Money & Career

Do you tip for home services?

When it comes to tipping, I admit that I get confused. Sure, I know how much to tip at a restaurant or when I get my hair cut, but there are also grey areas -- do you leave a tip when you stay in a hotel, for example, and if so how much?

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Masterfile

When it comes to tipping, I admit that I get confused. Sure, I know how much to tip at a restaurant or when I get my hair cut, but there are also grey areas — do you leave a tip when you stay in a hotel, for example, and if so how much? Do you tip if you’re getting takeout in a restaurant? Tipping can be kind of complicated. 

Then I read this article on tipping for home services — a whole new tipping area I hadn’t thought about before. The writer is looking for advice on tipping for services like plumbers, painters, and cleaners. These are all people I appreciate and have used in the past — but should they be tipped? 
Like the writer, I’ve offered up generous tips to movers — I always seem to move during snowstorms or heat waves and end up feeling sorry for the guys that have to schlep my boxes and furniture in adverse conditions. These guys probably aren’t making all that much money for backbreaking work, so a tip seems appropriate. To me movers are akin to wait staff, who rely on tips. 
But tipping contractors or plumbers? These guys earn enough money without my measly tip on top (gosh — I hope my contractor is not reading this or he’ll stop returning my calls…). 
The question of tipping for home services also makes me wonder whether or not our current tipping practices are getting a tad out of hand. I mean, I don’t get tips from my editors or clients when I deliver great copy on time without glaring errors, though maybe I should make a note to discuss this with them in future… 
It begs the question — are our service standards so low that we think people deserve a tip just for doing their job well? I’m going to throw this out to you — do you think you should tip for home services? And if so which ones and how much?