Do I Tip the Cable Guy?

Sept. 15, 2005 4:54 p.m.

After two cancelled appointments, I finally got my digital phone service installed. It's part of a new package deal, a 3-in-1 plan joining my telephone with my cable and high-speed internet.

A technician came and spent about an hour in the apartment, finding the phone box in the back wall of the hall closet, installing a new modem, running new wires and troubleshooting the system.

He was polite and thorough and didn't make a mess, and it all works fine.

As I signed the paperwork when he finished, I wondered, "Do I tip this guy?"

I'm a pretty generous tipper and believe in rewarding people for jobs well done, but does this fall into the tipping category? We tip doormen in New York, and taxi drivers, and movers and maintenance workers and parking garage attendants, and bartenders and waiters and waitresses, of course ... but what about the cable guy?

I wondered if it would be awkward if I offered him cash. Might he be offended? Might he refuse? Would he accept it with a smile, or graciously wave it off?

After some thoughtful consideration, I decided not to tip, because it just didn't feel right ... but now I'm second guessing myself.

What do YOU think?

E-mail Rick

Hi Rick!

Many years ago when I worked as a waitress in a large hotel, I was told that the word “tip” was an abbreviation of “To Insure Promptness” or in other words. T.I.P. just in case others may wonder about one of the origins of the word. I’m a FOX cable news junkie and YOU do a great job Rick! Thanks for your due diligence.

Stockton, CA

If you choose not to tip the cableguy you get a 3 foot wire through the wall. If you tip the guy you get a nice wall plate and plenty of extra wire. It's your choice, either way you get a smile from me.

— A cable guy

Hi, Rick!

Regarding the cable guy, I don't believe you should have tipped him, anymore than you would tip your doctor, dentist, etc. Yes, he was in your home, but, by doing his job & doing it well, he was doing what he was SUPPOSED to do. Though I realize it might SEEM above and beyond, because others DON'T always do their best, it really should be the norm.

Have a great day and be sure and watch a lot of football today on that cable! And, maybe call and e-mail your friends!

Fort Worth, TX


I don’t think I would have tipped the cable guy, but I would have sent a note to the company praising his job well-done.

So many of us call or write about complaints, but never let the bosses know their people have done a great job. Sometimes a few positive words mean so much.

Ville Platte, LA

When my husband and I moved to VA, I gave the cable installers cookies and a Coke....they were very appreciative and almost didn't take it because they weren't used to people being nice to them!


Howdy Rick,

Down here in Texas I do something different. My Dish guys(rural life you know) did a lot of work under my house. I made sure they had Dr. Pepper and cookies. There is nothing better when you are hot than something sweet!


Hi Rick,

I worked as a cable technician for 10 years and let me tell you most of us are not well paid. A large percentage of "cable guys" are subcontractors. This means that they pay for their own trucks, ladders, tools, fuel, uniforms etc...In order for the subcontractor to make any profit he or she has to work very long hours in all kinds of weather and deal with all kinds of people while maintaining a professional attitude and friendly demeanor. The gross amount of money made on the average 1.25 hour job is $18....$9 after expenses. Believe me the cable guy appreciates and needs tips. I enjoy your show.



You definately do not tip the cable guy. As a Technical Supervisor for a national cable company I can tell you that accepting a tip is against company policy. It is rare that a technician would even accept a cold drink. These guys and gals are trained professionals. In most cases paid appropriately for the job that they perform (I realize there are some inequities in every field).

It is important for the Technician to be polite, competant and efficient. I think it is great that you were impressed by the individuals quality of work. The right thing to do here is find out who he/she is, who the Supervior is and get a phone number or address. Then formally praise that person. Let his/her Superior know how great of an asset he/she is. It very well may result in additional compensation anyway.


NOOOOO!!! Not another person to tip. Why can't people just do their jobs without expecting more than a paycheck.

Adrian in South Carolina