I am getting ready to do my first ever job. It's a strictly hors d'ouvres party for 45 and I'm planning to do it alone. I had heard about the standard 15% gratuity or service charge and mentioned it to the client in an email exchange. When we eventually spoke, she said that she had checked around with other caterers and that such a charge was not at all standard. I was pretty dumfounded. (Never mind that she's getting a great deal.) Whether or not she's right, I don't know. I was certainly under the impression that it was standard. So do I just call it a wash and chalk it up to a learning experience?