Tipping – as in adding a gratuity to the payment for a service – is usually a cultural practice that varies all over the world but in some countries or situations, it is a must. It is good to know that tipping isn’t limited to eateries. You might tip the taxi driver you hired for good conversation and a show of expertise on the route. You might also tip the barber because you’ve been using the same guy every 8 weeks for the last 20 years and he always knows what you want. Overall, you can say it’s a token of appreciation.
I personally think that it’s one of the most idiotic and illogical systems I’ve encountered. Call me nuts, but I don’t see any logic in giving some extra money when I’m already paying out the wazoo for some things. The idea of tipping people for doing their job is also an oddity for many Brits. In some places, for example, there is even an unwritten rule stating that you must tip at least 10-15 % of your total bill. For me, it’s no longer a tip, it’s a fee.
The American tipping culture, for instance, includes tipping beyond the price of the service. In theory, it is to reward excellent service but in practice, it has become an obligation that is communicated dishonestly and implemented unfairly.
Freakonomics did an interesting story about tipping that revealed that tipping practices are often either discriminatory or completely unnecessary. Do you tip tellers in banks for withdrawing your money? Or, do you tip teachers in schools for giving classes to your kids?
No, you probably don’t because they are just doing their job.
However, in some special cases, you are allowed to show appreciation if you’ve been given “excellent” service. But, does that apply to plumbing services?
Plumbers Don’t Expect Tips
Although you might have the habit of tipping contractors like plumbers and electricians, it is important to remember that they don’t expect you to tip them.
Plumbers are highly specialized experts who have gone through years of training and who have years of expertise in installing and repairing plumbing systems. They were professionally trained to troubleshoot any dysfunctional plumbing systems, give professional advice and replace or repair any worn-out plumbing parts or pipes. When licensed plumbers are hired by plumbing companies, they are paid well, which means that they don’t need to rely on tips from customers to supplement their income.
In addition, some plumbing companies prohibit their workers from taking any tips from clients. So, before you tip a plumber, make sure to check if the company has established any policies against tipping.
Consider Tipping if It’s an Exceptional or Difficult Work
Let’s say your kitchen sink was not draining and you called a plumber. He came and fixed it pretty quickly. But, then you started struggling about how much you should tip him.
See, plumbers are expected to be efficient in fixing domestic and commercial plumbing issues. They are expected to be professionally competent in their line of work and they deal with clogged drains and leaky faucets on a regular basis. However, that doesn’t mean you should tip them for every little plumbing job.
In some cases, however, when plumbers spend hours and hours trying to repair a gas leak or a water shortage or trying to fix a botched job, offering a tip would be nice.
When it concerns exceptional finish work, difficult repairs or maintenance of old plumbing pipes, plumbers have to work long, difficult hours. And, in those cases, it would be nice if you could reward their difficult manual labor.
Alternatives to Cash Tip
You can tip a plumber without offering money. For instance, you could leave a positive review on the company’s website, complementing the plumber’s hard work. Or, you could brew a nice pot of coffee and offer it, along with some cookies, to the plumber.