When a car repair is finished do you tip a mechanic?
This question logically comes to mind every time you go to pick up your car from some sort of repair.
When you arrive and see a job well done and to your satisfaction, it just seems the right thing to do.
But when, how, and why should you tip or should you even do it all?
As a former car technician, I’ll try to help you answer this question from both a mechanic and paying customers point of view and perhaps make things a bit easier or even avoid an awkward situation.
WHY SHOULD YOU TIP A MECHANIC?
Why do you give a tip for anything else? Because you’re satisfied. Simple as that.
If the car repair was done in quality, on time and for a fair price, giving a tip is certainly the right thing to do.
Not obligatory, but certainly correct.
Besides correctness, there is one more hidden aspect that many drivers forget when it comes to this situation.
Giving a tip will go along way in the future especially if you’re a regular customer and don’t change workshops or dealerships that often.
You see, this part is all about human relations. Take for instance yourself, especially if your in the line of work that offers some kind of service:
Receiving a nice token of appreciation for a job well-done will certainly put a smile on your face and that person will leave a good and memorable impression on you.
A nice tip will simply favor you more in the eyes of your mechanic for future repairs. Maybe your car will get some extra care in terms of quality and noticing some other malfunctions that may cost you a lot of money if went unnoticed.
Now I know that certain negative connotations come to mind when mentioning this, but let’s face it: human nature is like this whether we like it or not.
For more details about tipping, click here for a great explanation on Wikipedia.
HOW MUCH DO YOU TIP A MECHANIC?
Do you tip a mechanic generously or moderately?
Before you decide on how much money is OK consider this:
The nature of a mechanics profession
It’s a job that demands expertise, a high level of attention, attention to detail, and oftentimes some serious hard physical work.
Above that, the responsibility is huge (think about fixing the brakes or the steering!!!).
Never forget this when reaching for your wallet.
The tip should heavily depend on the complexity of the job
Tipping an engine rebuild or some serious bodywork is not the same as tipping an oil change or coolant check.
If the mechanic had to do some serious work and make additional unexpected side-repairs in order for your car to be safe for the road, the tip should be bigger.
More simple repairs can pass with a small tip and that should be considered OK.
To put this in terms of money:
For some serious and lengthy work that may have cost you 500 Euros a tip of 50 Euros is considered generous.
20 Euros is considered moderate while 10 Euros is considered cheap.
On the other hand for a short and routine job (let’s say it’s worth 50 Euros) a tip of 10 Euros is generous and 5 Euros is considered moderate.
Even not tipping at all, in this case, won’t come off as cheap.
If it’s easier, you can look at it as a percentage of the repair bill:
10 percent for a tip is generous and you should give this only for exceptional work
5 percent is moderate but in most cases is OK, both for the mechanic and your wallet
Under 5 percent borderlines cheap. In some cases, better not give this kind of tip at all as it may seem a bit of an insult
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GIVE A TIP?
Best do it at the end of the job and while paying the main repair bill.
I would recommend that you do it in a fluent, cultured and kind way. Don’t under any circumstance act arrogantly or in a humiliating matter.
If you do, then regardless of the tip you give, you’ll just come off as a jerk and leave a very bad impression of yourself as a customer.
When you receive the bill, pay it and just say something like: ˝Here’s something extra for a job well done. Thanks!˝ or ˝A repair like that deserves an extra reward!˝
You may encounter a bit of rejection for some reason but know that this is also common. No one wants to seem greedy or waiting for your extra money. If this is the case, just politely leave the money, thank them, say they deserve it, and be on your way.
I must mention one more thing you should be careful about and that’s the kind of garage, dealership, or mechanic workshop you’re visiting.
If you go to a high-class, bigger ˝corparate˝ type workshop or dealership, there is a good chance that you won’t even see the person that actually made the repair. This makes tipping a bit harder since the paying point is usually separated from the workshop.
In this case, you can leave a tip with the bill, thank the company for the service and leave.
Better thing to do (if it’s allowed) is to ask to see the mechanic that actually did the work and tip him/her in person in front of everybody. Maybe a bit old-school but very effective.
This is a very subjective opinion but tipping the company and the mechanic who actually did the job will never be the same nor will it have the same meaning.
When it comes to smaller workshops, it’s much more simple. All the people working there are usually better connected. In a lot of cases, the person who did the repair may be the one charging the bill.
In this case, give the tip right away when paying the bill.
Such is the case if you have your own good and trustworthy mechanic.
GIVE THE TIP THE RIGHT WAY
Always make sure that the tip is given in a clear manner.
Never do it in such a way that it can be wrongly interpreted (like pushing money into a pocket while no one else sees).
This could cause a very awkward situation and in worst cases, cause the mechanic to lose his/her job.
The best way to do this is to give the tip in front of someone else like a supervisor, clerk, fellow mechanic, or else.
Also, state your intent clearly by saying that it’s a small token of your appreciation for a job well done (the choice of exact text is yours but I guess you know what I mean).
This way, everyone will be satisfied.
So, do you tip a mechanic? Again, yes, if the repair is well done and you’re satisfied. Otherwise you’re not obliged.
Remember always that your car doesn’t magically come in and out of the workshop. In between is a person working hard for their living and sometimes adding some extra effort to fix your car.
If you can leave a tip in a restaurant for a good meal, tip the valet for parking your car, or a bell boy for hauling your luggage you can certainly tip a mechanic who takes care of your car and utterly your safety on the road.
Also, make sure to tip properly, with a decent sum of money and in a correct manner.
If you don’t have the means or it will hurt your budget, no shame in that. Just avoid getting into a situation where a tip is inevitable.
Simply, tip a mechanic the right way or don’t do it all.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com