Tipping Minefield.
July 24, 2012 9:31 PM   Subscribe

I am employing a maid service. The company will charge me $120 for the cleaning service every two weeks. Am I expected to tip the maids who come - and how much?

Do I tip them every week? And how do I tip them given that I will likely not be here when they come regularly?

Bonus points if you can also explain tipping at the hair salon - not just amounts and who to tip, but the logistics of how. Should I hand bills to each person or leave it at the desk at the end of the appointment? Please help me not be a jerk!
posted by yogalemon to Work & Money (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by pompomtom at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2012

Bay Area
posted by yogalemon at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2012

At the salon, they should have wee envelopes at the front desk. I always write who the tip is for, and then write something like, "xo, Countess Sandwich" so they know it's from me. You can either give the envelope to the receptionist or to your stylist personally -- I vary that depending on how busy said stylist is with his next client. I give 20% (each) to my stylist and colorist, and then $5 to the person who washed my hair.

Maid service, I can't help you with my personal experience, but I would certainly tip -- my parents leave their payment for their housekeeper on the window sill in the kitchen over the sink with her name on it if they're not home to pay her personally. Is this one of those services that sends different people every time? Then you should tip every time. I'd leave an envelope somewhere obvious that says "for [Cleaning Service]. Thanks!" and then put cash inside. You can always call the maid service and ask them, though.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:46 PM on July 24, 2012

can't help with the maid tipping question, but regarding the salon, it depends on where I pay. If I pay at reception, I'll give the tip to the receptionist and ask that they give to the stylist. If they have little envelopes, I'll use those (like Countess Sandwich, will leave a little 'thanks! -par court' note outside). If I pay the stylist directly and in cash I add the tip to the cost and tell them to keep the difference; if by card there is usually a tip line; if there is no tip line and I'm paying with card and for some terrible reason have no cash (this has only happened once) I apologized, told them I was going to run out for cash, and came back with the cash tip and gave it to the receptionist.

(additional tip: my mother ingrained into me to tip stylists as well as possible - she recommended 30% or more, 40% if it was a really, really good cut and color. This is probably excessive for most people and in most cases, but I've found when I deploy it on an initial meeting with a stylist who does a great job, it almost always assures a great relationship going forward. this is really useful if you have really difficult hair or have an emergency situation where you need a quick fix with short notice.)
posted by par court at 10:04 PM on July 24, 2012

I am in the bay area and have a cleaning service that comes while I'm at work. I only tip them in cash (envelope with their names on it) at Christmas. I think I do the equivalent of a month? The regular fee is paid to the service itself from my bank account.
posted by marylynn at 10:05 PM on July 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

Salon data point: I pay at reception, but put a cash tip in my hair guy's hand.
posted by rtha at 10:06 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

What kind of a salon do you go to? What services do you get? People can break it down point by point if you give us that info...

[I go to a cheaper chain hair salon because my stylist is amazing and I've been seeing her for 10 years -- I tip over 20% because she deserves more than 20% of my actual bill.]
posted by DoubleLune at 10:08 PM on July 24, 2012

I tip my building staff at Christmas and pay them for odd jobs outside their duties. Maid service falls into this category.
posted by brujita at 10:12 PM on July 24, 2012

Most people tip five or ten dollars each time someone comes. If you are not going to be there you can tip through the company. You don't have to tip but expect your maid to want to drop you for someone who does.
posted by goat at 10:18 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I tip the housekeeper at the holidays, but not every week when she visits. The cleaning company is very clear about it - their staff members earn a fair wage and benefits. Tips are not expected on a weekly basis. (And I believe it since their staff stays with them for years.)
posted by 26.2 at 10:24 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I tip the cleaning lady two weeks pay at Christmas. I pay her directly each time she comes as she is working for herself. I will also occasionally, in the summer when my kids are not around as much, ask her to not clean the upstairs where the kid's rooms are, yet I pay her in full. If I have to cancel like when I am out of town, and we cannot find a time to reschedule, I will also often pay anyway. I also clean up before she comes, but I think that is just my guilts at having someone clean up after me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:35 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't tip recurring house cleaners; they get a Christmas bonus. Do tip if you are single shot move out hiring them, or move out before Xmas.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:40 PM on July 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

I have housecleaners who come twice a month and own their own business. I give them a gift of two week's worth at Christmas.
posted by zippy at 10:45 PM on July 24, 2012

Call the company and ask them. I'm not sure tipping is necessary in this situation.

About hair styling... My understanding is that you tip everyone but the owner. In my situation, there is no one else in the salon but the owner, so I tip a lot because I've never had anyone dedicate 4 freaking hours to my hair bi-monthly - but normally, I would not tip there.

You tip workers. not the owner. That is the rule.
posted by jbenben at 1:24 AM on July 25, 2012

My cleaning lady traveled by bus to my house, so I always left "bus fare and lunch money", normally ~ 20% cash in addition to her regular cleaning check. My tipping guilt was assuaged.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:38 AM on July 25, 2012

I don't tip for our bi-weekly service, but tip the equivalent of one visit at the holidays. I used to leave it in cash for them, but was advised by the owner to write a second check to the company so she could share the tips equally among the staff (therefore not inadvertently rewarding or punishing individual workers depending on whose house they cleaned that particular day/week).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:52 AM on July 25, 2012

When I get a haircut, I give my tip to the cashier/scheduler/front desk person. Sometimes my cutter is standing there, but she doesn't like grab the money or anything. That exchange happens some time and somehow after I leave.
posted by rhizome at 3:19 AM on July 25, 2012

Two weeks at the holidays.
posted by JPD at 3:45 AM on July 25, 2012

re: hair salon

- $20 to the stylist
- $10 to whoever did the blowdrying
- $5 to whoever did the washing

Double everything at my just before xmas appointment.
posted by elizardbits at 5:26 AM on July 25, 2012

Yes, housecleaners get tipped/give a gift at Christmas.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2012

I also get a bi-monthly housecleaning. They come in and clean while I am at work. Each time the two-woman team comes to work, I leave a check made out to the company they work for (for reference, it's $90 each time -- my place is small).

In December, I leave four twenty dollar bills for them. I also make sure to call the company with praise any time they do something extra -- like the time they vacuumed behind the couch without my asking, or the time they offered to run my bathroom floormats through my washing machine while they were there, or the time they noticed a roof leak and alerted the owner, who called me at work.

I ALSO leave a tip whenever the house needs a little extra. The amount I leave depends on what needs done or how much dirtier the house is. Like after a party, when things are dirtier than usual ($40 tip), or when we're about to have company and I ask them to make the powder room extra sparkly ($20). Sometimes I ask them to do something extra -- for example, twice a year when I flip the mattress on my bed, I take the top mattress off my bed in the morning when they are coming, and I ask them to vacuum the box springs and mattress ($40). If I don't have time to make my bed in the morning, I know they will do it, so I leave $10. I probably end up giving them about $100-$150 worth of tips through the course of a year.

Maybe I tip too frequently, but my feeling is that I'm leaving them alone with a key to my house, my stuff and my cats, so I want to have a good working relationship with them. Also, they do a good job and vastly improve my life.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:47 AM on July 25, 2012 [6 favorites]

I have weekly service too but I only tip at the holidays. It's a two woman team so I give each the equivalent of a week's cleaning fee.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:58 AM on July 25, 2012

I clean houses as a part-time job on top of my stay at home mom full time gig. The couple houses I clean, usually only tip at Christmas time. Sometimes it's cash other times it's actual presents (cash it preferable to presents any time). So I think tipping them only for holidays or extra things you want done is ok.
posted by Sweetmag at 8:09 AM on July 25, 2012

I think it is perfectly appropriate and thoughtful to tip house cleaning staff. i also tip the staff who clean my/our hotel/motel rooms. For persons who clean our home I pay a competitive hourly rate and tip 20%. I would increase the tip if there are unusually high expectations, difficult jobs or adverse working conditions. this is an area where generosity does not go unappreciated and is often reciprocated
posted by rmhsinc at 8:49 AM on July 25, 2012

cash it preferable to presents any time

I confess I once found myself quite broke around Christmas so I tipped with a few bottles of very expensive wine. She seemed quite happy with it.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:49 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I live in the DC suburbs. Our house-cleaner comes every week and it's not always the same person. I tip her $10 cash each time and write a check that goes to the service. Since I tip weekly, I do not give her a Christmas bonus.

I also have a professional dog walker who comes every weekday afternoon during times when I'm not available to walk the dog -- this could be for a month and a half at a time. I tip her at the end of each stretch of dog-walking service, generally around $20 per week's worth, so at the end of a month and a half of dog-walking, I'd typically give her $100 tip. I figure it's worth it, since she's taking very good care of my dog. He absolutely loves her!

Hair people I tip directly (around 30%) with cash.
posted by rhartong at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2012

I pay $60 weekly to clean a one-bedroom condo. This includes laundry (which service worked out so much better once I hid the bleach).

My tips to her are making up for lost wages when I'm out of town. I call it "you don't need to clean next week, but here's a little extra."

At the salon, my stylist of 15 years told me, "do NOT tip the shampooer." So I don't. But I give my stylist $20 on a $45 haircut.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:10 PM on July 25, 2012

if you use a company where they send people out, then definitely tip. If you have someone who cleans your house regularly and is the only person (or has a helper), then Christmas bonus is fine.
Salon, they should have an envelope at the front counter. Give at least 10% for your stylist if you liked what they did, and 2-5% for his/her assistant based on how much he/she did. More is better but not more than 20% for stylist and 10% for assistant - and that should be delight in their service.
posted by lucydriving at 9:09 PM on July 25, 2012

« Older Re-establishing a connection   |   Help me choose a mouse that won't hurt me Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.