Hi everyone,

My friend Ellen Reddick has some great advice for all of us about tipping as this Holiday Season gets underway. Enjoy!

Mark Holland

You Are the Message                             

Weekly Newsletter

Holiday Tipping Guidelines

With pocketbooks stretched even more during the holidays this year, Americans may find it difficult to tip their service providers as much as they would like to, but according to a University of New Hampshire professor who researches service expectations, consumers should do their best to give something.

Giving a gift during the holiday is a fundamental part of every joyful season, and one such holiday extra is the giving of a ‘tip’ to those individuals that have provided a service during the year. However, extra money for many Americans has been tight this year due to the economic times which many have not recovered from. So this time of year, when we feel obligated to buy presents and tip our various service providers, it may be difficult to decide who to drop from your gift list or reduce in tips if money to spread around is limited.

During the holiday season, tipping is more a gesture of thanks to individuals who provide services on a regular basis to you and your family. We all know that both gifts and tips are great, and for many, holiday tips can make a huge difference in their annual income.

How important are tips? According to a survey by PayScale, personal-care workers, including makeup, barbers, hairdressers, nail technicians, and cosmetologists, receive 25 percent of their income from tips.

Tipping advice:

How Best to Tip?
Prioritize your most important service providers by considering those who have provided you services and the extent of interaction with them, particularly those who may not be that obvious, even if you may not have tipped them regularly.

Do not make your tipping decision solely based upon ‘an implied obligation.’ At the top of your list should be those individuals that enhance your life considerably.

Think about the valued housekeeper or the barber that squeezes you in or the individual that delivers your newspaper to the front door when it is raining or snowing saving you the walk down the driveway. These are the people that should receive the top dollars rather than infrequently used service providers.

How much should I tip?
When deciding how much to tip, remember that tipping is discretionary. Consider the length of time you have been receiving the service and whether you live in an urban or rural setting where tipping levels may vary. Consider the relationship to the service provider. Are you close? Is the relationship informal?

If you don’t think tipping is necessary in a particular circumstance, then don’t tip. The following is a guide and amounts have been adjusted for today’s economic conditions. It is not implying a moral duty to tip. If you are using a service that is widely known to be a tipped service, such as hair salons and valet parking, then tip for good service.

Some suggestions for minimum tipping are:
• Day care provider: $20 and a gift from your child
• Parking garage attendants: $20 or a gift
• Housekeeper: no more than one week’s pay or a gift
• Nanny: no more than one week’s pay or a gift from you and your child
• Newspaper carrier: $15 or a gift
• Package carrier: a gift of no more than $15
• Home caregiver: no more than one week’s salary or a gift
• Pet groomer: 25 percent the cost of a session or a gift
• Baby sitter: no less than half one evening’s pay
• Hairstylist for women: minimum half the cost of one visit. Tipping the owner who provides you the service is a yes, at your discretion.
• Hairstylist for men: minimum half the cost of one haircut, if your barber pays attention to your neckline, nose and ear hairs.
• Manicurist: $10
• Sanitation worker: $5 to $10
• Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other equivalent. Provide a gift that is simple, chocolates, fruitcake, cookies etc.

If you need to reduce their tipping amounts, adding a note of thanks with your tip makes it much more personal.

Depending on the service provider, including a note expressing how much you appreciate them adds value and can make the gift mean more even if the amount given is less. Service workers depend on these gifts as part of their income.

So unless you’ve lost your own job, or are having financial troubles of your own, try to give.

Source: Nelson Barber, Associate Professor of Hospitality Management at UNH