It doesn’t matter if you are relocating to NYC for good or you are just looking for a short stay, tipping in New York City is an important aspect of your stay. No one wants to feel that cringe, years down the road, caused by failure to reward a good service. Frustration is even bigger with tourists, who come from countries where there is a different culture of tipping altogether. For example, in the Balkans, people simply don’t tip for certain services. They would be outraged to hear that they should tip the girl who did their manicure on top of what they already paid. “Why would you tip someone for doing their job?” they would say. Although waiters in the Balkans are rewarded for their services, it’s only 1 or 2%! Tipping in New York City is a must and while some people are confident, others are not sure where to tip and how much. Capital City Movers will try to prepare you for this important aspect of the NYC lifestyle.
Tipping in New York City – What’s appropriate?
Here are some heads up on what to expect here when it comes to tipping:
- Look at the bill carefully. A lot of restaurants in NYC, especially in the touristy areas, include a service charge of up to 18%. This is done as precaution aimed at tourists who leave insufficient gratuities. So before you reward the waiter with a generous tip, double check the bill to see if you are already paying the service charge. This way you will avoid double-tipping.
- Carry small dollar bills. Have 1$ bills ready at all times, no one will appreciate the excuse that you only have 20$ bills. Especially if you tell them you’ll come back to tip them later.
- Keep an open mind. As previously mentioned, different nations and cultures all have different tipping customs. Accept that this is simply a part of NYC that you can’t avoid, don’t fight the system, instead go with the flow. No one saved money during their visit to NYC, maybe if your budget-game is strong…
- Download a tip-calculating app. If you are bad at doing mat under pressure, aka in front of your date in a restaurant trying to calculate what is a 15% tip, try downloading one of those tip-calculating apps. Therefore, you will avoid all inconvenience and embarrassing mistakes when tipping in New York City.
How Much Should You Tip and When?
“Part of the reason tipping has become so confusing is that it was initially intended to be a reward for good service, but has transformed into being a requirement.” A lot of service men and women depend on tips they earn as their sole income. How did this happen? Many restaurants in the US are permitted to pay their workers below minimum wage, expecting that they will earn the difference through tips. That’s when pressure falls down on customers who are basically paying for the service to the restaurant, and then have to pay the waiter through a tip. Although let’s not forget that many service workers earn a lot, a lot of money through this system, especially in big cities such as New York.
These are some of the common occupations in NYC that rely heavily on tips:
- NYC cabs: the common tip is 15% of the total, pay more if they help you with your bags. Try to always tip the driver in cash due to the fact that credit card tips go through a significant service charge by the taxicab companies.
- Servers in restaurants: Good service is always rewarded with 15% to 20%, and more for exceptional service, of course. If you are going out to a party of 6 or more, check your bill. Many restaurants include the tip for larger parties. A 10% tip is ok when you are not satisfied with the service. Don’t forget, that your tip is also split among the other workers, such as busboys and sometimes other servers.
- Bartenders are also expecting a 15% to 20% of your total bill, or at least $1 per every beverage you had. In case you are buying rounds, say 4 or 5 drinks at a time, $2-$3 will suffice.
- Room service: 15% of the total bill, but check that it is not already included in the bill.
- Concierges: You dont have to tip them every time, but when you do it, tip them with $1-$5 for useful information
- Hotel bellhop or doorman: $2 minimum with $1 for each additional bag.
- Hotel housekeeping: For each person and night in the room -$3 to $5
- Tour guides: However, most tour guides in the city to earn a fee for leading a tour. Unlike people working in restaurants and bars, it is usually at least minimum wage. In some cases, it is appropriate to tip $5 per person in your party if you really liked your tour.
New York City is one of the most amazing cities in the world. A unique urban ecosystem with its own set of rules which you need to follow if you intend to survive the “concrete jungle”. Tipping in New York City is just one of many things you will learn to accept. Maybe you’ll even end up on the other end of it. Be careful when visiting New York it might get under your skin easily, in which case you’ll probably need Manhattan moving and storage services real soon.