Do I tip my personal shopper?
December 26, 2013 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Do I tip my personal shopper? I suspect the answer is yes. If so, how much? Snowflakes inside.

On Sunday I will have my first session with my personal shopper, who is an acquaintance through a mutual friend. She's charging me her friends rate of $30/hour rather than her usual rate of $50/hour. I don't know entirely what to expect as I've never done this before, but I imagine our session would last 3-5 hours. Would I tip 15%+ as at a restaurant? Should I calculate on the discounted rate or as though it were her regular rate (like the way you tip on the full bill when you use a Groupon at a restaurant)? Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was going to say no until you said that you're getting a discount. I would tip her up to $40/hour
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:06 PM on December 26, 2013

Generally speaking, you don't need to tip anyone who is self-employed.
posted by desjardins at 1:07 PM on December 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

A lot of them can provide a discounted rate at a store because they work on a sales commission (and a lot of them won't charge you extra in addition t that commission -- you are already paying more that usual with the $30/hour). No tip needed. They are in sales. Tips are generally given to service people who make a low hourly rate, not sales people making a good hourly plus commission.

Tipping culture has gotten out of control in the US. She'll take the tip if you offer it I bet, but it's not necessary.
posted by Houstonian at 1:18 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify - she isn't a personal shopper employed by a particular store, this is her personal business that she does for a living. No sales commissions involved.
posted by skycrashesdown at 1:31 PM on December 26, 2013

Unless she's said so very explicitly, you shouldn't expect that she isn't getting paid by the retailer as well. Retailers, showrooms, and direct-to-customer designers aggressively court independent personal shoppers with good clientele.
posted by MattD at 1:34 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry, really don't mean to threadsit! I meant to add in my comment above, it's totally possible she's receiving some kind of other payment, but we're going to a mall and stores of my choice, in a city/state in which she doesn't live (she's visiting family for the holidays).
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:04 PM on December 26, 2013

I would tip her and/or at least buy her a lunch. If you go for say 4 hours at $30, I would round up the $120 to $150 if she is truly helpful.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:08 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I was shopping around for a personal shopper, I pointblank asked if tipping was the norm. I got those "It's not necessary, but it's always appreciated" answers, which to me, means "yes". As a benchmark, the personal shoppers I was talking with charged about $600 for full service (wardrobe analysis, pre-shopping recon missions without me, and actual shopping), and weren't affiliated with any stores. I think their just-shopping (no wardrobe analysis) hourly rate was $100.

Anyway, I didn't end up using any of their services, so I can't comment on what an actual decent percentage/flat-fee tip would be.

My suggestion is in part to see how you feel at the end of the experience -- did your shopper rock your world and really get you the next level up in fashion? Or did they just give you a helpful but non-revolutionary update to your look?

If it's the latter case, I'd be inclined to tip an hour's worth (e.g., $30 in your case) for every 3 hours you are together, unless you are loaded and are doing super high-end purchases, where 30 bucks might seem a bit measly.
posted by nacho fries at 3:07 PM on December 26, 2013

Tipping culture has gotten out of control in the US. She'll take the tip if you offer it I bet, but it's not necessary.

Seconding this. It's not necessary.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:49 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

My wife uses a personal shopper in Vegas who charges an hourly rate and she does not tip. Despite this, the shopper sends her frequent emails and always seems extremely enthusiastic about meeting with her.
posted by Lame_username at 4:34 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just in case anyone comes back to this, she gave me another discount because she had done a little (honestly very little) shopping for herself (last day of a sale at the Loft), so I gave her what she would normally have charged me if she hadn't shopped and called it good. (Her brief shopping took place when I was in the dressing room anyway and had no effect on her service to me.)
posted by skycrashesdown at 7:59 PM on January 27, 2014

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