I have known several people who have cleaned hotel rooms for a living. I did this myself for four days, when I was about 22. Four days was all I could take. This is what it’s like to be a housekeeper in a hotel or motel, and it is also the reason you should tip the maid or housekeeper. A young acquaintance of mine works as a hotel maid at a local water park and resort and has given me some insight into her job there. It is customary and expected to tip service people 10 to 20% for their services. Rules vary for the service, but most of us understand a tip is an expectation; it part of the income service people need to make a living.
- 1. Housekeepers have heavy lifting to do. They are asked to flip mattresses and move furniture, which is back-breaking work. For a short woman, this is very difficult work. They empty the trash, and often have big bags of leftover food and waste of every kind imaginable. Frequently, hotel guests do not even bother putting their waste in receptacles in the room, so housekeepers must gather it from everywhere it has been dropped.
- 2. My friend says they are allotted 25 minutes to clean each room. That means putting on clean sheets, emptying waste, vacuuming, and dusting; cleaning the sink, tub, and toilet, as well as replenishing glasses, towels, and tissue; mopping the bathroom floor is another expected task of your housemaid. I challenge you to clean your bedroom and bathroom in that amount of time, including putting on clean sheets. When I put on clean sheets and remake my bed at home, that alone takes me at least ten minutes.
- 3. Sometimes house guests behave more like animals than people. They do despicable things to their rooms, and then laugh about the housekeeper who must clean up things, leaving things like human feces, broken liquor bottles, and so much more. If you are an overnight guest in a hotel or motel anywhere, be a person who respects the housemaid, and not do disgusting things. Leave them a decent tip.
- 4. Housekeepers are sometimes asked for extra towels and other extras that often leave with hotel guests. If you steal from the hotel, you are keeping those service employees’ wages down. Leave a tip. My young friend says it is sometimes weeks before she gets any tips at all. She makes about minimum wage. Her husband works a full time job and has a second job on the side. They struggle to make a decent life for their kids. Those of you who can afford to take vacations or travel for business, need to remember your comfort depends on the hard work of others. If you can afford to play, then you can afford to tip. If it is business, you can expense these gratuities with your employer or on your taxes, so there is no excuse for not tipping.
- 5. Not leaving a tip is disrespectful. You tip your bartender, your waitperson, your hairdresser, and more. Some people feel that they need not tip the housekeeper because they will never see them. All the more reason to tip. This unseen worker is a person, a human being with feelings and needs, and you should not take this for granted.
- 6. Leaving behind your leftover food and beverages is not a tip. My friend’s last night “tips” included 3 apples, 2 power drinks, and a can of root beer. She was left assorted plated food that cannot be eaten because it would not be safe, along with some unopened packets of jelly. No money was left at all.
- 7. Housekeepers often work part time. They need the money you leave them in tips. Their kids need to eat, have clothing, and have a roof over their heads, just like you and your family. You used the service, so cough up the extra few dollars that mean so much to the person who is providing you with that service.
- 8. Being a selfish person who does not consider service people’s needs is not an admirable trait. If you stay at a hotel or motel, you should tip the maid or housekeeper a minimum of 5 dollars per bed per night, more if you have asked for extra towels, pillows, a cot, or other things. In fact, as they bring those things, offer them the gratuity right then, as well as leaving the daily tip. The appropriate time to leave the tip is each morning before you leave your room. The reason to leave a tip each day, instead of at the end of your stay is because a different housekeeper may be assigned your room each day. It should be left in the bathroom, in an otherwise clean and empty glass; then the housekeeper knows it has been left for her.
I remember once when a friend of mine ordered pizza during an ice storm, and was cussed out by the young delivery guy for not giving him a tip. She wanted sympathy from me, but got none. I told her if she couldn’t afford to tip, then don’t order pizza, especially during an ice storm. Likewise, if you can’t afford to tip the hotel maid, then don’t stay. It’s really as simple as that.