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Is there a right and wrong amount to tip?

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I've always heard the salon owner should not be tipped for her services, is this true?
asked in Salon General by beautytech.INFO  

2 Answers

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DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to "Curly in Chesterfield, Mo.," who asked for guidelines on tipping hairdressers who rent their stations and keep 100 percent of the fees they charge. "Curly" was of the opinion that tipping is only for people who work on commission.

You correctly advised her to ask her hairdresser if tips are accepted -- and advised her that the usual amount is 15 to 20 percent of the bill.

Speaking as a hairstylist for the last 20 years, I cannot believe the number of people who don't know how to tip. Whether the stylist is an owner, manager or just a hairstylist, that person is still giving the customer a service. Many of my clients give more than that, and some still give nothing.

People should remember that when they give a tip, they are saying, "Thank you." -- STYLIST IN WISCONSIN

DEAR STYLIST: Not everyone agrees. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I disagree with your reply to "Curly." My hairdresser rents her station from the salon owner. She sets her own prices and hours. I typically pay her $100 for a cut, style and highlights, which takes her about 2 1/2 hours. The woman makes more per hour than I do, at a business she basically owns! I only tip people who work for someone and earn minimum wage. I don't tip restaurant owners, and they don't expect it. They want my return business. --RENE IN SAN PEDRO

DEAR RENE: And that's your privilege. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am a self-employed hairstylist, and I'd like to respond to "Curly." We may take home 100 percent of our fees, but after we pay for rent, supplies, taxes and the salary of our shampoo girls, we keep only about 50 percent of what we make. I would love not to depend on tips, but in the town where I live, hairstylists can't command large fees. I am very grateful for my clients' generosity. -- M. IN VIRGINIA

DEAR M.: You are not the only person who wanted to explain the financial facts of life regarding the beauty business. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Thank you so much for your response to "Curly." Customers think that because we pay rent, we pocket all our income. Wrong! People don't realize that on top of the rent we pay, we must also purchase all of our own tools, chemicals and products. Our scissors alone cost at least $150 -- most of the time more. When they need sharpening, it costs $25. We have no benefits. We must pay for 100 percent of our insurance. If our kids get sick and we can't work -- we don't get paid. We are considered self-employed, so we pay all of our Social Security. (When you are employed by someone else, the employer pays half.) When a customer stands us up, we are not only out the money, but we are also out the time we allocated for that customer.

It is amazing to me how those who have the most money are the stingiest tippers -- and the people who have little are so generous! I feel that when you treat customers with love and cater to their needs, a tip is their response to how well we are doing our job. --MISS TRESS IN KANKAKEE, ILL.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.

answered by beautytech.INFO  
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There is urban legend that "tips" is an acronym for "To Insure Perfect Service" which may or may not be true. The custom of "don't tip the owner" is an odd seems to apply to some owners--but not all owners--of businesses that provide personal services to their clients and customers.

I believe the original thinking was tip those who perform those personal services for you well, but don't tip those in a supervisory capacity...such as managers or owners. This original meaning has been perverted by some who selectively heard only part of the story.

In this day and age, excellent personal service is not common to find. More and more types of services are "do it yourself"...bagging groceries, pumping gas, fetching food, etc. In the case where someone is being paid to stand there and take your money, I feel a tip is not deserved. Neither do I support mandatory or forced gratuities. A gratuity is earned. Or not. Always.

Although I feel it is irrelevant how much a server or technician is being paid, there is some misinformation that needs to be clarified:

In most cases, counter servers, receptionists in salons, desk clerks in B&B's, etc. are being paid at least the basic national minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour. There are 4 states that pay less than than this, and several states which pay more.

However, the minimum wage for "tipped personnel" is only $2.13.  This wage is supplemented by any tips earned for personal services performed, especially in food service.

In my humble opinion, you should give a gratuity to any person who performs a personal service for you...whether or not their name is on a lease or a title to a business. Or whether or not their parents happen to own the B&B. Or whether or not you think they make more money than you do---that is irrelevant.

If the owner of a salon gives excellent *personal* care and service, they are doing so in their capacity as stylist or technician...not as an owner of a business. Their work as a stylist or technician is a personal, hands-on service for which they are most likely not receiving a salary (which by my reckoning is irrelevant, but to parry that illogical  "they earn more than me" argument) and for which excellent customer care they should receive a gratuity.

So regardless of old, out-dated "Miss Manners" advice, I feel you will be best served, all puns intended, if you tip for personal care and attention.


Karen Hodges

Licensed Manicurist/Esthetician

former salon owner

freelance writer and educator

Grapevine, TX
answered by KeyzKaren  

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