Tipping Week 2016

What we've learned from 5 years of Brick Underground tipping polls

By Virginia K. Smith  | November 29, 2016 - 12:59PM

For the last five years, when holiday tipping season rolls around, we've asked our readers how much (if at all) they plan to tip their building staff, in hopes of getting a general consensus on what New Yorkers in different types of buildings typically offer every year. (If you haven't taken this year's two-click poll yet, you can find it right here.)

Unsurprisingly, over the years, some patterns have emerged. For starters, among New Yorkers who plan on tipping anything at all, the majority expect to give $250 or less total, or on the higher end, something in the $250 to $500 range. Also, our readers seem to have gotten more generous over the years. Back in 2012, 20 percent of readers said that even their "favorite" doorman wouldn't be getting any tip at all (likely because of the then-still-deflated economy), and in 2013, about a quarter of owners planned to tip zilch (though renters in doorman buildings that year largely did say they'd be tipping).

In 2014, however, just a few people said they weren't tipping at all (with the exception of renters in doorman buildings), and last year, fewer people than ever said "no" to tipping (a total of 1 percent of owners in doorman buildings, and 3 percent of renters in doorman buildings).

The number of high rollers has also gone way up: Last year, 6 percent of owners and 13 percent of renters with doormen said they planned to tip $2,500 or more in total, compared to 5 percent and 11 percent in 2014, and 4 percent and 5 percent in 2013, and 3 percent and 1 percent in 2011.

But don't feel discouraged if you don't have thousands to dole out this year: Remember that according to our tipping guide, $25 to $150 is standard for a doorman (and $75 to $175 for a super), and if cash truly isn't an option, gift cards, homemade food, or a nice bottle of something are all still appreciated.

While everyone likes extra money in the bank, part of the point of holiday tipping is to say thank you, so whatever you have to offer will still make a statement.


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