Holiday Tipping In Co-ops and Condos

As I was sitting at my desk this morning comprising a list of 31 (yes THIRTY-ONE) people that my wife and I will be tipping for this year’s Holiday Season, I was also trying to think of a good blog topic for the day.  So I did what I do on most days that I feel uninspired by any of my own original content and I began perusing the RSS feeds.  Surprise surprise, Curbed had a post on Friday about just this topic: And Now, The Holiday Tipping Point.  Straight from the pages of Curbed comes this Two Trees Management Memo with their suggested guidelines on tipping (read the entire post and the links they provide which are chock full of info on tipping):

Based on my experience in a 300+ unit condo with (count them): a resident manager, 3 handymen, 7 doormen/concierge, and 7 porters, the above list falls exactly in line with what SOME in my building tip.  I have an excellent relationship with my building staff and they often go above and beyond for my wife and I.  For example, when we have a clogged drain, a leaky radiator, or a need for window cleaning, it almost always happens the same day that we ask.  Last year, one of the porters installed our new dishwasher and asked only for $20 (I gave him more).  Generally speaking, my wife and I feel good about "taking care" of our building staff, parking attendants, mailmen, and newspaper delivery persons this time of year.

Having said that, there is a problem we have with those on our building staff who are useless and there are indeed a few (one doorman who doesn’t know what it means to open a door conveniently asks me every December for some business cards so that he can send business my way…Of course I oblige even though I know he has a relationship with another agent in the building who pays him illegal referral fees).  The problem is that if we tip them less, they will move more towards the useless end of the spectrum as opposed to becoming more helpful.  It just doesn’t seem fair however that they be tipped the same as those who are so incredibly helpful throughout the year.  So this year I have decided (my wife doesn’t know I made this decision yet) to tip each staff member based on their individual helpfulness over the past year while taking into consideration how we want to be treated in 2008.   I’m thinking that if the averages in the above memo held true in my building that our doormen would rake in about $30,000 each in Holiday Bonus money.  As a percentage of their salaries, not a shabby haul. 

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