When it comes to tipping, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Although I know what to tip the waiter at my favorite restaurant or my hairdresser that I see once a month, I often find myself in situations where I have no idea if I’m supposed to tip and, if so, how much! And although there are no hard and fast rules for tipping, there is a general consensus of what is expected. If you find yourself in the awkward situation of not knowing what to tip someone, check out this handy-dandy guide compiled from news outlets to industry workers and even etiquette experts.

Eating out


As someone who rarely goes to bars, I’m always clueless as to how much to leave the bartender when I do go, but according to Good Cocktails, it is customary to leave 15-20% or 50 cents per soft drink and $1.00 per alcoholic beverage. However, if you ask the bartender to make you something special or to make your drink strong, add an extra buck.

Pizza delivery guy

For a long time, I always assumed that the "delivery fee” my local pizza joint added on to my bill went to the delivery guy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Although most pizza places give their drivers gas reimbursement, that delivery fee typically stays with the store so don’t figure that amount in when calculating your tip. Instead, 10% of the bill or $3 minimum is generally considered the acceptable amount. Be sure to add on at least $1-$2 if you’re ordering during bad weather.


I’ve often heard folks say that they have no idea what to tip when going to a buffet since the waiters don’t actually serve you your food. However, buffet servers still work hard to keep your table clean and your drinks filled, making a tip of 10% recommended.

Picking up food in a restaurant

This has always been one of the most questionable situations for myself. After all, they’re really not providing you with any service so there’s no need to tip, right? Wrong! According to Chow.com, assembling your order is actually more time-consuming than most people realize—particularly when the restaurant is busy. The order needs to be neat, packaged properly, dressings on the side and all that jazz. However, the standard 15-20% that you would give when eating at a restaurant isn’t necessary. Instead, a tip of 10%, or $1 for every $10 you spend, is considered appropriate.

At the salon


Although surveys have shown that a hairdresser’s tip runs the gamut from 10% all the way to 25%, most stylists report 15-20% as the norm. My stylist typically charges $80 for cut and color so I always bring an extra $15, which would be just under 20%. However, if the stylist squeezes me in at the last moment or includes a shoulder massage or other extra, I always add on a few extra bucks.

Shampoo person

These days many salons utilize shampoo washers and other helpers and, let’s face it, this is one of the most confusing times when it comes to tipping! Do you need to tip them and how much?! Well, according to industry insiders, shampoo washers should be tipped and most recommend between $2 and $5.


I love getting my nails done—what woman doesn’t? What I don’t love is not knowing what kind of tip my manicurist is expecting. Fortunately, I now know that $3-$5 is the recommended tip for manicures or 15% for more expensive services. Just remember to have those bills near at the top of your purse. After all, you don’t want to wreck those new nails digging through your bag!

Around the house

Home service providers

If you’ve ever wondered if you should tip service people such as plumbers and electricians, you’re not alone. Many people, including myself, have wondered the same thing! However, according to Angie’s List, home service tradespeople don’t expect a gratuity and you shouldn’t feel obligated to give one. However, it is also appreciated when you offer them a cold beverage!

Furniture delivery

Getting new furniture is always fun but it’s hard work for those delivery guys. After all, that new bedroom set you’ve been dying to get probably weighs 500 pounds—or more! Those guys definitely deserve a tip, and $5 to $10 for each mover shows that you appreciate their hard work.

Flower delivery

One of the best feelings in the world is opening the door to find that someone has sent your flowers! However, the last time this happened to me I was completely flustered since I had no idea if I needed to tip the delivery person. According to those in the business, a tip of $2 to $5 is standard.

Lawn care

If you use a lawn care service regularly, consider giving a gift of $25-50 once a year—typically during the holidays or at the end of the mowing season.

While traveling


I love traveling, and I love using Skycaps when they’re available. After all, who wants to lug those bags through the airport when you can check them in as soon as you step out of your taxi door? If you’ve ever wondered what exactly you should tip those airline workers, the general rule of thumb is $1-2 per bag.


If you stay in a nice hotel, you may find the bellhop offering to bring your bags to your room for you (awesome!). And those bags can be pretty darn heavy! Next time you take a trip, make sure that you’ve got a few ones on you, as $1 per bag is typically expected for bellhops.

Hotel housekeeper

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you probably remember the episode where George and Jerry argue about how much to leave the hotel housekeeper on their trip to California. Well, $2-5 per night is standard. But don’t pull a George and forget to leave the tip at the end of the trip. Instead, leave the tip each day when you leave the room since you may have different housekeepers.

The KCL Guide to Tipping