Going to the spa to get some much needed R&R? The thought of tipping your therapist may or may not have crossed your mind yet, but it will eventually. There’s a push and pull when it comes to matters like whether you should give any and, if so, how much. So in short, it can get pretty confusing.



But it turns out that there are ins and outs to tipping that you can learn so you get better at it. There are some factors that you should consider when giving tips to your hairdresser or masseuse, and once you get used to them you’ll get a feel of how much you should give, if at all.

Everything here is a result of a collection of inputs from different professionals in the industry as well as points of view from legitimate etiquette experts. Pretty soon, you realize that things are not as complicated as they seem. All you have to do is to keep in mind certain rules, as well as a bit of cash in case you need to tip someone.

The average tipping rate is 15% to 20% of the treatments

In most cases, the tipping value for the spa, wellness center, or home service is similar to that of a restaurant. That is, you’ll want to give the servicer about 15 to 20 percent of the value of the service. This is according to most etiquette experts based in New York City. This rule applies to facials, hair and nail services, massages, and pretty much anything you can get from a spa.

The venue or place where the treatment is given doesn’t matter either. Nor does the person who gives the treatment affect the propriety of the tip. This is contrast to the old saying that if the owner of the spa is the one rendering the service, you shouldn’t tip at all. You tip either way, so long as service is rendered. The only exception would be if you’re getting the services through a channel that includes gratuity in the payment price. This normally happens when you got the home service from an app. When you do pay gratuity in advance, you’ve pretty much given a tip already.

Try to give a higher tip when the service is priced lower

So if the typical rate is 15% to 20%, when do you give higher or lower? Another rule to remember is that you should give a higher rate when the charge for the service is lower. This has become an issue given the rising number of wellness establishments that have opened for business. What used to be a luxury service is now a common service that has to give competitive prices. In many cases, the tip should even go beyond 20%.

There are many different reasons for this practice, one of them being that having to pay less for the service would mean that the therapist or stylist will be earning a lot less, given that they only earn a percentage of what you pay them. By tipping more, you help them earn more directly. Of course, some people argue that the price given shouldn’t really matter, since tipping more would defeat the purpose of them giving a more affordable alternative in the spa and wellness industry.

The consensus, however, is to never give anything below 20% if you know for a fact that you’re getting something that charges way below the market rate. And if you’re going to get discounted rates from things like Groupon, don’t forget to count the 20% based on the original price.

No need to tip medical professionals

If ever you’re getting some specialized treatment like micro needling or laser treatment, you’re probably getting it from a nurse or a dermatologist. In these cases, you don’t need to tip, for the same reason that you wouldn’t be tipping your doctor. This also applies for professionals who are into health alternatives such as acupuncture and similar services.

The same goes for personal trainers

Personal trainers and holistic healers don’t usually expect these tips as well. In case you’re wondering, holistic healers include a wide selection of experts such as astrologists, hypnotists, and reiki. It’s not bad for you to give a tip, but they won’t mind not getting any either. And when you do choose to tip, do so at a much lower rate. You’re really better off saving that money for those who need it.

Personal trainers, on the other hand, usually include everything in their professional fee. As such, you don’t need to consider paying extra.

What are other notable exceptions?

Perhaps the most important exception to giving a customary tip is when the service was poorly delivered. But even then, experts really discourage not tipping at all. This is because no matter how poorly the service was given, the fact that the therapist or stylist performed the service anyway merits a tip. You can, however, give a lower amount, but if you really want to express your dissatisfaction, you can always do so by openly speaking with the person you’re working with. They’re more likely to get the message and will even want to offer you a do-over. This is because they too have an interest in making sure you’re satisfied, especially that you give tips anyway.

Know the specific tipping practices in foreign places

Although there are universal rules to tipping, you’re going to want to be sensitive to the different tipping cultures of the place where you’re visiting. Before you travel, make sure you look up the local tipping etiquette. For instance, there might be countries where the tipping value is pegged at a fixed price and not a percentage of the service value. Other places probably don’t even consider tipping customary at all. Being familiar with these local customs will at least prevent you from doing anything embarrassing.

Lastly, don’t forget to always bring spare change with you. When you give a tip, you don’t usually expect to get any change in return.

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