Yep. It’s weird and new and you’re going to hate it for a while but you’ll get used to it, I promise. You have to tip. No questions. This is the ultimate guide to tipping across the U.S. with some specifics about New York City. It applies everywhere and it’s important, be a good tipper!

Do I really HAVE to tip?




You do.

Coming from a non-tipping country myself, I feel for those who are just arriving in the same manner and are having to learn the ropes. It’s difficult and confusing and it feels like you’re being swindled for extra money.

All of this might be true but it doesn’t change the fact of the matter that many of the people you are tipping depend on that tip to survive themselves.

Always check the check

When the check comes out you’ll want to check a few things:

  1. First off, obviously, is it the right check and are these the things you ordered?
  2. Secondly, you want to ensure that you haven’t already been charged the tip automatically. There might be mention of an 18% “Gratuity”, so if you’ve already got that, you don’t have to tip more. If you’ve had a huge group and you think they deserve it, then, by all means, add some!
  3. Thirdly, when splitting a check, you want to ensure that if there is a “recommended tip” section (which tells you 15/18/20% tip amounts) that it is a percentage of your cut, not the whole check. Sometimes they won’t recalculate this and you will be tipping double what you’re meant to! Same goes for the rule of thumb below, if you’ve split a check in half, then just tip the tax once, not twice.

A rule of thumb for New York City

Double the tax and round up to the dollar.

Basically, in New York City, tax comes to just shy of 9%, so if you double it, then round up, you should find yourself just north of 18% if not a little more. It’s a safe bet when you’re quickly trying to do the math.

There’s a (really cool) free app for iOS named “Workflow” and with this, I have created a little app that will help you automatically work out your tip (like in this picture). Just click here to get the app and the Calculate Tip Workflow.

Tipping your doorman

In addition to being a great tenant and not putting holes in the walls, did you know that you’re supposed to tip the doorman of your building (and your super, and anyone else involved) every year?

Here’s my guide on how much to tip the people in your building! (which is what it means by “calculated” above in the chart).