You know you order more online than ever before, so spare a thought for the staff in your New York City apartment building who serve as a de facto receiving department, handling exponentially more deliveries of packages and food in this new work-from-home era. That’s on top of their regular duties, of course.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to be generous with your holiday tips this year.
Do I have to tip?
No. Tipping the staff during the holidays is a custom, not a requirement, but you’ll be in the minority if you don't.
How much should I tip building staff?
The precise amount depends on the size of your building (the larger the staff, the smaller the individual tips), quality of service, staff seniority, length of time you’ve lived there, whether you own or rent, personal chemistry, your financial circumstances, and whether you're frugal, generous, or somewhere in between.
Here's a general framework, for you to use as you see fit:
Super, resident manager: $150-$300 on average; $100-$500 broad range
Doorman and/or concierge (the latter handles more personal requests, like lining up an emergency dog-walker): $75-$200 on average; $50-$1,000 broad range
Porter, handyman, and maintenance staff: $25-$50 on average; $20-$100 broad range
Garage attendant: $25-$75 on average; $20-$100 broad range
2023 was a tough year because of inflation. Should I give a little extra?
There’s no question that it will be appreciated, especially considering increased prices for groceries, gas and rent.
If you required more services this year, you really should bump up your tip. Concerned that you'll lock yourself into a higher amount for the future? Include a note that references your appreciation for something specific that the staff helped you with—and say you wanted to recognize how they went above and beyond their usual duties. That should make it clear that your intention is to offer a bonus and not a raise.
Should I tip the new doorman the same as the one who’s been here 20 years?
Newer doormen in their first few years of service often receive smaller tips. For instance, a first-year doorman may collect half of what a senior doorman does.
Should the amount I tip correspond to the rent I pay, or to how many people live in my apartment?
Tipping is (theoretically) about rewarding service, not about how big your apartment is or how much you pay for it.
My building has a tipping pool. Do I need to give individual tips on top of that?
With a tipping pool, residents contribute what they wish into the pool, which is then divided according to seniority and full-time or part-time status. The anonymity of the process means that tenants feel they will get equal treatment by the staff—no special favors for the big tippers. But in practice, in many buildings with tipping pools, owners continue to tip individually; at least for the staff members they see the most.
Are renters expected to tip as much as owners?
Renters, as a group, tend to tip less than condo and co-op owners.
How much should I tip non-building workers?
Cleaning person/housekeeper: One to two weeks of pay.
Cleaning service: Tip 15-20 percent throughout the year, as a portion of their earnings goes to the company. If the same crew cleans your apartment each time, a holiday tip (one week's pay) 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 of vacation.
Regular babysitter hired occasionally: $25-$50 in cash or a gift card
Teacher: $25 gift card and/or small gift from your kids
Kids Activities Instructor: Small gift from your kids or gift card
Regular dog walker: One week's pay
UPS delivery: Since UPS assigns drivers to specific addresses, $25-$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. In reality, some residents tip in the $25-$50 range, especially if they receive a lot of deliveries or have a lot of mail that requires signatures.
Dry Cleaner: $10-$20 gift card or homemade goods
Barber or hairdresser : The cost of one service—maybe more if you see them often or a small gift
Nail or waxing salon: The cost of one service
Personal trainer/Yoga instructor: The cost of one service
Personal chef: 1-2 week’s pay or cost of one session, depending on frequency
Massage therapist: The cost of one service
When is the best time to give a holiday tip?
Many doormen tell us that the beginning of December would be better because it helps with their own holiday shopping.
The excitement of the holiday season is upon us. This is the time to show our gratitude for all the people who help us throughout the year. Our team is here to help if you have any questions. Happy Holidays!!!