Every year, New Yorkers fret about what to tip building staff, and others that tirelessly provide services year-round. You’ll notice the numbers are pretty broad, so here are some guidelines to help you hone in on what you should be tipping: the larger the staff, the smaller the individual tips; quality of service matters; senior staff pulls rank; renters typically tip a bit less than owners; and you should increase your tips by small increments each year if you have lived in the building longer, because in most cases that means you have called on the staff for help more often.
Super, resident manager: $75 to $175 on average (broad range: $50 to $500)
Doorman and/or concierge (the latter of which handles more personal requests, like reservations and wake-up calls): $25 to $150 on average (broad range: $10 to $1,000)
Porters, handyman, and maintenance staff: $20 to $30 on average (broad range: $10 to $75)
Garage attendant: $25 to $75 on average (broad range $15 to $100)
Cleaning person/housekeeper: One to two weeks of pay.
Cleaning service: Tip 15 to 20 percent throughout the year, as a portion of their earnings goes to the cleaning service. If the same crew cleans your apartment each time, a holiday tip (one week) is appreciated.
Full-time nanny: One week’s pay minimum, or two if you can afford it. Or, one week’s pay and one week’s vacation.
Regular babysitter hired occasionally: Consider $25 to $50 in cash or a gift card
Regular dog walker: One week’s pay
UPS delivery: Since UPS assigns drivers to specific addresses, $25 to $50 if you have a lot of packages delivered. More if you have a lot of business-related deliveries.
Mail carrier: By law, mail carriers can’t accept cash or anything worth more than $20.
You do not need to tip your property manager, contractor (plumber, electrician, etc.), or real estate broker.
Some more tips on tipping:
Disgruntled? Tip on the low side instead of making an enemy by proving a point. You never know when you may need a little help.
Have a favorite? It’s okay to tip them more.
Are you high maintenance? If you get a lot of packages, solicit help with dogs or kids/strollers, or have a lot of visitors (in a doorman building), then tipping a bit more would be appropriate. The staff is clearly doing more for you than the guy down the hall who travels 22 days a month.
Did Christmas shopping set you back? Don’t bake cookies. Take January to financially recover. You can tip your building staff into February, but don’t skip it altogether.