Rental Basics in New York>Question Details

Divina Schum…, Renter in New York, NY

My super has been really nice & helpful by responding really quick if i have a maintenance issue. He put my table together for me when i moved

Asked by Divina Schumacher, New York, NY Wed Oct 24, 2012

in & gave him $20 at the time but he won't take any money when he comes to fix something in the apartment. It hasn't been a lot just my tub draining slow, clogged toilet once & my smoke alarm another time. Is it customary to give a super a cash tip around the holiday or is it better to wait until you're anniversary date & give him something then if you renew your lease? Either way, how much should I give him?

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Hi Divina,

Kindness is reciprocal; you want to be nice to him because he's been nice to you. A super would certainly appreciate a cash gift but I'm sure also appreciates the courtesy of a greeting when you see him or a slice of homemade cake if you bake. Making a concerted effort to express your gratitude verbally as well as other forms goes a long way in our fast paced world. I woudn't suggest that you base your gift on what others think is "appropriate"... consider your pocket 1st then give from your heart :-)

Looking forward,

Christine Gordon
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Cell: 917.881.2924
Fax: 347.328.9352
Apartment updates available at http://www.christinegordon.postlets.com
"Home is where the heart is."
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
Thank you Christine! You've got a good point. I think my being sincere is what matters most.
Flag Fri Oct 26, 2012
that was a very sweet response Christine...and I agree - putting the holiday gift aside for the moment........it's nice to simply take the time to stop and say "hello, how are you" to your doorman, or super, etc., and share a smile.....that slice of homemade cake sounds good, too!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
Thank you Debbie! My Super said to me this morning "Oh, you just made my day" when I waved and smiled at him when I left home this morning.
Flag Fri Oct 26, 2012
Hi, Give him whatever you can afford and do it during the holidays. The thought is what really counts...


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
914.406.9023
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
Hi Divina. In my experience, most men will not take money fron a Woman, any Woman. It's just not quite right in a mans mind. Perhaps this is just social conditioning akin to not hitting a Woman. Perhaps the $20 he took for the assembly of the table made him feel at odds with himself, who knows? Of course, I could be all wrong here.

You can always give him a nice gift for the Holidays as most everyone feels good about that type of approach.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 8, 2012
It is very customary to give building super a tip during holidays. Put it in an envelope with a nice holiday card - this way you are not just giving him money, your gift will be nicely packaged...
Some people give Starbucks cards or some other store cards but you got to know if they like these stores, etc. There are some discussions on the i-net about what is the appropriate amount of tip to a building super but the main thing is - it should be an amount that is comfortable to you
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 26, 2012
Those things are generally the super's or the maintenance’s person’s or the plumber’s job (maybe not the smoke alarm but then who wants to hear that noise anyway!) but yes it is customary to give the super and each of the building staff something for the holidays. Brick underground often posts tips about this custom.
Jolie Muss
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Brokerage
"The Upper West Side's Buyer Broker"
331 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023
Office: 212 721-3301 Email: broker@joliemuss.com
Website: http://joliemuss.com Trulia: http://www.trulia.com/profile/jolie
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jojomuss LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joliemuss
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 26, 2012
Hey Divina, your super sounds great! Send him my way, I could use more supers like that on my management team ;-)

I recommend getting to know him a bit, find out what he enjoys and offer him a gift along those lines. Maybe he likes a sports team an you can find inexpensive tickets to a game, possibly a cool antique item or something like that. Food is alway great too but just try to make it a personal gesture, he will appreciate and remember it much more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
The holiday season is a customary time to tip the super. Tipping the Super is important! The return on the gratuity/acknowledgement/recognition is well worth it. When you need them, they're there. You won't want to experience what happens when you need them and you haven't tipped them. Depending on your financial circumstances, and services received $75 -$500. Remember - if the super has been in your unit, he will know your ability to tip.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
The Tipping Point
How Much to Give Your Building Staff: The Annual Guide
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/12/05/how_much_to_give_your_building_staff_the_annual_guide.php
Flag Wed Dec 5, 2012
Here is a link to the Brickunderground's 2012 tipping guide; http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2012/11/brickundergrounds_2012_holiday_tipping_guide
Flag Thu Nov 29, 2012
Think in cases like this the best thing to do is take what you deem fair and at the right time, Christmas is really a good height, may also be on the anniversary. He is thankful. It is good that there are people still worry about the others.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2012
Listen, it's not the amount but the thought that counts. Give him what you can afford and what you feel is the right thing to do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 24, 2012
Definitely give the super a Christmas gift - cash - it is expected and appreciated.

Fixing a slow drain is part of his job, which is why he probably didn't want to take anything from you. Putting your table together, however, is above and beyond his normal job, so tipping him was appropriate.

The amount you give for the holiday may depend on the building and the amount of services you have received.
Is it a large, luxury building, or a small, walk-up building?

Do you have doormen and porters, too, because they will also expect something at Christmas, so that will make your outlay of cash higher?

If not, and it's only the super, then you can , in my opinion, be more generous....he sounds like a nice man....I'd say $100- $150 minimum if it's only him.

You can always check with a neighbor to see what they do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 24, 2012
It is not out of the question to tip the super especially if he's very helpful. $50 should be sufficient. But if he's gone above and beyond $100 would be good
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 24, 2012
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