NYC Holiday Tipping Guide
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me in the last few weeks what they should tip their building staff, etc. Nobody wants to be the worst tipper, but people also don’t want to over tip. It goes without saying that tipping is not required, but it is a nice way to say thank you for the work your staff does throughout the year, in particular for those you don’t tip on a regular basis. At the end of the day, you should only give what you are comfortable giving. Please use the below simply as a guideline.
How much should you tip your building staff?
Before deciding how much to tip, you need to consider a few factors. How big is your building? How many people do you need to tip? What is each staff member doing for you? How often do they help you? Do you tip them throughout the year when they help you? How friendly are they? Do you get along well? Do they go out of their way for you? How long you’ve lived in the building (full year/part year)? How long have they worked in the building? Do you own or rent? What are your financial circumstances?
Based on personal polling and a lifetime of living in NYC doorman buildings, if you’re in the below AVERAGE ranges, you will likely be right along with the rest of the pack:
- Super: $100-$250
- Doorman: $50-175
- Concierge: $25-$100 (depending how much they do for you; I have a friend who gave his concierge his Vespa as a holiday gift since he moved his car for him twice a week to avoid tickets on street cleaning days)
- Porter: $25-$75 (personally, I give my porter more than my doormen because I think he works harder, the job is less desirable, he’s nicer, and he’s an all around great guy)
- Handyman: $20-$50
Typically, owners tip on the higher end of these ranges, while renters tip on the lower end of the ranges.
Many people also like to give something personal in addition to money. I often bake something with my kids and give that in addition to cash. Cash is obviously king (just like with our cash back rebates!), so if you’re going to do something extra, you shouldn’t do it at the expense of the cash amount you’re giving.
Is it ok to give different doormen/porters different tips?
I’ve heard that staff with more seniority typically get more than newer staff. Personally, I’m not sure why if the newer staff are doing just as good a job. My staff tips are not standardized and are based on the quality of service each is providing. Yes, it is ok to give different amounts to different people because you like them better or worse or because they are more helpful to you and your family. After all, it is a tip, so it should be based on the level of service you receive.
What if the staff member just started or is part-time?
It is fair to adjust your tip according to the amount of time the staff member is in your building assisting you and other residents.
I have a big family – should I tip more?
People who live alone are likely using the staff’s services less than a family of five. You may want to adjust your tips to the extent you are utilizing their services more than the average resident.
What if I don’t live in the building yet, but I’m renovating?
It depends what type of renovation you’re doing. Is it a gut-job that requires lots of involvement by your super? If so, you should probably give your super a holiday tip (and, for the best service, you should give your super a tip before the work begins). Did the porter clean hallways and take out garbage as a result of your renovation? If so, you should probably give your porter a holiday tip. Did the doormen accept numerous packages throughout the renovation? If so, a holiday tip would be a nice gesture. Remember, these are the people who will be taking care of you and your family going forward, and they will appreciate you appreciating them before you move in.
How do I tip when there’s a building pool?
I see tipping pools more often in very large buildings and in rental buildings than in smaller co-ops and condos. With a pool, you can give what you are comfortable with and not worry that a staff member is going to treat you badly because you didn’t give them as large of a tip as your next door neighbor (since they won’t know). However, even with pools, there is no anonymity if/when some people decide to tip outside the pool (either in addition to, or in lieu of, the tipping pool).
If you’re curious about other tipping guidelines, including your nanny, kids’ tutor, dog walker, garage attendants, teachers, UPS/mail carrier, etc., please feel free to reach out. We are your resource for all things NYC!
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