Should You Tip a House Painter? An Expert Sydney Painter Weighs In


Slapping on a fresh coat of paint can completely revive a room – but prepping, priming, and applying it flawlessly is easier said than done. It’s why after over two decades of transforming homes across Sydney as a professional interior house painter, I still get the same question from clients time and again: “Should we tip you for this kind of job?”

While it may seem like a straightforward query, the appropriate answer on whether to tip house painters is a bit more nuanced than a simple “yes” or “no.” Based on my thousands of residential painting projects, sometimes a tip is warranted enthusiastic appreciation, while other times it’s an unnecessary extra.

So when is tipping expected for us painters in Australia’s tipping culture (or lack thereof)? And how much constitutes a fair gratuity for our labor? Let me offer my insider’s perspective as both a veteran painter and tradie…

I am Ibby, a 3rd generation painter and the owner of Painters Parramatta. I have an expertise in interior and exterior painting, specialty finishes, and historic restoration work. I hand-pick all crew members for their skill, attention to detail, and commitment to customer service aligned with Australian standards.

The Case For Tipping House Painters

Tipping house painters is a common practice in many cultures, and there are several reasons why it can be a good idea:

It’s a Gesture of Appreciation for Hard Work

Painting a home is tough, physical labor. We’re up on ladders for hours, maneuvering in tight spaces, and dealing with fumes – all while trying to deliver a flawless finish. A tip shows you noticed and valued the effort we put into transforming your living spaces.

Reward Outstanding Service

If your painters went above and beyond with exceptional service, a tip is a great way to show your gratitude. Things like:

  • Meticulous preparation and clean up
  • Protecting your furnishings and floors
  • Offering color consultation
  • Working neatly and quietly
  • Finishing ahead of schedule

A tip reinforces that you appreciate the extra mile.

Tipping Helps Compensate for Physically Demanding Work

Painting may look easy, but it’s a grind – especially for big jobs. We’re on our feet for 8-10 hour days, climbing, bending, lifting 5+ gallons of paint, and applying precise brush strokes. A little extra money helps make up for the physical toll.

Ultimately, tipping house painters is a personal decision and not mandatory. If you choose to tip, it’s recommended to consider the quality of work, level of service, and your overall satisfaction with the job before deciding on an appropriate tip amount.

Why Tipping is Less Common in Australia?

Unlike the US where tipping is an entrenched cultural practice, Australia has stronger labor protections and higher minimum wages. This means service workers like painters earn reasonable base pay rates accounting for their skill and labor demands. Tipping in Australia is therefore viewed as an optional “extra” gesture rather than an expected supplement to low wages.

When Tipping House Painters Isn’t Expected

We’re Already Paid a Fair Price for the Job

As professional interior painters, our rates account for labor, materials, insurance, and a reasonable profit margin. When you pay the quoted price, you’ve already compensated us fairly according to industry standards and legal wage requirements in Australia.

Companies May Have No-Tipping Policies

Some larger painting companies have express no-tipping policies to avoid differential treatment between customers or awkwardness for clients unsure of tipping etiquette. If the company requests no tips, you should respect that.

Personal Experience

In my two decades as a painter, I’ve had clients try to tip me everything from a free case of beer, to cash, to gift cards – which I appreciate as gestures of kindness. But I’ve never expected or felt owed a tip when the bill was paid per our contract and legal wage requirements were met.

How Much to Tip House Painters in Australia?

If you do choose to leave a tip for your painters in Australia, 10% of the total job cost is a reasonable guiding maximum. For smaller jobs, $20-50 is a nice gesture.

Some examples for an average interior painting job:

Total Job Cost Tip Range
$2,000 $0-200
$5,000 $0-500
$10,000 $0-1,000

Importantly, tipping 10-20% like in the US is not expected given differences in worker pay and tipping norms.

Industry Insight: A survey found only 16% of Australians “always” tip tradespeople like painters, while 47% said they “never” do.

Pro Tip: If tipping a crew, it’s best to give each painter their own envelope with an equal portion to avoid disputes. Having the homeowner distribute tips avoids awkwardness.

When (and How) to Give the Tip

The professional way is to tip the painters at the conclusion of the job once you’ve inspected their completed work to your satisfaction. But feel free to give a portion upfront if they’ve exceeded expectations through the first few days.

Hand the tip to the crew leader in a sealed envelope from the bank. Don’t worry about adding your name, this avoids awkwardness over tipping etiquette.

Final Thoughts: Tipping is Appreciated but Absolutely Not Required

At the end of the day, whether you tip your house painter is completely a personal choice. As skilled tradespeople fairly compensated per Australian wage standards, we don’t expect to be tipped. But know that a tip is appreciated as a kind bonus gesture if you were wowed by truly exceptional service.


Do I need to tip each individual painter?

No, it’s standard to give one tip to the crew leader or site supervisor to distribute appropriately if you choose to leave a tip.

What if I have a large painting job spanning multiple weeks? Should I tip daily?

No need to tip daily. One tip at the conclusion is customary if you elect to leave a tip. But you could provide a small halfway tip if you’re exceptionally satisfied with their work so far.

Should I tip more for difficult jobs like high ceilings or intricate trim work?

While you can if you’d like, it’s not expected. Our job pricing already accounts for complexity and labor demands. Tipping is appreciated but not required even for technically challenging jobs.