Why do some people tip poorly or not at all?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Why do some people tip poorly or not at all?
41
Mon, 02-25-2013 - 12:52am

I have been a licensed manicurist for over nine years, and have recently became a licensed massage therapist as well. A big part of the reason I got into this line of work is the pay, and tips are customary. Tips make up about 40% of my pay as a manicurist, and over 50% of my pay as a massage therapist. I really love my both of my jobs and enjoy the work, but I wouldn't be doing it for 40-50% less pay.

I really can't fathom why someone would tell me I did a beautiful job, that they feel brand new, that they want to come back to me every month, and then leave a tip of less than 10% or even sometimes none at all. I do everything in my power to keep my clients happy and do the absolute best job I can. I have a lot of pride in the level of my work. I don't half ass it, even if I'm not feeling great or having a bad day. I am always warm and friendly, even when the clients don't return that to me. The receptionists always ask if they would like to leave gratuity, so it can't be that they don't know (it has to be added in on the computer with our checkout system, rather than written in on the reciept.

I am not complaining about how much I make, because even with the rare low/non tipper my tips still average out to be at least 20% of the total bill. Obviously it's worth it to me to keep doing what I do. I know there will always be people who don't follow the customs and that is just part of the job. I'm just trying to understand why someone would intentionally do that in the first place if they are happy with the service they recieved? I mean I get that a lot of people don't like the institution of tipping and would like to see it go away (I even agree in some ways), but do you think you are going to change that by being part of the 1-2% that refuse to do it? Why punish the person who just cut your toenails? How does that make sense? It especially galls me when these people make appointments during my busiest days and times and my regular clients who tip me well cannot get in as a result. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006

I gave you figures of the median incomes to give you some idea of what the cost of living is like. If I lived in certain areas a $15 an hour wage would be adaquate, but not here. I do not make 60K a year on my own, but with my husband's income we do exceed that.

BTW, the city with the highest median income in the United States is Skaneateles, NY at just over 113, and there are only five cities in the US with a median household income of over 100K a year.

Yes, we do have a pedicure that costs $48 but it doesn't take an hour to do. Our hour long pedicures cost between $56 and $84. I get 35% of that which would be $19.60 to $29.40. My tips average just over 20% which would bring it to $30.8 to $46.50. Taking into account that I have unpaid breaks, lunches, opening and closing, people who don't show up for their appointments (or the appointment was booked incorrectly), slower seasons, comped services, etc. it averages out to about $23 per hour I am physically there.That is for doing nails.

For massage I make about 25% of the price the client pays, which works out to about $20 an hour, and then I average about another $20 an hour in tips. Right now I am only doing massage 12 hours a week as it is something I just started doing and I need to see how my body handles it before adding more hours.

The break even point for me is $18 an hour. I have to make at least that just to pay all my bills and have a small amount to set aside for unforseen expenses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 7:27am

I don't know about acrylic nails, but every salon here, that I know of, high end, will do gel nails. It's generally the inexpensive places that don't. I am not sure how that ties in to the discussion though.

Age, I have no idea how much money you make. I am using the formula and percentages you gave. lol .... if the service costs $40 and your commission ... without looking back, is 25% to 40% ... that is $10 to 16 an hour before tips.

Ya know, I am just trying to formulate this discussion into an understanding of why some people appear to tip poorly. This is not about you personally, where you work or how much money you make or what the median income is where you live :)... I am just giving examples to better explain my point with the information you laid out there. :) Obviously, depending on cost of living, the median income will be different.

The median income in cities around here is probably the same, if not higher, but nail techs don't make 80 grand a year .... maybe in the larger cities, but then the cost of living is higher there and the median incomes are probably near $250,00-500,000 mark..... lol .... this isn't about median income.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006

Acrylic fumes are from artificial nails. In these parts the only salons that don't do them are higher end ones. I used to do them, but the fumes started causing me respiratory problems. 

I wouldn't work for 15 an hour. I couldn't pay my bills on that, let alone have any left over to save or do anything fun. The median household income in my city is just over 60K. The median income in the city where I do nails is over 80K. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 8:57am

On the bill you see labor vs parts. Why don't hairdressers, manicurists, etc do the same thing?

This would be a good idea.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 03-04-2013 - 8:52am

Age,

I agree with you, but I wasn't trying to debate where you would like to work or convince you to work anywhere else. :) And maybe you are right, you would end up making the same amount of money, but we are discussing tips. Does the place I go to function like this all the time ... probably not, but my example was about tipping and knowing the technician doing the pedicures on 3 of us will end up making $33 an hour plus $14.00 in tips, does impact how I view the person tipping poorly.

I also believe we were discussing what the average customers know. If prices are standard where you live, then that's one thing. I've never experienced that before or knew myself until I actually made friends with people in this field.

On a personal note ... I actually receive a better pedicure and manicure here then anywhere else, regardless of what the technician feels she can or cannot do and the pace is cleaner then any other I've been to. It wasn't easy finding this place, but in higher end salons I find there's some awkward time when we are just sitting there waiting for something to process ... removal or soaking time.

And it really doesn't matter ... we just seemed to get side tracked. Even when the technician only works on one of us, she is getting $11 for that hour plus a $4 tip ... that's $15 an hour .... probably what you make, but at your place, I am paying .... say $40-50 ... you end up with the same amount, but how do I know? Know what I mean? I don't know if that makes sense, but I am tipping the same amount whether it's a $22 pedi or a $40 pedi. You make less because the commission is less .... but, I don't know that.

(and again ... we don't care if we have the same woman working on us and the pedicure and manicures are actually better then any place I've been to)

 Personally I do not like being around acrylic fumes

Not sure what that means?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006

Mappers, I have no idea how or why the personal service industry came to be a profession that customarily makes tips, and if I had any interest in going it alone I would not accept tips and I would price accordingly. I don't think that's an acceptable reason not to tip your manicurist/stylist/etc. as unless they are setting their own prices they really have no control over it.

And FWIW it is considered totally acceptable not to tip if the person working on you is either the owner of the salon or rents a booth and sets their own prices. I'd have to say that most people do so anyway, but it's totally fine not to.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006

Ommy94, all I can say is that it would not be physically possible for me to do 3 pedicures in one hour by myself to any sort of standard I would be happy with, and I have honestly never seen a manicurist work in the way you describe.I don't think I'd enjoy getting services like what you describe either, but that's just me. I also know people who work at the inexpensive nail shops or have in the past (no judgement call meant when I said "cheap", I am talking only about price) and we all wind up making about the same amount at the end of the month. Personally I do not like being around acrylic fumes, and I prefer to be able to take my time and spend a solid 45-60 minutes per service, so that impacts where I choose to work.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2004

Some people do tip their mechanic. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
I have to admit I don't understand tipping for services like this. In a restaurant, I pay for food and tip for service. At a hairdresser, etc, I'm paying for service, so why also tip for service? Other than color and maybe a little gel, I'm not paying for product. As someone else said, you don't tip your doctor or the plumber or the mechanic. On the bill you see labor vs parts. Why don't hairdressers, manicurists, etc do the same thing?
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 03-01-2013 - 7:22am

Age,

I find it weird you decided to debate this. I know this is your profession, but I think it's a stretch to say there's a real science to scheduling these appointments. Maybe there is, and sure, I have been to salons that over processed my hair because they decided to fit in another appointment and I've been to many that don't. The odd thing is the ones that do are usually stylists working at these high end salons you speak so highly of.

I mean really, you call places "cheap" and yes, sometimes places are cheap and provide lousy service, but sometimes, places are overpriced and provide lousy service. :) You talk about cleanliness and it's funny, I can think of 4 high end salons I've been to that I (or someone I knew) ended up with some rash or fungus because they do not clean either themselves or the basins properly.

Paying more does not in any way guarantee better service. Having someone work solely on you doesn't either.

And the purpose of your thread was to discuss tipping. You also added some percentages on commission. I was trying to point out, as the customers, it can be nearly impossible to know what exactly you are being paid. You pointed out this isn't so where you live. Ok ... I just don't understand that either as I tried to point out. Unless there is some standard knowledge as to what beauty technicians make. My husband is a mechanic and people, for some reason think what they are charged for labor is actually what my husband makes an hour .... lol, don't I wish. :) We own our shop and still, with expenses, we don't make near that labor charge. I would assume it is the same for you. And sure, different services we make more, but the general public does not know this or which services pay us better.

So, ok, I know you don't understand the structure of the nail place I go to, that's fine, but it works and they make more money, more time is spent on the client and I am not shelling out a small fortune. :) Back to tipping ... if 3 of us walk in together, the pedicures alone come to $66 for that hour and we do get a good hour pedicure. I tip about 5, my friend tips 8, so, sure, my mother on a fixed income maybe gives the woman $2, but overall, for that hour, the way this place is structured, this technician made a heck of a lot more then your structure would allow. Right?

But again .... the general public may not even think of this and this may be why some of your clients do not tip you well. Some might be thinking if you are charging them $50 for a pedicure you must be making good money.