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We all should understand that the nicest people are the ones who get invited back. I'm convinced that if a band takes care of venue employees it pays off on their input with management to rebook you. In addition to the kindness that comes back as we become regulars. When first going in I take detailed notes on iPhone as to names & positions so I can personally address them the next time in.

My question today: How big of a tipper are you? For example, on our steady Tue. night gig at a 4 star hotel cocktail lounge, my tipping schedule is the following: Bar tender $5 ( I get a free $20 glass of wine) My female vocalist $5 ( Its actually a Starbucks waiting for her when I pick her up) Hotel Greeter $5, ( just because he's a minority college kid working hard to change his family future) Valet parking $5 ( Parking is comped, but now the guys take care of us, cars ready, running & warm at closing, which is nice in downtown Cleveland) Guitar player $5 ( he does all the booking)

So every Tuesday night I invest $25 in tips & I promise it pays off in relationships & return business

Anyone else have input?
 

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Three boxes of reeds for fifteen minutes with the singer back stage.

Seriously, I've never done what you suggest and it has never made a difference. Do it if you wish, it's a nice thought, but some of the tip-enhanced service is theoretical.
 

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For example, on our steady Tue. night gig at a 4 star hotel cocktail lounge (. . .) in downtown Cleveland.
Which hotel? I'd like to come hear you one Tuesday.

As for the tipping thing, I tip those who deserve it. The bartender gives me a free glass of nice wine or a nice cocktail? - I'll tip around the price of the drink, as I'm still saving money and more money is going into that bartender's pocket. Vocalist? - No, presumably she's being paid on the gig; seems she should be tipping you (or the guitar player). Tipping a hotel greeter because he's a minority comes off as patronizing unless he's helping you unload your car or assisting with your gear. With free valet it's nice to tip the runners if they've done a good job (especially when it's freezing cold in downtown CLE). And a little extra gratuity for the guy who got the gig can be viewed as good business sense but is not a practice I personally engage in.

$25 per gig seems steep to me - some gigs that's 25-50% of your take-home. To each their own, but I suspect your return business comes from your skills as a musician and not your willingness to throw $5 bills at venue employees and bandmates.
 

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We all should understand that the nicest people are the ones who get invited back. I'm convinced that if a band takes care of venue employees it pays off on their input with management to rebook you. In addition to the kindness that comes back as we become regulars. When first going in I take detailed notes on iPhone as to names & positions so I can personally address them the next time in.

My question today: How big of a tipper are you? For example, on our steady Tue. night gig at a 4 star hotel cocktail lounge, my tipping schedule is the following: Bar tender $5 ( I get a free $20 glass of wine) My female vocalist $5 ( Its actually a Starbucks waiting for her when I pick her up) Hotel Greeter $5, ( just because he's a minority college kid working hard to change his family future) Valet parking $5 ( Parking is comped, but now the guys take care of us, cars ready, running & warm at closing, which is nice in downtown Cleveland) Guitar player $5 ( he does all the booking)

So every Tuesday night I invest $25 in tips & I promise it pays off in relationships & return business

Anyone else have input?
Hmm, I wouldn't tip a barman if I'm working in the same bar, kind of like the waiters don't tip the barman and the barman doesn't tip the band. I certainly wouldn't tip a vocalist, or guitarist I'm working with, if I'm the band leader I just pay them the fee (or am I misunderstanding what's going here?)

Tip amount varies from country to country, I tend to think 20% is good in the USA, 15% in England (although most waiters will be over the moon at that, it's more than average. We don't tend to tip barstaff habitually, but if I am having a few at the bar, I might say "one for yourself?" every fourth or fifth pint, and not be offended when they don't actually pour themself a drink. There are some countries that tips are obligatory, and in others they are considered offensive.

I have no qualms about not tipping very bad service in a restaurant in the UK, or a terrible taxi driver, though that could lead to trouble in the USA and some countries.
 

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I play jazz at an Irish pub on Thursday nights. I tip the waitress and she tips the band- just a little tradition of ours!
 

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$25 per gig seems steep to me - some gigs that's 25-50% of your take-home.
And that hotel greeter or valet, and certainly that bartender is probably getting paid more than you are.
 

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Never heard of musicians doing that, though I guess that it might be a practice somewhere. If you're in a union venue, say, in a major hotel like the Hilton or the Carlton, There's no point in it because there's a set wage for most of the employees. It is common for waiters to put money in a jar for the kitchen staff, especially if you want your order to be cooked on time. At The court of Two Sisters (N.O.) it was pretty much a necessity to tip the kitchen staff 5-10%.

But a band member tipping the valet, the bartender, the hotel greeter? The band is hired help, no matter who is in the band.
 

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We all should understand that the nicest people are the ones who get invited back. I'm convinced that if a band takes care of venue employees it pays off on their input with management to rebook you. In addition to the kindness that comes back as we become regulars. When first going in I take detailed notes on iPhone as to names & positions so I can personally address them the next time in.

My question today: How big of a tipper are you? For example, on our steady Tue. night gig at a 4 star hotel cocktail lounge, my tipping schedule is the following: Bar tender $5 ( I get a free $20 glass of wine) My female vocalist $5 ( Its actually a Starbucks waiting for her when I pick her up) Hotel Greeter $5, ( just because he's a minority college kid working hard to change his family future) Valet parking $5 ( Parking is comped, but now the guys take care of us, cars ready, running & warm at closing, which is nice in downtown Cleveland) Guitar player $5 ( he does all the booking)

So every Tuesday night I invest $25 in tips & I promise it pays off in relationships & return business

Anyone else have input?
Yes, what you do is the right way - the classy way. I learned this 50 years ago from some very successful local bands. Foe example, I played frequently in a downtown restaurant where the band's drinks were half-price. Not only that, they 'forgot' to write them down sometimes. We were doing gangbuster business for them and the bartenders and waitresses were dishing it out as fast as they could. No waitress was involved for me - I always went to the bar and got what I wanted, figuring the waiting staff was better utilized serving the patrons. Anyway, at the end of the night my tab always came out to be $10 or less and I usually tipped at least the same amount as the tab. Recently at a small bar gig I tipped the waitress personally in cash then added a 20% tip on my bar tab on top of it.
The moral of this story is two things - being friendly to the staff and tipping them - it makes them want you back. The owner typically asks the staff what they thought of the group and its good to have them on your side. There's an art to working at a place - you can take an active part in helping things go smoothly or at least know enough to stay out of the way. When you act right AND tip well, you are a rare entertainer and they will remember you.
 

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My bands have regular gigs at a few bars and restaurants, and in most cases we get free drinks and a meal in addition to our pay. I always tip similar to because - $5 to the bar tender and $5 to the waitress taking care of us. In most of the places we play, there is usually a waitress assigned to get the band fed and in a couple of smaller places the bartender serves the band while we're on the bandstand. They really do appreciate the tip, and it is way less than the value of what I usually eat and drink. In one place (tap room of a local micro brewery), the bartender has also been giving me a growler to go at the end of the evening as thanks.
 

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I'm a Boston person, like Mi000ke, and am like minded about tipping. My band has a few regular places we play and we get comped drinks and some food and everyone in the band overtips in appreciation and it helps create the lovefest with the staff that we want. The owners seemingly want us to be generous with their staff also - so we are not overtipping the staff to give us freebies at the expense of the owners.
 

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Interesting question, and responses. I've been on both sides of the equation, having bartended at a somewhat upscale bar/restaurant that featured live jazz, and being a performing musician. I used to get annoyed with the 'cheap' musicians that came up to the bar and flagged me down to get their free drinks and then didn't tip (or tipped poorly). Then I realized that, as a 22 year old college kid, I was making 5x's as much money pouring drinks as they were making playing (and they were some world class musicians!). Later on, as a professional performer, I thought to myself, 'why should I have to tip the bartender for getting me the free drinks/food that is part of my measly pay? Afterall, you VERY RARELY see a bartender tip the band'. I've kinda settled on that tipping is good, but excessive tipping is not necessary. On a free drink I will tip about the same, or a bit more than I would if I paid for the drink...in other words, $1 tip for a $5 beer. I don't see any need to tip $5 just because I got the beer for free...that was part of the deal!

As for the other people OP mentioned tipping...valet, sure...they are doing their job. Greeter...never really been in a position to do that, and it seems quite unnecessary if no service is being provided. Singer/guitar player...that doesn't really strike me so much as 'tipping' so much as it does giving a extra portion of the gig proceed for extra work (booking), which is completely logical for the guitar player. I'm not sure why the singer should get more, lol.

As far as tipping for the sake of getting more bookings...I don't know that it really helps as much as you think. I mean, you certainly don't want to **** the staff off by stiffing them, but I don't think an excessive tip will equate to more gigs, and even if it did, is that really how you want to get them?
 

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As far as tipping for the sake of getting more bookings...I don't know that it really helps as much as you think. I mean, you certainly don't want to **** the staff off by stiffing them, but I don't think an excessive tip will equate to more gigs, and even if it did, is that really how you want to get them?
+1. This mirrors my thoughts exactly. I do tip a bartender a couple dollars when I get my free drink, not to curry favor, but just because I want to do it. I sure as hell don't tip my band mates, though. I do most of the work getting gigs and doing the money transactions. I always pay them in cash the night of the gig, even on a couple 'corporate' type of gigs where I have to wait for the paycheck to arrive in the mail. I don't take anything extra; just split the proceeds, pay & band tips, up evenly; no reason to give them anything extra.

I've never had any valets help me carry my gear in, so that's not an issue.
 

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I will add that although I don't think musicians need tip any more than they would if they were paying regular price, I think there is a code of conduct they should adhere to when getting bar service...namely, they should consider themselves lower priority than the paying customers. If I'm sitting at the bar waiting for a drink and a customer comes up I always defer to them to have their order taken first, even if I was there first. When I bartended, it always annoyed me when musicians would get antsy to get their drink bc their set break was almost over. Sorry bud, you spent 20 minutes talking to girls and smoking cigarettes and waited until the last moment to go to the bar, now I got customers, guess you're outta luck this set!
 

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Tipping, while no unknown, is not part of the Australian culture where people in the service industry are generally paid a wage that isn't based on the assumption that they'll bring it up to a living wage by getting tips. That said, you'll often see a tip jar on the bar which the servers share.

A band leader tipping the venue staff would be viewed as a very strange critter indeed.
 

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This is more about tipping in general rather than tipping while working as a musician.


I find the whole tipping culture to be in poor taste across the board.

Tipping exploits labor and on the side of the customer it adds an obligation that if debated in ones head leads to either guilt if you dont tip enough, resentment if you tip and it was not really well earned. Its a whole system of judgments and consequences that IMHO need not exist.

Tipping in France is pretty limited. Its added to your bill in a dining establishment. Some feel you will get less service...I do not. I have had far worse service in the US (and more rude or crude) than I have here. I have also had excellent service in the US. The bottom line is that everyone is going to be a professional but over the long haul people who get tips seem to forget that it is a tip...not an obligation. I really I dont go out to dinner to evaluate someones worth. IMHO that is the job of the business owner who is slacking in the first place by not paying a living wage.

BTW They were not allowed to exploit workers in that fashion in Oregon:

"State law prohibits using tips to calculate the amount of Oregon´s minimum wage. This means that all employers
in Oregon must pay the full amount of minimum wage without benefit of a tip credit. All tips must remain the property
of the employee except to the extent that there is a valid pooling arrangement."
 

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Oh yes... I have always been a good tipper. Now I am a great tipper. I no longer need my gig money to live. Servers, parking attendants, bartenders etc. are all usually living from paycheck to paycheck. A great tip can make the day (or week) of someone in that position. That money also goes right back into the economy which is good for everyone. So while you may think it's in "poor taste", I think happy people and economic prosperity are always in style!
 

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This is more about tipping in general rather than tipping while working as a musician.


I find the whole tipping culture to be in poor taste across the board.

Tipping exploits labor and on the side of the customer it adds an obligation that if debated in ones head leads to either guilt if you dont tip enough, resentment if you tip and it was not really well earned. Its a whole system of judgments and consequences that IMHO need not exist.

Tipping in France is pretty limited. Its added to your bill in a dining establishment. Some feel you will get less service...I do not. I have had far worse service in the US (and more rude or crude) than I have here. I have also had excellent service in the US. The bottom line is that everyone is going to be a professional but over the long haul people who get tips seem to forget that it is a tip...not an obligation. I really I dont go out to dinner to evaluate someones worth. IMHO that is the job of the business owner who is slacking in the first place by not paying a living wage.

BTW They were not allowed to exploit workers in that fashion in Oregon:

"State law prohibits using tips to calculate the amount of Oregon´s minimum wage. This means that all employers
in Oregon must pay the full amount of minimum wage without benefit of a tip credit. All tips must remain the property
of the employee except to the extent that there is a valid pooling arrangement."
Colorado has a similar set up with our minimum "tipped wage" being $7+ an hour as opposed to the federal $2+/hr. Standard minimum wage for the state is $10+/hr. Even then it's a tough way to make a living as the game has changed to a "just in time" staffing model where people are called-in and expected to show up at a moment's notice when it gets busy or sent home from shifts if it's slower than expected. Years ago owners didn't mind having a few extra people around rolling silverware or folding napkins when it wasn't busy. Now, if those 4-5 people are costing them $30-$40 and hour in total they get sent home. Getting paid $2/hr as a base wage stinks but being humiliated and devalued by being sent home when you aren't needed is no bargain either.

The funk band gets dinner as part of the pay package at a few of our standard gigs. We always tip the server(s) well as handling dinner and drinks for 11 or 12 is no easy task. We realize for the servers taking care of us that's 2 or 3 paying tables they don't have time to wait so if you don't tip them you're basically taking money out of their pocket. In cases like this, it doesn't matter how good to band is; if you're demanding or difficult, and don't tip eventually that gets back to the owner/manager and you won't be invited back.
 

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There's a sign on tip jar in a parking lot I use once a month or so - "Tips are like hugs without the awkward touching part". Of course $2 or $3 goes in every time I leave. End result, the guys always help me with my wife's wheelchair and park the car somewhere where it won't be scratched.

I always tip for free drinks at a gig, more since I quit drinking (2 bucks for a tonic water and a lime squeeze? No problem!). It's not the money, it's really just the thought - "hey, I'm a working stiff and I know you are too and I see you and appreciate what you do".

In my experience, musicians and wait-persons tend to tip more than cheap-skate 1%-ers...
 
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