I really don’t like tipping. No, I don’t mind giving extra money to those who work hard. But tipping puts the onus on you to decide how much to top someone up, and that puts a lot of pressure on you as a consumer to not make a mistake.
Pretty much every time I slip an extra buck or two to a cab driver, the food delivery guy or my hairdresser, I worry I’m doing it wrong.
So time to do some digging and find out what’s appropriate, especially this time of year when we’re doing a whole lot more travelling, shopping, eating out and getting ourselves coiffed.
As I look around, I’m finding out there’s no hard and fast rules on this stuff. So consider this a loose guide and then do what feels right when your wallet is out:
In a regular old restaurant, you tip your server in the 15 per cent ballpark. That should be on the pre-tax amount. Boost that to 20 per cent if the service is killer. Bump it down to 10 per cent if things were not ideal. Most experts agree that no tip is not ideal: register your compliant if you have one but don’t punish your server severely by leaving nothing unless it’s clearly that’s person’s fault and they’ve truly done nothing to remedy things.
At a bar, aim for the 15 to 20 per cent range for a drink for the bartender, which will usually come in around $1, or the leftover change. These folks are excellent at leaving you enough coin to do the job. It’s actually nicer when you buy two drinks so you can tip the bartender without going crazy — nothing like having to leave $1 when you’ve just bought an end-of-night cranberry and soda for $2!
At a coffee shop or other quick service location, the experts decry the existence of the tip jar. No tip is required for this type of service.
Food delivery drivers can get up to 10 per cent, or $2 max. Give more in those nasty blizzards people.
When you get your locks trimmed, the protocol is 10 to 20 per cent for your hairdresser.
Barbers charge less and can be tipped less: $2 to $3 seems the standard.
Any esthetician service such as a manicure or wax falls into the up-to-20-per-cent category.
Taxi and shuttle drivers should get around 10 per cent, no less than $1. Give a bit more if you get help with bags.
Valets get around $2 when they fetch your car.
At hotels, you can also give a bellman $1 to $2 for help, per bag. A concierge who scores you great theatre tickets or helps you with a planning issue can be rewarded between $5 and $20. Room service tips hover around 10 per cent.
General tipping tips
To help you work out your tips without serious math mistakes, download a tipping app to do the calculations for you. I like Tipulator as it even helps you when you’re dividing a bill among friends. The Canadian Taxes and & Tip Calculator is a brilliant new one that navigates taxes and tips for you.
When you go out, take into account the cost of tipping when making your budget. If you can’t afford the tip at your hairdressers, consider that you’re at a salon that’s too pricey overall and find a new one.
Whether you agree with tips or not, they’re a part of being a Canadian consumer. Don’t sweat it, just budget it.