Should I Tip Contractors?

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 15, 2021

couple working home contractorsskynesher/E+ via Getty Images

Tipping etiquette for contractors is a little confusing. Some pros expect a tip and others don’t. Even if you know whether or not you should offer a tip, how much do you give?

Here’s a crash course in tipping etiquette for contractors, based on general national best practices. For a precise idea of how much to tip in your neighborhood, ask a few neighbors how much they tipped when they had similar work done.


Whether or not you should tip handypeople depends on a few different factors. If you hire a local handyperson at $100 per hour for a single job, then no, you don’t need to tip them.

However, if you’ve got a regular handyperson who visits you regularly to tackle odd jobs around your property, then a tip is reasonable. In this case, a tip of up to equal to the handyperson’s day rate is appropriate.

Painters and Decorators

For local painters and decorators, a tip isn’t necessary for a straightforward job, particularly if you’ve hired a mom-and-pop operation. Decorators usually have their “tip” rolled up into their bill in the form of a percentage of the cost of the goods they purchase for you.

However, if a painter or a decorator near you does a little extra that isn’t in their job scope, is extra helpful, or is particularly nice, then a small tip is acceptable.

Interestingly, when you’re working with interior designers, the tipping custom is often reversed, with the professional providing the client with a small gift, such as an ornament or piece of soft furnishing, at the end of the project.

Find a General Contractor for Your Project

General Contractors

When you’re hiring a general contractor, they don’t expect tips as a general rule. Their quotes fairly compensate themselves and their crew for their time and skill, as well as for the materials needed to get the job done. The project price also usually incorporates a bit of cushioning for unexpected delays or complications.

However, you can incentivize them to finish under budget or on time by having an extra clause added to your contract that offers an additional fee if they meet or exceed agreed-upon criteria.

Plumbers and Electricians

Local plumbers, neighborhood electricians, and other similar contractors don’t generally require tipping. And if they work for a larger company instead of themselves, the company most likely prohibits its employees from accepting cash tips.

However, if tipping is allowed and you work with the same contractor on a regular basis who cuts you a deal on labor or the cost of parts, a tip that’s equivalent to an hour or two of their time is appropriate and will undoubtedly be well-received.

Lawn and Landscape Professionals

While it’s not necessary or practical to tip your local lawn service professionals every week, if you have the same person or team service your lawn every time, a tip of $20 to $50 per person during the holidays expresses your thanks and generosity.

If you hire local gardeners or landscaping pros and ask them to do something that isn’t in their normal scope of work, the right thing to do is to offer a $10 or $20 tip to compensate them for their extra work.


A good local cleaner is valuable as they help keep your house guest-ready year-round. So, during the holidays, it makes sense to show how appreciative you are with a substantial tip.

Remember, cleaners work inside your home and around your family members and all of your possessions. So not only do you get to know them, but you want to be among their most valued clients so they take extra care with their work. Ideally, an end-of-year tip is the equivalent of a week’s fee and perhaps a small gift.

Additions and Alternatives to Tipping Contractors

A man painting a wall in an empty apartmentFOTOGRAFIA INC./E+ via Getty Images

You may feel like you want to tip a contractor but cannot due to company regulations. Or it may be inappropriate to offer a monetary tip, such as with general contractors or interior decorators where you’re already paying for their service and a bit extra for supplies or for unexpected delays or complications.

But there are other ways you can show your appreciation aside from cash.

Leave Reviews

Your review is often worth more than a cash tip, so if a service provider does a great job, leave them a review. If you’re feeling extra generous, leave them a review in more than one place!

Share on Your Social Media

Like leaving a review, sharing a recommendation on one or more of your social channels is valuable to a local business. Share the work the contractor undertook and your satisfaction with the job, then tag them in the post so your social followers can contact the service provider if they need something similar. If you’re in an online local community or neighborhood group and see someone asking for recommendations, tag and recommend the tradesperson you hired.

Be Kind

Offer beverages, allow a service provider to use your bathroom, and be generally courteous and kind. If a contractor is working for you all day, offer them a snack. There’s no need to go over the top, but a little basic kindness goes a long way to making a service provider feel valued.

Give Small Gifts

While a monetary tip may be prohibited or inappropriate, most contractors will gladly accept a small, thoughtful gift. It could be as simple as a box of cookies, surprising the crew with a pizza for lunch, or giving a thank you card, a shatterproof mug to use on worksites, or a novelty service-themed gift.

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