When and How Much Should I Tip My Contractor?

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated February 18, 2022
A couple shakes hands with their renovation contractor
Photo: Pormezz / Adobe Stock

Contractors are paid hourly and generally don’t expect a tip, but you can offer one if they go above and beyond to perform extra services

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While everyone knows to tip around 20% after dining in a restaurant or to leave a few bucks for the cleaning service after a hotel stay, other situations aren't nearly as clear-cut.

Hiring a contractor is one of those situations. Many people wonder if they should leave a little something extra for a professional who has come over to their house to fix a sink or repair the roof. But is it expected, and how are contractors paid? This guide answers those questions.

Why You Don’t Need to Tip Contractors

Most contractors are paid hourly for their work, and they are often highly trained and typically fairly compensated for their skilled labor. As a result, tipping isn't a common practice in the industry.

Because contractors typically don’t expect tips, everything is usually included in the hourly rate in their quotes. Surveys show that just 6% of remodeling companies expect a tip, and just 7% of handypeople and painters.

When You Might Tip a Contractor Anyway

It's still OK to tip contractors if they go above and beyond to provide outstanding service, or even if you just feel like it. How much you should tip is very much up to you. Was it a big job? Did they have to deal with terrible weather? Was it back-breaking work? What extra services did they perform? Do you simply feel like showing some extra gratitude today?

If so, a tip of $20 is a good way to show appreciation if what they did was a bit unexpected. But you might offer $50 or more to each worker involved if they, say, moved some extremely heavy items for you as an extra service and worked up a sweat.

It’s a judgment call, but you don’t need to worry too much about being wrong because, once again, tips aren’t expected.

Alternatives to Tipping Contractors

It always doesn't have to be money. You can demonstrate your gratitude to workers by bringing them food or a cold beverage on a hot day. Or you can show kindness by doing simple things like letting the contractor use your bathroom. Often, that’s more than enough.

In addition to a tip (or instead of one) you should always consider leaving your contractor a good review if you’re impressed with their services. Leaving a detailed review can help drum up business for your contractor and could even be more beneficial than a tip. Your review will also help others in their search for general contractors near you

If you want to go one step further, you can also offer to be a reference as a job well done. Still, if you can afford it, a monetary tip will likely be appreciated as well. Just don’t feel obligated.

A Note of Caution About Tipping Contractors

A man contractor caulks a new window frame
Photo: Angelov / Adobe Stock

Be aware that some companies discourage their employees from receiving tips. Pressuring someone into taking a tip might result in an uncomfortable situation or even get the employee in trouble if they ultimately accept the tip.

Politely ask the worker if their employer allows tips before offering one, or ask the owner of the contracting company directly.

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