Should You Tip the Building Maintenance Staff

Should You Tip the Building Maintenance Staff?

August 11, 2014 | Apartment Lifestyle, Everyday Living

By Jen Jackowski

You tip your hair stylist, nail technician and tattoo artist, but what about the people who keep your apartment in ship shape? Where there’s a clogged drain, building maintenance is there. Where there’s an intercom on the fritz, building maintenance is there. Where there’s an overflowing toilet, building maintenance (say it with me) is there!

Read: Most Embarrassing Moments in Apartment Maintenance

Whenever your apartment seems to turn on you, a maintenance staff member answers the call. What would we do without them? While these superheroes are necessary for the preservation of your living space, many people don’t think to offer them a tip.

Today, we take an in-depth look at apartment tipping practices and whether or not it’s expected.

What Other Renters Have to Say

Rent.com recently conducted a survey on building maintenance to glean information on how renters interact with staff. Among the numerous topics was the issue of tipping etiquette.

First and foremost on the list of questions: Do you tip your maintenance staff? To which many renters replied no. In fact, 78 percent of responders said they don’t tip when staff is performing routine maintenance, such as unclogging a drain.

78% of renters don't tip maintenance staff.

As the results show, 22 percent of people do tip maintenance. Of that small chunk, people seem to agree on how much to tip, as most give about $10 as a thank you.

Now, would people tip after some consideration? Responders aged 33 and older were less likely to start tipping than millennials—19 percent of older renters said they would consider tipping while 34 percent of millennials said the same.

Younger renters are more likely to tip maintenance staff.

Most Commonly Tipped Staff

Maintenance staff aren’t the only ones helping you in your day-to-day business. Doormen, concierge and landlords are regular parts of your apartment life. Our survey revealed that doormen are the most tipped apartment employees, and 41 percent of renters agree giving them extra money is appropriate.

Doormen are the #1 most tipped apartment staff.

Landlords, on the other hand, don’t make out with very much (you are paying rent, after all). Only 18 percent of responders believed that giving a landlord a tip to be appropriate.

Reasons to Tip Your Maintenance Staff

As we already covered, maintenance staff come to your apartment like Batman answering the Bat signal. They swoop in, fix a problem, then disappear into the night (or day, really). And while maintenance staff don’t wear masks or capes, they are heroic in their own way.

Read: National Maintenance Month Infographic

For instance, maintenance performs the jobs you either don’t know how to do or really don’t want to do. Unclogging a stuck toilet is possible for anyone, but it can be unpleasant. While you have the option to call in backup, maintenance handles the issue.

Furthermore, you might not have the equipment necessary to snake a drain or repair a broken railing. Maintenance is also more suited to fix electrical problems (unless you know how all that works). Basically, maintenance staff members are Jacks and Jills of all trades.

When is it Appropriate to Tip?

Should You Tip the Building Maintenance Staff - When to Tip

OK, so you’ve opened up to the idea of giving maintenance a little somethin’ somethin’ for their help and hard work, but you may not know the conditions under which tipping is most appropriate.

Here are some instances when you may decide to pull out your cash:

  • After a particularly messy or challenging repair

  • If they show up at an inconvenient time, such as the middle of the night

  • Around a holiday, such as Christmas

  • When they are incredibly accommodating, going above and beyond the call of duty

So why these cases and not others? Well, maintenance staff does get paid, likely by your landlord. If you don’t have to find your own plumber or electrician, then your property owner writes the maintenance personnel’s checks, so it’s not like you need to cover their living expenses.

In fact, part of your rent goes toward their salary. Fixing things is what they get paid (a full wage) to do, which is why many renters don’t tip.

How Much to Tip

If you feel you must offer your building maintenance an additional thanks, then you should decide on an amount of money or other gesture. You can be incredibly kind, thanking profusely. You might offer a glass of lemonade while they work (totally “Oklahoma,” I know).

Others have baked cookies for their maintenance staff or tossed them a beer (though we’re sure drinking on the job isn’t recommended). In the case of monetary reward, you can stick with our renters’ opinions and give $10. You may also provide more or less if you so choose. Really, it’s up to you.

Holidays are a unique case. You’ll likely hand out thanks to numerous people, all for different amounts. Most suggest offering your handyman anywhere from $15 to $40 around the holiday season. Either that, or provide a gift. Gift cards to coffee shops or a movie theater are also nice options.

Read: Your Guide to Holiday Tipping


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