5 people you’re not tipping but should

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Money stock photo

It starts with an awkward moment.

A business transaction happens, and it’s hard to know what to do next — is a thank you enough? A handshake? Or is it a good time to slip somebody a few bills?

It depends on the service provided. While a waiter might be obvious, not all situations are as clear-cut.

“The reason why we tip is to show respect to the service provider,” said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert. “Part of our responsibility is to be a respectful community member and give to those who deserve a tip, without going overboard.”

She suggested that a good rule of thumb is “when in doubt, do.”

Here are a few people who may not first come to mind when considering gratuity.

1. The exterminator

There are generally two types of exterminators: those who do monthly maintenance visits, and those who treat a specific infestation. Exterminators in the latter category are usually tipped, said Timothy Wong, the director of M&M Pest Control in New York City.

On average, 20%-25% of customers tip, Wong said, in an amount ranging from $10-$20. “There are exceptions. Some will tip $40-$50,” he said. Some clients give up to $100 if it’s a big job, like sealing a building against vermin, which can take up to three days to complete.

Wong said there’s a clear tipping correlation between those who don’t have infestations, and those who do. Those with happier results are more inclined to tip.

“They will hug you, tip you, feed you, you name it,” he said.

2. The cable guy

The worker who comes to your home to install your cable may work for the cable company directly, or might be an outside contractor. A tip for good service is often appreciated.

“If he’s out there in the hot sun, maybe digging around under your house, you want to show him a gesture of kindness,” said Gottsman.

Some large providers — like Comcast — have policies in place that prohibit workers from accepting tips.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cash tip, Gottsman said. It could be a cold glass of water or lunch, especially if the job takes several hours.

Wyatt Carpenter, a technician in Canton, Ohio, said people tip him, especially on extreme weather days. This past winter, he said he worked in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees.

“It’s not life-changing money,” he said of his tips. “Five, 10, 20 bucks….”

Another cable technician, Christopher McBriar, said while he doesn’t expect a tip, it’s nice to get $10, which he will use for lunch that day.

A nonmonetary tip he appreciates: When a customer is prepared for his visit. “They have moved the furniture away from the wall or unpacked the TV from the box … that goes a long way too,” he said.

3. The spray tanner

Adding on gratuity for a hair stylist is fairly typical, but tipping for beauty services doesn’t end there.

“Makeup and tanning is so overlooked,” said Suzie Basset, a full-service salon owner in San Antonio, Tex. “That’s part of the grey area because [customers] just don’t know.” She said clients will occasionally ask her if a gratuity is expected.

“It’s uncomfortable for you, the payer, and it’s uncomfortable for me, the receiver, on how to handle that,” she said.

A safe bet is to tip salon service providers anywhere between 15%-20%. It is sometimes assumed that if the service provider is the salon owner a tip does not have to be included. Basset said that’s changing, and many owners now welcome gratuities.

4. The dry cleaner

The person behind the counter of your local dry cleaner may not be the same person actually doing the work of removing the stain from your shirt, but a small token of gratitude wouldn’t go amiss.

“If someone got a stain out of my favorite white dress, I would ask them, ‘Can I leave a tip? What would be a great way to say thank you?'” said Lizzie Post, the co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition.

It doesn’t have to be cash. The Yelp Gratuitous Guide to Tipping suggests some flowers or a bottle of wine. That may sound romantic, but, “if they remove a wine stain from your favorite Marc Jacobs dress,” it might be worth it.

5. The road service employee

Maybe it’s a flat on a busy highway far from home, or a dead car battery on a stormy night. A panicked moment, made manageable by the tow truck guy who came to the rescue.

“Yes, he’s working, that’s his job, he is getting paid a salary… but maybe he’s on a busy highway, or came in the rain in the middle of the night,” said Gottsman. “You can offer it.”


  • Hookah

    I will not pay someone who is being paid a good amount of money to do their job…waiters and waitress’ live off tips and dont get paid but $2 and change and hour. All of the jobs described above are paid decent money to do just what their job description is….heck, at this rate, we should be tipping our drug dealers and illegal entrepeneurs as well then! Tip me for even writing or reading this article at that!

  • Jenny Penny

    that is ridiculous, i dont agree with tips at all, people get a salary, ill pay what i owe, i cant afford to be giving extra money to someone who is doing a job they are paid for

    • courtney

      Don’t tip period? If you can’t tip servers, or hair stylist which by your picture seems like you keep up on your appearences. You should probably sit in your house since you “can’t afford it” anyways. This world has gone to shit because of greedy people aka like you. Thanks for staying set in your ways I’m a college student who has to wait tables so I can get through this mess for a better job. People need to open their eyes everyone’s struggling. Five extra dollars on a good service job will NOT kill you. Thanks for your shitty opinion on this matter thanks

      • Katie

        Really, THAT is why the “world has gone to shit”…… thank goodness you figured out that individuals already being paid a fair wage for their job think that they deserve more hard earned money from the clients already paying for the service. If a client feels like being extra generous, awesome. If the client feels like it is not their job to supplement an individual being paid a salary, awesome.

        I teach 330 students every two days. I stay after school with many of those students, chaperone their dances, organize community events, grade & plan incessantly, and spend hundreds of my own dollars on them to make their educational experience as amazing as it can be. I attend my student’s out of school performances and events (definitely not free admission) to support the community that employs me. I haven’t had a raise in six years. I expect nothing more than what my employer guaranteed to pay me when I accepted the job. If I get fed up or when I can no longer afford to live on my salary, I wouldn’t badger the parents of my students for tips, I would get a second job or a completely different job. Not everyone that needs an exterminator (they are a need, not a luxury, which is why I singled them out from the article) has an extra $10 to throw at them for “good gesture”. Some of us need every penny we make and can only pay the amount originally agreed to.

        Please rethink your perspective from a more global view.

  • Nicholas Carlson

    So y not make retail stores change their polocies to where an employee may also recieve tips for helping out customers. I remember working at Alco and having to turn down many tips due to store policy. The customers who i spoke to, agree that employees should be allowed to recieve tips if a customer chooses to give him/her one.

  • larataylor23

    Yea, totes. I’m definitely giving a bottle of wine to the high school kid running the counter at the dry cleaner. Brilliant idea.

    Beyond stupid. These people are getting paid a salary. It’s not like the $2.13 food servers get paid, which is total bs in itself.

  • B Servello

    I agree with all of you! I don’t mind paying waitresses and waiters cause I know they do not get a descent salary and my mom was a waitress but beyond that no way!

  • chucky1992

    It is a little late for April Fools isn’t it? LOLROF I don’t normally deal with these folks but if you ask them all if they should be tipped, what would you expect them to say? I’ll stick to the standards… wait staff where I eat, barber, and Christmas gifts for the mail man and auto shop.

    • targetsacquired

      Depends on the part of the country you are in, and the service. Down here tipping standards, IE: Who you tip, is different than say, if you were in Los Angeles. Having lived on both coasts, there is a definite difference in who and when.
      There is a distinct difference in generations and tipping as well. There was a time it was standard for many service professions. The older generations still do, the younger gimmie gimmie gimmie generation does NOT tip service providers as in days past, and while they think that many make a killing doing things like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, most of the helpers, or grunt workers do not. The hourly rate you pay is simply based on what it costs to stay in business, and make enough of a profit to REMAIN in business.

  • laffinatcha

    So I’m supposed to tip the cable guy? The guy who couldn’t tell me closer than a 4-5 hour window when he might show up? And the exterminator that told me l have active termites in the crawl space, even though my house is built on a concrete slab, I’m supposed to tip him too?

  • Alisha

    No one thinks of the person that does your alterations either. We don’t get paid much and work our butts off.

  • Jerry

    “They will hug you, tip you, feed you, you name it,”
    That’s the truth. When I was running a pest control route my customers were often overwhelmed with how quickly I took care of them and often in what they considered dangerous situations. I’ve received cash tips up to $100 but usually $5 to $50 was more the norm. I’ve received cake, a glass of milk and pie, lunch, restaurant gift cards, hugs, enthusiastic praise, plants, garden vegetables and more. Please tip you pest control tech they are paid on production and that isn’t often enough for what they accomplish for you.

  • FaithC

    I bartended and depended on tips in school. I have no problem tipping wait staff and the girl who cuts my hair.
    When I moved last year, I did tip the kids doing all the work. They were very careful with our items and made sure each box went into the room that was marked on it. I tipped them because they were fast, (I was paying by the hour), and very nice. I knew the owner of the moving company made most of the money and did the least work.
    With that said, this article is ridiculous.

  • Jason

    FaithC how the hell do you find time to baryend or go to school when it seems all you do is stay on this website commenting on EVERY story. I’ll tip you to shut the hell up and go someplace quiet.

  • M Brown

    I don’t necessarily think it should be a standard, but if someone gives you exceptional service why not give them a tip out of the goodness of your heart?

  • B Servello

    I agree with you M Brown but I don’t want to be told I have to tip people. I also think of it as giving them a gift and not a tip. Maybe that is why I was so quick to say no way earlier.

  • Joshua

    You forgot cab drivers. People don’t seem to tip us anymore. 10 years ago it was commonplace. The younger generation seems to be uneducated about it.

  • Renee

    what about your pet groomer!!! Think of all they deal with in a day. It’s not all just “playing with doggies”. We get bitten, pooped on, peed on, scratched, and the list goes on! We do it because we love grooming and tips are not expected, but are certainly appreciated!

  • My2€ent$

    Sorry that some of us only make minimum wage but I don’t believe we should expect a tip. IF someone wants to give us one then that’s a whole different matter. If we don’t like making minimum wage we need to go back to school and get better educated or step up at our place of work and ask for a raise. At the outrageous prices we already have to pay for hair cuts, nails, car repair (anything, including nail trim for a dog $12 in a small town where I live) we shouldn’t have to tip anybody UNLESS we wanted to..

  • Ellen

    Why should servers get tip for a job well done? Shouldn’t that be what is expected? No one tips me for doing a good job. I process medical claims. What if I didn’t pay thousands of dollars correctly? Sorry but if you don’t like min wage go back to school for more education to better yourself verses looking for a handout aka tip from people like me.

  • Brian

    Ok I am a bug killer aka exterminator. If I have a customer that tips me a twenty or more I can gurantee you I will do all I can to kill their bugs as soon as friggin possible, for a $100 tip I will come to your house at 8pm. Not for the amount but for the respect. If you call me back out to your house 10 times in three months i make around $2.00 per visit with no tip. You can guess what level of service you get when you burn up that much of my time when I get paid by the jobs as I do.
    I tip my barber, mail carrier, waiter or waitress, auto repair guy, whoever makes my life a little easier. If you want to make your life easier tip the person that makes your life easier. Just a little bit of wisdom.
    Also for the crappy people that call me back ALL the time quite often I only spray water just because you are a waste of my freaking time. I know I should have been a lawyer and not have to work for such a low wage but you should also be able to kill your own freaking spiders you crappy pansy wimp

  • Anna Bromley

    This is what my grandfather (who is a well to do lawyer) taught me: Anyone who is doing a service for you, that you could easily do FOR YOURSELF, give them a tip. TIPS, are To Insure Prompt Service. The mechanic who fixed your car, your hairdresser, the girl who does your nails, the man who fixed your windows, the cable installer…. They don’t HAVE to do those things for you, and you could always get up off your duff and learn to do it yourself. Most of us HAVE gone to school for the things we do, or at the very least had hours of training that we went through. I payed $3,000 and went through 2 years of schooling, just to be paid $7.25 an hour to do hair in a salon.I love my job and what I do, but honestly, it is a thankless job most of the time. If I don’t get tips, I don’t get to eat lunch that day. I work between 6 to 8 hours a day, and I only make $320 a pay check every 2 weeks. I can’t afford to get my nails done, or eat at fancy places. I buy my groceries and cook my dinner most days. If I can’t “afford” to tip, I don’t go and ask someone else to do something that I could damned well do for myself.
    Think about it this way. If all off these people that you’re telling to leave their job and go back to school, actually listened to you… Who would clean up after you, fix your stuff, and cook your food? That’s right. No one. You’d have to do it for yourself. So I’m sure you can spare at least a dollar for the person who is helping you out.

  • Wilma Kirkman

    The hair dresser is at risk for an illness later in life for what she does, she is breathing in fumes from all those chemicals she has to use so are many of the other people that have been mentioned. Yes thar are paid and yes some of those jobs pay well and some do not but why can you not just say thank you in the for of a few bucks. It is much better to give than to receive. I live on a fixed income but I still manage to give that hair dresser $5 good job or bad job. Some day she will be in the same spot I am in and I am sure she will think back about her tips. Nurses are not allowed to receive tips but think about it they often are your link to life or death. They are sent cards food candy fruit and they share with the others. I have several very inexpensive things that I received and I assure you they are prescious to me and I have never forgotten those persons. I share those stories with my Grandchildren. I want them to know while young that the little things are some times more loving than the expensive. Think positive and do begruge a person a buck or two. Bless you–that did not cost me a cent but I hope it makes people feel better.

Comments are closed.