Budtender Tipping Etiquette 101: How Much Should You Tip?

February 07, 2023

Dear Budtender - I’ve seen tip jars sitting out on the dispensary counters, but I’m never sure how much to contribute! What do you recommend? 

From, A (not cheap) Customer

Dear (not cheap) Customer - An excellent and much-appreciated question! There’s a ton of information to go through here, so we’ll try to cover everything for those who want to know.

Budtender Tipping

One of the best ways to learn about your bud is by talking to a budtender! They are the cannabis experts that dispensaries keep on staff to help you choose the right products and the necessary tools to enjoy it. Because budtenders can have such a wealth of knowledge and vastly improve your experience at a dispensary, it’s customary to tip them the way you might a server at a restaurant. The problem is that a lot of cannabis enthusiasts don’t know what the proper ways to tip a budtender are. The solution? You’re reading it. We’ll make sure you have all the knowledge you need to show your appreciation for your local budtender.

Should You Tip a Budtender?

Absolutely. If you had a great experience with your budtender, you should definitely leave them a tip (once you’re sure they can accept a tip). Of course, this isn’t mandatory. While budtenders don’t rely on their tips like servers at restaurants often do, it is a nice bonus to their hourly salary and a great way to ensure you’re noticed any time you step into that dispensary. 

Why Should You Tip a Budtender?

Most budtenders choose a career at a dispensary because they have a passion for cannabis. This passion can include knowledge about things like terpenes, production techniques, extraction methods, and more. You may even find budtenders that can talk to you about the different landraces that grow around the globe. If they share that knowledge with you, and they help create a great experience that makes you more informed about where your cannabis is from, how it's made, and what it’s made up of, that’s worthy of an extra monetary nod. 

Tipping not only acknowledges expertise, it also makes a budtender feel appreciated for the work they put into being great at their career. Of course, tipping is always discretionary, so it’s up to you to decide how much your budtender meant to you. Conversely, make sure you’re not punishing your budtender because of things outside of their control, like your favorite strain wasn’t in stock. Let their value stand on how they directly impacted you.

How Much Should You Tip a Budtender?

We recommend tipping your budtender the same way you would tip a bartender: around 10 - 20% of your total bill. Why? Budtenders and bartenders are similar when it comes to providing knowledge and customer service. For example, if a bartender makes an excellent cocktail recommendation, you may throw a couple bucks their way as a thank you. Budtenders can be treated much the same way. 

But remember, anything is appreciated—especially because we all know recreational cannabis can be pricey once the taxes are added on. Don’t feel like you need to meet a certain threshold when you tip. 

How Much Do Budtenders Make in Tips?

Budtenders may make a few extra dollars a week or hundreds of dollars a month. It depends entirely on their customers, the market, and how they’ve been able to let their expertise shine. Because budtenders don’t rely on tips as part of their wage, tips are just an extra thank you for making your visit pleasant.

What Are the Budtender Tipping Dos?

If you’re new to tipping your budtender, you may be wondering what the right way to do it is. Here are some dos we’ve collected from our budtenders:

1. Do check with your budtender and make sure they can accept tips before offering one. Every dispensary has its own rules, and some states have their own rules too. Because of this, it’s good practice to make sure nothing will go awry for you or your budtender if you toss a tip their way.

2. Do tip like your budtender works in the service industry—because they do. Retail workers have a lot of challenges, whether they’re in a clothing store or a marijuana dispensary. This hard work deserves to be noticed.

3. Do consider the level of customer service you received. If you popped into a dispensary, grabbed the product you needed, and checked out, you may offer a few bucks as a nod to your budtender. If you spent 20 minutes asking your budtender questions about strain recommendations, terpenes, and dab rigs, you may consider giving your budtender a little more for the effort they put in to help you.

What Are the Budtender Tipping Don’ts?

While there are plenty of things you should do when tipping your budtender, there are also a couple you shouldn’t do. The don’ts of budtender tipping include:

1. Don’t feel pressured to leave a tip. You should never feel like you have to tip, and therefore, can’t get the thing you want from your local dispensary. You should also never feel like you should have to tip regardless of your service. Tipping is always your choice, and no one will judge you if you simply choose not to.

2. Don’t assume budtenders can take a tip. While many recreational dispensaries allow tipping, there are some that don’t. Our LivWell medical dispensaries do not allow our medical marijuana patients to tip due to the marijuana being prescribed for a condition. If you’re unsure if your budtender can accept tips, just ask. They’ll be grateful you cared, even if they have to turn the offer down.

3. Don’t skip the tip because of something out of the budtender’s control. Budtenders don’t have say over a lot of the operational parts of a dispensary. This means that if you can’t find a product you want, or you encounter another problem, don’t take it out on your budtender. It’s not their fault. 

Giving Your Budtender Tips

Tipping your budtender is a great way to develop a rapport with cannabis experts once you find a dispensary you love. The marijuana industry is chock full of good people who are trying to enjoy their favorite plant with other like-minded people. Tipping budtenders is just another way we can all show love to our fellow cannabis experts for the work they put in to get good at what they do. 

Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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