Tipping the lawn service?
June 2, 2009 4:03 PM   Subscribe

How much are we expected to tip our lawn service?

I've never heard of tipping a lawn service before, but then we usually do our own yard work. We hired a crew to do some clean up work, and the invoice says that if we'd like to leave a tip, not to tip individual guys but to include a tip with the total bill.

I have no idea how much is appropriate. I do know that "nothing" is definitely an option, but these guys responded quickly, gave us a great price, fit us in to their schedule right away, and they have done a great job. I'd like to recognize that, plus I'd like to grease the wheels for scheduling future work.
posted by faustessa to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
I don't know what the custom is, but I probably would tip in the neighborhood of $1-$5 per man-hour of work. Or 10-20%. Quite honestly, it would make a difference to me if the workers seemed to be "the company" or if they were just one crew of laborers for some foreman. If it's "Joe's Lawn Service" and you got Joe and his brothers, probably wouldn't tip much. If it was a crew of laborers, I'd tip more. Going on the "you don't tip the owner" rule.
posted by gjc at 4:20 PM on June 2, 2009

Asking you to include your tip in the total bill seems sketchy, because the person who receives the payment can stiff the guys who actually did the work and no one will be the wiser. In my opinion, if you're going to tip at all, tip the people who are there in your yard working at the end of the day.
posted by amyms at 4:24 PM on June 2, 2009

For mowing nothing, perhaps cold drinks. For big jobs, gjc's recommendation sounds good, and I would give the money to the guys, not the owner.
posted by caddis at 4:57 PM on June 2, 2009

Ya give the workers a cool drink &/or food....& if you want slip them a note. If you send it in with your payment you are giving it to the owner.
posted by patnok at 7:12 PM on June 2, 2009

FWIW I worked in lawncare for about 4 years. A couple elderly clients would give me a dollar here and there. Honestly, I didn't carry money because a.) my shorts didn't have pockets and b.) keeping any thing on me while working would result in a soggy wallet/loose bills, etc (made even grosser becuase I'd slip said dollar into my sock.. the only place I had available). You'd probably be just as good (or better) giving cool drinks (in cans or bottles) and/or maybe sandwiches. I had to carry my lunch in a cooler (in the truck) and midday summer none of my water was cold and sometimes my lunch smelled/tasted like cooler.
posted by syntheticfaith at 5:35 AM on June 3, 2009

Also potato chips. Don't ask why, I never liked them before and don't really eat them now... but for some reason they seemed so awesome while doing that kind of work.
posted by syntheticfaith at 5:40 AM on June 3, 2009

At the end of the season, I went out and gave each of the two guys who cut my lawn all summer $75 in cash on what I thought was the last day. I made sure they got it directly and didn't send it in with the monthly bill. They appreciated it and even came back one more time to do a little winter prep on some of our more sensitive bushes and plantings.
posted by birdwatcher at 6:08 AM on June 3, 2009

I'll "n-th" the suggestion of cold drinks and food. I worked outside for a living at one time and always appreciated it.

When did it become custom to ply lawn care folks with cash outside of the retainer for their services? Especially since, I assume, you already pay them a fee to come out and provide that service. This has the same feel of the tip jar at the local Dunkin Donuts, which I find equally unnecessary. Unless you wait tables, deliver food via automobile, or tend bar, I don't see why I should have to tip you.
posted by PsuDab93 at 6:55 AM on June 3, 2009

And let me also add "cuts my hair" to the list of tip-worthy people.
posted by PsuDab93 at 6:57 AM on June 3, 2009

You're paying for a service. Service is included.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:31 PM on June 3, 2009

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