Four Videos That Show How Just Much USA Tipping Varies (and How Much You Should Tip)

The video guides to tipping below offer varying opinions on how much you should tip for different services.

Tipping Guide for Every Service

Tipping is not the same as getting ripped off.

Remember that in the United States, some service employees make far less than the minimum wage. People who don’t tip these employees may be deciding to make them work for very little money. In many states, waiters and waitresses make only $2.13 per hour!

how much should you tip

In all the states in blue above, tipped employees make only $2.13 per hour unless you tip them!

  • Waiter/Waitress: Tip 15% to 20% of the bill before tax. It’s O.K. to leave less or even nothing for very bad service, but only if it’s the waiter’s fault.
  • Bartender: Tip $1 to $2 per drink or 15% to 20% of the bill.
  • Delivery driver: $2 minimum and 10% of the bill.
  • Housekeeper: Tip $2 to $5 every day.
  • Bellhop: Tip $5 minimum and $1 to $2 per bag.
  • Concierge: Tip $5 to $20. The bigger the favor, the bigger the tip.
  • Valet: Tip $2 to $5 each time the car is parked or retrieved.
  • Cab Driver: Tip 10% of the fare.
  • Barber/Hairstylist: Tip 10% to 20%.
  • Manicurist: Tip 15%.
  • Masseuse: Tip 10% to 15%.

    Holiday Tips

  • Garbage Collector: Tip $20 to $30.
  • Babysitter: Tip a week’s pay.
  • Gardener: Tip one week’s pay.
  • Home Housekeeper: Tip a week’s pay.
  • Nanny: Tip a week’s pay.

Here are a few video tipping guides to round out your tipping chops:

BuzzFeed’s Guide to Tipping

how much should you tip tippingThe video guide to tipping in America below comes from BuzzFeed. To make the video, they talked to service industry workers and consulted etiquette guides.

Their take: Always tip 20% of the bill’s amount before taxes.

Although most people follow a 15% rule, the video say’s that’s old school. The reason? Many service jobs don’t include benefits, and many service employees work for less than minimum wage.

Any tip less than 20% should be based on a very good reason. Their 20% rule doesn’t just go for eating in restaurants, but also for eating at bars, for getting haircuts, massages and tattoos.

For discount rates on meals, vacations and other services from Groupon, LivingSocial or GiltCity, the 20% rule still applies. However, customers should tip 20% of the non-discounted price in these cases.

Here are a few more tipping pointers, according to BuzzFeed:

  • Taxis: Tip 15%, but round the tip up to the nearest dollar.
  • Food Pickup Orders: Tip 10% because they had to package your food.
  • Delivery Food Orders: Tip 10%. If it’s a long or tough drive, tip 20%.
  • Valet Parking: Tip $2.
  • Car Wash: Tip $5.
  • Open bar: Tip $1 or $2 per drink

Tipping Guide from Sonia’s Travels

Popular Blogger Sonia Gil points out that Americans tip a lot because the minimum wage for many service employees is lower than the minimum wage for others.

According to Sonia, 15% to 20% tips in restaurants are expected. Tips with large parties and areas frequented by tourists are often included. When you’re not sure if the tip is included, just ask.

Here are some other tipping guidelines according to Sonia:

  • Bellboy: Tip $1 per bag and $2 for the first bag.
  • Doormen: Tip them for extra effort.
  • Concierge: Tip them $5 to $20 for special requests like special seating or tough to get reservations.
  • Taxis: 10% to 15% of the fare and $1 to $2 per bag.
  • Open bars: $1 to $2 per drink. Tipping a lot up front in a bar can mean great service all night and maybe even free drinks.

A note for foreigners: Tipping doesn’t mean you’re being cheated or overpaying, because service workers really count on tips just to get by.

Your Finances Simplified: Guide to Tipping

Dominick Brown provides an entertaining guide to tipping from According to Dominick, in New York, a 20% isn’t enough. In NYC, the new normal is a tip of 20% to 30%.

In a nice steak house, a $200 meal plus tip and taxes would cost $278.

Most of the people in the comments section don’t seem to agree. Some said that if a waiter pressed them to increase their tip from 20% to 30%, they would either reduce the tip’s amount or else erase it entirely.

The Young Turks on Tipping

The video below from “The Young Turks” says Minnesota gubernatorial candidate wants to cut the minimum wage for service employees. According to the video, the candidate claims some of the waitstaff make over $100,000 a year.

The video’s creators say they highly doubt the candidate has any real data for his $100,000 a year claim. They also say that cutting the minimum wage for waitstaff would hurt poorer people in order to help the business owners.

Tales of a Tipped Employee

I personally worked as a bellhop at a ski hotel for five years. The biggest tip I ever got was $100. Two guests would regularly tip that much just for parking their car. We all fought over them.

One of my coworkers unloaded a Hummer one busy Friday night. The Hummer driver said he’d tip my friend $100 if he could get all the liquor in the car up to the room. My friend found out the man had broken a bottle of Absolut in the back seat and figured it was a trick. However, the hotel guest tipped my friend $300. While my friend loaded the liquor into the hotel’s fridge, the guest was on the phone securing tickets to a Miami Dolphins game for the following weekend. He stepped into the bathroom, leaving a roll of several thousand dollars on the counter along with the keys to his Hummer. My friend said he wondered how long it would take to get to Canada.

The weirdest tip I ever got was a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings.

I take that back. The weirdest tip I ever got was from a guy who claimed he was from South Boston and that he was “connected.” It was $100 and his phone number, with the instructions that I should call him if I ever needed anything including coke, hookers or to have somebody whacked. True story.


This Is How Much You Should Tip For Every Service – Business Insider

What is the minimum wage for workers who receive tips? – U.S. Department of Labor