Is it common or expected to give a bonus to Contractor or Crew?

DoggieMomMay 6, 2011

I have no idea what the protocol is on this. Of course I realize that I can do whatever I want and give a little extra if I feel that it is warranted. But is this an expectation among contractors? I am very happy with the work, timeliness, attitude and everything so far. At this point I have not received the final bill which may be jacked up way higher than I expect due to little details that took longer than expected or whatever, so this may be moot! :-D

What do you think?

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It is not expected nor is very common but when the "Tip" comes in it is always appreciated. Many times your crew will go above and beyond for you because they are a solid team with good work ethic.

If your crew went above and beyond you would be surprised what a cold 12 Pack or bottle of wine can do at the end of a job. It will be well received....

We leave with wine or dinner certificates about once a year it seams and usually it's from families who are around durning the day to see the care we take to protect the families lungs from dust and floors from harm.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:05AM
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John - Thanks so much for your post, it is most informative and helpful. I was just thinking about giving some cash to the 2 guys that work for my contractor and are here most of the time.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:19AM
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We haven't done monetary tips, but we have bought lunch etc for workers that have been doing great jobs for us.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Timing is everything; a tip at midpoint with a ambiguous hint at more $ upon completion is a sly way of insuring a prompt finish and instill some loyalty. Whether you follow through on the _more_ part is on your conscience...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 5:53PM
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What I appreciate more than anything at the end of a job is to hear the client say they are going to tell all their friends and neighbors about me. Also a well written review on my website. Thats the gift that keeps on giving.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 8:59PM
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I have tipped a crew after a nice job - not subcontractors that my GC hired, but for example we hired a painting contractor recently to repaint after a flood/repair inside. They were great and much faster than I had expected and left things so clean. They worked late to clean up and get everything perfect so they were done that day, so we gave them each more than enough to buy the diner that they had missed at home.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 9:51PM
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Maybe not expected but sure appreciated says the wife of a flooring contractor :) Other "thank yous" come in the form of lunch, drinks, a bear skin rug (including the head)...that one is probably not too common(g) My husband finds that it's generally the older people that show their appreciation for a crew that's on time, respectful and makes sure they're happy. But, he also has a soft spot in his heart for the elderly and will take the time to talk (mostly listen) to them and go that extra mile. The salespeople often tell him they received calls letting the store know how much they appreciated him and his crew. That's a nice bonus :)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:10AM
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Gratuities are always appreciated, in what ever form they are offered. The working hands will appreciate cash, lunch, certificates, etc. The contractor might like the same but a positive review or a heartfelt letter of appreciation will most likely prove to be the best gift you can offer. I've received a bedroom set, cash, wine, certificates, letters and reviews, and even jewelry for my wife and daughter. Large or small, it's always nice to know that your efforts are appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:35AM
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Another side of the tipping story:

I worked with a design and build firm and was told explicitly at the start of the job to absolutely not tip the crew or offer them anything more than water.

I had envisioned baking cookies, buying pizza, etc. but I didn't want to rock the boat, so ultimately I deferred to the supervisor's directive.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:03AM
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It's neither common, nor should it be expected. In fact, expectation would disqualify ANY possibility in my book. I will say this though-- if they went above and beyond, a "thank you" of some kind is always appreciated. I've said it in here more times than I can count-- when I was on payroll for my last employer, it meant more to me to get a 20.00 tip from a homeowner than it did 100.00 on the paycheck because it was recognition for a job well done and showed me that the customer appreciated the extra effort. Didn't matter, though, whether I thought I was going to see any kind of tip or not-- the effort was still there. Unfortunately, there are TOO many who feel that they're entitled to a tip, just for doing their job, minimally at best.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:26PM
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Avanti Tile & Stone (Stonetech)

I can only echo the above sentiments. I've been in the tile trade for over 35 years and, when a tip or gratuity if proferred, it's always appreciated. I try to do a bit more than expected and leave the place cleaner than when I entered...but not in expectation of a tip.

Recently, things were a bit tight. I was doing a custom backsplash. The labor was about $800. When I finished, I was handed a cheque and did a was for $1100! I handed it back, saying it was in error. "No error" he said. "I know things are slow and your work was exemplary." Nicest tip I ever got....and this was a single man who worked in a refinery. Far from rich, he was and to say I was grateful would be an understatement.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 2:31PM
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Bump. I'm considering this issue now.

My GC is paid quite well. So I plan to give a thank you note, referrals, & more jobs at my home.

But I want to tip the assistant. His work has been excellent. Yet his salary is much less.

Is this fair? Should I tip in private?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Maybe I'm a tightwad, but I think our subs are paid well. BUT we live in a small town, and I'll spread word about who has done well for us. I'm also going to send pictures of the work that many of our subs and vendors have done for us - most of them maintain web sites, and need additions to their online work histories. An enthusiastic referral is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

IMHO, a word with the guy's boss or the owner of the company about how this worker or that crew did a really fine job, or not, will be more long lasting than a small gift. Also, nowadays, a Kudo on the internet has a lot more influence as does a nasty review.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 11:30PM
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I have only actually met one crew member. I have no idea who is doing what, who's doing a stellar job and who is not, so how would I tip, even if the overall job is well done?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Oh yes, it's expected to give carpet installers a bonus, I don't know about any other trade (g) Just kidding :) Expected, I don't think so but always appreciated. Common? Well that probably depends on the contractor. DH often gets tips in one form or another. Money, lunch, baked goods and even gift cards for restaurants.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I did repairs for a sold surface contractor for several years and earned tips regularly. I made sure the owner knew I got every one too.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:24PM
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I did repairs for a sold surface contractor for several years and earned tips regularly. I made sure the owner knew I got every one too.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:43PM
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At the holidays I handed out cinnamon bread and Target GCs to everyone who worked on my house. The GCs were not huge but enough so that they could buy a few gifts and stocking stuffers. I think it creates a huge amount of goodwill. I also make sure to learn everyone's names and I try to remember them, saying good morning using each person's name so that I can show my respect and appreciation for their work. Each day these people work hard for my family on our home and I truly do appreciate that they are doing their job well. I like that most don't expect any tip, but that they appreciate it.

I find it so less appealing that the delivery folks who are usually running late and mindlessly delivering appliances and such seem to think they should get a tip. I almost never give tips to these people--the rare, polite, on time, guy may get a soda and a small tip.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:12AM
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When my master bathroom total remodel was finished, I was happy to give the two people who did the work (they worked for a remodeling company who was the GC) a cash tip. They were two brothers and went way beyond the expected. The tile work is fantastic. They rerouted a major pipe that opened up the whole room. Consulted me on options whenever possible. Gave me invaluable guidance. And they were perfectionists.

I handed it directly to the brother who was overseeing the whole operation and did all the tiling.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:48AM
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We aren't monetarily tipping our contractor and crews, but my fiance is an excellent baker, so they are kept well fed with cookies, brownies, and muffins every cpl days/week. I think the other thing the contractors appreciate more than tipping is being paid on time. When my contractor hands me a draw, he has his money that day or the next. Since I have paid so quickly, he has thrown in a few "freebies" and even agreed to pay for a back door that was on the prints, but not included in the contract.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Sophie Wheeler

For the actual name holder of the business contractor, a recommendation goes the furthest. For the guys in the trenches, a bit of food every once in a while, and all of the cold water or hot coffee that they can drink is very much appreciated. If one of the guys goes out of their way to get the job done (like he shows up on a Sunday to finish a project so the next trade can for sure come in after him on schedule), a letter to their boss plus a small gift card to the employee is always a nice gesture. By no means should a tip be a required or expected part of any renovation though.

On a job about a year ago where I served as the designer, the GC's schedule got a bit behind because he was dealing with an employee injury that left him short handed. The tile guy, David, came in on Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving on his own initiative to finish up the backsplash because the homeowner really wanted to host the holiday. That was the last real job remaining. The homeowner was OK with waiting until Monday and Tuesday, so she was thrilled when he showed up Saturday. She kept him in coffee and pizza that Saturday, and when he showed up on Sunday to grout, there were 2 $100 bills for him at the end of the day. (That wasn't the only time he had gone above and beyond on the job.) She was so happy to be able to prep for the holiday in a finished kitchen that she had to call me and brag on David.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:16PM
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You've all given me "food" for thought (and by "food", I mean cash and gift cards, not actual food :-)).

Our GC has done a few things that are much appreciated, such as offering to clean the carpets before we move back in because his guys didn't cover them well enough. He's made some good suggestions, since we're somewhat working on an as-you-go basis, with homeowner plans and permits, not architect's plans. He also "discusses", never "argues" (of course, we've tried to frame what might be considered whining as questions rather than complaints). His electrical crew was there working the dark the other night. That kind of thing. Plus he's remained on budget - and what more can you ask for than that???

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 1:34PM
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This is probably a whole 'nother thread but I am so intrigued by the last few posts where workers worked on Saturday and/or Sunday. In my town, if a worker truck shows up on a street on a Saturday or Sunday, the lovely neighbors call the police and shoo them away. We have working hours that are strictly enforced and I have heard instances where even people driving by a random house will report a construction truck on the street (yes, these people obviously have nothing better to do than complain!). One town over, projects can get done a whole month or more quicker because they can work on Saturday. That adds up to 52 extra days of work in a year......

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 6:34PM
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I reduced a Corian bar to a wall cap, repurposed the drops as another countertop, and refinished the whole kitchen at a home an hour and a half away. Due to illness, I was unable to complete the job before Christmas, leaving the raw sub-top for the holiday. Despite this and my having priced the job aggressively, the customer gave me a $100.00 tip, about 5%, and promised me a 5-star internet review today.

What a way to start the new year!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 7:27PM
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The responses on this thread dismay me. We contracted with a local remodeling business to renovate our master bath. The remodel starts next month. There will be 2-3 contractors we'll see consistently and a few sub-contractors employed by the company that will come in and out sporadically when needed.

We saved for a long time to afford this remodel and now it seems that we also are expected to tip all the various service reps too?!

Our view is that they are professionals who had the chance to estimate their cost and profit margin when providing their bid and, as such, shouldn't also get tipped. If any unexpected glitches in the construction come up, the contracting company won't take responsibility for failing to anticipate it. Instead, they'll give us a change order to cover their costs (more $$$ out of our pocket).

I was already planning to set up a table with coffee in the mornings and a cooler of soda/water in the afternoons and maybe a sweet treat every Friday (like cookies). I'm also not planning to stand over their shoulder constantly and/or make frequent chances to the agreed upon scope of the project. This project should be a very pleasant experience for them.

I'm really hoping that those things will suffice as I just don't think we can or want to swing another $1,000-$2,000 total in tips on top of what we're already paying!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Jewel, I agree with you about the tips - nobody tips me for doing my [professional] job. Maybe, just maybe, the hourly workers deserve a tip, but not the contractors and companies that are profiting from the job.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:27PM
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