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How to Tip Your Home Service Providers

Should you give a gift or holiday tip to your house cleaner? What about your landscaper? Or your mailman? Domestic CEO gives tips for tipping home service providers. 

By
Amanda Thomas,
December 19, 2012
Episode #042

How to Tip Your Home Service Providers

As the owner of a cleaning and organization service company, I often get asked about holiday tipping and gift etiquette. Most people know to leave a 15-20% tip for their server at a restaurant, but what about the person who cleans their house each week? Or the carpet company they hire to de-grime the floors right before Christmas? Or their garbage man? And, if you should give them a gift or a tip, does it have to be cash? What other things can you give instead?

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Today I’m going to give you tips on tipping and gifting the people who help keep your home in tip-top condition.

Before I start, I want to be perfectly clear that most people in the home service industry are not expecting tips or gifts. As the owner of a Phoenix maid service business, I’m connected with a number of other home service providers, and when I asked them about this topic, every single one said that they appreciate and enjoy getting tips and holiday gifts, but they are never expecting them.

That being said, even though they aren’t expecting a holiday gift or tip, I would recommend giving them something to let them know that you appreciate all the hard work they do.

Here are a few ideas for holiday gifts to home service providers:

Cash

According to the home service providers I know, cash is the most popular gift they receive during the holiday season. Whether it’s a $100 bonus to the woman who has cleaned their home for 6 years, or $20 for the guys who just cleaned their windows, cash tips are common and appreciated during the holidays.

Keep in mind that if you are giving cash to multiple people, like a team of landscapers, you will want to hand a bill to each one directly. Don’t assume that if you hand five $10 bills to one guy that he will share with the others. Give each of the guys his own tip to be certain it gets distributed the way you want.

The rule of thumb is to tip an ongoing service provider the fee of one service. So, if you are paying $150 per house cleaning visit, you can plan to tip the cleaner $150 as a holiday bonus. If there are three team members who come to each visit, you can split that tip between them and give each team member $50. The same would apply to your landscapers and any other service you receive on a regular basis year round. If you receive a one-time service, like having your carpets cleaned before company arrives, tipping 15-20% of the bill is standard, just like at a restaurant or salon.

For postal delivery people, trash collectors, and others who service your entire neighborhood, I would recommend going together with some of your neighbors to give a larger group cash gift. Receiving $50 from the homes on Cherry Lane will leave a better impression than a bunch of $5 bills. One says, “thoughtful.” The other screams, “cheap!”

Food

Some of the most memorable holiday gifts that service providers get from their clients are food items. Moxie Girl team members have been given jars of homemade jam, pies, and even a dozen fresh chicken eggs as a holiday gift. And we have LOVED them! One of my friends who has a window cleaning company told me that his guys look forward to a certain client’s gift every December because she thanks them with a basket of homemade cookies each year. And a handyman friend loves it when his clients give him a bottle of wine. Even giving them a to-go cup full of hot cocoa on a chilly day can go a long way to sowing good will.

Gas Cards

In a sprawling city like Phoenix, it’s not uncommon for home service providers to drive 100 miles or more per day to reach their clients. So gas cards are a great gift for anyone working in your home, especially if the person is a small business owner or an employee who drives their own car to the job. A $20-$30 gas card to a common gas station is a great way to thank them for “going the extra mile.” If you live in a super urban area like New York or London, where the majority of people take public transportation, a gas card may not be the best holiday gift.

Pampering

Being a home service provider can be tough on the body. The work is physical and aches and pains are a normal part of the job. So why not pamper your provider with a thoughtful holiday gift? Giving your house cleaner a basket of high quality hand lotions shows her that you realize and appreciate that she has to wash her hands 20 times a day. Or, if you really want to pamper your house cleaner, give her the gift of a massage. Anyone who is doing physical work in your home will appreciate even 30 minutes of relaxation and healing.

Eye Contact and a Heartfelt “Thank You”

It may sound cheesy, but even the most burly guys I talked with said that, above all else, they just want to know you appreciate them. Sure, any home service provider will take the money you give them as a gift, but that’s not what leaves them wanting to come back. A heartfelt, “Thank you,” will let your house cleaner, window cleaner, handyman, or anyone else you hire to help you around the house, know that you recognize and are thankful for what they do for you.

What’s the best holiday gift you’ve given to your home service providers? Share your ideas in the Comments section, or on my Facebook wall or Twitter feed where I’m @TheDomesticCEO.

 

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Cash Gift, Gift of Jam and Lotion images from Shutterstock

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