The New Rules for Tipping in New York

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You plan out a big night with friends. Maybe you schedule an appointment with your stylist or barber for a last minute trim. You take a ride share to meet up with the crew. You grab drinks at a bar. Have dinner at a nice restaurant. Get a cup of coffee (decaf, of course) for the ride share home. And maybe you have a late night dessert delivered to your apartment to tame that sweet tooth. 

With each interaction, you’re faced with the same situation: How much should you tip?

Service industries are a huge part of New York, and most of us have worked in at least one service job at some point in our lives. But even if we have had these kinds of jobs, it can be hard to know just how much to tip in each situation. 

Many service people don’t just count on tips to supplement their incomes — they rely on tips as their income. According to the Department of Labor, an employer can pay someone just over $2 per hour if they regularly earn more than $30 a month in tips. $30. A month. Granted, the employee has to reach the federal minimum wage when the gratuities are added in, and this can vary by state, but that’s still a very small amount of money when you add it up. 

Tipping matters. 

So, just how much should you tip for different kinds of services? Here’s our recommendations:

Average to good service at restaurants: 15%-18% of your bill

Good to great service at restaurants: 20%+ of your bill

For services you have regularly, like a hairstylist: 20%+. Building a relationship with your hairstylist or barber could help you when you need last-minute services. This also applies to home cleaning services, manicurists, and anyone else that you might see on a regular basis. 

Food delivery: 10%-15% of your bill

Rideshare services and taxis: 15%-20% of your bill

Coffee at a cafe: Entirely up to you. If you order a complicated drink (or several, especially when the line is long), then you should probably tip a few dollars to show your appreciation. But if your drink is more straightforward, you don’t need to feel compelled to tip. It’s up to you. 

Grocery delivery: at least 10%. Especially if the weather is rough outside, consider increasing the tip. Hey, they saved you from going out into that weather yourself, so it’d be nice if you thanked them for it. 

Bartenders: Bartenders are often like servers, and rely on tips for their income. A couple of dollars per drink is a great place to start, maybe a little more if your drink is complicated or off-menu. 

Valets: $2-$5 is good. Sometimes it’s better than circling the parking lot or garage for an hour waiting for a spot to open up. 

Hotel housekeeping: Not an obvious one, but if you stay at a hotel and have the housekeepers come in every day to clean up after you, you should leave a few dollars for their services. And make sure you leave a tip each day — you probably won’t get the same housekeepers each day. 

Hotel concierge: If the concierge makes reservations to a show or a popular restaurant, or books an activity for you, then slipping them a $10 or $20 for their time is a sure sign of your appreciation. 

Movers: If you hire professional movers, you definitely need to tip. Especially if you live in an apartment building. WIth no elevator. Or a really tiny one. Giving each member of the moving crew a $10-$50 tip (depending on the amount of stuff they moved for you, their general attitude and quality of service) is good.  

Holiday tipping: When it comes to tipping for the holidays, it’s never a bad thing to be generous. Sometimes it can be as simple as putting your tip in a holiday card, or adding an extra $5 or a coffee shop gift card to your usual tip is enough to lift their spirits. We recommend holiday tipping for those who provide you with regular service, be it your stylist, your landscaper, your house cleaner, etc. 

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