Do You Tip Fence Installers (and How Much)?

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

If you're getting a fence installed by workers, you might want to know if it's customary to tip them. And if so, how much. I've done some research and here's what most people do.

Do you tip fence installers, and how much? Most people agree they won't tip fence installers unless they've done excellent work or have provided additional service or value that wasn't required of them. People that do tip installers seem to tip on average $10 - $30 per person per day.

You could, of course, tip anyone you like, if you have the money. But it's not always appreciated, so you should be subtle about it. So what exactly does 'additional value' mean? Read on to find out.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary

In this article:

  1. How Much Should I Tip Fence Installers?
  2. When To Tip
  3. What Do Fence Installers Say About It?
  4. When Not To Tip
  5. In Conclusion

How Much Should I Tip Fence Installers?

The short answer is: you really don't have to. Most people don't tip. However, if you do want to tip them, people tip on average between $10 - $30 per person per day, averaging at around $20 per person per day.

Even fence installers themselves say they get tipped rarely. Some installers like the idea of being tipped, even recalling 'that one time someone gave me $30'. Others find it patronizing.

So, if you don't tip, what do you do? The majority of people do like the idea of some courtesy towards the workers.

What most people offer instead of money

  • If it's hot, offer refreshments like iced tea or soda.
  • Offer them some beers when they're done
  • All-day workers: some kind of dinner or lunch like pizza or chicken

There are some exceptions in which some people consider tipping. I'll list them briefly and will go into more detail below.

Some people tip in case of

  • Extreme weather (heavy rain or heat)
  • The installers did a high-quality job
  • They went out of their way to clean up after the job
  • They had to do a lot of extra work (and didn't fuzz about it)

Fence installers are not in the service industry and do not expect you to tip them. They get paid a fair hourly wage for the work.

Most people also don't tip workers that are self-employed. If the tradesmen are employed, however, about 50% of people consider giving them a tip.

When To Tip

If they did a great job and you have the money, you might consider tipping them. Most people seem to spend about $20 - $30 per person per day.

If the weather is extremely bad, the installers may decide to wrap it up for the day and leave your project be. For example, with heavy rain or extreme heat. If they decide to get on with it, most people think that deserves some kind of token of appreciation. They just did their job, yes, but they also made sure you didn't have to wait for your new fence, while they definitely could.

Some jobs require additional work. For example, your fence runs over root systems from a nearby tree. They'll have to clear that, which is heavy work.

If you do decide to tip them, make sure you make clear to them that it isn't charity, but that you appreciate their high-quality work. Tipping them to tell them their work is worth more to you is fine. Tipping them out of charity might offend them.

What Do Fence Installers Say About It?

Fence installers make on average about 2 - 3 times the minimum wage (US), at $14.92 per hour. Experienced fence installers make up to $24 / per hour.


Young fence installers make on average 17% less, so it might actually help them out a bit, should you decide to tip them.

Most fence installers think they are fairly compensated for their work. It's hard work, however: lifting 100lbs for multiple hours per day, regardless of the weather.

It depends on the person whether they appreciate the gesture or not. If you're unsure, you could straight up ask them. If they don't like it, don't push it.

"Etiquette and tipping experts agree that tipping a contractor and his employees isn't expected because contractors offer to do a job for you at a specific price. Any extra money they would want would be built into their bid."

(source The Wall Street Journal)

When Not To Tip

As said, a relatively small number of people tip contractors and installers. Most people don't, and you really don't have to. But in some cases, you definitely shouldn't consider it. Let's go over the reasons for that.

They are the employer or business owner

The majority of people don't consider tipping any contractor that is also the employer or business owner. The reasoning behind this is that they decide the project price and take home 100% of it. So if the price is wrong, that's on him or her. I think that sounds right.

However, I think you could even tip a business owner. But only if he didn't ask for top dollar and did an astounding job nonetheless.

The installers are impolite

I would never consider tipping anyone that is impolite to me or others (like his colleagues). A tip is a token of appreciation. If they are unable to appreciate others, I won't reward them for it.

They do a sloppy job

Things that I'd classify as a sloppy job:

  • they leave the place a mess
  • they didn't care to cut off wires or sticky bits
  • they haven't paid attention to detail, like the spacing of the nails or straightness of the poles

They delay or make excuses

If the workers aren't on time or delay the project without a reasonable reason, I'd never tip them. Even worse: they make excuses. I never tip people that don't own up to their work.

An argument against tipping

There is something to be said to not tipping anyone at all. Some people think that constant tipping leads the expectation by the employer. That will lead to lower wages, which will lead to the same situation waiters and waitresses are currently in.

My take on this is simple: it's nice to be kind. You can always show respect and gratitude. Reserve the tips for outstanding labor or service.

In Conclusion

Based on the opinions of hundreds of customers and the reviews and opinions of fence installers, I'd say it isn't customary to tip fence installers. If they go above and beyond to deliver the best work, service, or other additional value, you could definitely consider tipping them. But even then, you really don't have too.

If you don't have the resources, definitely don't tip. If you want to make a friend, simply make conversation, offer them some drinks, and show appreciation for their work and their effort.

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