Pedicure Tipping 101: How Much to Leave for Excellent Service

Wondering how much to tip for a pedicure?

We’ve got you covered.

When you’re done reading this post, you’ll be tipping like a pro.

Here’s our complete guide to nail salon tipping etiquette.

We’ll cover exactly how much to tip and what factors to consider when deciding what to tip.

If you’re not sure whether cash or a card is better, who you should give the tip to, or what you should do if you’re unhappy with the service, then read on.

We’re about to dive pretty deep into this, but for those of you with parties to get to, here’s the short and sweet answer to “how much should I tip for a pedicure?”:

For a pedicure, you should tip between 15 and 20% of the total service cost. So that’s between $5.25 and $7 for a $35 pedicure. Or between $6 and $8 for a $40 service. Tip your nail tech directly in cash and split the money between staff if you had more than one person working on your feet.

Alright. Now that have the nutshell version, let’s discuss tipping in a little more detail.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

How much do you tip for a full set pedicure?

If you’re happy with the service, you should always tip a minimum of 15% of the total cost of your pedicure.

Most people tip somewhere between 15 and 20%.

The exact amount of your tip will vary depending on the type of pedicure you have.

Pedicures come in different packages that run from the most basic service (file and polish)

to super deluxe services including foot massage and aromatherapy oils.

The average cost for a basic full set pedicure in the US is $35.46.

So the average tip would be either $5.25 (15% tip) or $7 (20% tip).

Of course, the average cost of a pedicure (and therefore a tip) can vary widely depending on where you live and the type of salon you go to.

Is it bad not to leave a tip for a pedicure?


Some people don’t realize that you are supposed to tip for a pedicure!

Others know that you’re supposed to tip but choose not to because they’re unhappy with the service.

We think both of these situations are pretty bad form.

If you don’t leave a tip, the nail tech is likely to be very disappointed. They work hard (often for low wages) and deserve to be compensated for their services.

If you’re unhappy with the service, we think you should still leave a tip and then speak to the manager about your concerns.

It’s possible that the nail tech was having an off day or that there was some misunderstanding.

Either way, a kind word, and a 15% tip is better than no tip at all.

Is $5 a good tip for a pedicure?

Not really. $5 is an acceptable tip for a pedicure that cost $35, but is still less than the 15% minimum.

If you happen to find a pedicure service for $25, then $5 is a good tip at 20%.

A good tip for a pedicure costing $35 would be $7.

How much to tip for a $30 pedicure

A good tip for a $30 pedicure is $6. That works out at 20%.

You could also tip at 15% which for a $30 service would be $4.50.

Of course, you can always tip a little more for excellent service or a great job.

How much do you tip on a $35 pedicure?

A 20% tip on a $35 nail service is $7.

If you want to give a 15% tip, you should pay $5.25.

Again, if the service is particularly good, you can always give a few dollars more.

How much should I tip for a $40 pedicure?

The standard tip for a $40 pedicure is between $6 and $8. That’s 15-20% of the service cost.

If you’re really happy with the job, you could give a little extra. But $6-$8 is a perfectly acceptable tip.

How much do you tip for a $50 pedicure?

For a $50 pedicure, you should tip between $7.50 and $10. That’s 15-20% of the service cost.

As always, if you’re really happy with the job, you could give a little extra. But $7.50-$10 is a perfectly acceptable tip.

Should you tip the nail tech or the salon owner?

This is an issue that sometimes confuses people, so let’s clear it up right now.

If in doubt, you should always tip your nail technician directly.

If you want to give a tip to the salon owner or manager, that’s fine. But it’s not necessary and the nail tech is the one who really deserves it.

In fact, most salon owners will tell you that they don’t want tips.

Can you give a gift instead of a tip?

Thoughtful gifts are often appreciated by nail salon workers, especially during the holiday season.

However, you should never confuse tipping with gifting.

By all means, give your gift, but be sure to leave a tip as well.

A gift should never be used in place of a tip.

Some nice gift ideas you could give as well as your tip include sweets and candy, homemade cookies or other baked goodies, or a scented candle.

Are tips split among all the staff?

No. Tips are not commonly split among all the staff in a nail salon.

This is a common misconception.

The person you give your tip to is the one that keeps it.

This means that if you have 2 or more staff working on you, you need to dish out the tips individually.

It might sound like a pain but it’s the only way to ensure that everyone gets fairly compensated.

How much do nail techs make?

It’s a hard knock life for a nail tech.

They often earn way less than the average US full-time worker.

Nail salon workers make a median salary of $27,870 a year.

The best-paid nail techs (top 25%) make $31,890.

The bottom 25% make $24,820 annually.

As of June 28th, 2022, the average hourly wage for a nail technician in the US is $10, with most techs earning anywhere from $9 to $12 per hour, according to

Should you still tip if you’re not happy with your pedicure?

You are well within your rights to withhold a tip for a service you are not happy with.

However, it is always worth speaking to the nail tech or salon owner first to see if they can put things right.

If they are unable or unwilling to do so, then you can either leave a smaller tip or no tip at all.

A word of warning – if you choose not to leave a tip, be sure to do so discreetly.

There’s no need to cause a scene or make the nail tech feel bad. Just quietly slip away and don’t look back.

It is common these days for people to be on their phones while getting a pedicure.

This can lead to mistakes or elements of the design that a client is not happy with being overlooked or missed.

Make sure that you pay attention while the service is happening to avoid these types of situations.

Should you tip on a credit card?

cash or card

From the nail tech’s point of view, a cash tip is always better than a credit card tip.


Well, there are a few reasons.

First, if you give cash, you can be sure that the money goes to your nail tech directly.

If you tip via card, the nail tech will have to wait until their next payday to get the money.

There may also be credit card fees deducted from the tip.

Unfortunately, if you pay a tip via credit card this can also end up in the business owners’ pockets instead of the staff.

Many nail salons print a tip calculator onto the receipt to make it easier for you to give a tip.

Final thoughts and one last tip.

So what have we learned?

The bottom line is that you should always leave a tip for your nail technician, regardless of how much you spent on the pedicure.

A good rule of thumb is to tip 15-20% of the total cost of the service.

So, if your pedicure cost $30, a 15% tip would be $4.50 and a 20% tip would be $6.

Of course, you can always give more or less depending on the level of service you received.

If you were really happy with your pedicure, you might want to leave a larger tip to show your appreciation.

Conversely, if you were not happy with the service, you might want to leave a smaller tip or no tip at all.

Just be sure to speak to the nail tech or salon owner first to see if they can rectify the situation before resorting to this.

I hope this article has helped you understand how much you should be tipping for a pedicure.

Remember, the right amount to tip is always going to be up to you.

As long as you leave a reasonable tip that reflects the quality of service you received, you’re doing it right.

One last tip – if you’re getting a pedicure, don’t waste too much time choosing your color!

This is the number one complaint in nail salons across the country.

If you must spend time choosing, arrive 15 minutes early and take a good look at the color selection before your appointment.


  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.