Tipping is very important in the U.S. not only culturally but for the financial well-being of many. Did you know you were meant to tip the building staff each year? You do! So how much should you tip your super, your doorman, and the other staff in your building for the holidays?
First things first, do you really have to tip everyone in the building?
Yes, you have to tip (normally all of) the staff in your building
I will admit that when I first moved, I had absolutely no idea that it was a thing, and luckily I was put right quickly. It's really quite a snub for those who carry your trash, manage parcels, and open the door for you if you don't tip properly; even if you didn't know.
It’s an important part of being a good tenant or owner in your apartment block, and I want to make sure you do it correctly. They do lots for you throughout the year without much more than a smile and thank you, so now is your time to repay (and just be nice, it’s the holidays).
So how much do you tip the workers in your building?
Using data I compiled from all over the internet, and by asking you each year how much is appropriate, I've built the handy form below!
Tipping isn't just a standard “It's $50 for the holidays”, it depends on how big your building is, how much work the person has to do for you, what they're doing, and more.
So be a good tipper, do the right thing and calculate how much you need to tip below!
Do you need to tip your building staff even if you're not happy with them?
This is a tough one. I know that moving to the States for me included a big learning curve for tipping and tipping for bad service seems ridiculous, but in some cases it's basically just easier.
In some cases, the situation that caused you to be unhappy with them might not have been their fault, or maybe they too are frustrated about the situation. Either way, the simple truth is that you don't always know and not tipping in the holidays can exacerbate that.
Again, I know it seems tough and we're making a lot of assumptions but try and use the season to reset things, and start the new year afresh.
Can you give alternatives to cash for your holiday tip?
Tips are cash, not any other form.
You can give gifts, you can even bake something for them, but that has to be in addition to cold, hard cash.
I know it seems insincere, and it is in some cases, but in this case that's what is expected.
How should you give your holiday tip?
Place it in an envelope with their name on it (and yours), and drop it either at the desk downstairs (or if you're like me, text your super and say you have an envelope for them).
They'll know what it is, they'll say thank you very much, and you can go forward with your rosy working relationship!
Are You Supposed To Tip Your Landlord?
As a renter, you do not need to tip your landlord.
That being said, if you have a great relationship with your landlord, you can buy them a gift, but treat that like a friend and use your discretion.
What other groups of people in your life could get a tip through the holiday season?
There are lots of groups of people that you might engage with daily, weekly, or monthly throughout the year who would sincerely appreciate a tip. These ones are not nearly as essential as the above but are just an indication if you do want to be extra merry.
Here are some indications for what's appropriate:
- Housekeeper: One week’s pay
- Apartment cleaner: 50-100% of a cleaning
- Dog walker: One or two weeks’ pay
- Garage attendants: $30
- Babysitter: Two day’s pay
- Nanny: One to two weeks’ pay
- Daycare staff: $60 for the headteacher and $50 for secondary teachers
- Mail carrier: You can't tip the USPS mail carrier with anything close to cash (including gift cards) but you could bake them something or give something very tokenistic of your appreciation. FedEx/UPS and other delivery people though are allowed to receive tips and $20 is very lovely of you.
How much to tip everyone else in your life (outside of holidays)?
Check out my tipping guide here.
<a href="https://americajosh.com/learn-more/tipping/" target="_blank" rel="follow"><img src="https://americajosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/America-Josh-USA-Tipping-Guide-2023.png" alt="America Josh's Guide to Tipping 2023" /></a>