Whenever your apartment seems to turn on you, a maintenance staff member is always there to answer the call. What would we do without them? While these superheroes are necessary for the preservation of your living space, many people don’t even think to offer them a tip.
Here is 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 collect information on how renters interact with staff. One of 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 most of the renters replied no. In fact, 78% of responders said they don’t tip when staff is performing routine maintenance, such as unclogging a drain.
As the results show, 22% of people tip maintenance. Also, of that small chunk, people seem to agree on how much to tip, as most say they tip 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% of older renters said they would consider tipping while 34% of millennials said the same.
Most Commonly Tipped Staff
Maintenance staff aren’t the only ones helping you in your day-to-day business. Your doorman, concierge and landlords are regular parts of your apartment life. Our survey revealed that doormen are the most tipped apartment employees, and 41% of renters agree giving them extra money is appropriate.
Landlords, on the other hand, don’t make out with very much (you are paying them rent, after all). Only 18% of respondents believed that giving a landlord a tip to be appropriate.
Reasons to Tip Your Maintenance Staff
As we already covered, good maintenance staff come to your apartment like Batman answering the Bat signal. They swoop in, fix your problem, then disappear into the night (or day, really). Not all heroes wear capes.
For instance, maintenance performs the jobs you either don’t know how to do or really don’t want to do. While most people can unclog a toilet themselves, if you have the option to call in backup, maintenance handles the issue.
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?
OK, so you’ve opened up to the idea of giving maintenance a little extra something 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
- When you regularly get the same helpful person
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 a check, 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 want to offer your building maintenance an additional thanks, then you should decide on an amount of money or other gesture. You can stick with our renter survey takers and give a $10 tip if you’d like. However, holidays are different. 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.
If you can’t offer a monetary thank you, you can always be incredibly kind, thanking profusely. You might even 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).
Next time a superhero maintenance staff comes to your rescue, consider a thank you gesture.