Do You Tip Contractors?

As you might recall, my wife and I are in the process of having new windows installed in our home.

While the installation crew has been here working, my wife and I have been discussing whether or not we should tip each of the guys on the crew.

My wife doesn’t think we should tip them and I think we should give them something, although I am beginning to waiver on that due to a few issues.

When they first started the job I thought it was appropriate to give each guy a tip upon completion. However, since that time I have been disappointed with their performance on the job. They arrive late and leave early – which is why this is now the 5th day they are working on this job. There have been a few problems along the way as well such as scratches on a few of the lift handles on the windows, a ripped screen (which they said they will replace but has yet to be done) and questionable quality of caulking. All of these things combined is causing me to lean towards my wife’s opinion that we should not tip these guys.

When you have had contractors working in your home, did you tip them when they were done?

Should we tip the contractors?

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9 Responses

  1. Chuck says:

    If you planned on tipping I would have told them ahead of time “hey, there is $X waiting for each of you at the end of the job if you finish quickly and do a good job”.

    Contractors and construction workers in general are notoriously slow and unreliable – especially when they already have some of your money. Might give them some extra incentive.

    Tipping for that kind of work is not standard practice, and if you are not happy with the job they’ve done I certainly would not.

    • mnc says:

      Chuck, thank you for the feedback. In the end we did not give them a cash tip but I did give them a 12-pack of beer when they were done.

      For the most part they did a good job but there were a few things that bothered me along the way. The job did take quite a bit longer than they originally planned and part of that was due to their arrival and departure times.

      At the end of the day, we are happy with our new windows and everything looks fantastic!

  2. green says:

    Yes, motivation is important, you should encourage them to finish job quickly.

  3. They probably appreciated the beer a lot more anyway, what with a slave-driver like you riding them all the time 😉

  4. Hopefully you didn’t give him beer, that would only decrease the speedy results.

    Funny contractor story:
    They were putting a second drive through lane on the Credit Union where I work, and they had the blueprints upside down when they were sinking the big metal poles. (so people couldn’t steal the ATM.) We watched them turn those blueprints 3 times and then curse loud enough to hear through the bullet-proof glass, then jackhammer 2 days’ work worth of concrete to rearrange those poles.

    They actually finished ahead of schedule by 3 days though…

    • mnc says:

      I did not give them the beer until they had finished on the last day. Funny thing though – they started work on the 5th and we had a big party on the 4th so there was still a cooler full of beer out on the deck that first day. When they moved it, they must have looked inside because they commented to me about the beer and the one guy said a beer sounded pretty good – nice try but I did not offer him one.

      I’m sure it was pretty entertaining to watch those guys with the poles for the ATM. It’s never fun to redo work.

  5. Danielle says:

    How long for 3 people to install a new door with frame – one of the 3 is “supervising” – so i tip the 2 doing the work?

  6. Gwen says:

    I just had a rather harrowing two months upgrading my kitchen. Not only did the contractor not supervise his workers or check the final product, but he consistently told them how to cut corners and would say “no” to every issue I brought to his attention and complained incessantly the job was taking too long. He actually charged me an extra $900 for this reason, demanding immediate payment. Even after paying him the extra he demanded, he frequently would not show up as promised, refused to notify me beforehand or return my calls. In addition, he always left a mess, including sloppy painting on the molding etc., paint on my carpet from dirty boots walking on blobs on the floor, dust and dirt everywhere from his sawing etc. and unfinished edges to wood he used to anchor the large cabinets/pantry to the floor.
    In fact I had to resort to the person who recommended him to get him to come back and finish the job – he left my kitchen filled with garbage and empty pails etc. for 3 weeks starting Good Friday!
    Yet, he demanded “a good tip” and was sorely disappointed when I refused. I feel like I’m living in a corrupt third-world country, where women are disrespected and taken advantage of…
    I had the same experience re-doing my bathroom, then, despite my misgivings, I bought the contractor and his worker lunch on the last day – at least they were respectful, if not always responsive to my requests… and sure enough less than two weeks after the job was “finished” the vanity cabinet came away from the wall. I was lucky to be agile enough to hold it up and put it on the floor without have a glass shower on my head. To this day that contractor has not returned my call!!

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