Should I tip? And if so, how much?

(NC) It’s a familiar dilemma — you’re paying for a service and get prompted for a tip. If you feel unsure of what to do next, you’re not alone. Everyday tipping dilemmas are normal, but you can arm yourself with some intel to feel more confident in knowing who gets what.

It’s important to know that tipping varies based on location and type of service. Payments and point-of-sale company Square reveals that the average tip of Canadians using its payments service is 13.8 per cent.

We’re most generous at bars and beauty and barber shops, tipping over 15 per cent, followed by 13 per cent at coffee shops and sit-down restaurants, and around 12 per cent at quick-service restaurants. The top tippers live in Regina, Whitehorse, Ottawa and Yellowknife, all tipping over 15 per cent on average, and the stingiest tippers are in Vancouver, tipping less than 13 per cent.

To make better tipping decisions, etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau, chief etiquette officer at, offers the following guidance:

Over-the-counter service at coffee shops and quick-service restaurants. This takes us back to the folkloric origins of the word “tip” — to insure promptness. When a tip is given, an expectation is set by the tipper, much like a bribe. Satisfaction remains to be seen. Today, Blais Comeau explains that since local coffee shops and gourmet dining spots have become an experience, tipping in these areas goes toward elements like the customized delivery of your order.

When your hairdresser owns the shop. “Historically this wasn’t the case, but today people are extending the same amount to salon or barber shop owners as they do to employees,” explains Blais Comeau. “Salons increasingly have experience elements, like massages and sophisticated drinks, that go beyond a basic haircut.”

Taxi drivers for helping with your bags. “A larger tip should be extended in the case of baggage handling. Touching equals tipping,” recommends Blais Comeau. Loading bags in or out of a trunk or carrying them up stairs has an impact on the driver’s health, and that should be taken into account. However, if the driver simply popped the trunk, it’s not necessary to tip more than you normally would.

Find more information about how Square makes tipping easy at

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