I like Susan’s distinction between ‘tipping’ and ‘receiving a gift’. In that sense, I have never received a tip but have received gifts that clients bought to show their appreciation.
In the same spirit, I give tokens of appreciation for being my clients, be it a donation to a charity in their honor or a small appropriate gift.
I do accept tips (gifts) from my clients around the holidays. Often I receive gift cards, usually the amount of at least (sometimes more) two training sessions. While I have never “tipped” my dentist, lawyer etc, I did give holiday gift cards to my daughter’s oncologist, our town library staff, some teachers, and my tennis coach. These were all professionals who went well above our “expected” level of service, and I wanted to show my gratitude. I believe my clients feel the same way about me, and I am happy to accept their appreciation.
In reverse I have given my long time clients gift certificates for a massage to thank them for staying with me so many years.
I have received ‘gifts’ in the form of tips from clients over the years. Although it’s NEVER expected, it is always accepted in the spirit that it is given. I hate “rules of thumb” since I truly believe that whenever anyone gives something from their heart it is ALWAYS enough. There is no formula for heartfelt gifts.