March 20, 2023
Pricey Penny,

I had a handyman with two helpers do reworking in my home over a interval of many months. Typically, all three got here to my home; typically, he despatched one or the opposite to work at my home. 

The final job he did for me, he mentioned on his means out the door that he had been doing work for somebody who would hand him $20 each time he completed the work. So he needed me to know that his costs have been going up and he was charging me per diem. He principally left indicating that he was not for rent once more. The one indication that he was anticipating a tip for his work was the story he instructed. 

I’ve very seldom used a handyman, and I’ve by no means thought of tipping them. I’ve requested a number of individuals in the event that they tip handymen, and it has been a 50-50 cut up on the reply. 

Since he was the proprietor of the enterprise, ought to he have included a tip in his invoice? When he despatched the opposite people to do work, if I requested a couple of invoice, they referred me to the proprietor and left and not using a tip. Are we presupposed to guess whether or not persons are presupposed to be tipped?


Pricey P.,

In case your handyman thinks he can command an additional $20 per job for his companies, he ought to cost clients accordingly. By no means would I begrudge anybody for taking the best-paying work they will discover. However what he shouldn’t do is anticipate his clients to get the memo through ESP that he needs extra money.

If solely there have been an inexpensive commonplace for when tipping ought to be a norm. In professions the place employees have lengthy trusted suggestions for his or her livelihoods, like serving and bartending, gratuities are non-negotiable. They’re additionally a pleasant gesture when somebody really exceeds your expectations, notably in the event that they most likely aren’t raking in a fats paycheck.

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But it surely’s completely different once you’re coping with a enterprise proprietor. In case you can’t justify your worth will increase and as a substitute depend on the goodwill of shoppers to spice up your earnings, you don’t have a viable enterprise.

Nonetheless, I don’t blame you for second-guessing your self, provided that tipping tradition has gone wild up to now couple of years. So I polled roughly 10 mates and acquaintances about tipping on this situation simply to verify you and I aren’t the lone cheapskates. The consensus was clear: The overwhelming majority of individuals aren’t tipping their handyman — not as a result of they don’t worth the companies they supply, however as a result of they anticipate them to extend their charges to mirror their market worth.

One of many huge issues with the proliferation of tipping is simply how a lot data is anticipated of the shopper. You’d most likely be extra inclined to tip somebody making $12 an hour than somebody making $120 an hour, however you usually don’t have any ballpark guesstimate for what a employee is incomes. Some employers don’t even enable for tipping. And naturally, an enormous issue within the determination is what everybody else is doing. You don’t need to be a cheapskate, however you additionally don’t need to give away cash once you’re not obligated to take action.

Sooner or later, it’s important to marvel: Is it ever acceptable to easily pay somebody to do a job on the price you mutually agreed upon?

The truth that your handyman didn’t provide the choice to easily pay the upper price is odd. He might not need to settle for future jobs from you for any variety of causes. However he might have communicated that by saying he’s not obtainable, reasonably than dangling one consumer’s tipping habits over you.

The way in which your handyman handled this was unprofessional. I additionally suppose he did you a favor, although. I do not know if his story concerning the buyer who suggestions $20 per gig is legit. However you place a excessive degree of belief in somebody you rent as a contractor. I’m undecided I’d belief this man, and I wouldn’t need to cope with somebody who communicates so ineffectively — notably within the occasion {that a} dispute would come up.

Discover a new handyman. Ask your folks or neighbors for suggestions. When you’re at it, ask them what they pay for his or her companies and whether or not they add on a tip.

In the meantime, I hope the shopper who suggestions your earlier handyman $20 per job has loads of work obtainable for him. As a result of together with his method, that individual might wind up being his solely buyer.

Robin Hartill is a licensed monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected].