How much should you tip your doorman this Holiday?

The end of the year is always an exciting time for family traditions and holiday gatherings. Another important tradition, especially in New York City, is tipping the building staff. This ambiguous tradition is daunting to many New Yorkers, especially to the thousands of new residents that flock to the city each year.

I, too, get confused as to what is acceptable and customary. The truth is that in many other countries around the world tipping is an afterthought and is not expected by any means. Of course tipping is not required by law in New York City, but rather is encouraged as a gratis for a job well done by the staff that upholds the maintenance and quality of life in your building. There is no exact science as to how much to give and it should really be a reflection of how well you felt the staff took care of your needs and provided a comfortable and safe environment for you to live.

In order to understand this unique tipping ritual I researched popular publications and came up with a reasonable understanding of how it works and hope it will be as helpful for you as it was to me.

  • Typically a value equal to 15% of your monthly rent can be given to the staff as a whole. So if your monthly rent is $3,000, you should tip $450 as a whole to the entire staff.
  • If you live in a large building with a big staff, you can give smaller amounts to each staff member. The opposite is true with a smaller building, where you would give a larger amount to each staff member.
  • The superintendent (aka. super) receives the largest amount, between $50 - $150 depending on the size of the building.
  • Doormen between $40 - $100
  • Handyman between $20 - $50
  • Porters between $20 - $40

Don't forget the people behind the scenes. There are many people involved in keeping the quality of life in your building comfortable that you may not be aware of, like the cleaners and maintenance staff. Giving them something makes a bigger difference in their lives than you can imagine.

Renters and Property owners alike should participate in the holiday tradition of tipping the building staff. Did they open the door for you every day? Did they attend to your problems and resolve them? If you answered yes, then show them your appreciation by tipping for a job well done. If you are unable to give, or cannot give as much, your staff will understand, especially in these poor economic times, but don't be frugal by showing off all the gifts you bought for your family at Bloomies!

If you have any helpful recommendations or a better way to tip, please let us know.