Tipping Etiquette

Published 12/20/2022

You know you should tip your hair stylist, your bellhop, and your bartenders and servers, but when hosting a corporate event, did you know it's customary to tip your vendors, too? They are providing you with a service, so although tipping them is not a requirement, it is a common practice.

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Showing monetary appreciation for a job well done is always your personal choice of course. If you do decide to tip, you might be unclear about how much to give. There is no right or wrong answer. Some of the vendors at your event (such as your venue or caterer) might already have a gratuity built into their fees, so look for that to assure you don't double tip. Others might give you the option to leave a tip when you make a final payment. However, if you’re still not sure how much to tip, here are some guidelines.

If you plan to tip more than one vendor, we recommend creating a list of those you are tipping and writing each of their names on a separate envelope. Then put the corresponding tip into each envelope. If you have an event planner you can give the envelopes to them to distribute as soon as the event is over.

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Whom might you choose to tip?

  • Caterer/Bartenders
  • DJ/Entertainers
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Rental delivery staff
  • Transportation drivers
  • Valets
  • Event planner
  • Venue coordinator

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The same tipping standard applies as does in the service industry. If you’re happy with your vendor, 15 – 20% (pre-tax) is considered a good tip. If you feel the service was exceptional, 25% shows extreme appreciation.

Another great way to show appreciation for a job well done is to leave a great review. Google and Linked In are popular sites where you can leave feedback for your vendors. Your positive review will improve their online presence and will help other event planners who are looking for first-rate vendors.

What If I’m Not Satisfied with the Service?

If during your event you find something unsatisfactory, it’s best to bring it to the vendor’s attention immediately. They may be unaware that the problem exists or they may not know you were expecting something different. (For example: you didn’t want any hip hop played at your event, but forgot to mention it to your DJ beforehand).

In all likelihood, they will remedy the problem at once. If the problem persists, they may be facing challenges you’re not aware of (or that are out of their control). Consider whether the vendor is actually at fault before deciding whether or not, or how much, to tip them.

Quality vendors will want you to be happy with their service, and they will do everything they can to correct any and all issues you may have.

If you truly feel the service itself is bad, you may decide to either leave a small tip or no tip at all. If the spirit moves you, have a conversation with that vendor on a later date to share your constructive criticism. They (as well as their future clients) will no doubt benefit from your feedback and you’ll feel better having gotten it off your chest.