Should You Tip Your Limousine Chauffeur?

You know that you're supposed to tip cab drivers because they generally don't make much money, but are you supposed to tip limousine chauffeurs? Scheduling a limo service typically costs more than scheduling a trip in a taxicab, but how much is the driver making? If you are supposed to tip the chauffeur, how much is expected? The answers depend partly on the organization you choose for your limo service.

How Much Do Limousine Drivers Earn?

The median hourly wage for limo drivers as of June 2015 was $11. That's the number at which half the drivers earn more and half earn less. At that rate, full-time drivers earn less than $23,000 per year unless they receive gratuities. 

Is It Customary to Tip Limo Drivers?

Tipping chauffeurs is indeed customary in the United States. The usual percentages are similar to what customers are expected to tip restaurant wait staff.

You might tip your chauffeur 15 percent for basic service and 20 percent if this individual had to load and unload luggage. Also consider whether the driver needed to work some unusual hours for your trip, such as chauffeuring your group around until 2 a.m. That might be worth more than a 20-percent tip, especially if the chauffeur provided all-around excellent service.

Does the Company Have a Tipping Policy?

Call the company you've chosen and ask whether the gratuity for the chauffeur is included in your fee. Some limo services have a no-tipping policy for that reason. In fact, if you book a limo on a website, your charges should indicate whether gratuity is included.

If the company does not include gratuity, this information may be found in the frequently asked questions section or in the notes about fees as you book your service. It might say that the total does not include gratuity, which can be provided at the customer's discretion. 

What about Tipping Etiquette?

You'll be handing your chauffeur cash, unlike tipping in a restaurant, where you don't normally hand the gratuity directly to the wait staff. Be discreet. There's no need to flaunt what you're doing as though this is a big favor to your driver. You might thank the chauffeur for the superb service. 

An Additional Thought

Unless the limo service prohibits tipping, it's a generous gesture to do so. You'll be letting the limousine rental chauffeur know you appreciated their commitment to providing an upscale way of traveling around a city -- and helping to brighten their day.