In New York, it’s normal during the holiday seasons to tip the hard working men & women who provide you with services throughout the year. Determining how much to tip depends on how long you’ve used someone’s service, how important the service is to your life, the quality of the service, and also where you live.
So let’s begin with some basics. As a renter in a doorman building in New York, you, whether you like it or not, rely on the service of your doormen. They let the mailman in, they sign for packages, they call up when your Thai food gets delivered or when your friends come over. They secure your home, they say hello to you first thing every morning. They know a lot about your life and they have a lot of control over its quality. They know when you’re running late for work, when you’ve stayed out all night, when you bring guests over late in the evening, when you order pizza at 10am on a Tuesday. The relationship between tenant and doorman is an important one and if it’s compromised or not carefully guarded, your mornings-out and evening-ins can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Imagine having to walk by someone who openly dislikes you every time you try to come home or go for a walk? Building and maintaining those relationships is important. And the Christmas bonus is a big part of that.
Aside from maintaining your relationship, you should also think about the things your doormen and your super have done for you over the year. Maybe one of them watched your bike when you ran up to grab a bottle of water, maybe they hung out with your kids in the lobby, maybe they figured out which friends you want them to call up for and which ones you don’t.
We recommend against tipping on a per service basis. This means if your super comes upstairs to repair your sink or replace the screens on your window, don’t tip then. It can be uncomfortable to exchange money in that setting and perhaps more important, at Christmas time, you’ll appear cheaper than your fellow tenants. Jodi Wilgoren, a New York Times writer said, in 1998, “while most people interviewed in Chicago, Seattle and Nevada said they tipped out of guilt or habit, many New Yorkers were motivated by fear.” It’s the fear of services being withheld but it seems to be most of all a fear of lost reputation. Nobody ever said Christmas bonuses were simple.
So now you are probably wondering how much to tip. It is a difficult question to answer and it completely depends on who you are, your financial situation, the size of the building staff, and your tendencies towards gifting. Your super should get a larger tip than the doormen.
Take these numbers with a grain of salt! All of it is circumstantial. Use your gut!
- Super, resident manager: $100 to $175 on average
- Doorman and/or concierge: $40 to $150 on average
- Porters, handyman, and maintenance staff: $20 to $30 on average