Ask an Expert

How much more should I tip building staff this year?

By Alanna Schubach  | December 21, 2020 - 9:30AM

Residential building staff are considered essential workers and have been on the job throughout the pandemic. 


Our building staff has taken on extra responsibilities throughout the pandemic, from disinfecting for Covid to handling way more packages. We want to tip them more this year to acknowledge the risks they took on, but how much more? And should we take into consideration whether or not they received hazard pay from management?

If you can afford it, it would be a kind and appreciated gesture to acknowledge the additional work and risks your building staff took on this year, our experts say. 

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, co-op and condo staff were deemed essential personnel, and as such took on risks to their health. Moreover, as you mentioned, the ways in which Covid-19 has upended our lives has often meant extra work for doormen, supers, porters, and other residential building staff. 

Many New Yorkers have lost work as a result of the pandemic, and tipping extra may not be financially feasible. But if your income has remained stable, giving larger tips this year would be a great way to acknowledge your building staff's efforts. 

"For those who do have discretionary funds, it is a very nice idea to tip a little extra," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "I have no idea if you can find out if they are receiving hazard pay, but I think tipping more is [in order] because you feel like they’ve done a good job for you in the building and they’ve been very service-oriented." 

Hazard pay shouldn't factor into your calculations, experts agree, since the additional tip is for delivering good service in the face of challenging, and even dangerous circumstances. 

"f you can afford it, I’d tip at least 30 percent more than normal, because most staff commute to work and have front-line, increased exposure to the airborne Covid-19 virus," says Gordon Roberts, a broker at Sotheby's International Realty. "They also have had to deal with extra building rules and regulations to help limit the virus’ spread, along with a huge spike in deliveries and the waste it creates."

Ultimately, it is a personal decision, and you can certainly tip much more for those who went above and beyond the call of duty. And make sure you're not leaving out workers beyond your doorman and super, as anyone who came to your building during this crisis was putting themselves at risk—such as the pest control technicians who keep your apartment pest-free, notes pest control expert Gil Bloom of Standard Pest Management.  

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Alanna Schubach

Contributing writer

Contributing editor Alanna Schubach has over a decade of experience as a New York City-based freelance journalist.

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