Gratuity question(s)

What is the appropriate amount to tip for a $75 salon service which will take approx 4 hours? If it helps to know it’s a perm (yes, a perm, but just a body wave of sorts, not Chutney from Legally Blonde :stuck_out_tongue: )so the stylist will be able to work on other clients in between the different stages of my gig. I’ve been getting my hair cut by this person for about a year and a half and always , gladly tip her well, but that service is only $22. If money was no object I would probably give her $50 but that’s a bit beyond me at this point. I don’t even know if the amount is calculated the same way as usual when there is extra time and labor involved.

My second question is about what to do when using a gift card. I have a $60 one for a massage. Do I base the tip on the $60? On the amount of time it takes? Again, I don’t want to penalize the massage therapist because I got her services as a gift but I don’t really know what is expected. As an aside, I think when giving gift cards for things where a tip is part of it, the business issuing the certificate should have some plan in place where the purchaser can pay the gratuity in advance or something. But that’s a whole other topic.

I swear it’s really not in my nature to be cheap; I’m just kind of poor but also don’t want to skimp on people who are providing these nice services for me.

I’m no expert on tipping hair stylists and being a guy, I don’t generally get fancy services, just regular haircuts. But my rule of thumb is to tip about the same as I would in a restaurant - roughly 20%. I normally leave $4 on my $20 haircut. So if I were going to get a $75 service, I’d probably think in terms of a $15 tip. But if you do that and the stylist hates you afterward, don’t say you heard it from me.

Call the spa and ask if a $60 gift cert would cover a tip, they’ll be honest and say, “No it will just cover the massage”, or, “The gifter appears to have included a tip in the $60 amt.”

This totally never occurred to me. Will that make me look like a rube (or worse, like a cheap bastard)?

I wouldn’t think so at all - I’d think it would make you look like you were trying to do the right thing and make sure the masseuse received an appropriate tip. :slight_smile:

As for the perm, I personally would tip $20 - but that’s just me.

Thanks for that; hopefully they will see it that way.

The spa’s website almost certainly lists prices for their services, if you don’t want to call. If a one-hour massage has a base price of $60, expect to leave a tip on top of it, and calculate the tip based on the price of the service. In other words, if the massage is $75, your gift certificate would cover all but $15 plus tip, and tip would be based on the $75 cost of service, not on the $15 you paid out-of-pocket. Or, if the base price is $55, $5 of the gift certificate would go toward tip, but you’d have the make up the difference yourself (I’d do 20%, for a total tip of $11, so would add $6 to my final payment. I’d also explain what I was tipping to the front desk clerk so it was clear how much I intended to tip the therapist).

Kaio has it right – you base the tip on the price of the service received, not what you pay.

And for a major service like a perm, I’d tip 20%, especially if she’s done a really good job. Depending on where you live 15% might also be ok. (ETA: the $20 you’re suggesting would be greatly appreciated.)

Actually, I tip my hairdresser 20% all the time, because she takes the 3 different photos I bring in, and turns them into the look I wanted, and it also flatters my face!

Related question: If I’m getting my hair colored am I expected to tip on the cost of the product used to color my hair?

Thank you Kaio - I am thrilled that you mentioned tipping on the full amount, not just the amout you pay.

I would tip at least 20% on the perm, if it’s well done - perms suck and are very labour intensive.

As far as product - no - that is included in the base cost, or should be! :slight_smile:

Do salons itemize their bills like an auto repair shop, separating parts and labor? I don’t think so. And most professional salons my wife goes to, don’t use off the shelf box hair color treatments, they have a large bulk supply of different colors.

Would you ask the stylist to tell you how much you are being charged for the product vs. her time, so you could properly calculate the tip? I would consider that as coming off cheap.

Actual professional hair color, if broken down to the cost per client, would not be that expensive. You are really paying for their time and expertise, which, if they are good, is worth it!

Good advice all; thanks. Upon looking at the gift card again it is actually for " 1 60 minute specialty massage" and it looks like specialty massages are $59 per hour. So I’m going to assume there is $59 on the card. Seems a strange way to sell them but whatever, I’m just glad to be getting a massage!