How much to tip in every situation, from Uber drivers to your hairstylist

  • How much to tip is often more complicated and confusing than it needs to be.
  • While tipping varies by service, a solid tip amount is generally 18% of your bill.
  • DealNews broke down the most common tipping situations and how much to tip for each one.

Nothing kills wining and dining than closing out the evening mulling over just what percentage of your bill should go to the waitstaff.

That's because figuring out how much to tip, if tipping is required, and who you should tip to is often more complicated than it needs to be. 

To help simplify the confusion, controversy, and complication that is tipping, DealNews recently broke down the most common situations where tipping is expected and how much to tip  for each one.

While how much to tip varies by service, a solid tip amount is generally about 18% of your bill — something to bear in mind now that tipping has started going up.

"Many mobile payment apps now offer the option to just choose a preset percentage amount, which can be very convenient but also might push you into tipping more," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews, told Business Insider. "Rather than opting for the highest tier of 25%, feel free to choose "another amount," which many apps offer."

She said you can incorporate tipping by increasing your budget by 20%. "This allows you to tip adequately for exceptional service, but also allows you to tip less if the situation calls for it."

"Additionally, you can also consider creating an entirely separate category within your budget only for tipping," she said. "This means that if your tipping category runs low, you can decide how to dine out based around the tipping amount."

When in doubt, always tip at least a little something.

Below, find out how much to tip in every situation, from your cleaning lady and your hairstylist to your nail technician and your dog groomer:

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How much to tip in every situation
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How much to tip in every situation

AAA tow service

Standard tip: $5 to $10 

If the tow bill is high or you can't afford it, you don't have to tip.

Airport shuttle drivers

Standard tip: 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

Tip the shuttle driver the way you would a cab driver.

Apartment/building supers

Standard tip: $5 per job (up to $10 for exceptional service and $75 to $150 if it's around the holidays)

Tip when the job is complete.

Appliance delivery

Standard tip: $10 per person (up to $20 per person for exceptional service)

Babysitters

Standard tip: 10% (up to 15% for exceptional service, and one week's pay for the holidays to be gifted beforehand)

Exceptional service includes things like cooking dinner, picking up kids at an event, doing a big activity with the kids, dealing with a sick child, accepting last-minute booking, and staying later than planned.

Bartenders

Standard tip: $1 per drink or 15% of the total bill

Tip before you get your drink if you want better service.

Bathroom attendants

Standard tip: $0.50 if they hand you a paper towel (up to $2 to $3 per service for exceptional service, such as mending hems or polishing shoes)

Tipping isn't always allowed.

Bellhops/porters

Standard tip: $1 to $2 per bag, $5 minimum

Tip when they deliver bags to the room and when they pick the bags up.

Bus drivers (not MassTransit)

Standard tip: $1 to $2

Only tip if they handle your luggage.

Cable/Internet/Satellite installers

Standard tip: $20

Tip when the job is complete.

Car wash employees

Standard tip: $2 to $3 for a basic wipe down, $5 to $10 for more complicated washes, 15% for detailing

Tip when the job is complete.

Carryout/takeout restaurants

Standard tip: $0 (up to 10% for exceptional service)

Tip if your order is complicated, large, or delivered curbside.

Caterers

Standard tip: 15% to 20% of total bill, or $50 per server

Tip when paying the final bill or when the event is over.

Chauffeurs

Standard tip: 10% (up to 15% for exceptional service) 

Coat checkers

Standard tip: $1 per coat (an extra $2 to $5 when picking up if you're feeling generous)

Tip when dropping the coat off.

Concierges

Standard tip: $5 (up to $20 for exceptional service)

Tip when you receive the service. Tip little or nothing at all if the concierge only provides directions.

Dog groomers

Standard tip: 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service and $10 to $100 during the holidays, depending on the frequency of your visits throughout the year)

Tip when you pick up your pet.

Doormen (apartment building)

Standard tip: a bottle of wine or box of chocolates

Only tip around the holidays.

Here's how much to tip your doorman if you're giving a cash gift. 

Dry cleaning or laundry pickup

Standard tip: $3 to $5, depending on the size of the wash

Consider tipping during both pickup and delivery if the people are different.

Enterprise employees

Standard tip: $1 to $5

Most Enterprise drivers don't expect a tip, so it's a pleasant surprise. They should be tipped just like cab drivers.

Fast-casual restaurants

Standard tip: extra change (up to $2 for exceptional service)

Tip when paying. The jars are divvied up among staff, so you're tipping the whole team.

Flower delivery

Standard tip: $2 to $5

Tip when paying for delivery. It's not customary to tip, but if you don't want the recipient to feel obligated to tip, tip when paying for delivery. You also might want to tip if the delivery person has to navigate stairs or bad weather.

Food delivery

Standard tip: $10% or $2 minimum

Tip when paying online or when the food is delivered.

Furniture delivery

Standard tip: $5 per person (up to $20 for exceptional service)

Tip when the job is complete, and offer cold drinks if the furniture was heavy or it was a tough delivery.

Garbage collectors

Standard tip: $15 (up to $25)

Tip around the holidays.

Gardeners

Standard tip: One week's pay if they visit regularly; otherwise, $20 to $50

Tip around the holidays or at the end of a growing season. Tip in cash with a sincere thank you note. Gifts are also acceptable in the price range of $20 to $50.

Haircuts/blowouts

Standard tip: 10% to 15% (up to 15% to 20% for exceptional service)

Tip after the service is completed, and tip everyone involved. For example, different people washing and drying your hair should receive $5. The person doing most of the work should receive the biggest tip.

Housekeepers (personal)

Standard tip: One week's pay

Tip around the holidays.

Housekeeping (hotels)

Standard tip: $2 per night (up to $5 per night)

Tip daily since different people could be cleaning the room every day.

Janitors

Standard tip: $15 (up to $25 for exceptional service)

Tip around the holidays.

Karaoke DJs

Standard tip: $10 (up to $20 for exceptional service)

Tip at the end of the night.

Laundromats (drop-off service)

Standard tip: $0 (up to $2 to $3 for exceptional service)

Tipping isn't required, but a nice gesture when they've gone above and beyond. Tip for stain removal, small repairs, or if the load is particularly large, and do so when picking up your laundry.

Mail carriers

Standard tip: $15 (up to $20 for exceptional service)

Tip around the holidays. You can also tip with non-cash gifts up to $20.

Maitre d's

Standard tip: $5 (up to $25 for exceptional service)

Tip for special efforts.

Makeup artists

Standard tip: 15% (up to 25% for exceptional service)

Tip at the end of the service.

Manicures/pedicures

Standard tip: 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

Massages

Standard tip: 10% to 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

Movers

Standard tip: $10 per person (up to $25 per person for exceptional service)

Supply cold drinks and lunch if it's a tough move.

Musicians (for events)

Standard tip: $15 per person (up to $20 per person for exceptional service)

Tipping isn't necessary, but is a nice gesture. Tip after the ceremony, reception, or event.

Nannies

Standard tip: One week's pay

Tip around the holidays.

Newspaper delivery

Standard tip: $15 (up to $25 for exceptional service)

Tip around the holidays.

Package delivery

Standard tip: $5 (up to $10 for exceptional service)

Tipping here should be considered as an extra gift for those hauling heavy packages to your door. If they had to climb several stairs or it's extremely hot, consider tipping more.

Parking attendants (residential buildings)

Standard tip: $15 (up to $25 for exceptional service)

Tip around the holidays.

Parking lot workers (home improvement stores)

Standard tip: $10

Tip when they assist with loading a heavy item into your car.

Parking valets

Standard tip: $2 (up to $5 for exceptional service)

Tip when your vehicle is retrieved, although it's also been suggested to tip when dropping your vehicle off.

Personal trainers

Standard tip: $20 (up to $50 for exceptional service)

Tip around the holidays, but do so discreetly.

Plumbers

Standard tip: $10 for smaller jobs (up to 10% of total job for exceptional service)

Porters/skycaps

Standard tip: $1 per bag or $2 per heavy item (up to $2 per bag if they bring your luggage to the counter)

Room service

Standard tip: $5 minimum

If gratuity is added to the check, you don't need to tip.

Shoe shiners

Standard tip: $2 (up to $3 for exceptional service)

Spa services

Standard tip: 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

Taxi drivers

Standard tip: 15% to 20% of your fare

Tip after your ride ends.

Tour guides

Standard tip: 10% to 20% of total tour cost; $1 per person when drivers double as guides

It's acceptable to not tip tour guides at national parks and other government sites. For amiable drivers, passengers may be asked to contribute $1 per person. If the tour is long with no built-in gratuity, passengers should each contribute $5 to $10 to the guide and $5 to $10 to the driver.

Uber/Lyft

Standard tip: $1 to $2 per person for shorter rides; 10% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

Tip at the end of the ride, and tip extra for traffic, construction, distance, inconveniences, and if the driver helps with luggage or packages.

Waitstaff

Standard tip: 15% (up to 20% for exceptional service)

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SEE ALSO: How much people tip on average across the US — and there's a big difference between red and blue states

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