the bill.
    I totally overtip taxis as I generally follow the rounding up percentage thing as well, but it’s never exceeded 15%.

  4. Tracey (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 11:12 am

    I also usually tip at least 20% for waiters/waitresses. My boyfriend and I have had several debates on this topic, since I’m very adamant about it. Several friends in the restaurant field trained me well.

    For manicure and pedicures, most people in the city actually tip more than 20%. Unaware of this in the past, I tipped only 20% at a local place and received a surprised look by the manicurist/pedicurist. Consequently, I will never set foot in that place again. Which is sad since it’s the nail salon closest to my apartment.

  5. Noah (unregistered) on March 30th, 2007 @ 8:47 am

    Eric, I employ the “round it up” idea for a cab as well, which usually leaves me feeling very over-generous. If I did not round up, I would feel pretty cheap.

  6. pinkyracer (unregistered) on March 31st, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

    yeah, those all make sense, but I definitely think (free) delivery people deserve the same as waitstaff, (17-20%) esp. if they’re fast or the weather sucks. I always worried that I was horribly cheap with cabs, nice to know other people are also giving them small tips. It’s a good idea to tip them based on smell, I had one from JFK-Ft. Washington that would have gotten a tip to compensate for the Manhattan flat rate he suffered if his BO hadn’t been so overwhelming.

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