Whether you're the owner of a small business or are a regular patron of a business, it's important to be aware of the rules of etiquette when it comes to tipping the business owner. Learning the proper protocol for tipping will help you to retain customers--or improve your reputation as a valued consumer.

Tipping the Owner

Technically, it is not considered proper etiquette to tip the owner of a business. Instead, the tip should go to the employees. If you frequent a business often, it's a nice gesture to tip generously in order to show your appreciation for services rendered, and to ensure great service in the future. This is especially recommended for establishments like beauty salons and restaurants, since employees often have to give part of their earnings to the boss. It is proper etiquette to tip between 15 and 20 percent for the total bill at a restaurant, and to give $2 to $3 to a spa attendant or an employee who helps to style your hair at a beauty salon.

Accepting a Tip

If you are the owner of a business as well as an employee, it is best not to expect a tip. Accept the tip if the customer insists, so as not to be insulting. If you run a small business and are the only employee, make sure that customers do not feel as though they have to leave a tip. Some people now tip business owners if the owner performed a service for them, such as a hair style or manicure. If you do receive a tip from a customer, it's a nice gesture to share the tip with the employees who helped you to perform the service for the client, such as the individual who washed the client's hair if you are a hairstylist.

Tipping Alternatives

If you visit a business often and want to show your appreciation to the business owner, giving a quality bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers during the holidays or every few months is acceptable in lieu of a tip. It's also a great idea to make it a point to advertise the business via word of mouth, so that the business owner will gain more clients and make more of a profit overall--which turns out to be more money than a tip in the long run.