Tipped work is normally the reserve of the otherwise meagrely-paid service industry. The minimum hourly wage for these jobs is often shockingly low – under $3 per hour in some areas of the U.S. – so why are so many workers content to stay in jobs offering so little in the way of financial security?
Tipped jobs are, of course, heavily subsidised by the generosity of tippers and it’s the freedom of this hefty cash-in-hand pay-off at the end of the working day that might explain an employee’s willingness to accept an otherwise unattractive salary. Tips give the employee a bit of freedom, too, in the ability to make his or her own decisions for the most part while interacting directly with the public and earning tips through flair and character; the social butterflies among us could stand to profit from their dazzling personalities. Waiters who are consistent, kind, and check on their guests frequently will receive higher tips. Those in sales with a vast knowledge of the product can also sell more products to more guests, earning them a bigger paycheque. It’s a good environment for people who prefer a bit less pressure, since the service industry employee is not normally under constant scrutiny by the boss. There’s also the appeal of the shift work offered in the service industry – it’s perfect for those with erratic hours like students, or parents seeking supplemental income. From bartending to delivery driving, these jobs offer a range of varying hours and shifts for workers who need flexibility.
Despite the appeal, the fact remains that you’re paid very little per hour without tips you’d struggle to even pay bills. We’ve look at 10 of the most common tipped jobs, from the worst to the best. Whether you’re agonising over how much of a Christmas bonus to tip your housekeeper, or lavishly throwing some of your winnings in your casino dealer’s direction, you’re making an essential contribution to the tipped worker’s livelihood. This list number the lowest to highest tipped jobs, shedding light on the service industry – from the plight to the delight.
10. Housekeeper: $0.50 / hour
This is arguably the lowest tipped job. Typically, housekeepers receive barely .50 cents an hour in tips, bringing the average hourly salary to $13. Housekeeping boasts long hours of hard work for very little pay and you might even be expected to supply your own cleaning products. Many people only want their house cleaned on a weekly or biweekly basis and may even call you last minute to cancel, making it both a low and unreliable income.
9. Dog Groomer: $1 / hour
Another one of the lowest tipped jobs available, dog groomers earn around $1 an hour in tips, and make around $13 an hour total. Many people simply don’t consider tipping the groomer, especially after shelling out a substantial amount of money on their dog’s beauty routine. And while the dog might appreciate it, the mutt’s not the one tipping. As a dog groomer, skill and a positive attitude do little encourage your customers to tip and unfortunately, many groomers have to pay rent on a business space. A rewarding job for dog lovers, but not financially.
8. Nail Technician: $2.80 / hour
Just over 20% of the technician’s income comes from tips, typically earning about $2.80 an hour in customer gratuity. Nail technicians often have to pay rent to their salon for their workspace, which can typically be anywhere from 25-50% of their income. Generally, this seems to be a job where your attitude won’t do much to affect the potential of receiving a tip from your customer and the overheads make nail art a poorly paid skilled craft.
7. Hairdresser: $3 / Hour
A surprisingly badly tipped profession, most hairdressers receive about $3 an hour meaning they earn around $11 an hour in total. Although they’re frequently tipped, many customers don’t leave substantial amounts behind. On average, customers offer 10% of the cost of their haircut as a tip, which might be frustrating considering the art and skill that goes into hairstyling. It’s a great job for sociable, talkative people though, and keeping your client entertained during the process can often earn you a bigger tip and a repeat customer.
6. Licensed Massage Therapist : $4 / Hour
Another frequently – but not generously – tipped job. Massage therapists make around $4 an hour in tips, bringing their total to $20 an hour when combined with their base pay. Clients do tip their therapists, but very rarely leave behind anything substantial. Usually, clients will leave around $1-$4 for an hour long session. It’s a good job for people who enjoy working with the body, but aren’t so talkative – there’s very little social interaction during a massage, so your tips are based on how good you are with your hands!
5. Pizza delivery driver: $7 / hour
A popular tipping job, despite the relatively low pay. It’s usually a readily available job with flexible hours, which can be appealing to college and high school students. In comparison to other tipped jobs, delivery drivers make around $7 an hour in tips – $10 an hour with their base pay. This means that’s 32% of their income comes from tips. Unlike many of the tipped jobs on this list, a delivery driver’s job requires very little interaction and so isn’t likely to be based on attitude. Lower tips for this type of service worker comes for the common assumption that delivery drivers get more than the tipped minimum wage and that the delivery charge is for the driver. In fact, delivery drivers do not always get fully reimbursed, if at all, for their gas usage and the delivery charge rarely goes to the driver – if it does, it normally goes towards gas costs.
4. Waiter $7 / hour
One of the most instantly-recognized and popular tipped jobs there’s usually a high demand for wait staff making it easy to find yourself in this industry. On average, waiters earn around $12 an hour, with $6-7 of that coming from tips; so well over half of their income comes from tipping. Waiters are almost always tipped, so it is a reliable means of working and earning money. Keep in mind, though, waiters are likely to take the fall for mistakes behind the scenes in the kitchen, so delays or cold food will mean a lower tip.
3. Bartender $10/ hour
A popular tipped job, a bartending gig typically allows for weekend end evening work making it popular among college students, freelancers and those working a 9-5 day job. Bartenders get to interact with the general public and chat while making the drinks – a great opportunity to meet people, network and socialize. Bartenders make anything from 50% to 100% of their income from tips – some businesses don’t offer a base pay to their bar staff. The bartender’s tips are all about skill and personality. The faster a bartender makes drinks – and the more connection he or she establishes with the customers – the better the tips. In North America, this is frequently tipped job so you can rest assured that you’ll have a reliable pay out at the end of the night. Drinkers tend to leave the highest tips when closing out their tab, too – probably due to the high ‘spirits’…
2. Gaming dealer: $11 / hour
This is a risky one, depending on the legislation in your country. Working for illegal gaming rooms can be incredibly risky – a police raid could mean jail time and charges. But if you do land an above-board casino job, you’ll be guaranteed about $11 an hour in tips. With tips, you’re looking at a nice average salary of $18 an hour . 59% of casino workers’ income comes from tipping, and giving a little extra to your gaming dealer is very common in the gambling environment. Dealers are almost always tipped, and well.
1. Exotic dancer: $20
The highest tipped job at the top of our list proves what we all knew – sex sells. Strip clubs are ever-popular, even during the tougher economic breaks, and it’s a pretty in-demand career too. Dancers work maybe three to four days a week and can bring home significant amounts in tips. The higher tips are down to the variety of services offered: private dances, lap dances, and pole dancing. Every dance has to be tipped, and these tips all go to the dancer. The exotic dancer usually make around $20 an hour in tips, and in fact that’s only about 44% of their income – they’ll make around $45 an hour from their base pay and tips.
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