Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Questions from an Expat in NYC | When Should I Tip the Doorman?

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Fri, Mar 09, 2012 @ 09:23 AM

expat in NYCAre you an expat in NYC or Boston, wondering about that strange and confusing American custom called tipping? When it comes to tipping at restaurants, in taxis and at the hair stylist, it's pretty straightforward, right? However, what about that friendly man who opens the door for you everyday at your apartment building? Maybe he even knows your name. Sometimes he offers to carry your groceries and he usually hails you a cab on a rainy day. If you are like some of our students, you may be wondering how much and when you should tip your doorman. There are no rules written in your lease and it might be an awkward question to ask your neighbor, so you are stuck! In this post, you will learn how much and when you should tip your doorman in New York or Boston.



Advice from a New Yorker:


"Every resident generally gives each doorman a holiday bonus at Christmas time. In addition to that, I tip them as if I were at a hotel, when they help me do things (like carrying luggage)" -LB


What is a Doorman's Job?


There are certain things that a doorman is expected to do as a part of his job. For these things, you probably don't need to tip him. Here is what he does:


  • Keeps the building safe, assesses people who try to enter
  • Hails cabs for residents
  • Greets residents and opens the door for them
  • Answers questions about the neighborhood and gives directions
  • Keeps sidewalks clear of snow and ice


When to Tip


  • During the holidays: You should tip each doorman in your building (there might be a few of them) during the holidays. A standard amount is $50 dollars per doorman.
  • When he does something extra: As LB mentioned above, when the doorman carries heavy bags for you or does something that is not required as part of his job, it's a good idea to tip him.


Do you have other expat friends who are wondering about when to tip their doorman? If so, please share this article with them! Thank you very much!



Practical Tips for your Life in the U.S.



Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks

Topics: Life in Boston, Life in New York

Speak with Confidence

practice English now with native English speakers

Monthly Newsletter


English Podcast


American English conversation listening podcast

Nominated Top 100

Top 100 Language Lovers 2012

1. Top Language Lovers   Top 100 Final

Business English


Subscribe to this Blog

Free Trial Lesson



"Every day I read the English and Culture blog and I love it."

-Student of English and Culture

Connect with Us

Free Practice Guide


Latest Posts

Resources for You


Student Testimonial

business English student Boston

"My classes with English and Culture have been awesome. I have been taking the classes for almost two months, twice a week and I am really happy about my improvement. Now I feel more comfortable and secure when speaking English and more fluent, too."

-Elkin, Colombia