Don’t Forget Your Doorman: Corcoran’s Essential Guide to Tipping at the Holidays

The winter holidays are here — and with them come the perennial questions of the season for city dwellers: Who do you tip, how do you tip, and what do you tip?

Why Tip

“Holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you,” advises the etiquette experts at EmilyPost, and Corcoran agent Julia Boland agrees: “For me, it is a thank you for the year of service. I will tip my super for each of the jobs he does inside of my apartment during the year, but my holiday tip is for thanking him for the running of the building outside of my apartment.”

Who to Tip

Make a list of the people you see every day or every week without whom your life wouldn’t run as smoothly: Doorman, building super, dog walker, house cleaner. They all should be thanked personally and tipped according to the list below.

Now think about the secondary people who help out in the background: Does your building have a night doorman or a porter? Do you have a babysitter that often saves the day? You should remember these service providers at the holidays too.

Boland suggests including a personal note to each person, thanking them for their special service and letting them know why you appreciate them.

What to Tip

When it comes to the form of the tip, cash works best if you are handing out gifts directly. But if building management is collecting gifts for workers you won’t see, checks may be your best choice—that way you can ensure that the correct person receives your gift.

How much to give? Here are some recommendations, based on annual research done by Brick Underground:

  • Super, resident manager: $75 to $175 on average
  • Doorman and/or concierge : $25 to $150 on average
  • Porter, handyman and maintenance staff: $20 to $30 on average
  • Garage attendant: $25 to $75 on average
  • Cleaning person/housekeeper: One to two weeks of pay
  • Cleaning service: Tip 15 to 20 percent throughout the year; if the same crew cleans your apartment each time, a holiday tip (one week’s pay) is appreciated.
  • Full-time nanny: One week’s pay minimum, two if you can afford it, or one week’s pay and one week of vacation
  • Regular babysitter hired occasionally: Consider $25 to $50 in cash or a gift card
  • Regular dog walker: One week’s pay