You know to tip your pizza delivery person, and you even give your mailperson a small monetary gift around Christmastime. As for your carpet cleaners, you’re not sure. They just did an exemplary job making your carpets look and feel new again. Does this call for a tip?
A carpet cleaner will not expect a tip, but if you really insist on giving one, you can. The tip should be between $5 and $20. This kind gesture will be remembered, especially if you work with the same carpet cleaners again.
This article is your carpet cleaner tipping etiquette 101. We’ll elaborate further on how much money to tip your carpet cleaners, when and how to give them the money, and what to do if they say no. You’re definitely not going to want to miss this, especially if you have a professional carpeting cleaning coming up on your calendar!
Should You Tip Your Carpet Cleaners?
Your carpets were in really rough shape since they hadn’t been shampooed in years. You paid a few hundred dollars, maybe even close to $1,000 (if your home has a lot of rooms) for the job. You couldn’t be happier with the quality of work, and you’d love to show your appreciation with a cash tip on top of the bill.
Can you do this? Sure!
If you decide to tip, do so out of the goodness of your heart, not because you feel obligated to. Most technicians shouldn’t turn you down if you offer them some extra cash, but carpet cleaning isn’t a service where tips are a common thing. They’re paid well enough.
According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for carpet cleaners is $14.12 an hour, which is up to $47,000 a year. This resource says carpet cleaners make around $32,000 per year, especially if they work solo. Some especially ambitious carpet cleaners can earn more though, between $50,000 and $75,000 annually.
In other words, carpet cleaners have a salary or at least a reliable hourly rate. They may also earn a commission. They’re not like hairdressers, pizza delivery people, restaurant workers, and bartenders who need tips to offset their low hourly rates, which are often just minimum wage or under.
So a carpet cleaner doesn’t need your tip to survive financially, let’s be clear on that. If the cleaners worked for hours or they restored a carpet that you thought was a goner though, then there’s nothing wrong with rewarding them monetarily.
What if you’re worried about your own financial survival? As we indicated before, carpet cleaning is not necessarily a cheap job, and you might have a huge hole in your wallet after the anticipated bill.
You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you can’t tip your carpet cleaners. It’s not like they’re going to stand around staring at you, waiting for you to give them money. Once the job is done and the bill is paid, they’ll leave–no harm, no foul.
How Much Money Should You Give Your Carpet Cleaners?
Okay, so if it feels appropriate and doesn’t make you pinch pennies, you know you can tip your carpet cleaners. The next question becomes how much money to give them.
Anything from $5 to $20 is suitable. Do keep in mind that unless your carpet cleaner is a solo operation, you can’t just tip one technician. You need to offer a tip to everyone on the team. If that’s five people, then you might want to keep your tip on the lower side unless you don’t mind parting with a good chunk of change.
If you just can’t decide what the right amount of money is, Fund First Capital has a handy carpet cleaner tip calculator. You input your carpet cleaning bill, then the percent you’d like to tip the technicians.
Let’s say you spent $400 on carpet cleaning and you want to tip at 15 percent. That’s a tip of $60.
If you need to split the bill among a team, the calculator accommodates for that as well. Continuing the example above, we’ll say your carpet cleaning team consists of five people. If you’re still tipping at 15 percent, that’s $12 a person.
That may seem low to you, so let’s say you increase your tipping percentage to 25 percent. The bill is still $400, but now your tip is $100 total. Each carpet cleaner would get $20. That’s right in the sweet spot.
When During the Appointment Do You Tip Your Carpet Cleaners?
Once you figure out how much money to tip your carpet cleaners, you have to decide when you’ll do it. You have two opportunities here. The first is to roll the tip into the overall bill and mention that you’re tipping the carpet cleaners as you give them the paid bill.
Your other option is to offer them a tip as they conclude their services but before they leave your home. If you’re going this route, you have to know the right time to strike, as once the carpet cleaners are gone, so too is your opportunity to give them a tip!
How to Give Your Carpet Cleaner Money
It’s one thing to tip your waiter/waitress or pizza delivery person since it’s customary to do so. You know the process and you’ve done it many times before. If this will be your first time tipping your carpet cleaners, you might feel a bit awkward about it. After all, it’s not like you can slap some money on the table and then slyly slide it over.
Remember, you have two opportunities per the last section for offering a tip. If you are indeed feeling a bit shy, then there’s nothing wrong with writing a check with the extra $60 or $100 for the carpet cleaning team’s tip. You can even leave a note on the paperwork mentioning that you’re tipping them.
Ideally, it’s best if you can be direct. If you’ve hired a solo carpet cleaner, then you should hand the money to him or her directly and say something like “thanks for the wonderful work. Here’s a tip.” That’s overt enough that the moment will go smoothly. When you just hand someone money but don’t explain it, you create the opportunity for awkwardness, which will make you feel weirder about tipping in the future.
What if it’s a whole team getting a tip? We still recommend talking to the main carpet cleaner and asking if you should tip each technician individually. You could just give the money to the lead carpet cleaner and he or she will divvy it up amongst their team. Otherwise, then go to each carpet cleaner, give them their share of the tip, and thank them. You can even shake their hand if you want to.
What to Do If the Carpet Cleaner Doesn’t Accept the Tip
Some carpet cleaners might have a policy where they can’t accept tips. This isn’t something you’ll come across often, but whether it’s a personal policy or a company one, they have no choice but to refuse your offer.
If that’s the case, then we’d suggest you don’t push the issue. The carpet cleaner has explained why they can’t take your money, they probably even thanked you for your thoughtfulness, so that’s the end of that story. Don’t think you can be sneaky and smart by writing the tip into the bill. All that will do is cause the carpet cleaner to have to call you back and have a difficult discussion about refunding you the tip money.
Tipping your carpet cleaners is a nice thing to do if you’re especially pleased with the service you received. That said, a tip is by no means expected of you, so if the bill is higher than you thought or if your budget is especially tight, you won’t offend the carpet cleaners if you can’t tip them.
The best way to prepare a tip is to know how many carpet cleaners are coming to the house, determining the percentage you want to tip at, and then using the calculator we linked you to. Make sure you tip everyone on the team and be direct and courteous when you give them the money. Best of luck!