How much you should tip your doorman, hairdresser, nanny, and delivery person during the holidays

Joe Raedle / Getty ImagesIt’s polite to tip during the holiday seas The question is how much?
  • If there is someone who does regular, recurring work for you, it’s polite to give them a gift or tip at the end of the year.
  • We commissioned a poll to find out if people tip for certain professions, and if so, how much they tipped.
  • About two-in-five tip nannies, a quarter tip their hair stylist or manicurist extra, and only a fifth tip their doorman.

Many people don’t know, but it’s common at the end of the year to be a little more generous when figuring out gratuity for people who provide every day or recurring services to people that work for them. Sure, you can’t tip everyone, but if there’s a newspaper deliverer, dog walker, or package deliverer in your world, it’s not uncommon to express that gratitude with a little something extra come the holiday season.

To find out how often reality meets the ideal, we ran a SurveyMonkey Audience poll from December 7 to December 8 with 1,050 respondents to find out if Americans tipped people at the end of the year and – if so – how much they gave.

In addition to what people actually tip, we’ve also checked with what etiquette experts at The Emily Post Institute suggest people should give as a thank-you at the end of the year.

Nanny or childcare professional

Prince George NannyChris Jackson / Getty ImagesPrince George held by his nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo.
  • Emily Post says:For Au pairs, live-in nannies, and regular babysitters and daycare providers, consider cash or a gift. For live-in nannies up to a week’s pay, for regular babysitters up to an evening’s pay, and for a daycare provider $US25 to $US70 per staff member who works with your child. A small gift from your child or children is also nice.
  • What people actually did: Of our 1,050 respondents, only 292 said they had young children, and only 69 of those respondents said they had a nanny babysitter or childcare professional. This lower sample size adds lots more uncertainty to our calculations, but the majority of those (61%) did not tip at year end. Of those who did tip, the median was $US100.

Doorman or building super

DoormanDan Kitwood/Getty ImagesA doorman poses outside Harrods department store in London, England.
  • Emily Post says:$US20 to $US80 for a building superintendent, $US15 to $US80 for a doorman, $US15 or more each for multiple doormen.
  • What people actually did: There were 171 people in our sample who had a doorman, concierge, or superintendent. Turns out, it’s pretty easy to get on the good side of the people who make your building hum: Only a fifth of our survey respondents tipped these people, so doing so is an easy way to stand out in your building. The median tipper gave $US20 at the end of the year, but keep in mind this really depends on the building. About a quarter of the people gave more than $US80.

Hairstylist, manicurist, barber, or other regular cosmetic help

HairstylistMonica Schipper / Getty ImagesA hairstylist prepares a model at a fashion show.
  • Emily Post says:For a barber or beauty salon staff member, up to the cost of one haircut or salon visit, divided for each staff member who works with you.
  • What people actually did: Of the 684 respondents who said they saw someone for a recurring cosmetic service like a manicure or haircut, 24% tipped extra. The median tip was an extra $US20 or an additional 20%.

USPS delivery person

USPS postal snowSpencer Platt / Getty ImagesA mail carrier walks through the snow in New York City.
  • Emily Post says:US Postal Service employees can only accept snacks and beverages, small gifts with little intrinsic value worth less than $US20, and other perishable items that can be shared with the whole branch. They can’t accept cash gifts or currency.
  • What people actually did: People apparently love bribing officers of the federal government, as 11% of respondents said they tip their mail delivery person. Of those, 11% indicated they gave them a small gift or cookies or some other similar acceptable donation. A further 60% kept it to $US20 or less.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,050 respondents, margin of error plus or minus 3.11 percentage points with 95% confidence level.

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