How much to tip building staff during the holidays?
December 18, 2012 8:01 AM   Subscribe

How much to tip building staff?

I rented a condo apartment in April. This is my first apartment with doormen so I didn't realize until recently that it was customary to tip the building staff. Being that its almost Christmas, I'm trying to figure out how much and soon. There are really only 2 doormen that I interact with (I believe the total to be around 6-8). Do I need to tip them all? Do I tip them different amounts? Should I provide one large sum for them to split up or tip them individually? And most importantly, how much should I be tipping?

posted by cm1088 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Owners are socially obligated to tip doormen, and the condo association has probably already asked them. As a renter, you are not obligated to double-tip. Tipping is your landlord's job.

Give them something they'll all enjoy, like a batch of baked goods they can share throughout their shifts. You can always give them gift cards or coffee or the like at your discretion, but don't feel obligated to kick in cash. That's your landlord's job.
posted by juniperesque at 8:08 AM on December 18, 2012

Tipping is your landlord's job.

I disagree; if you're the person receiving the service, you are the person who should tip. Owner/employers (e.g., the condo association) should perhaps give the doormen a bonus, but if the doormen are holding the door for you, accepting your packages, helping you with your groceries, then you should give them a tip.

In the past, I've only given the the doormen I get services from; unfortunately, that meant that the overnight guy didn't get a tip from me. I think the last year I was in my doorman building, I gave $50 each, which added up to $150 among three doormen.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:15 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

How much you should be tipping will depend entirely on where you live (the city and the building). You should probably ask a friendly neighbor or two what they usually do.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:16 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

As a renter, you are not obligated to double-tip.

Wow, no. Renters need to tip.
posted by lalex at 8:19 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

I plan to ask three neighbors and then tip the average of their answers + 20.
posted by elizardbits at 8:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd tip the people you interact with about $30 each, and people you don't see $20 each. I'd put the tips in individual holiday cards, and I'd also drop off a plate of treats (like brownies) for all of them.

Service jobs are pretty dependent on tips.
posted by bearwife at 8:40 AM on December 18, 2012

I agree that it depends entirely on the city you live in and the nature of the building. NYC's high-end buildings have tenants who tip several hundred to thousand dollars. Most others don't approach this level.

As for whether the renter ought to tip, again it depends entirely on the nature of the building and city.
posted by dfriedman at 8:45 AM on December 18, 2012

Do I need to tip them all?

I will be the contrarian and say that you do not. Why should they be tipped? They can't claim the $2.13/hour restaurant wages that waitresses claim to justify their expected tips. My opinion is that tipping has gotten out of hand in this country. If low compensation is such a big issue, I would rather they just raise their prices so they can pay their employees a higher wage so I don't have to deal with the social shaming exercise to see who is a Good Person or a Bad Person. (Since there will be speculation, I tip restaurant servers, cab drivers, bell hops, pizza delivery boys, and sky caps. I do not tip the cashier at Subway, the garbage man, or a passer-by who says, "hey, your shoe is untied")

The doormen open the door for you and accept your packages? Great. I call that doing their job. If the doormen are union, then you can sleep well at night knowing that collective bargaining has given them fair compensation.

You do not "need" to tip. A tip is a gratuity. That means it is not necessary by definition, and it appears that the majority of renters don't tip. Of course, talk to your neighbors and see what the convention is in your building. Maybe they have some stories of doorman revenge against non-tippers that make you think it is worth your while to buy your peace.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:06 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I live in jersey city, nj...right across the hudson from nyc.

The only thing the doorman does for me is handle my packages. I haven't had any thing in terms of maintenance requests, etc. They occasionally open the door for me, but since I live closer to the side door, I usually go that route instead. Even though I don't need their service alot, it would be nice to give them something as a thank you- $30- 40 each?

Thanks for all the feedback.
posted by cm1088 at 9:39 AM on December 18, 2012

30 for every staff member, 50 for superintendent is how we roll.
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 AM on December 18, 2012

I'd do $40 each, individually if you can catch each of them. Some buildings have a holiday fund for employees, but if you haven't been asked 10 times to contribute to it yet your building probably doesn't.
posted by mrs. taters at 3:29 PM on December 18, 2012

I am giving $25 to the doorman I interact with most and candy to the doorwoman I rarely see, but is super friendly in a grandmotherly way.

If you are female and the "doorpeople" are male and under 60 year old, I recommend being as formal as possible with the gift (money or gift card, succinct thank you). I got into trouble one year with a perverted valet who scared me out of my mind after I thought I was being nice by getting him candy one Christmas.
posted by parakeetdog at 8:25 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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