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Gratuity Guidelines: Who to Tip and How Much

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Recently, Uber integrated the tip option into their mobile app, which sparked the discussion of the do's and don'ts of tipping for other services as well.

Patricia Tice with Etiquette Iowa said the idea of gratuity has been around since 1750 but back then tips were placed in a bowl before the meal.

“Johnson's 'A Dictionary of the English Language' was published in 1755. One institution frequented by Samuel Johnson had a coin bowl printed with the words 'To Insure Promptitude.' The word 'tip' is thought to be an acronym for this phrase,” Tice said.

Now it's different in each situation.

Channel 13 reached out to viewers on Facebook and got a variety of responses.

"If it's not the best service just give them a little less of a tip. But by not leaving a tip really reflects more on you as the patron than it does the wait staff. That's really not a nice thing to do. So just leave a little bit less of a tip," Tice said.

Tice added, when you are traveling it is important to tip along the way.

“I always recommend to people when they travel, cash out a twenty dollar bill and get 20, one dollar bills. And you can give the Uber driver a couple of dollars or three dollars. Whatever you want. But it's ok to tip them," Tice said.

Everyday Gratuity Guidelines:

  • Restaurant Wait Staff: 15 to 20 Percent
  • Taxi/ Uber/ Lyft Driver: 10 to 15 Percent (More for help with luggage and exceptional service)
  • Deliveries: $2 -$4
  • Hairstylist/ Nail Technician:15 to 20 Percent
  • Skycap at airport: $1 per bag if you check-in curbside; $2 per bag if skycap takes bags to check-in counter.
  • Hotel Concierge: $5 for getting you reservations/tickets ($10-plus if tickets are hard to get). No tip required when you ask directions.
  • Hotel Bellhop: $1 per bag for taking luggage to your room.
  • Hotel Maid: $2-5 for tidying your room. (Leave $ on bed cover so maid will find it.)
  • Hotel Doorman: $1 per bag for help with luggage; $ per person for hailing a cab
  • Cruise: Varies. Ask cruise line for guidelines.

Holiday Gratuity Guidelines:

  • Babysitter, regular: One evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child
  • Child’s teacher: Check your school’s policy first. Give a gift, not cash. Consider gift certificates to a bookstore or restaurant or a gourmet food item.
  • Day Care Provider: $25-$70 each, and/or a small gift from your child for the providers who give direct care to your child(ren).
  • Nail/Hair Stylist: The cost of one regular salon visit.
  • Dog Walker: One week’s pay and/or a gift.
  • Fitness Trainer: Up to the cost of one session.
  • Housekeeper/cleaner: Up to one week’s pay and/or a gift
  • Letter carriers: U.S. Government regulations permit carriers to accept gifts worth up to $20 per occasion, not cash.
  • Live-in help (Nanny, Housekeeper, Cook, and Butler): One week’s to one month’s salary based on tenure and customs in your area, plus a personal gift.
  • Newspaper carrier: $10-$30.
  • Pet Groomer: If the same person grooms your pet all year, up to one session’s fee and/or a gift.
  • Yard and Garden Worker: $20-$50.
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