Yet another tipping question

neetsiepieAugust 3, 2014

I think I'm a pretty good tipper-usually 20% is my usual for sit down foot servers. Depending on how much time is spent and the service, my nail tech gets between 15-20% and I generally tip my hairdresser 20% for normal service.

This is about my hairdresser. I've finally found the dream gal-I love her and what she does for my hair. She works 3 days a week at a salon in my town. It's one of the more expensive places, but they only hire the best staff. For a full head highlights, one color and a cut it's about $135-which about 40% more than my old stylist, but I am happy here, so I will pay it.

Now, my gal also has a salon at her home, which is in a small town about a 40 minute drive from this salon. She's often told me she feels really bad charging the salon prices for services, because in her home she charges nearly half the salon price. She's told me I can come to her home salon if I want, but she knows the in-town salon is a lot more convenient for me. She works into the evening in town, and only day hours at her home.

So when it comes to tipping-what would be more appropriate? Tip her 20% of the salon price? Or of the usual going price in town, or at what she'd charge at her home salon?

The last time I saw her, I needed a full head service, and I just added the tip to my card charge-it worked out to less than 15%. I realized after I'd left that I pretty much under tipped her-that was what I'd have tipped my old stylist. So next time I see her for a touch up should I tip extra to make up for the last time? Should i just tip 20% on the bill and forget the previous tip? Or start basing my tips on the typical salon rate?

I also am not sure on what to do for the massage therapists...some are far better than others. And the place has a suggested tip amount-that to me seems SUPER high. It's also based on a walk in rate, not a membership rate, there's a big difference in rates there.

And finally, should I tip in cash or just add it to my card? My nail techs prefer cash, hair stylist and massage therapists don't seem to have a preference.

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I always try to tip in cash; I'm not crazy about the gov't taking $ from peoples' tips for taxes (although I am not an anti tax person) so I try to give cash when I have it. They can claim if they want or not. Because most of the people I tip are not high wage earners, I think tips give them the ability to survive and don't think they need to pay taxes on all their tips.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:49AM
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Can you all clarify something for me? Maybe this is old school, but I always thought you did not tip the business owner for each service, but once a year gave them a gratuity. Is this no longer the way things are done? This is a one person salon where the owner is the only practitioner. What do you advise? TY

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 1:44AM
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I also tip in cash, I think it's appreciated.

Pesky, I don't think you have to backtrack and correct your previous tip. I tip the owner of a salon I use in Florida, I figure owners have all the expenses associated with a business and I know they need their money as much as the non owners.

I sometimes overtip cab drivers, they work long hours to make not that much.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:34AM
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I once was told by a salon owner to not tip him. I guess because all of what the owner charges goes to that person (even though they have expenses), but with someone working for the owner - a portion of their income goes to the owner. I tip 20% to my hairstylist and also the massage therapist I go to. I recently went to a new massage therapist and did not have much cash with me that day and I always use my card. I should clarify that both my hairstylist and the massage therapist have card thingies set up in their name - it does not go through the shop. My hairstylist knows to let me add tip to the charge, but the therapist didn't. So on my first visit, she didn't get a tip. I didn't have the correct amount to tip her in cash, and she didn't have change (LOL!!). So, Pesky, the next time I saw her, I simply doubled the tip to make up for the previous visit. She does a fabulous job, works me in, and has done wonders for a shoulder/muscle problem I was having.

I usually use my card, unless I know they would prefer cash, but that's simply for my own convenience.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I wouldn't tip someone who cuts hair in their own home. They have essentially no rent, no taxes, no receipts ... so whatever you give them goes straight into their pocket.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:25AM
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I always cash for both services and the tip. By paying in cash, I'm saving the service provider credit card fees which effectively adds to their tip.

When I went to a hair stylist who moved her business from a salon to her home, I tipped on the amount she charged. I figured her expenses were much less which allowed her to lower her prices from when she worked in a salon. I didn't feel obligated to continue to pay the higher tip amount she would have received in the salon.

I've always heard that you shouldn't tip a salon owner, but I ignore that rule unless I am informed otherwise.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 11:44AM
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Annie, even someone working at home has overhead. Hair products, water, electricity, etc., in my mind are overhead.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Covingtoncat, I think things about "owners" has gotten muddled with the current set-up of many salons where the stylist leases a station in a salon. They are essentially the owner of their business, but are not making money off the other stylists like the old model of employer/employee salons.

I actually tip because I love what someone does for me; one of my biggest tips goes to my window washer!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 12:32PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I asked my guy when he left the salon where he worked to open his own. He said he would accept tips (what else would he say?). Since he is young and struggling, I do tip.

Also, I think you absolutely need to tip on the amount charged for the service, not what it would be elsewhere or what the average is in your area. I think one should figure the tip into decisions about where to go. If one can't afford the 20% tip on the whole amount (or if one just doesn't particularly want to pay it), then one should go elsewhere. Can't have it both ways-if the person is worth going to at an expensive salon, then that person deserves being tipped accordingly.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:55PM
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