Verifying Waitress/Server Income

4 Replies

Do any of you ever require any supplemental information from servers or waitresses to corroborate their income? If so, what else do you ask for? Tax statements? 

I know servers can do pretty well making tips however I also know the pay (tips) is inconsistent so I don't want to overlook someone due to the financial situation but I also want to be sure that I'm looking in the right places to verify that the income is what they say it is.

Hi @Quandra Adams ,

Tax returns would be best, although if you end up with the same kinds of applicants I do there are two problems with that:

1) Many tipped employees do not claim all of their tips (i.e. tax fraud)

2) Many servers do not stay at their job for very long.  Due to high turn over in service industry, I rarely find someone who has worked at a place more than a year at most.

Generally, you can figure on an "Applebee's server" (nationwide sit down chain restaurant) making between $60-$120 in tips per 8 hour shift.  A nicer restaurant/bar would be double that.  I wouldn't count tips from places like Starbucks that just put out a tip jar on the counter.

The other problem with tipped employees is if you ever evict and get a judgment, you can't garnishee tips.

I recommend looking at their past and current land lord references and credit report.  It will indicate what kind of rent they are used to paying and whether or not they can handle life expenses.  Also consider charging an extra security deposit if that's allowed in your area unless their record is near to flawless.  Don't count any references from friends or family: 3rd party land lords only.

To put it kindly, I've never had a good experience renting to servers.  Many of them are flaky, job hop, and if there's cash in hand it gets spent quickly.  I've had much better luck renting to W-2 employees who get paid on the 1st, twice a month, or every 2 weeks.  I set up their rent to be due the same day their paycheck hits or the day after.  That way there should (!) always be money in the bank.  You could possibly do the same with servers and set up a weekly payment schedule to avoid having to trust them to save up their tips all month.  That way if there's a "bad" week, the can usually float a small loan from someone else vs. having to come up with the whole month's rent.  I do this frequently even with W-2 folks.  I charge premium for my flexibility too!  A little more hassle, but it pays.

@Quandra Adams , I would be consistent and require documentable income only. So, for W-2 employees a couple pay stubs might suffice. For self employed people or tipped employees tax returns would be the first choice. Some landlords will use bank statements looking for consistent deposits of tips etc I believe.

@Erik W. , more and more tips are taxed and garnish-able because more and more people pay and tip with a card instead of cash. You do have a good point though it would be harder to collect, especially with the job hopping.

In this case I ask for the last six months of bank statements and average them over six months to determine monthly income.  The bank statements must be recent and include the applicants name.  I do not accept business bank statements.  

Also, if the applicant says they do not deposit their tips then i would respond with:  The income has to be verifiable and unfortunately cannot rely on stated income.  If this is not possible I would deny the applicant for not providing verifiable income.