Holiday Tipping Guide: Who to Tip – and How Much

Holiday Tipping Guide: Who to Tip (and How Much)

Holiday tipping is a great way to show your appreciation. But who do you tip at the holidays? This holiday tipping guide will help you figure that out.

Holiday Tipping Guide

Mail and Package Delivery Services

You probably send and receive a lot of mail and packages over the holiday season, and perhaps throughout the rest of the year as well. So it’s a good idea to tip your letter carrier and any package delivery professionals who you interact with regularly.

  • USPS Letter Carrier: the USPS allows letter carriers to accept gifts of up to $20 in value, as long as they’re not cash. A gift card may be the most convenient option.
  • UPS Package Delivery: If there’s a driver that you interact with regularly, you can tip them about $25 in value. The company prefers tips are not given in cash.
  • FedEx Package Delivery: FedEx drivers are allowed to receive gifts of up to $75 in value.
  • Other Delivery Services: For things like newspaper delivery or courier services, you can tip up to $30 at the holidays.

Building Staff

If you work in a commercial building, there are probably a ton of different people who keep your operations running, from doormen and security to cleaning and maintenance staff. You may not actually interact with all of these people regularly. But determine which ones are most relevant to your business when creating your holiday tipping budget.

  • Cleaning Staff: The holiday tips for your cleaning team vary depending on how much you normally pay them. Give about what you pay for one session. If there’s a full team, divide the tip among everyone.
  • Landscaping or Gardeners: Those who maintain your building’s exterior may be less active during the winter. But you can still tip these individuals between $15 and $40 each.
  • Doormen or Security: Tips to doormen and security guards can vary widely. If you don’t interact with them regularly, you can give as little as $10 at the holidays. If they help you a lot throughout the year, then you can give as much as $80.
  • Building Superintendent: If your building has a supervisor or superintendent, you should tip them up to $100 at the end of the year. If their duties are limited or you’ve tipped throughout the year, you can give as low as $20.

Child Care Professionals

If you need help caring for your children or pets while you run your business, the holidays are a perfect time to recognize their contributions.

  • Teachers: Gift values can vary between $25 and $100 depending on your location. And gift cards are usually a better idea than cash. Check with the school first to see if they have any specific policies about holiday gifts.
  • Babysitters: For those who watch your kids on a semi-regular basis, give them an extra night’s pay and perhaps a special gift from your child.
  • Full-Time Nanny: Depending on how long they’ve worked with your family, you should give them the equivalent of at least one week’s pay, but up to one month’s pay. You should also get them a personal gift from your child.
  • Daycare Service: Gifts for each person who interact with your child should fall between $20 and $70 in value.
  • Dog Sitter/Walker: Give them cash or a gift card that’s the equivalent of about one or two week’s pay.

Restaurant and Hospitality Staff

Generally, you should tip hospitality staff at the time service is provided. However, you might provide an additional tip or gift during the holidays for those who you interact with regularly.

  • Waitstaff: Give between $10 and $50 for anyone who serves your business on a regular basis, like those who have worked events for you or those who work at one of your regular meeting spots.
  • Maitre D: If there’s a restaurant with a heat waiter/waitress that you frequent, give them between $50 and $100.
  • Golf Professionals: If you host a lot of meetings on the golf course, tip caddies or instructors either $50 or the cost of one session.
  • Front Desk: For those who frequent hotels or country clubs with front desk attendants, tip anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on how often you interact with them.
  • Locker Room Attendants: If there are locker room attendants at the country clubs or health clubs you visit regularly, give between $10 and $50 each at the holidays.

Service Professionals

You don’t necessarily need to tip every service provider you’ve worked with throughout the year. But any that you interact with on a regular basis may deserve some recognition.

  • Transportation Service: If there’s a driver who you work with regularly, give about 20 percent of your monthly bill.
  • Parking Attendants: For parking or garage attendants who you interact with regularly, you can give between $10 and $30.
  • Virtual Assistant: If your business uses one, tip them $50 at the holidays, or the equivalent of one hour’s pay.
  • Freelancers: For those who have helped your business on a contract basis throughout the year, consider tipping them the equivalent of their hourly rate, or $50.
  • Beauty Professionals: If there’s a hairdresser, barber, or manicurist you work with regularly, you can tip them 15 or about 20 percent of your normal service at the holidays. This should be in addition to what you tip after each service.

Who Not to Tip

Generally, it’s not customary to tip highly skilled professionals like accountants or physicians. If you feel that any of these service providers went above and beyond during the year and you’d like to recognize them, send a gift instead. A nice gift basket with chocolates or a gift card to their favorite restaurant would be a more appropriate gesture than sending cash.

Additionally, government employees are not allowed to receive cash tips. And you should check with each company you work with beforehand to see if they have a specific tipping policy.

How to Set a Holiday Tipping Budget

Holiday tipping is an opportunity for you to show extra appreciation for those who have helped your business throughout the year. If you have a limited amount to spend, reserve it for those who you interact with on a daily or regular basis.

If you cannot afford to give cash or gift cards to everyone, gifts of a similar cash value may also be acceptable. Just make sure not to give cheap promotional items with your company’s logo on them in lieu of cash. A nice gift basket or heartfelt note and card would be more appropriate.

If you can afford to give a little extra to those on your list, just make sure it’s going to be sustainable year after year. You don’t want to set unreasonable expectations that you won’t be able to meet going forward.


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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

3 Reactions
  1. This is great. I love how you have it all written down. It can get quite confusing if you don’t know how much to give.

  2. How about your residential garbage men? Ours are courteous, prompt, and reliable and go above the call of duty.