6 Times You Should Tip More Than 20 Percent, Etiquette Experts Say

This is when you should consider going a little bigger on gratuity than usual.

Our society's tipping rules are in place to ensure those in the service industry can make a living. That's why servers and other employees count on an extra 20 percent in appreciation of friendly, prompt service. But occasionally, it might make sense to go above and beyond with the gratuity while you're settling up. Read on to discover when you should tip more than 20 percent, according to experts.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Signs You're Not Tipping Enough, Experts Say.

When employees deliver large items

Furniture delivery workers or movers taking a couch out of the back of a truck
iStock / AndreyPopov

E-commerce has made it more common for us to receive all kinds of purchases at our front door, from food to furniture. But if you've bought something oversized, you might want to make sure to have some cash on hand when it arrives.

"If a delivery driver offers to help you bring your heavy items into your house or even brings them up a flight of stairs, then you should tip them generously," says Jules Hirst, etiquette expert and founder at Etiquette Consulting. "Rewarding this extra effort that has saved you time and energy is appropriate."

It's the holidays or a special occasion

Close up of someone handing a person dollar bills
iStock / LightFieldStudios

Tipping 20 percent is the year-round norm in many places, but that doesn't mean you can't find an excuse to give a little extra when the circumstances warrant it.

"You may want to be more generous with your tipping as a way to celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions," Kristi Spencer, etiquette expert and founder at The Polite Company, tells Best Life.

Whether it's leaving your hairdresser double what you usually would near the holidays or brightening your server's day for working a difficult shift during the busy season, leaving a little extra can go a long way. She also points out that this can also mean tipping where you may not otherwise leave gratuity, such as your apartment building's superintendent or door staff.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Places You Should Never Tip, According to Etiquette Experts.

Whenever someone's service really shines

server picking up tip
Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock

Most diners understand that 20 percent is actually the baseline for gratuity after a meal. However, Hirst says that whenever the service is "above and beyond," you should tip generously.

"This could be at a restaurant where the server gave excellent recommendations, anticipated your needs, and made the overall experience a memorable one," she explains.

But it's not just at dining establishments: She says this could also extend to anywhere else you receive a service, such as a spa, a salon, or a nail parlor.

"Service that is personalized, comfortable, and goes beyond your expectations should be rewarded with a larger gratuity," Hirst says.

During special dining circumstances

Group of female and male friends, having the dinner at the restaurant balcony

It's one thing to be doted on by an attentive server during a memorably good meal. But if staff has worked extra hard to accommodate your situation, it might also be time to tack some more percentage points onto the gratuity.

"Any time you are dining with a large group, you should tip generously as tending to the needs of so many requires a great deal of expertise and coordination," says Hirst.

These special considerations also include accommodating your leisurely pace. "If you loiter at the table for a long time, you are keeping your server from earning more money from another group, so you should compensate your server accordingly," she adds.

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When a repair person comes through

Man Repairing a Pipe

Anyone who has ever dealt with a sudden issue at home knows that plumbers, electricians, and all-around repair people can come through as serious saviors. In some cases, it might be worth showing your appreciation by leaving them a little extra cash for their troubles.

"If you received service above and beyond preventive maintenance suggestions and were impressed by their overall knowledge and efficiency, then you should tip accordingly," says Hirst. "Establishing a relationship with a professional repair person will help you the next time you are in need of their service, and by tipping generously, they will remember you and continue to help when needed."

When a driver has done well

A passenger tipping or paying a taxi driver from the back seat

Technology has made it easier than ever to call for a ride with minimal effort—including simplifying the tipping process. Still, experts say you might want to consider leaving a little more than usual if they've put in some extra effort or gone out of their way to help you out.

"Whether you are using a taxi or a ride share service, you should tip generously if your ride avoided traffic and dropped you off on time, the ride was comfortable, or the driver provided pleasant conversation or tips on the area if you are from out of town," Hirst says.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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