By Margaret Daniels

Although tipping in the U.S. is not mandatory, it has become part of the culture – and knowing who and when to tip for which services can be confusing. While most of us know it’s customary to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip at a sit-down restaurant, what about the furniture delivery guys? Or when you get your morning cup of joe from the local coffee shop or pick up food for carryout, are you expected to put a tip in the tip jar?

To help simplify tipping etiquette, we’ve pulled together some of the most common tipping practices – and some apps that make it easy to calculate tips!

General Services

  • Dog groomer – 10%-15%
  • Contractors (plumbers/electricians, etc.) – Not required
    They get paid hourly for their work and do not expect tips.
  • Furniture delivery – Optional
    Generally tipping is not necessary since delivery charges are included in the bill. But if it was a challenging delivery (bad weather, a lot of stairs, etc.) or there’s assembly required, tip $5-$20 per person.


  • Hotel housekeeping/maid service – $2 to $5 per day
  • Hotel bellman – $1 to $2 per bag
  • Airport baggage handler – $2 per bag
  • Room Service – 15%-20%
    Review the check to see if the gratuity charge has already been added (a service charge is not a gratuity).
  • Valet Parking – $2 to $5
    The standard practice is to tip the valet after you pick up your car (tips are usually pooled).
  • Taxi/Uber/Lyft driver – 15%-20%
    Yes, that’s right, the Uber app was updated to accept tips even though originally Uber did not accept tips.

Food Service

  • Takeout – Optional
    10% for extra service (large order, curb delivery)
  • Buffet – 10%
  • Food delivery – $2 to $5
  • Barista – Optional
  • Food Service Counter/Tip Jar – Optional
  • Restaurant waiter/waitress – 15%-20%
    Base the tip on the level of service and calculate on the pretax amount. Sometimes restaurants automatically add the tip, so review the check carefully. If the service wasn’t great, still leave a 10 percent tip (wait staff make less than minimum wage), and talk to the manager.

Tipping Apps
Need help calculating the tip or splitting the bill fast? There’s an app for that!

Your turn: Leave a comment below about a time you weren’t sure if you should tip for a service and how you handled it?