The Mystery Of Salon Tipping

QUESTION: I was wondering if you could enlighten me with regards to tipping in nail salons and beauty shops. Is tipping different if the owner of the shop does your hair or nails, or is tipping the same?

ANSWER: Here are my guidelines for salon tipping:

*Tip between 15 and 20 percent, but never less than $5 -- unless the service was terrible. For example, on a $15 manicure or eyebrow wax, I'll still tip $5 even though that comes to more than 20 percent because I think it's cheesy to tip less than a fiver.

*Tip the same percentage regardless of the person's position in the salon. I might even tip an employee more than an owner, because they probably rely on tips more. Plus I'm kind of a pinko like that. Owners or senior stylists often charge more anyway, so their tips might be bigger, but it's still 20 percent of the bill. If the bill is really big, I tip closer to 15 percent. For example, if the bill is $200, I might only tip $30 -- not $40.

*Tip more if the owner (or anyone else) has gone out of their way to fit you in, for example, an after-hours appointment.

*If you get several services done on the same day (like an eyebrow wax and a haircut) make sure the person that performed each service gets the appropriate tip.

*If you are paying cash, you can slip the waxer $5 bucks and the hairstylist $10 (or whatever the appropriate amount is).

*If you are paying with a check or a credit card, write in the tip amount and tell the receptionist how much you'd like to go to each person.The exception to this is in salons that have one person washyour hair, and another one cut it and another blow it dry. In thissituation, I just tip on the entire bill at the register and let themwork it out. One can't be expected to show up to the salon with pocketsstuffed with singles like it's some sort of strip bar.Specific to nail salons: A lot of places have you pay beforeyour polish is applied so you won't smear it while you dig around inyour purse to pay. This is fine, except it means the person doing yournails knows how much you tipped before your nails get done. I like mytips to be a surprise and indicative of what I thought of the service.So I tuck some cash or my credit card in an easily accessible outsidepocket of my jeans or bag, so I can pay (and tip) after the service hasbeen provided.Note: This is a guideline for salons where service isconsistently good and the people treat you very well. If I go to a newplace or a cheap place in the mall or something, I might tip only 10percent or 15 percent, according to the level of service.Source: Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican. Powered by Yellowbrix.
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