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Reverend Dr. Abbott. This is an etiquette question regarding…

Hello Reverend Dr. Abbott. This...
Hello Reverend Dr. Abbott. This is an etiquette question regarding annual tipping. Each year, we give a Christmas bonus to several different service providers that give us service weekly or monthly. What are the guidelines for tipping or Christmas bonus for the following service providers, noting that wages in this region of South Texas are generally 20% below the national average based on low cost of living / preponderance of lower cost labor from Mexico
:
***Hair Dresser / Beauty Shop Owner (age 60 / married mother of 1 teen): Cuts hair once per month for $45 (plus 15% tip) and adds color for another $30 every other month ($75 total on alternating months plus 15% tip).***Pedicurist (age 60 / works in same beauty shop as Hair Dresser above): New service provider who performs $35 pedicures (plus 15% tip) about 3 times per year.***House Cleaner (age 70 with big family): Does limited cleaning for 3 hours for $40 every other week (no tip) and occasionally provides short trip transportation (about 10 miles round trip) a few times per year at no extra charge. Has been doing this for our family for 19 years.***Driver (age 39 / married mother of 2 in junior high & high school / daughter to House Cleaner above): Provides 10 to 15 rides per month in her SUV for round trip distances of 10 to 60 miles each and is paid $200 to $450 per month (no tip) at approximately the same rate an Uber driver would charge. This is first year Driver has been providing these services but has been helping her mother clean (see above) for 3 years now.Note that the Daughter Driver / Part Time House Cleaner lives next door to the full-time Mother House Cleaner, shares certain expenses, and will know what each receives as their Christmas bonus. What would be an appropriate dollar amount or percentage pay to give (if any) to each as a Christmas bonus?
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Answered in 3 hours by:
11/30/2017
Rev Dr August Abbott
Rev Dr August Abbott, Adult Etiquette Pro
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Let me address your last comment first, about one service provider knowing what the other will be gifted: This should not change your gift giving. It would be improper for anyone in any circumstance to compare gifts, values or amounts and thus be their problem, not yours. Never let someone else's inappropriate behavior change your own.

For the services you've outlined it's actually pretty easy: A monetary gift in the amount of an average service (before tip when applicable) IE: the housekeeper earns $40 per service, so a gift of $40 with perhaps an additional consideration of $10-20 for the recently added extras in transportation. I would also suggest that when these extras are provided to offer $5 - 10 'for gas' (and wear & tear on the auto).

For the driver a gift of $50 is suggested.

The lower cost of living index is already factored in with the amounts charged for the services which is why gifting the actual service cost is appropriate.

If I've missed anything just let me know -

My most sincere wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you and yours!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
You suggest the cost of an average service for a Christmas bonus. Would that be independent of the number of times you see that service provider? For example, the average service price paid to the Hair Dresser above would be $60 but they are paid 12 times a year. One service fee would be 8.33% of the yearly amount paid to them. By contrast, the average paid to the Pedicurist would be $35 but they are paid only 3 times per year. So one bonus of $35 would equate to 33.3% of their annual pay. The disparity between 8.33% for one and 33.3% to the other seems too great. Is the amount of the annual bonus adjusted downward if you are serviced by the provider fewer than 12 times per year (once monthly?) If so, should our pedicurist be paid $35 or one service fee, or something less?

It seems 'unfair' when you apply averages and deduce percentages, but this can be made up for with personal choice. If you feel an individual deserves more, then by all means, give more.

The simple rule of thumb for service people that any individual wants to give a gift to is the cost of one of their services before gratuity. If you use the service weekly, monthly, bi-monthly does not matter.

Yes, it would seem that the service person providing fewer services would be making out better than the person providing 12 x's as many services, but keep in mind that this isn't about labor standards and isn't even a required or obligatory action. It's gift giving. A free will consideration to show a person that you're thinking of them at this special time of year. You could very well give a card and box of candy or bottle of wine.

This is where the proverbial saying, "It's the thought that counts" comes in. You're just backing that thoughtfulness up with cash - and given that many clients do not, believe me, you will be appreciated

Rev Dr August Abbott
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