Should you tip your service provider?

Tipping is a topic many of us wrestle with throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season.
Figuring out who to tip, and how much, can be confusing.

“This time of year, the question of tipping your service company comes up really often,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “Most people automatically think, ‘I need to pay cash.’ What they don’t realize is there are lots of other options. For example, I think one of the most powerful ways to say thank you to a provider to write a nice letter to their company telling them what great service they provided to you throughout the year.”
“The general rule with tipping at a salon is that there are no rules about tipping,” salon owner Jennifer Barker said. “We are similar to the restaurant business where around 20% is generally what’s accepted, but I would say that tips often reflect how well we do our job.”
Tipping is pretty standard in the restaurant and personal services industries.
But what about people who help with your home, like your plumber or handyman?
Do they expect tips?

“I would say maybe a quarter to a half of our business that gives us either my company or my workers tips,” landscaper Ryan Curry said. “It’s not expected, necessarily, but we always appreciate it.”
Angie’s List says you don’t always have to give a gift of cash to show your gratitude.
“Tips come in many different forms,” Curry said. “I’ve had customers cook us dinner; we’ve been given sports tickets. The best form of appreciation that customers can show me is by having me back for more projects at their own property in the near future and also just referrals to friends, family, neighbors.”
“If you are working so busily from morning ’til night, sometimes that extra homemade Christmas candy is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to 4:00 and you haven’t had lunch,” Barker said.
You should never feel obligated to tip, but if you do decide to tip your tradesperson this holiday season, talk with the company owner first to make sure it’s okay.

Some companies don’t allow their employees to accept tips.