In the absence of social gatherings this holiday season, there’s been less time to discuss with friends the stressful New York City topic — “How much should I tip my doorman?” As well as not being able to share the dilemma with friends over a glass of wine this year, there’s the new factor of how much more to give in a pandemic year. Instead, we asked the question of our readers. Here are some of their tips (all anonymous as “my building staff reads the W42ST emails and not all get the same amount”…)
“Ah, tips — we were at a loss when we first moved to our building. We have 15 staff members in our full-service building. We give everyone some kind of treat (chocolate, fruit or nut basket, metro cards -somewhere between $10-$15). We then give out individual cards with cash or gift cards (Amazon or Macy’s) to the staff members,” shared one reader. “Our monetary amounts vary depending on the level of interaction. The doorman that lets me know I have a package as soon as I walk in, definitely gets more than the doorman that barely acknowledges us. The Porter that cleans my hallway, goes above and beyond with my requests and takes the time to chat, gets more than the porter that we have little interaction with. I always make sure I write a personal note to thank those who do work hard.”
This reader continued with some inside scoop: “I had asked a doorman friend of mine about tipping a few years ago — as I didn’t want to offend with my giving — he told me any amount is appreciated and to give to our financial comfort level. Another friend of mine that runs a co-op tells me it depends on whether you tip through the year (like giving your porter $$ for bringing up a box) or only tip at the end of the year. Her building has about 150 apartments and she says the tips vary from $5-$200. It all depends on a person’s financial situation. Her staff is just as happy to get a plate of cookies from the elderly lady in the rent-stabilized apartment as the $$ from the corporate lawyer.”
Another reader took a view that the pandemic should lead to bigger tipping. “I’m not a big tipper, generally, but the building staff had such a tough (and scary) job at the height of the pandemic. I will be giving the staff 25-30% more this year. I make an exception, they deserve it.”
Just moving into an apartment is a popular issue that this reader shared. “I also had massive apartment tipping questions. I moved in September and so I have only been here three months — I assume I am not tipping as much as if I were here a full year instead of a quarter of a year. My building sent out a holiday card with their names on it so it was handy in figuring out who to tip (seven people total). I tipped the super a little more because I hear he is the most important, even though I have yet to call him. And I tipped the main doorman, the daytime one M-F a little more as well.”
Another challenge is being a part-timer in the building. Another reader shared: “I asked my realtor about tipping. I also just moved into my building in mid-November, and I am a part-timer. So the rules are a little different for me in terms of being there full time. I have a super and 5 doormen (we have 24-hour doorman service). I used the triplemint.com holiday doorman tip-o-meter and it helped greatly, they ask you a few questions — do you own or rent, is your apartment a studio, 1 bed, 2 bed, etc….. and they calculate what fair tipping you feel comfortable with. I also read a few articles on tipping during the holiday season as well, then made my choice how I would proceed.”
Finally, this reader lives in one of the larger buildings, but she likes the personal touch. “I tip everyone individually and will be giving a bit more to the front desk this year because of the extra work during lockdown (and a bit more to a couple of them who have been super helpful and nice all year — between $50-$100 to each one),” she shared. “I give the same to all maintenance staff ($20 each), but a bit more to the boss and the two main guys ($50 each), who always go the extra mile.”
So the message seems to be to keep it personal, and give what you can afford this year.