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How much should you tip?

picture of a doorman


Confession: I don’t tip doormen.

True, I don’t often stay in places that have doormen, but when I do, I bristle at the fact that people give them neatly folded bills just for opening the door.  And yet I enjoy overtipping when the service dictates it, such as my hairdresser coming in on her day off to hide my grossly grey roots before I head off to an important conference.

One essential service that I feel is drastically under tipped is the housekeeping department in hotels.  We’ll tip the waiter who plunks a coke and cheeseburger in front of us, the cabbie who took us 4 blocks without uttering a word, the concierge for picking up the phone and making us a dinner reservation… but the housekeeper who busts her butt meticulously cleaning our room most often gets only her wages.

And yet we are entrusting all of our belongings to them, including important papers and documents like passports and visas, as well as expensive gadgetry.  Housekeepers adeptly clean around these items and would never dream of touching them.

But think of what they do indeed touch!  These troopers clean our toilets after we have used them!  They pick up our mis-shot dental floss from beside the garbage can, that stray pair of panties hidden under the bed, our hairs out of the tub, and will clean our children’s cheerio crumbs scattered around the room.  They’ll even carefully weed out a recyclable from the garbage bin.

Mandy Farmer & Joan making a bed at the Accent Inn Victoria Hotel

Mandy Farmer making a bed under the watchful eye of supervisor Joan.

And they’ll do this with such efficiency, pride, and a smile. They will fetch you things you didn’t even know you needed like extra towels, glasses, more coffee.  They will be the first person to greet your groggy mug with a Good Morning.

Housekeepers are the hardest workers in the hotel and arguably the most important part of a good hotel experience.  And yet most of us will tip the valet for fetching our car, but we won’t leave a cent in the room.  I think the reason for this is that housekeepers often perform their service invisibly while we are out and about enjoying ourselves.

I recently stayed in a room with an envelope marked “Maid’s Tip” on it.  I thought it was brilliant but could see how some people might find it too forward.  What do you think?

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10 Responses to “How much should you tip?”

  1. jespley

    I agree with Mandy. Housekeepers just don’t get enough credit from the public.
    I would tip my hairdresser but since I’m married to her it gets complicated….

  2. Shawn

    When I travel, I leave a tip in the room each day, usually with a note. If I have been impressed with the service I will leave a larger amount in the room when I check out.

  3. Scott

    I always tip Housekeepers. Not a lot, usually $2 – more if we have left the place a complete disaster. My wife used to work as a housekeeper at one of your competing hotels, so we know first hand what that job is like, and how deserving of a tip it really is. I have never tipped a doorman, but have tipped the bellboy a couple bucks at a few places in Mexico.

    For me, I have worked a lot of pizza delivery jobs before and during college, so I know how important tips were to me, and as a result I tend to tip delivery drivers fairly well.

    The other day we were eating at a restaurant in Nanaimo. The waitress was very friendly, but VERY slow. We waited more than 10 min to place our drink order, then another 10 min for our bill after we asked. My wife went to load our daughter into our car while I stood at the table looking for ANY waitress. Eventually our bill came and I paid it. Those two 10 min waits cost the waitress, what would have otherwise been about a $8 tip. (based on 15%)

    Good services deserves a good tip – but bad service deserves no tip.

  4. Eileen

    I agree 100%. We often don’t think of those “behind the scenes”. People “tip” on good, friendly, efficient service and the housekeeping department is usually left out of that loop.

  5. jespley

    Great comments Scott. Luv the insight!

  6. Alan Rycroft

    You’re absolutely right! I’m tipping the maid next time I stay at a hotel. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. jespley

    Your a good man Alan!

  8. Valeting Products

    I bought an fantastic cleaning tool for cars the other day at the mall. I’m certain you might have seen the buckets you put on your car and it has a check valve with a brush on the end. Works like a treat.

  9. Conferences meeting

    Hi sorry to come off subject but i have noticed some odd lines across your page, i have exited page and returned and still the lines, you may want to check it out…anyone else seeing them?

  10. International Meeting Planner

    Hey thanks for the read do you have more on the subject?

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