I was catching the news this morning and one of the stories caught my eye - how digital transactions affect tipping for services. I thought it fascinating that businesses had seen hikes in the amount of tips collected when they use services like Square to handle their transactions.
Lately I’ve noticed more and more business leaving out tip jars and other hints at the register. While I certainly understand that employees are trying to maximize their pay for service, I sometimes get frustrated because I’m trying to figure out what’s appropriate (and that’s even before the digital tips).
The Basics – Tipping Customs
Like most people, I knew about how much to tip a waiter at the restaurants, but didn’t know much about other services. In general, I tip 20% when I go out to eat at a restaurant unless the service is sub-par. Having been a server I know that they give some of that tip money to the hostess or the busboy.
For everything else, I’ve either had to ask friends what they tip, searched online, or just asked the person themselves. To help simplify things, I’ve rounded up some of the customary tips for services that many people use throughout the year. (Please let me know if I’m missing something by leaving a note in the comments so I can add it to the list.)
- Barber/Beautician: 10-15% for barber while 15%-20% seems customary for beauticians
- Barista: No customary gratuity, but I’ve seen people leave their change from their purchase
- Bartender: $1/drink
- Hotel Bellman: $1-2 per bag
- Hotel Maid: $2-$5 per night
- Parking Valet: $2-$5
- Pizza Delivery: 10% of your bill
- Shuttle Drivers: $1-2 per bag
- Taxi Driver: 10% of your fare
I’m just highlighting some of the more common amounts suggested, so please don’t be surprised if it higher or lower than what you thought. I also want to note that you should check your bill to make sure you’re not paying for gratuity twice (unless you believe the service deserves such a tip).
Tipping in the Digital Age
Going back to the news story, the report highlighted that businesses switching to a service like Square seemed to have dramatically increased the amount of tips they receive. One reason mentioned is that there are default amounts given that take the guesswork out for customers. The coffeehouse featured in the story showed how easily someone could tip $1 or $2 as they sign their receipt.
Swiping your card and having a suggested tip makes it easier to go ahead and pay. Some studies have noted that people tend to tip more when using credit cards instead of cash and to be honest, I’ve noticed that I’ve been guilty of that too. (That’s one reason I’ve been using Simple as my personal checking account, so I can better track my money and save more.)
Another explanation given was that some customers feel guilty leaving no tip. Jeremy Lyman, co-founder of Birch Coffee shared his take on the tip boost. “I feel like sometimes people actually do feel bad pushing ‘no tip’.'” I can certainly understand that, but at the same time, I don’t believe every service deserves a tip. If I get a regular coffee with nothing special, I don’t feel like tipping. However if I have a special order, then I will leave some thing. I don’t like the idea of being pushed into tipping.
Thoughts on Tipping
This is a topic that can vary greatly by region, so I’d love to get your take and feedback on it. What are your thoughts on tipping? What services do you usually tip? Do you think some shops are pushing tips more than they should?