Manhattan Apartment Building Holiday Tipping Etiquette

Real Estate Broker with The Corcoran Group

Every year around this time, I am asked about New York City holiday tipping etiquette, especially for Manhattan apartment building staff.

Here is my take on the situation:

So many ask, “why tip at all for someone who is merely doing his job?” An additional reward for work well done is a welcome gift. It is good manners, and customary to show one’s appreciation by giving a little something extra during the holiday as a way to say “thank you”.

Apthorp Upper West Side Doorman


Keep in mind the following factors in determining what to give:

  • how pleased are you with the service
  • the frequency of the service
  • how long you’ve known the person
  • your budget
  • the local custom
  • the type of establishment (deluxe vs. moderate building)The following are ranges of suggested gratuities:
  • Apartment Building Superintendents: $25 - $1000. There is a wide range here depending on the services offered by your building and how much the staff are at your beck-and-call during the year.
  • Doormen/Concierge: $25 and up Take into consideration how nice they are to you, if you get lots of visitors and deliveries, and if they actually open the door for you. To maintain a level of quality service, you need to pay for it.

Claude my favorite Doorman

Porters: $15- $50 These people have a difficult and sometimes unpleasant job. If you spilled Styrofoam packaging stuffers in your hallway or incinerator room, you owe it to your custodian to remember.

Handyman: $15 - $50 This is an instance where your tip can be proportionate to the amount of the work you’ve requested during the year. If you merely greet the handyman in the hall, the lower end of the range should suffice. If you’ve gotten him out of bed in the middle of the night to repair a gushing water leak, ask yourself how much such a task is worth to you and show your appreciation accordingly.

  • There is a long list of other people to remember during the holidays-garage attendants,  personal trainers, housekeepers, babysitters, stylists, etc., and the range of what is considered appropriate is wide and left mostly to personal judgement.

Regardless of the cash value of any gift, however, it is important that a gratuity be given as a present. Include a nice card with a hand written note and deliver it personally. Cash is appreciated, rather than checks. In what can seem like an uncivilized city, it is important to remember to make a gesture of appreciation to those who make your life easier. The holiday season is the perfect time to do so.



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manhattan apartment building holiday tipping etiquette

Comments 32 New Comment

Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Mitchell, knowing what to tip is so difficult to know in some situations. What a great help to Manhattan Apartment Building residents to know what their Holiday Tipping Etiquette should be.


December 12, 2012 08:18 PM
Jo-Anne Smith, Sales Representative
Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Region Real E
Your Choice Realty Corp, Brokerage


It's always nice to remember those who have been kind and gone out of their way for us during the year.


December 12, 2012 08:59 PM
Lisa Hickling
I find that the bring out an almost pavlovian response in that everybody expects something on schedule and on budget. Maybe it's a radical thought but why not gift randomly throughout the year totally unexpectedly but memorably?
December 12, 2012 10:07 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT

Mitchell - what a great post, and yes, everyone has these questions each yr.   Smart post which I'm sure will get a lot of hits (and does every yr).

December 13, 2012 02:48 AM
Gita Bantwal
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
RE/MAX Centre Realtors

I hope people will read your post and tip generously for the good service they receive  all year.

December 13, 2012 04:10 AM

Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC
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