Free Tip Calculator – How much should you tip?

Using a free tip calculator

Tipping is an activity you’re probably familiar with—from servers to valets to movers—there are pretty much endless scenarios where you might feel compelled to leave a tip. In the United States and many other cultures, tipping makes up a huge part of the interaction with service workers. Many tipped positions rely heavily on tip income, so it is essential that you are calculating tips correctly. This is where a tip calculator comes in handy.

Free Tip Calculator

What is tipping?

Although the U.S. is notorious for tipping, the practice first started as an English Tudor custom. Wealthy British folk would give their servants a few extra coins as a way to acknowledge their labor. The tradition soon caught on in the U.S. thanks to Americans visiting Europe after the Civil War. Wanting to seem aristocratic, these individuals began tipping in the United States upon their return. Fast forward about 500 years—as of 2015, there were an estimated 4.3 million tipped workers in the United States alone. 

Tipping, or giving a gratuity, is generally defined as the practice of a customer giving a sum of money to certain service sector workers for the service they have performed, in addition to the basic price of the service.

Tips often work in different ways. For example, tips can be pooled, which is when employees contribute some or all of their earned tips to the business. The tips are then divided up among the employees based on criteria decided by the employer and agreed to by the employees. Contrastingly, tips can also be received in full by the individual completing the service.

Who should I tip?

One might normally think of a restaurant setting when it comes to tipping, but tipping can be applicable to many different positions. However, it is normally customary to tip in response to a service of some sort being given. 

For example, here are a few different tipping scenarios.

  • Tipping is common in the hotel and travel industry, where you may need to tip a hotel housekeeper, valet, bellhop, or concierge. Likewise, as a tourist, it is also commonplace to tip tour guides.
  • Tipping is also normal in the entertainment industry, where you may need to tip singers, dancers, and performers during or after a show.
  • In less common scenarios, like utilizing roadside assistance services or a moving company, tipping is also warranted.

How do you tip someone for their service?

The method that workers receive tips can vary quite a bit. A common form of receiving tips is the classic, old fashioned way—through cash or change. Cash tipping can be done by leaving the tip on the bill, or through depositing the tip in a tip jar. However, this method of tipping has become much less common over the course of recent years. Even before the pandemic, cash payments have been long declining, representing only 26% of consumer transactions in 2019

Another usual way to tip is through a credit or debit card. This is done by receiving the bill, then determining the tip amount or percentage you want to leave and detailing that on the bill. Sometimes this process is done solely on the payment terminal, which is typical in cafes or restaurants when you order at a counter. 

Lastly, a newer way to tip is through virtual tip jars, like eTip. eTip works by pointing your phone’s camera at a personalized QR code, which will then take you to a web address where you can tip that person through credit card, apple pay, or google pay. This is convenient for everyone, since customers don’t need cash to tip and businesses and individuals can easily manage their tips. eTip is a great contact-free solution to help service workers earn more tips. 

Do different job roles require different tip amounts?

  • Talk about the varying %’s based on who you are tipping
  • Discuss the different services they perform / how much the services cost, and why those get tipped differently
  • Add a simple table with three columns
    • Name of job role
    • Average tip % (average across USA)
    • Tip amount on a $25 check
  • Be sure to link each of the job roles to any articles we have about how to tip that person

A very important thing to remember is that tipping is not constant across different positions. There are set norms as to what types of workers receive certain percentages of tips. For example, a bartender might expect a tip of $1-2 per drink, while the appropriate tip for a server is 15-20%. These discrepancies are because varying jobs and tasks require different amounts of effort and time. A server will wait on your table for potentially a few hours, bring your food, drinks, and satisfy any requests you may have. On the other hand, a bartender normally makes your drink and moves on to the next customer. The tip for these different positions should reflect the job that they do for you. Below is a chart with a few common tipped positions and what tip amount they normally receive in the U.S.

Job RoleAverage Tip %
Bartender$1-2 for beer & 20% for cocktails
Bellhop$1-2 per bag
Housekeeper$3-5 per day
Hair Stylist20%
Average tip amount per job role

Is tipping different in other states?

Tipping can vary slightly from state to state, and that is because of factors like wage and labor laws and local norms. Here are a few different states where tip amounts differ. The state that tips the most is New Hampshire and the state that tips the least is Idaho.

StateAverage Tip %Tip Amount on a $25 Check
New Hampshire20.55.13
Ohio 194.75
Kansas 17.54.38
Average tip amount per state


Tipping varies widely across different positions and locations in the United States, and it is important for everyone to know the norms. Service workers put in the effort to give great service, and tippers need to put in the effort to tip adequately. Whether you’re tipping in cash, on card, or with a virtual tip jar like eTip, you can use this tip calculator and guidelines to ensure you’re leaving an appropriate amount.


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