According to a Consumer Reports survey of more than 1000 adults, more than 27% of respondents said there are more instances where tipping is or could be expected than two years ago.  However, the etiquette guidelines have not kept up with the new services that may require or should receive tips.  

We all know that at a restaurant, a tip is considered the norm and the generally accepted tip amount is between 15-20% of the total bill, including tax. What about say ridesharing services, meal delivery services or hotels?  The following are some emerging guidelines.

Rideshare services:  15-20% of the cost of the service.  Remember in an Uber or Lyft, these people are driving their own cars and are independent contractors with no traditional benefits. 

Hotels vs. Homeshare:   At a traditional hotel, a cash tip per day is the polite thing to do. It is suggested that the tip be between $5-10 per day.  Do not hold your tip until the end of your stay, since the same person may not be servicing your room for your whole stay. An exception would be a cruise ship, where generally you have the same staff for the whole trip.  

If you are staying at an Airbnb or other private home rental, it is generally safe to skip the tip.  The costs for incidentals are generally built into the price you pay for the rental. You are usually servicing your own needs, while you are renting the private home.  However, a nice thank you note is always appreciated.  

Eateries: The advent of food trucks and using an iPad point of sale service, makes tipping tricky.  Many of these services now have selections for a percentage of tip. You can choose one of them or elect to leave your own amount.  You should follow the general guidelines for tipping in a traditional restaurant.  

Other tipping tips:

  • If at a diner and the meal is cheap but the staff is working hard, leave at least $5.00
  • Never leave no tip in a restaurant.  The problem may not be your server. Request to speak to the manager and address the problem.  
  • Expensive restaurants do not require additional tipping.  Use the percentage guidelines for a fair tip, no matter how expensive the restaurant is.  
  • If you don’t know if someone can accept a tip and you want to leave one, ask if they can accept your generosity.  
  • When valet parking your car, tip the person who takes it from you and the person who returns it to you.  They may not be the same person and there may not be a tip sharing system.
  • Remember to tip your tour guides.  These people work hard to make your experience a good one.  

Excerpted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer Business Section November 3, 2019.