How much should I tip the tow truck driver?

Compare car insurance quotes from 10+ companies in one place

Compare Quotes

Do I have to tip my tow truck operator for their service? Drivers and tow truck owners have taken different sides of the argument, so what’s the truth?

America is a very tip-conscious country. Tips are expected (as they should be!) for services provided by waiters, manicurists, hairstylists, valets…the list goes on.

And if you’re as arithmetically challenged as I am, the mad rush at the end of your service to calculate a tip can induce some stress: Did I tip them enough? Or too little? What makes a good tip, and what makes a bad one? Does this service even require a tip? 

While ministrations like restaurant service always require a tip, conventions around gratuity for forms of service (like, say, roadside assistance or towing services) are not always clear.

So here are some tips, if you will.

Should I tip roadside assistance?

table of suggested tips for tow truck/roadside assistance services

When you contact a roadside assistance service like AAA and ask if tipping the tow truck driver is required, the service representative will tell you that you don’t need to tip.

The towing company representative might further explain that the company’s roadside assistance personnel are paid for their work and that tips aren’t part of their overall compensation.

However, if you peruse online forums asking the same question, you’ll get a smorgasbord of answers from readers.

Some argue that the services provided by companies like AAA are difficult; exceptional skill and kindness should be rewarded with a tip.

Others contend that services such as a tire change or jumpstart are so routine that they shouldn’t require anything more than the initial cost to guarantee a job well done.

Of course, tow drivers appreciate tips, especially if they make minimum wage or think they’re paid too little by their employer.

You can find pretty adamant arguments for both sides of this issue. At the end of the day, if the company advises against tipping, you can do whatever you want depending on how generous you’re feeling.

If you think the worker went above and beyond and deserves a tip, the general consensus is $5 for small services like a jumpstart, unlock, or flat tire, and $10 for a tow.

Of course, feel free to give more or less, depending on your ability to give. For the most part, if you’re not sure how much to tip in any kind of situation, start with 10 percent of the total service cost.

How much to tip for other services in America

table of suggested tips for different services in America

Updated July 25, 2019

Micaela Allen is a Boston-based writer and editor. Over the years, she has written over 100 original pieces for Insurify, focusing on trends in the insurance industry and financial advice for young and uninsured drivers. Micaela is an alumna of Northeastern University, where she majored in English.