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Tips when it comes to holiday tipping

Guzov's Good Advice, NYC, Other

It’s that time of year again.  As we enter the final stretch of the year, in addition to holiday gifts for loved ones and friends, apartment dwellers also have to consider holiday tips for their building staff.  Are you required to tip?  Usually not, but it’s an overwhelmingly observed custom and if you do not, in most buildings you will be in the minority. As the New York Times notes, one ought to “think of holiday tipping as a bonus, not a gift”. [1]

How much do you tip?  As the idea is to reward service, holiday tipping does not correspond with the size of your apartment or the amount of your rent.  Quite a few buildings will let you know suggested tip amounts and some buildings pool tips together.   If you do not live in one of those buildings, there’s a fairly wide range of “common” tips depending on the type of building that you live in and the number of staff.  Tips for building superintendents typically are around $75 and up and can go as high as $500.  The range for a doorman/concierge is from $25-150 and can go as high as $1000.  For building porters and handymen, the range is from $20-$30 but can go as high as $75.  Finally, garage attendants range from $25-$75 but can go as high as $100. In most instances, the more staff your building has, the lower the average tip per staff member. Real estate site TripleMint also has an easy-to-use online Tip-o-Meter where one can input different variables and receive an estimate.

When do you tip?  The best time is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but building staff receive tips from December through January.  When in doubt, ask your neighbors or the members of the building’s board.

[1] Kaysen, R. (Novermber 2019) How Much Should We Tip the Doorman at Year’s End? from NY Times Accessed December 2 2019

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