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Topic: When is a client obligated to tip?
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Dec 15, 2013 08:04AM)
I saw the snow storm coming days in advance. I emailed my client 36 hours ahead of time to warn him if the predictions were correct my 2 hour drive could take me much, much longer and I couldnít leave early because an earlier engagement. I told him Iím willing to travel in almost any conditions to keep my word, but please advise me as to how late is too late. I got no response whatsoever.

Iím about an hour away from the gig and the snow is heavy and the roads are bad. I called him to make sure it was still on and I didnít miss a message. Surely, he wouldnít ask his guests to travel in such weather, I thought. He said, yes the party is on. Some of his guests had cancelled but heís still having the party.

My client lives in a remote hilly area. The roads got worse by the minute. I almost got stuck on one hilly road. I tried for 5-minutes to get up the hill and finally had to turn around and go another way.

I arrived to find my client lives on steep downslope with no parking, other than on his lawn (which was covered with snow and ice at this point). I slid into a parking spot, set up my show and was ready to perform exactly on time! However, my client asked me if I could Ďhang outí for a while because many of his guests were late. I said, ďNo problemĒ with a smile! But inside I was in turmoil wondering if Iíd be able to get out of my parking spot and up the hill, and what time I would get home, or if Iíd even be able to get home!

As I waited patiently for 35-minutes, I noticed my client was quite rich. He had a beautiful huge home, servants at the door, waiters serving food, etc. etc. I had earlier noticed he was a lawyer and had his office in one of the most prestigious office buildings in Philadelphia.

Show time came, and putting modesty aside for a moment, I rocked! I was able to put my troubles aside for 45-minutes and totally entertain his guests. This was the only good part of my evening.

As my client brought me into his lavish office to write me a check, he commented that his guest thoroughly enjoyed my show and he appreciated me making the effort to get here, and that his Santa and balloon twister cancelled on him, as well as many guests. As he was saying this I began to calculate what kind of tip I was going to get. ĎMaybe even a Benjaminí, I thought! However, there was no tip, nada, zero, nothing!

To add insult to injury, it took me 45-minutes to get my car off his property. If it wasnít for some kind young man with one of those huge trucks and a chain to pull me up the hill I donít know what I would have done. (By the way, I slipped this kind young man a twenty dollar bill!)

So, when is a client obligated to tip?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 15, 2013 08:12AM)
Never.
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Dec 15, 2013 09:21AM)
I don't think they're ever obligated, as far as being a client goes. As a fellow human being, in that case, I think he should have. But, it doesn't matter how much money you have, generosity is not linked to how many zeros are in your bank account.

I tip my hat to you for a job well done (not money, but hey!)
Message: Posted by: magicofCurtis (Dec 15, 2013 10:27AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 09:12, Dannydoyle wrote:
Never.
[/quote]

I agree!


-- However, have a clause in your contract that charges a fee for every 10 min. the show is delayed. This usually will get the show going on time or a tip.
Of course never charge the fee unless it is very unreasonable amount of time. I don't think I have ever...

Since I have included that in my basic agreement, it is amazing I no longer have to wait around for xxx guest to arrive or the raffle to be completed. lol However, I do at my own will wait a few minutes and say no problem when they are delayed by a few moments.

Cheers
Message: Posted by: Dr. Delusion (Dec 15, 2013 10:29AM)
It seems like the majoriety of the time when I perform show for folks that are well off, I seldome get a tip. They often ask me to wait for folks to show up, tear down, move to another room, all sorts of stuff. Then after the show lots of Thank you's and great comments, but no tip. Then when it comes to middle or lower class folks I almost always get a tip.
Bob.
Message: Posted by: misterillusion (Dec 15, 2013 10:59AM)
I get tipped quite often--so often that it is a surprise when I do not get tipped. The tips generally come from the clients you do not expect to tip. The very wealthy clients do not always tip. In any case, I never ever expect a tip from anyone.
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 15, 2013 11:02AM)
Perhaps the client felt sorry for himself due to the way his party turned out and it affected the way he saw the situation. We all do this at times, I think. I mean in Ken's example, the man that helped pull his car out may have felt $20 was not much compensation for his equipment, time and expertise. Ken felt he was being generous, but it would have cost him plenty more time and money to hire a tow truck to do the same. The fact that Ken was having a bad day had nothing to do with the man that helped him. Should he gripe as well.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Dec 15, 2013 11:33AM)
The rich got that way by watching their money, not by giving it away. I never expect a tip from any customer, but I am grateful when they do. Like the majority I get a lot of tips from middle and lower income people. I have done parties for members of the Camargo Country Club in Cincinnati. Marge Schott (was owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team) was a member, there she was middle income. Never got a tip from one of them.
Message: Posted by: MichaelDouglas (Dec 15, 2013 12:20PM)
Ken, you rock! I would never expect a client to pay more than the agreed upon amount.

Besides, I never assume what kind of money a person has based on appearances. Attorneys and doctors have the hardest time (according to "The Millionaire Next Door") accumulating wealth because of societal expectations that they live a lavish lifestyle. Sometimes their cars, house, etc are in excess of their income and they are up to their neck in debt. Yet they must have parties, etc to keep up appearances.

I'm not saying this is the case with your client, but it happens.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Dec 15, 2013 12:50PM)
You would be surprised at how many people (including myself) that don't really know who all to tip.
Some only tip workers and feel you would never tip the boss. You would never think about tipping a doctor, lawyer, etc.

Tom
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Dec 15, 2013 01:22PM)
Here's another thread where we also discussed tipping:

[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=435795&forum=44]--> Magic Cafť thread titled... Is it tacky to talk about a tip?[/url]

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Dec 15, 2013 01:53PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 12:02, charliecheckers wrote:
Perhaps the client felt sorry for himself due to the way his party turned out and it affected the way he saw the situation. We all do this at times, I think. I mean in Ken's example, the man that helped pull his car out may have felt $20 was not much compensation for his equipment, time and expertise. Ken felt he was being generous, but it would have cost him plenty more time and money to hire a tow truck to do the same. The fact that Ken was having a bad day had nothing to do with the man that helped him. Should he gripe as well.
[/quote]
Hey, are you calling me cheap? :lol: Actually, I see your point.

For the record, I'm with all of you. I (almost) never expect a tip. But in this case, because of the extreme conditions I let my emotions and expectations get a little carried away. With the difficulty I was having I really wanted a little extra to make me feel better about the evening.
Message: Posted by: jlibby (Dec 15, 2013 02:16PM)
Ken, it sounds like you really went above and beyond. My hat is off to you! I agree with Curtis, put a clause in your agreement requiring an additional amount if you have to wait.

Joe Libby
San Antonio, TX
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 15, 2013 02:16PM)
Ken - no, just being the contrarian. Believe me, I was right there with you on your story. I also have the advantage over your client in that I am well aware of your business practices (from your posts here) and know how fair you are with pricing. I think you would have received a handsome tip if your client saw it from our vantage point.

For what it's worth, I do not get tipped often,regardless of the thanks I receive.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 15, 2013 03:40PM)
People did not get rich by not tipping.

Here is a hint working with rich people. Take it for what it is worth. It is after all free advice.

People got rich by KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE WORTH! Get the point? Know your value. Know what to charge. Why SHOULD they pay more if they agreed to whatever and then get called names when they don't pay more? How stupid! It is appalling, Would you want a server or bartender complaining about how much you tip?

Yes it is a story of lots of work on your part. It comes with the job. Curtis is right a clause for what your extra time costs.
Message: Posted by: themagicguy (Dec 15, 2013 03:52PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 09:04, Ken Northridge wrote:

However, there was no tip, nada, zero, nothing!

[/quote]

Now you know why he is rich. :)
Message: Posted by: Scott Burton (Dec 15, 2013 04:57PM)
I live in a place that snows. I expect travel issues to come up now and again. Just "normal" IMO. I wouldn't expect tips.
Message: Posted by: ChrisC (Dec 15, 2013 11:30PM)
It's times like these that I am so grateful for my all wheel drive Subaru Forester
Message: Posted by: Gerry Walkowski (Dec 16, 2013 03:57AM)
Ken,

That is some story.

I charge a decent fee and get tipped quite a bit at birthday parties. That said, some of my biggest tips come from people you would least expect to give you a tip.

While I don't believe your client was obligated to give you a tip, as a decent human being he should have for you going the extra mile.

We live in an interesting world. :)

Gerry
Message: Posted by: Karen Climer (Dec 16, 2013 07:55AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 00:30, ChrisC wrote:
It's times like these that I am so grateful for my all wheel drive Subaru Forester
[/quote]

It times like these I'm glad I live in Florida where it never snows!

I agree with others. When it is happening to you, it feels like the client owes you a tip. But really a tip is always extra. Think about it like this...if your flight is delayed because the plane is stuck in a snowstorm in another city. The entire airline company makes a herculean effort to get everyone to their connecting flight on time or at least to the correct city on a different flight. Do you pay the airline extra for dealing with weather issues? Or do you just expect that their job is to get you to the correct city when they said you would be there?

Also, in the client's mind, he is paying you for the time you are at the party. He doesn't care if it takes you 15 minutes or 3 hours to get there. He is paying for the time you are there.

I guess my whole point is that I definitely see your point of view, but you have to look at it from his point of view.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Dec 16, 2013 07:58AM)
^Good point, Karen.
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 16:40, Dannydoyle wrote:
People did not get rich by not tipping.

Here is a hint working with rich people. Take it for what it is worth. It is after all free advice.

People got rich by KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE WORTH! Get the point? Know your value. Know what to charge. Why SHOULD they pay more if they agreed to whatever and then get called names when they don't pay more? How stupid! It is appalling, Would you want a server or bartender complaining about how much you tip?

Yes it is a story of lots of work on your part. It comes with the job. Curtis is right a clause for what your extra time costs.
[/quote]
We agree Danny. As I said, I [i]almost[/i] never expect a tip, because like you said, I do charge what I think Iím worth. This was just an extreme case where it really would have been nice to get a little extra for my trouble.

For the record, I never called my client names. I really wasnít even angry. I kept my word, he kept his. Case closed. And I will probably be invited back next year. So, looking at the big picture the evening was a success.

By the way, I didnít see the humor in this until now. Isnít it interesting that Santa cancelled because of snow but the magician was able to make it?
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 16, 2013 11:02AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 08:58, Ken Northridge wrote:
Isnít it interesting that Santa cancelled because of snow but the magician was able to make it?
[/quote]
It's times like these that the real Santa really appreciates his Rudolph!
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Dec 16, 2013 03:15PM)
I can appreciate how hard it was to make this booking...and how far you had to extend yourself to make it happen. It's a great story of hard work and persistence.

The question is "When is a client obligated to tip?"

Answer: never. It's true that you went to great lengths to make the show happen. It's also true that you were paid the rate you'd been contracted for. Maybe it's because most of my clients are corporate and the payment amounts are predetermined and prepaid -- but I never expect a tip.

I do think you are to be commended for your integrity, Ken. Good work.

David
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 16, 2013 04:46PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 15:10, satirest wrote:
Methinks you should ask the nice moderators to delete this thread. You are too nice a person to lose a potential work because of this.
[/quote]
This thought occurred to me as well, but a google search did lead me here whatsoever.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Dec 16, 2013 04:59PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 17:46, charliecheckers wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 15:10, satirest wrote:
Methinks you should ask the nice moderators to delete this thread. You are too nice a person to lose a potential work because of this.
[/quote]
This thought occurred to me as well, but a google search did lead me here whatsoever.
[/quote]
I said nothing derogatory about the the client. This was all about my perception. My client was a very nice man... and a very successful man! I'm the one who had the emotional, irrational thoughts about extra money. Besides, he has my card, he will be calling ME, not goggling other magicians!
Message: Posted by: NeverGrowUpMagic (Dec 16, 2013 05:32PM)
I feel blessed when I receive a tip... but never feel the client is obligated to give me a tip.

stephen
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Dec 16, 2013 08:05PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-16 20:25, Ken Northridge wrote:
Yes, I was wrong for being human and hoping for a tip, but not wrong for giving my client 100% satisfaction!
[/quote]
Which is why I said "the thought occurred to me" , but did not feel the need to post my thought. We should all be so lucky to have as little to hide from as Ken does. That is the lesson I take from this thread. Run your business beyond reproach, and you don't have to run.
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Dec 19, 2013 03:30PM)
Ken,
I understand how frustrating those times can be. I've gone above and beyond several times and not received a tip. I never expect a tip though. I don't go above and beyond for tips. I go above and beyond so that clients like me and book me again, and recommend me to friends. No client has ever tipped the full price of a show, so it makes more sense financially to do it for the reason of repeat business, not a measly (in comparison) 20% or 30% tip I might get.

Remember, not everyone thinks that magicians should be tipped. As performers, we're used to it, but the public may not be. My dad was surprised when I told him I got tips. He said "You're telling me people actually tip magicians!" He never would have thought to tip magicians. Waiters making $2/hr - YES! But magicians? The thought never crossed his mind.

I personally don't usually tip people in the service industry. A locksmith came out to my home a few months ago. I have no idea how bad the roads were, what effort it took to get here, or if he almost got lost. I don't know. But I also don't care. He came, he performed the agreed upon service, I was very happy with it, I paid the bill (the amount I had been quoted), and he left. Why would he deserve a tip? Why would I tip him?

If you find yourself feeling under-appreciated often, or feeling like you deserve tips more often, simply "build them in" to your fee by raising rates! I did that and have never regretted it.

Hope this helps!
- Kevin
Message: Posted by: iwillfoolu (Dec 31, 2013 01:55PM)
I never expect a tip, but I also ask a lot of questions before I quote a price.

Joey D
Message: Posted by: Logan Five (Jan 1, 2014 08:29PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-31 14:55, iwillfoolu wrote:
I never expect a tip, but I also ask a lot of questions before I quote a price.

Joey D

[/quote]

Me too..
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 1, 2014 09:08PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 09:04, Ken Northridge wrote:




So, when is a client obligated to tip?

[/quote]
Whenever they want to.