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Holiday Tipping Guide: 5 People You Must Remember
Holiday Tipping Guide: 5 People You Must Remember
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Money Management

Holiday Tipping Guide: 5 People You Must Remember

Money254
Doreen Gathoni
December 27, 2021

Charity starts at home, and this often means, charity starts as a personal decision.

In Kenya, the majority don’t have enough to tip the right amount (or) to tip at all. 

However, even as we go about dealing with the 'high-and-lows’ of life, it’s a decent, important act: to thank, reward and give back, especially during the holiday season.

For those who have made your life somewhat better / enjoyable, the holidays are traditionally a time to tip them; but some people are / maybe easily overlooked. 

Before you get started, here are some pointers to make sure you spend wisely and to avoid many awkward and embarrassing moments:- 

TIPS-ON-TIPPING:

  • For a universal, accurate tipping guide, the standard rate is 10%-20%. 

For locals and tourists, tip what you can but you can use a free online tipping calculator to calculate the right tip’ amount, to include with your total bill (e.g.) For a Kshs.100 bill, you tip 10%, that is Kshs.10 and your total bill is Kshs.110 

  • Tipping is a service charge that most employers cannot include in wages and/or salaries, so your tip is valued but be humble / modest about it.

It’s not a question of “should you” rather it’s about “who and how much

  • Non-monetary incentive(s) are valid tip suggestions! 

(e.g.) gift vouchers, gift baskets, upgraded work terms for more time-off, invitation to join you and your family for lunch or a dinner or a family outing as a guest, written and/or verbal informal “thank you” 

  • A cash tip may not be appropriate in all situations. You shouldn’t tip people you normally don’t pay directly – rather give a gift not a tip.

(e.g.) co-workers, supervisors and bosses, teachers, principals and school staff, lawyers, long-term care facility workers, realtors, healthcare workers, public service and government workers, accountants and financial advisors

  • Remember a tip is a deliberate token-of-appreciation not a bribe. Never give a tip where its forced / demanded from you and where the service is bad-without-any-effort to resolve  
  • Don’t get offended when / where your tip is turned down. Some institution(s) policies don’t allow tipping, so as to discourage employees from unequal service delivery and from encouraging a discriminatory client tipping culture 

NB: Consider A Gift Rather Than A Tip

  • In Kenya, it’s not a popular practice nor an expected norm for locals but it's important to do you research on Tipping Etiquette In Different Countries including Kenya

(e.g.) China, Iceland, Japan don’t have a tipping culture, In Australia  minimum wage is more than average and tipping isn’t expected whereas in Netherlands ,the UK, India tipping is expected and the amount varies-per-situation (etc.) 

Now, read on to understand who to tip, how to / how much to tip and why they deserve to be tipped. 

  1. TIPPING YOUR CLEANING LADY “DHOBI” / HOUSE-HELP / NANNY / CARETAKER / GARDENER

Literally, starting at home (i.e.) with those that spend a significant time with your cherished ones and taking care of your valuable possessions, is always a great place to begin.

Money is a good tip, but this is one instance where including an extra or a personal tip of sentimental value, is a better option.

For example - tip a week’s pay, and include a small gift from your family or a hand-made gift by your child /children, a gift basket / voucher (etc.)

  • For your part-time cleaner / nanny / babysitter / for the one you call for last-minute emergencies all year long – a day’s / week’s pay bonus is appropriate
  • For your full-time childcare provider you can add on a bonus of between 15% - 20% and/or tangible non-monetary incentive(s)  

*see tips-on-tipping section* for non-monetary ideas

  • For your full time caretaker / landscaper / security guard you can add on a bonus of between 15% - 20% and/or tangible non-monetary incentive(s)  that’s appropriate 
  • If you have a part-time landscaper / gardener, a tip equivalent to the cost of one visit or up to one week's work, is a fair tip. Keep non-monetary incentives in mind too

  1. TIPPING YOUR HAIRSTYLIST / BARBER / BEAUTICIAN

You know you’ve hit the pro jackpot when you get someone who pays attention-to-detail to understand your style / look and expertly deliver on it! So, why not say thank you with a lil’ something extra during the holidays too? 

Here’s how to go about it:-

  • For the hairstylist / barber / beautician you consider a friend (as it often happens in these chit-chat’ business setups), consider including a small gift 
  • If you don't regularly visit your salon or barber shop throughout the year, you may prefer to give a 10% - 15% tip , during the holidays 
  • If you’re a regular, consider a tip that’s equivalent to the cost of one visit at your hairstylist / barber / beautician (e.g.) If your regular visit to your beautician costs Kshs. 500, tip Kshs.500 

NB: If a regular visit is above Kshs.500 and a 100% bonus is a bit-of-a stretch consider a 15% - 20% bonus tip amount


  1. TIPPING ADVICE FOR DELIVERY PERSONNEL

It might be busier now - but online shopping and deliveries do help to ensure that we have a normal life, in the midst of the nationwide and world pandemic measures. 

Each delivery may have different personnel assigned, what next?

Keep your household and travel budget in mind, and consider a generous tip in general recognition of all service providers' hard-work’ during the holiday season. 

In consideration to delivery and pickup services working double time to meet the “pandemic and seasonal custom” demand, respect each business’s tipping-guidelines and choose practical yet neutral tipping ideas. 

Here are two ideas:-

  • If you’re unsure about giving gifts or cash. Think about giving a thank you note / card / season greeting card. 

Share a few words beyond, “yes, that’s mine / how much is it / are you XYZ / Do I sign anything etc.” - anything more beyond the usual cliché phrases to complete the transaction will do

  • If  you’re comfortable giving gifts where gifts are acceptable; choose a season card (and /or) a “Grab-And-Go Basket” containing sanitizers, cell phone accessories, dry and/or wet wipes, bottled water, sealed non-perishable snacks like biscuits, nuts, crisps, hand lotion, a travel comb, mirror, a fun holiday decorative item / key holders, biro(s) + a mini notepad. 

Anything else sound good? Feel free to be creative but be practical

  1. A PERSONAL CAREGIVER

Those who help take care of our family members or dependents with special needs due to age-related factors, health, disabilities (etc.) hold a special place in the hearts-of an individual and/or family. 

  • They are professionals but they also seamlessly blend into one’s life, making them somewhat more than an employee or staff-for-hire

Here’s a tipping guide:-

  • For personally employed caregiver(s) by an individual or family; a week's pay is a holiday bonus’ minimum amount and anything extra is your choice
  • For a caregiver hired through an agency; always check terms of employment / with the institution. There are 3 options you can choose from:-
  1. No amount is insignificant. Give cheerfully - pick an amount and make a donation to the caregiving institution with public mention or a “shout out” to your caregiver 
  2. Some facilities and agencies, workers may have an “employee appreciation programme”, where clients can appreciate their assigned caregivers, according to policy terms; while others do ban gifts and tips.

NB: This translates into a profile boost for your caretaker for job promotion or pay raise / performance bonus considerations

  1. If cash tipping is banned – the hands-on’ approach works (e.g.) gifting them homemade cakes, mandazis’, cookies  is a good way to show your appreciation (plus who wouldn’t want some extra yummy treats)

NB: If you choose to drop them off at your caregiver’s place of work - spread the cheer around. 

Confirm their work shift schedule and bring enough to cover the staffers who are on shift too 

(if this option is tedious, go for an in-person gifting at a neutral location, where you’d both be comfortable)

  1. TIPPING AT BARS & RESTAURANTS

Chances are that eating out is one of your holiday / leisure activities (you’re probably eating out and reading this and were into it! Just remember to tip too) 

Don’t feel pressured to tip – do it within your budget and in the spirit of giving.  Locally, servers / waiters & waitresses don’t expect tips especially in buffet-themed restaurants and fast-food restaurants.   

  • A good rule of thumb is to tip at least 10% of the total bill (more if you wish) 
  • Bartenders are often the “cool kids” of the hospitality business – what with the fond nicknames by regulars and first name basis references by patrons / customers; tipping them is an unspoken rule. 

However, if you’re not on first-name basis or a regular, (yes, tipping your bartender is acceptable). The 10% rule of thumb applies and anything extra is your choice 

Be 'Mindfully-Generous’ Even When In Doubt

No matter what – there is no downside to exercising compassion.

Whether you're indoors or outdoors – it takes a team of people to make sure you enjoy yourself, when you want and how you want to. With this in mind – tipping isn’t a luxury or mindless act at all, now is it?

Do your part and share a smile (that’s free, so no excuses)  

Gathoni is a skilled content developer with over 5 years of experience in content development as a graphic design and copywriter, in different industry sectors. Her passion to nurture positive, stronger, communication impact continues. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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