Do we tip the satellite installer?
July 8, 2009 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Do we tip the satellite installer?

We arranged to have an upgrade done to our satellite service, moving to an HD-capable system. The upgrade, which we thought would be a simple case of swapping out satellite boxes, has turned into him running new higher-grade cable into the house, crawling about in our attic space to drop cable down through the walls, really he's going well above and beyond what we expected him to do.

We aren't paying for this install / upgrade -- it's somehow being covered through the upgrade deal.

Should we tip the installer? If so, how much?
posted by hippybear to Work & Money (20 answers total)
No. He's doing his job.
posted by IanMorr at 2:17 PM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: For what he's doing for you? I certainly would tip him around $20. Sounds like he's doing an awesome job and that sort of thing should be encouraged.
posted by inturnaround at 2:19 PM on July 8, 2009

If it were me, I'd give him a six-pack of beer [or some other nice "thanks for the effort" token]
posted by jessamyn at 2:22 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not necessary, and he may even be obliged to refuse tips.

He's probably paid by the hour, in which case he'd much rather spend six hours on one site than run around all day doing 20 minute jobs. Some service calls take 10 mins, some take all day. The same is true of alarm installers or telephone repairmen.
posted by rokusan at 2:22 PM on July 8, 2009

Generally no, unless he sets you up so that you get all the premium channels for free.
posted by birdwatcher at 2:23 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you really want to help him, call your provider back tomorrow and thank them for the AMAZING service you received from your installer. "That guy was the best" and so on.
posted by rokusan at 2:23 PM on July 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If the installer is a cool guy I usually give around $5-$15. That's if I actually have cash on me. I wouldn't make a special trip to the ATM.

He is getting paid for all of this though so you shouldn't feel any obligation. There isn't an "above and beyond" to this. It's just what needs to be done to get the job done.
posted by zephyr_words at 2:23 PM on July 8, 2009

obliged > obligated. I'm slow today.
posted by rokusan at 2:24 PM on July 8, 2009

It's his job. No tips.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:27 PM on July 8, 2009

Some of the installers I knew even got kickbacks from whatever group they were working for. The tip is built-in there.
posted by adipocere at 2:40 PM on July 8, 2009

Wait 'til he's high on the roof and then give him a little shove. But wait until he's done, of course.

Personally, I'd give him $50. I find that tip investments such as these are often--not always--worthwhile, especially if there is trouble of some sort later.

Once I bought dinner for a mechanic and his family whom I happened to sit near one evening while dining out. I didn't know him well as we had just begun to use him based on a recommendation from a friend. It cost me about $100 and, in the 6 years or so since has paid back at least tenfold.
posted by bz at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2009

Next time this turns into an all-day affair (that day will come, too) go pick up lunch and offer to buy him something. Offer him a beer (or a six-pack) when he's finished, and make sure you get his name and/or a card.

The next day, call the satellite company, and rain compliments upon them regarding his professionalism, work ethic, and communication skills.

I've worked jobs where I've relied on tips, and jobs where I was prohibited from accepting them. This is likely the latter, and a compliment to his boss will go a lot further than a $20.
posted by Precision at 3:10 PM on July 8, 2009

Is he drilling holes through your outside walls or your floors, and just shoving cable through from the outside/underneath? No tip.

Is he running the cables through the attic, dropping 'em down through the walls, and bringing them out through a small hole? Tip, but only if he's willing to put the holes more or less at plate level so that you can put 'em through plates later.

Is he running things through the wall, then smacking on plates? Nobody does that. Tip and be grateful.
posted by davejay at 3:15 PM on July 8, 2009

Oh, and if he does that last one, definitely tell his boss he did a great job, but don't say specifically why, just "great job, clean installation, did it right and did it quickly." You don't want him to inadvertently get yelled at for doing too much and charging too many hours for the job.
posted by davejay at 3:16 PM on July 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I usually tip installers, but I always wonder what sort of job they might have done if they'd known going in that I'm the kind of customer that tips installers.

I could say, with a wink, "There's an extra $20 in it for you if you impress me with your workmanship." But I'm not that kind of customer.
posted by notyou at 3:46 PM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: My parents relocated last week and tipped the FiOS guy $40 after a four-hour install. My mom said the guy nearly jumped out of his skin. He pulled out his card and said, "If you have any problems - ANYTHING - don't call the office. You call me."

Making the FiOS guy's day - $40.
Never having to deal with Verizon customer support - priceless.
posted by AloneOssifer at 4:06 PM on July 8, 2009

One has to wonder how far that FIOS guy's response was based on wanting to save the customer the trouble of calling Verizon support, as opposed to seeing an opportunity to get the occasional healthy tip for his normal work.

Maybe I'm just a cynic.
posted by fearnothing at 5:24 PM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: He went in your attic and fished a wall for free!?! Fishing a wall should cost $50-$75. Installers get a flat rate per job and Upgrades pay very poorly... AS A RULE tip @ $5/hr., in this case give him a $50 he way earned it! IAADTVI
posted by hollyanderbody at 6:34 AM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: We ended up tipping him $20. I think he may have deserved more, but that was what I had in my pocket. :)

Thanks for everyone's input!
posted by hippybear at 1:09 PM on July 10, 2009

Either way, fearnothing, whether borne of brotherly good feeling or line your pockets greed, at the end of the day, net net, everybody wins.
posted by notyou at 2:29 PM on July 13, 2009

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