Should You Tip Hardscape Contractors?

We have become accustomed to leaving tips for services based on societal instincts rather than written rules. But what about hardscape contractors?

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We have become accustomed to leaving tips for services based on societal instincts rather than written rules. But what about hardscape contractors?

Before deciding if you should tip your hardscape contractor, you should consider the job and how well it was done. You should also check your bill for any service fees. If you are happy with the work that was done, it is a good practice to tip your contractor if they meet your requirements.

Many homeowners struggle with whether or not giving a tip is the right thing to do. You should also consider whether this is a one-time or recurring job when determining if you will tip and how much. However, only about 1 in every 4 homeowners gives their hardscape contractor a tip after a completed job.

After speaking with professionals in the industry, we learned that tipping is not as popular as you would expect. While everyone may not do it, many customers will still leave a tip and we have analyzed whether you should tip your hardscape contractor or not in this guide.  

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Should You Tip Hardscape Contractors?

Tipping is an informal practice that is not mandatory. It is up to the customer whether they want to provide a tip or not. Customers can provide tips on the work that has been done by contractors depending on how well they feel the job was completed.

Tips are generally given on a percentage basis for services rendered, but some people also tip at their discretion at a fixed rate.

For example, if the contractor does an exceptional job and goes above and beyond what they are required to do then it is common for customers to give them a substantial percentage tip.

There is not a set yes or no answer, but we recommend always tipping your contractor if the job was completed well and on time. It is not easy to find great contractors who can do great work and meet deadlines, so by giving a good tip you can become one of the better customers they will never turn down in the future.

Tipping ultimately comes down to your personal judgment, but these factors should help you the next time you are paying your hardscape contractor.

When Should You Tip Hardscape Contractors?

Whether or not you should tip your hardscape contractor also depends on the type of project you have done with them. If the project was smaller and the contractor did not provide significant value beyond raw labor, then it is not necessary to tip.

But if they provided their expertise and created beautiful surroundings for you, then it is appropriate to give them a gratuity at the end of the job. Also, the job frequency is worth considering too.

One-time projects are more likely to deserve a tip because they typically are much bigger and require significant work. This can include increased labor cost, material cost, or time investment and a tip is a great way to show you appreciate the work that was done.

It is also best to tip if you enjoy working with this specific contractor. When times get busy and they need to decide what jobs they can handle, you will be remembered for the nice tip you left and they will have you at the top of their customer list.  

When Shouldn't You Tip Hardscape Contractors?

In some cases, tipping can be a discretionary or optional action. But there are many cases where you should not tip hardscape contractors. For example, some contractors will forbid tipping and if this is the case you should not be pushy about giving a tip.

There are many contractors that will also include a service charge in your bill that acts as a tip or gratuity. If this happens to you, it would be wise to avoid leaving a tip on top of the service fee or things could get quite expensive.

Another time you shouldn’t tip is if this is a recurring weekly job. Instead of leaving a tip every week, you can put it off until the end of the year and include it all at once around the holidays as a nice gesture.

Most importantly, you should not tip if you are unhappy with the work. The same way customers leave a lesser tip at restaurants for bad service, you should avoid tipping your hardscape contractor if the work was done up to your standards.

This is why setting standards with your contractor beforehand is a good idea too. This allows them to know exactly what you expect, and if those expectations are reached or exceeded you can leave a tip and be happy with the final product.

How Much Should You Tip Hardscape Contractors?

In general, it is not expected that customers would tip their hardscape contractor, but it is always appreciated when they do. There are no set standards on how much to tip, leaving a lot of options open to you.

Some hardscape contractors will tell you that tipping is unnecessary, and they may even decline your tip. It is a bit surprising to see how many contractors forbid tipping on their jobs. However, it is always worth trying before being told no.

The job size can always factor into how much you tip. But a general rule of thumb is anywhere between 10% and 20% of the total job cost is an above-average tip and it will be greatly appreciated.

For smaller jobs, you can leave a tip of around $20-$50. It ultimately depends on the size of the job but we recommend trying to stay in the 10-20% range.

You should never feel the pressure about leaving too light of a tip either. Remember that the tip alone is far more than most customers will leave for their contractors, and by even offering the gesture it will be greatly appreciated.

Do Hardscape Contractors Expect a Tip?

Since tipping is not the most common occurrence in this industry, contractors do not expect you to leave a tip so it's not something that you should feel uncomfortable about if you decide to not tip your contractor.

They will not hold it over your head or consider you a bad customer. After chatting with multiple contractors, they informed us that only about 1/4 of their customers leave a tip and many of the ones that do are not first-time customers.

If a contractor ever gives you a problem about not leaving a tip, you should not give in to them. This is a bad practice and shows a sign they lack professionalism and respect for you. This is also a sign you should avoid hiring them again in the future.

We also recommend never mentioning to any of the workers you intend to leave a tip during the job. It sets a bad precedent from the start and it also applies pressure to the boss, because the boss of the operation is likely only paying an hourly wage that does not factor in any tips.

If your contractor does not allow tipping, do not pressure any workers to take a tip either. This can create an awkward situation and put an hourly worker in a difficult position trying to say no to a customer.

Alternatives to Tipping Hardscape Contractors

If you do not have the budget to leave a generous tip, there are plenty of other ways you can show your appreciation without breaking the bank. For example, it is common to make a coffee run for the contractor crew or offer them drinks on a warm day.

Some contractors will even decline a tip for a great review online or for local referrals to friends. They consider new business to be more important than a tip and sometimes the best thing you can do is spread the good word about the job they did for you.

Lastly, you can offer hospitality to the team working at your home. This includes allowing them to use your bathroom when needed and always being helpful if you are home during their work hours.

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