We've always suspected as much, but BrickUnderground's 2011 Holiday Tipping poll confirms that renters as a group do tend to tip less than owners.
More than half (57%) of the 810 renters in doorman buildings who took our poll said they tipped no more than $500 total last year, compared to around one-third (35% percent) of 630 owners in doorman buildings.
On the other extreme, two and a half times more owners qualified as Big Tippers, with 25% of owners in doorman buildings handing out $1,000 or more, versus just 10% of renters with doormen.
As we've speculated previously, several factors may contribute to the gratuity divide:
- Transience: Renters move more often than owners and may be reluctant to invest much in people they may not know very long.
- Wealth: Owners may have more disposable income then renters (though the strength of NYC’s luxury rental market may prove that to be untrue).
- Renter mentality: Bonuses should be paid by the landlord
- Owner mentality: Owners are concerned about property values and believe that if they take care of staff, the staff will take better care of the building.
We asked 30 New Yorkers--owners and renters--to explain their views on the renter vs owner divide. Here’s a sampling of their answers:
- “We’re more inclined to be a little more generous [than renters] because of the permanence of the staff. We have a fabulous staff.” -Helen and Neil, Upper East Side
- “I think owners feel closer to the people who work in the building.” -Anonymous, Carnegie Hill
- “I probably tip more than if I rented. Renting is more transient, there is less permanence.” -Brad, Midtown
- “I tip more now than when I was renting, mostly because when I ask for service I actually get it!” -Jackie, Upper West Side
- “As an owner, I certainly tip more. I want them to take good care of the building. When I rented I didn’t care…It was a walk-up, pre-war rental, and I was a medical resident, so I was just scraping by. It’s kind of like would you tip your land lord if you were a college student?” -Jim, Upper West Side
- “I think owners are more concerned about good tipping because they’ll stay put longer.” -Kara, Gramercy
- “I’m a renter in the process of becoming an owner, so it’s important to make a good impression; I’ll tip better than normal this year.” -Thomas, Upper East Side
- “I don’t feel pressured to tip, especially now because I’m moving before the end of the year.” -Roger, Gramercy
- “I don’t think it should matter if someone’s an owner or a renter. It depends on the work of the individual. Some are good, some are brain dead.” -Walter, Carnegie Hill
- "Owners tend to make more money and ask for more frequent services.” -Peter, Upper East Side
- "Don’t owners tip better than renters? I think I tip well, but I’m not sure all my friends who rent also tip well. By contrast, though, everyone I know who owns, tips.” -Jane, Upper West Side
- “Owners should always tip. When you rent, it’s more of an option unless you’re a pain-in-the-arse tenant. -Casey, Upper East Side
- BrickUnderground's 2012 Holiday Tipping Guide
- Take BrickUnderground's 2012 'Naughty vs Nice' Holiday Tipping Poll
- All 2012 Holiday Tipping Coverage
- All 2011 Holiday Tipping Coverage
- All 2010 Holiday Tipping Coverage
- What happens to bad tippers
- An open letter from your porter at the holidays
- NYC Real(i)ty Speak: Good excuses for lame tippers (sort of)
- To tip or not to tip the garbage man: Advice from our street-parking friends in Brooklyn
- Dear Ms. Demeanor: Tipping the amenity staff at the holidays
- Serial Renter: 3 tips on tipping