How to tip a contractor

Published On: Nov 02 2012 11:21:31 AM EDT   Updated On: Nov 05 2012 05:40:00 AM EST

Should you tip your plumber? What about your dog walker? Do you just pull out a bit of extra cash for every service company that comes to your house? What about giving a gift card or making a homemade treat instead? Do contractors expect tips? And finally, where does it all end?

Who and how much to tip is a question that many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the U.S. to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.

According to the nationwide Angie’s List poll:

  • Movers, haulers, house cleaners and pet sitters are the most-commonly tipped service professionals.
  • Contractors like plumbers, roofers and electricians, say they rarely receive gratuities.
  • When tradespeople do get a tip, cash is the most-common gratuity offered followed by food or beverages on the job, and personalized gifts or gift cards. Most cash tips were less than 20 percent of the total cost of the job.
  • Most contractors in the survey say they charge their clients what they feel is fair price for the work being done and don’t expect a tip. Some even forbid their employees from accepting tips.

 Angie’s List Tips for Tipping Contractors:

  • Ask the company: If you are considering giving a tip to the crew, talk first to the owner of the company to determine if tips are allowed. Some companies forbid their employees from accepting tips and you don’t want to put the workers in a difficult situation.
  • How much to tip? Gratuity should depend on a number of factors such as quality of service, how long you’ve used the service and your budget. If money is tight, bake a sweet treat in lieu of cash.
  • Praise their work: No consumer should ever feel obligated to tip, but if you feel strongly about the work, you could reward that service by spreading the word. Writing a letter or posting a positive online review can have a bigger impact for that person and could even help encourage a raise or a promotion.


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