Tipping your apartment staff can be confusing. While there are no hard and fast rules, tipping is your opportunity to show your appreciation and can go a long way towards making your home a comfortable space. By building a good relationship with your doormen, concierge, maintenance staff and superintendent, you're more likely to be able to count on them to help you when the need arises.
How much you tip your apartment staff is a personal decision that probably depends on the city you live in, the size of the building, the quality of service, how long you have lived in the building and your financial circumstances.
While there's no formal requirement to tip, keep in mind that many building staff members are living below the city's estimated living wage and tips can make a big difference in helping them support their families.
If you rely on the staff for day-to-day needs, an average tip for good service is around $10. If you live in a large city like New York or Chicago or a high-end building in any city, you may want to tip more.
During the holiday season (between Thanksgiving and Christmas), it's an especially appropriate time to tip your apartment staff. Check with your building manager to see if there's a shared pool. If the money is divided among the staff, you may want to give individual tips to recognize your hardest working staff members.
If you have a personal relationship with your apartment staff, you may want to give your tip in person, but it's also fine to simply leave cards with the front desk staff. Give cash, not checks and include a note that says something like, “Thanks for your help throughout the year."
If you receive excellent service you should tip generously. If you frequently ask for help carrying heavy packages, hailing cabs or replacing lost keys, you should probably be a bit more generous than if you rarely interact with your apartment staff.
If you're disappointed by the quality of service, you should still tip something. Giving a little extra may encourage them to go above and beyond the call of duty, assisting you with tasks not officially written into their job description.