The Right Bit: How and Who to Tip

Giving money as service tip

Do you tip your movers? If you’re moving houses from Tokyo to Yokohama, refreshments are vastly preferable to tipping. Gratuities earn the gratitude of movers who haul your furniture from Boston to Winthrop.

Movers or removalists, as they are called in Australia, may prefer a few warm pies and packs of beers at the end of your Sydney to Melbourne move. So, where exactly is tipping required? Which professions rely on tips to pay their bills on time?

Tippable Jobs vs. Non-Tippable Jobs

It may come as no surprise to note that professionals in the service industry rely on tips to augment their earnings. This is especially revealing in the U.S., where tipping is highly encouraged. Pizza delivery drivers, bussers, valets, bartenders, and the like need your tips as they typically make $5 or less an hour.

One study notes that some professionals are tipped while others are not based on perceptions about their income and happiness in their job. Tipping does not necessarily increase or occur in situations where the tipper may gain or lose approval.

People are also more likely to tip when they’re in a situation where they believe they can evaluate the person’s performance. The masseuse is more likely to be tipped than a lawyer, as they are in closer contact with the customer and earn less than a guy with an active law profession.

Country Variances on Tipping

The United States has a big tipping culture. Tour guides, waiters, and taxi drivers are typically given 15 to 20% of the total untaxed bill. Their Canadian counterparts expect the same rates. Argentinian taxi drivers and waiters typically only expect 10% of the bill and in pesos. Tipping is a bit more extravagant in the United Kingdom, and just a mite less in Portugal.

China and Japan are not into tipping at all. Tour guides and bag carriers in China may be tipped, but they’re not usually expected. Tipping in Japan is considered insulting, so keep those yen to yourself.

Italian taxi drivers, porters, housekeepers, and tour guides only want a few euros extra for their services, but otherwise, don’t expect it. The Irish are similar in that they generally don’t expect tips. France and India include tips in their service charge and their tour guides may be given a bit

In some cases, you may still want to tip in countries that do not think of tipping as a necessity. If you’re renting a flat four floors up in an elevator-less building in Sydney, you may feel compelled to tip your movers. This may be the case even if the Australian equivalent of tips is food.

Tipping Tips and Treats

Giving tip to driver

Tipping etiquette depends on the culture and industry. You can’t give $50 to your server if your meal only costs $1 and you probably won’t be able to look your bellhop in the eye if you give them $5 for hauling bags twice their weight upstairs.

A reliable percentage is the 15 to 20% range, especially for hairstylists and servers. Valet personnel are typically tipped $2 to $5 while exterminators and cleaners rake in no more than $20. Give what you can afford, ask if you’re unsure, and consider other forms of gratuities if you’re still not clear on tipping policies.

At the end of the day, the number one tipping trick is to remember that gratuities are the lifeblood of some professions. Whether or not you’re in a better career than the person you’re tipping, it’s always a good idea to give a little extra—when it’s appropriate.

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