Should I Tip My Contractor?

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List

Dear Angie: Should I tip my contractors and other service companies? Enyon P., Ontario, Calif.

Dear Enyon: I think most people expect to tip their servers at restaurants; hair stylists; the driver for a taxi or car service and hotel bellhops, but deciding whether or not to tip – and how much to tip – other service providers can cause many of us a bit of anxiety.

In my conversations with service providers over the past 16 years, most say they don’t expect a tip, but certainly appreciate a small bonus for their efforts. Nearly 70 percent of Angie’s List members responding to a nationwide poll said that when they tip service providers, it’s because they want to show their appreciation for work done well.

Moving companies were among the service professionals consumers tip the most, according to the poll. Offering a $10 to $20 tip for a light move, or $20 to $50 for a big move, would be appropriate.

For personal services – such as those from a massage therapist, manicurist, pet groomer or house sitter -- tipping 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the service is a good rule of thumb as well.

Offering a holiday tip of $15 to $50, or even a small gift, is a nice touch if you have a housecleaner, a handyman or a lawn care professional who provides regular service.

Most contractors, such as plumbers, roofers or electricians, don’t expect a tip. However, if you feel the contractor goes above and beyond the job requirements, a tip would likely be well-received.

Some companies forbid their employees from accepting tips, so always ask about gratuity policies before assuming a bonus is acceptable. Those companies could have policies against tipping for tax purposes or may prefer to reward top employees themselves.

In lieu of cash or gifts, many company owners have told me that a good referral from their customers or a letter of commendation for good service are gifts that keep on giving.

Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angie’s List to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at


I'm a Retired NYC Firefighter and almost all of the Firemen had a second job. AND I KNOW !!! That everyone of them did a Cleaner and Better Job if they were TIPPED before (or During) the Job !!! It's Like the Saying Goes ! "PAY ME NOW OR PAY ME LATER" ! If You don't TIP before hand you come off as CHEAP !!! A FEW BUCKS GOES A LONG WAY !!!

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