Tipping in cities like New York can be confusing. When it seems like there’s always someone helping you with something, it’s hard to know how much to give those who help make our lives so much easier.

Around the holiday season, our clients are always asking what to tip those essential workers like doormen, building staff, and more.

Here’s our handy guide to help you budget for holiday tipping:

First off, do I have to tip?

The short answer is no, but if your budget allows it, it’s the right thing to do. Tipping staff during the holidays is a custom, not a requirement, but you’ll be in the minority if you don’t.

How much should I tip my building staff?

This amount depends on the size of your building (the larger the staff, the smaller the individual tips), quality of service, staff seniority, the length of time you’ve lived there, whether you own or rent, your personal rapport with staff, and of course, your personal budget.

Here are some estimates to point you in the right direction:

  • $150 to $300 – Super or Resident Manager
  • $75 to $200 – Doorman, Concierge or Dog Walker
  • $25 to $100 – Garage Attendant, Porter, Handyman or Maintenance Staff

What about inflation? Should I give extra?

A little bit more out of your pocket may be able to go a long way for someone else. If your budget allows you to be a little more generous, it can’t hurt! Your extra generosity could make a big difference in someone else’s life.

I needed extra help this year, I want to pay more, but may not be able to next year. What do I do?

If you needed extra services this year, we suggest bumping up your tip.

If you’re concerned that you’ll lock yourself into a higher amount for the future, add a nice holiday card that references your appreciation for something specific that the staff helped you with — and say you wanted to recognize how they went above and beyond this year. That should make it clear that your intention is to offer a bonus and not a raise.

My building’s “doormen” are more like security guards. How much should I tip them?

Some security guards do just sit there because that is all that they are required to do, while others work just as hard as doormen. In the former case, it’s okay to tip on the light side, so use your discretion. If your security guard acts more like a traditional doorman, consider tipping as such.

I don’t love my building staff. How much should I tip?

Instead of altogether withholding a tip, many residents in this position tip on the low end of the scale. Building staff are not likely to forget your gesture (or lack thereof), so tipping a little something always does more good than bad.

My building has a tipping pool. Do I need to give individual tips on top of that?

With a tipping pool, residents contribute what they wish into the pool, which is then divided accordingly. However, owners continue to tip individually in many buildings with tipping pools; at least for the staff members they interact with regularly.

Regardless of your budget, doing something special for the people in your life that make things easier is always a good idea. If you have any additional questions about tipping, or even want to move to a building with a more established staff next year, please contact us.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from our Platinum family to yours.