In Vancouver gratuities are not included in the cost of the service provided, and so it is customary to tip restaurant servers, hair stylists, aestheticians, dog groomers, as well as valets, porters, hotel concierge (if he performs a special service for you), and room attendants. Many people tip somewhere between 15% and 20%. It is okay to tip less if the service is poor, but leaving no tip at all is considered very rude since restaurant servers, at least, are paid a low hourly wage (tips are meant to supplement this wage). In most restaurants in Vancouver, if you have a large party over 8 or 10 people, an obligatory gratuity charge of 15% or more can be added on to your bill, and in this case, you don’t need to leave anything above that.
Tips and Rates
- Restaurant server—15% to 20% (or less if service is poor)
- Porters at hotels/railway stations/airports—$1 to $2 CAD per bag
- Hair stylist/aesthetician/taxi driver/anyone in the service industry—10% minimum
It isn’t necessarily customary to tip your mail carrier at the end of the year (or prior to the winter holidays), because you may not have just one designated carrier. Your route may be serviced by one or more carriers, particularly true in Vancouver. If in doubt, you can phone Canada Post to ask (1-866-607-6301).
There are other types of people you might want to tip on a yearly basis (how much is completely up to you, but many people offer between 10% and 15%):
- Personal trainer
- Doorman (rare in Vancouver)
- Cleaning staff/person
- Dog walker