Do You Tip AC Installers and Technicians?


If your air conditioning has gone kaput or you’re having a new system installed, then you might require the services of an AC installer or technician.

With 5.91 million shipments of AC units in 2020 alone and $22 billion spent by Americans each year on these units, the AC industry is huge and is only getting bigger.

If you require the services of an air conditioning technician, you might be wondering whether you need to tip them when they attend your premises.

With that in mind, we’ve carried out some research to bring you up to speed as to whether it’s customary or not to tip your AC installer, what you might tip if it is and other important data such as AC technicians’ average salaries and the average cost of an AC call out.

Keep reading to find out more…

Do You Tip Air Conditioning Installers and Technicians? The Short Answer

The short answer is no you don’t need to tip an AC installer. It isn’t customary to do so and they usually earn around or above the US average salary. If you do decide to tip then the usual amount is 10-20% of the cost of the services.

How Much Do AC Installers and Technicians Earn?

One of the main considerations for most people when deciding whether to tip is what the average earnings are for the industry in question.

Pay within some industries is so poor that a tip is almost always warranted. This is the case for:

Sometimes tips are actually meant to supplement a worker’s wage and they are poorly paid deliberately on this basis.

However, this is not the case for AC installers and isn’t normally the case for most types of technicians or laborers as we found out when we look at whether Verizon technicians should be tipped, whether to tip home inspectors and if you should tip power washers.

The main reason is that AC installers receive an adequate salary already so tips aren’t really expected or required to supplement their wages.

We found something similar when looking at whether you should tip travel agents.

Here’s the data:

Proportion of WorkersAverage Salary AVAC Worker
Source: Indeed

As you can see, according to Indeed the average salary for an AC installer in the US is $69,733 per year.

This is well above the average US yearly salary of $41,535 and is in fact over the total yearly median household income in the US which was $67,521 in 2020.

With that in mind, it would seem that tipping an AC technician is not really necessary if you consider a worker’s earnings as being the most important factor in deciding whether to tip.

Of course, some people will not take that view and will want to tip regardless, especially if they’ve received a good service.

How Much Will an AC Call Out or Installation be?

Another factor you will want to consider when deciding whether to tip is how much the services of an AC technician are going to set you back.

According to HomeGuide expect to pay the following:

Type of WorkAverage Cost
Service Call$75-200
Diagnostics $75-200
Emergency Call Out$140 – $250
Average cost of a full install$5651
Source: HomeGuide

On the basis of those figures, it’s going to cost you between $75 – and $250 for most call-out work.

For a full install, it will cost you a lot more, the average cost being $5651 but this can rise to up to $10,000 and beyond depending on the size of your property and the size of the system you require. If you need full ductwork to be done then expect to pay even more.

How Much Should You Tip?

The typical rate for a tip in the USA is between 10% to 20% of the total price of the purchase.

If we say, based on the above figures, a call-out will be around $150 on average then a tip should be around $15 – $30.

Other people may wish to pay a tip based on a fixed rate and we’d propose a minimum of $10.

Some technicians will work in a team so you will need to consider whether you split the tip and give, say, 10 bucks to each technician or give a larger tip to be shared out.

Clearly, for a full installation that takes several days then you may wish to tip more.

However, the important thing to remember is that AC technicians generally won’t be expecting a tip so it’s unlikely you’ll be looked on unfavorably if you don’t pay one.

Altneratives to Tipping

If you’d rather not dip your hand into your pocket to give a tip then there are certainly other things you can do to show your gratitude such as:

  • Provide food and drinks to your technician;
  • Offer to leave the house if you think they need more space;
  • Provide them with a safe and warm (or cool) environment;
  • Provide a radio or other music if they want it;
  • Offer to help if they need assistance with non-technical aspects of the job that you can be useful at;
  • Offer to be flexible with any deadline.

When and When Not to Tip

There will certainly be times when you think that a tip is definitely justified and warranted, even if the custom is not to tip.

Here are some scenarios where you may consider tipping it surely worth it:

  • If an excellent service has been provided and the workmanship has been over and above;
  • If the job has been completed on time or ahead of time;
  • If a discount has been offered on the work or it’s been done for a below-market-rate;
  • If the technician has gone beyond the call of duty. For example, some technicians may agree to meet what might normally be considered to be an unreasonable deadline, they may have knocked you some money off the original quote or come out at a very unsociable hour such as in the early hours of the morning;
  • Around the holidays like Christmas or Thanks Giving.

You may decide that a tip should be withheld if:

  • The workmanship is poor or damage has been done to your property;
  • The work takes longer than expected;
  • The technician has been unprofessional or rude;
  • The work costs more than originally quoted.

Final Thoughts

It’s quite clear from our research and examination of the data, that you certainly don’t need to tip an AC technician or installer.

AC workers generally earn well above the US average salary and like most jobs of this nature, a tip isn’t customary or required to supplement low income.

Moreover, the cost of a call-out is not exactly cheap, nor is the cost of a full installation or replacement system.

However, an AC technician’s work is manual and labor-intensive and many technicians will work out of hours to get your air conditioning back in service.

Therefore, many people will feel it is in good conscience to offer a tip and we see no reason to depart from the standard 10 to 20% figure which is generally accepted as “typical” within the US.

Others will prefer to provide a fixed sum not based on a percentage and we suggest $10 is the minimum amount you should offer.

It’s important to remember that there are certainly times when a tip should be withheld and you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing so if the workmanship wasn’t as expected.

About the author

Oliver graduated from law school in 2008 and has practiced exclusively in the field of civil litigation for the last 10 years. He has a wealth of experience and expertise in litigation involving large financial losses and a special interest in consumer law. He has achieved numerous 7 figure settlements and has been involved in multi-billion dollar class-action consumer lawsuits against companies such as the Volkswagen Group. Away from the law, he is a consumer information and personal finance writer, having been featured in key publications such as Yahoo Finance, GO Banking Rates, NewsBreak, MEL Magazine, and many more.

-Chief Editor and Founder

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