Do you give a "tip" to your contractors or repair people?

22 Replies

Hi all,

I've been dealing with contractors or subs so much lately and most of the time, I give a 5-15% tip if the job is done well.  

Recently, an appliance repairman was "hinting" for a tip for a small repair - which I thought was odd.  So what is the contractor/repairman etiquette for tipping?

Originally posted by @Janice R. :

Hi all,

I've been dealing with contractors or subs so much lately and most of the time, I give a 5-15% tip if the job is done well.  

Recently, an appliance repairman was "hinting" for a tip for a small repair - which I thought was odd.  So what is the contractor/repairman etiquette for tipping?

 As soon as one does a job on time and under budget (heck even at budget would be nice) I will start giving tips. 

If they already agreed on the terms and conditions of the job then I think a tip is not warranted. When the repairman accepted the job and knew what you were paying them, they shouldn't expect additional just for a job well done.

@Janice R.

The answers are re-assuring because I thought it was odd to tip contractors. You might tip a delivery guy who goes above and beyond but contractors and tradespeople bill for what they do. If they do it well I recommend them and use them again. I had not heard of tipping them before.

No, No, No and No!   Once you start tipping your contractor will start expecting a tip.  Agree with previous post that you supplying him/her with continues work is far better than tipping.  They work for far more that $20/hr and are not paid like servers who rely on tips for their services. 

I am a contractor and have never expected a tip on a project.

I have never heard that.  If a sub asked me for a tip; I would tell them, "here is your tip, don't ask me for a tip if you want repeat business weekly."  There are certain positions were tipping is necessary b/c the employee makes less them min wage; contractor is not one of them.

Originally posted by @Janice R. :

Hi all,

I've been dealing with contractors or subs so much lately and most of the time, I give a 5-15% tip if the job is done well.  

Recently, an appliance repairman was "hinting" for a tip for a small repair - which I thought was odd.  So what is the contractor/repairman etiquette for tipping?

 My employees can't accept monetary or gift card tips, but they can accept lunch or sodas.  But none of my clients do those, I just establish them as a rule. I give bonuses for under budget and before time projects to my employees. But never give nothing to subs. Giving my employees continuous work is more than enough, and I don't pay 80/day.

Wow - thank you - this has been enlightening.    It's hard to find good contractors quickly in my area.  I can't say that I will never tip again, but it won't be a regular thing anymore.  

Thanks everybody.

@Janice R. No way.  I'm happy to tip when someone goes above and beyond, but I don't simply tip someone for doing the job they are supposed to do.  This excludes servers, bartenders, etc where the majority of their money is made from tipping.  

I tip delivery guys if they do more than just simply deliver and install the appliance.  Usually, I'm paying a delivery/installation fee.  Now, if they take my old washer and dryer down the road and put it into another house instead of just hauling away, then they definitely deserve extra pay!

I do send a little bonus around Christmas time for my regular contractors who have proven to be reliable over the years.  Those are the guys I work hard to keep happy as they do for me.

I paid an HVAC/Plumbing company 30k to install all new duct work, new mechanicals, and all plumbing in a flip. He did it on budget, and 1 week shorter than promised. Did I tip him? No. I gave him 2 concurrent projects of the same scope (which he is currently completing) and I have 3 more ready for him when he finishes. I'll be giving him over 150k by the end of the year. I think that's a lot better than a tip.

Good work gets much more work. And one f*ck up gives you a 1 month cool down followed by 1 small project, and you can start again! How's that for a tip?

If they have bid it at what I consider to be a low price and they do a good job I will give a reasonable tip. However, a gardener who has done multiple jobs for me recently bid one at a reasonable rate. I had always given him a modest tip in the past as he's a very conscientious worker and never needed to be told what to do in detail. But this time, he went ahead and did a repair I had only asked him to dig up to examine and then he added $100 onto a job that was originally only $150; he also hedged around about the receipt for the part he had purchased (about $15), saying it was somewhere in his truck. I had only taken out $200 in cash, planning to pay him $170, so gave him the $200 and asked him to send me the receipt and an invoice for the remaining $50. Still have not received anything from him and I doubt I ever will. Foolish move on his part, as he already knew I have a big job coming up. I don't know if my regular tips made him greedy but I will never hire him again, not just for his assumption about the repair but even more due to the fact that he lied about the receipt. PS: If I had dug it up myself I could have repaired it for nothing with pvc I always have in my stock.

Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen :

@Janice R.  

...

I do send a little bonus around Christmas time for my regular contractors who have proven to be reliable over the years.  Those are the guys I work hard to keep happy as they do for me.

This is how you do the "reward" for the trades people who give you good service.  It can even help them to remember to keep up the good work. 

I would put in a 5% or so bonus for work down early or under budget.  Or say I will pay X, if your expenses are less than X the rest is yours.  

@Maggie Tasseron   I think that's my fear - it doesn't always result in a better job next time.  And maybe the opposite.  But if someone goes out of their way to help me out, I'll still tip.  Thanks.

Originally posted by @Janice R. :

@Maggie Tasseron   I think that's my fear - it doesn't always result in a better job next time.  And maybe the opposite.  But if someone goes out of their way to help me out, I'll still tip.  Thanks.

 Hi Janice: I forgot to mention that this gardener didn't even do his usual meticulous work on the original $150 job he was hired for. It was pretty dark by the time they finished so I didn't see it until the next day. I think people just get lazy as well as greedy, but there are many more where they came from... I agree with you that a tip is still warranted, at least until they let me down.

@Janice R.   I don't tip in the traditional sense but I will add $20 sometimes to what I'm being charged and say something like, " I really appreciate you working me into your busy schedule... I rounded up the bill so lunch is on me."  

In my 20 years working for and being a contractor, I have received a tip 2 times. I get gifts now and then (home made cookies, a bottle of bourbon and one lady made us muffins every morning for showing up and we went above and beyond for her because of it) and they are appreciated much more than a tip and then they're not expected. If you do tip regularly, that will be expected and when you don't do it, there will be animosity.

Often do it for jobs that I feel are well done, on time & probably under-quoted given the work required. But I often use the same guys & they're always available if its a rush job.