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Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13453
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You've got 2 fighting groups here, which seem to be offended with each other, but agree more than they realize.

In America - hired service is priced too low, with the expectation of tips to be the primary source of pay. For instance, at a restaurant, your dinner is priced for the restaurant's cost and margin. The restaurant does not really pay the waitress. YOU pay the waitress. And you pay her as much as you think she was worth. If she was bad, you pay her less. If she was good, you pay her more. Hence she has incentive to be good. But you pay her SOMETHING either way. To not tip, or tip very low, is very bad form.

One side isn't saying not to tip a waitress in this system. They're saying the system is screwy. Good service from the waitress is an expected part of the dinner, which the restaurant should provide. The restaurant should pay the waitress all that she's worth. And of course, passing that off on to the customer in the form of higher prices is fine. At least, as a customer, it's then right there in writing what we're really expected to pay for our dinner experience. No iffiness or guessing needed.

Some countries are like that. And some others go completely the opposite direction. The barter system. Not only is it up to you what to tip the waitress, but you can negotiate the price of the meal with the restaurant as well.

It's not right vs. wrong, just a different way to do things. I prefer the set prices, no tips, myself. But in the system we are in, tipping is expected for the more personal type of services. And you just follow the rule, that's all.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 16:33


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2010/4/15 17:24
From Central Maryland
Posts: 239
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Like it or not, tips provide an incentive for excellent service which is why they are expected but variable. A waitor that gets paid a flat rate is going to do the bare minimum for you, whereas one that believes in excellent service will make more. Do you want some bored, lazy, zombie of a guide just rowing down the river and telling you where to cast without any enthusiasm. Again, not everyone will be like this, but anyone could be on any given day, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Quote:

and again, if you charge me a lower rate i'll tip you more, but charge me $400 a day, fuggeddabout it...



If you can't afford the tip on top of your guide's price, then get a cheaper guide. The guides with the highest demand have higher prices. That's a fact of life. I think it's extremely rude to book a day and not tip, especially when the guide would have likely gotten a nice tip from almost anyone else that could have booked it before you. Also, like others have said, if they work for a shop, then they're not getting as much money as you think they are.

Quote:
I understand that guides want to make a living, but on the other hand they get to live in a beautiful place, not commute, not be stuck 14 hours a day in a cube, get free fishing gear, AND they get to take people fishing six days a week for 7 months a year...


Ok, beautiful place, yes, but you can't say the beauty of someone's location should have anything to do with their pay, especially when a lot of beautiful places have higher costs of living. Not commute, haha, yeah, sure. They're driving all over the place every day to fish wherever their clients want to go. A Montana guide is probably driving 1-2 hours on average each way. I bet there are days where a guide wishes he could sit on his ass in air conditioning for a day instead of rowing his ass of every day in the sun. Plus, if you're working 14 hours a day at least you're getting paid overtime which a guide has no way of getting. "Get to" take people fishing 6 days a week for 7 months of the year, what a joke. You think that isn't working? Dealing with people that don't know how to cast or who blame you when the fishing is slow. Rowing 8 hours a day in the sun isn't easy no matter how often you do it. And these guys who decided to make fishing their life only get to fish one day a week, which means that they have absolutely no break from what they do every other day. I'd imagine it can be frustrating.

Sorry to pick on you geebee, you're just the last comment and it reflects a lot of what I read in here. If you care about your guide as a person, then tip him. If you think his price it too high, get a cheaper guide and risk the guy not being as good. Of course I don't want to tip, but you know that it's expected, so add it to your price or you're an #censor#, plain and simple.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 16:36


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2006/9/11 13:33
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 3323
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Here's a really rough breakdown of some of the expenses that could be reasonably expected by a guide.

I'll use Mike Heck for an example (sorry Mike!). He's one of the top guides here in PA, IMO. His rate for a one day destination trip to Spring Creek (one person, wade fishing) is $250. His trip package includes a very nice meal, flies, and loaner equipment. Let's say he does 20 trips per year, so I'll roughly amortize some expenses based on that.

Gas - $75.
Vehicle maintenance and upkeep - $20
Insurance - $50 (it's roughly $1000 a year)
Guide License - $5
First Aid Certification - $5
Meal - $25
Flies - $25
Leader(s), equipment loaners - $10

That's $215 in expenses alone. If he gets paid $250 for this trip, he just made a whopping $35 for the day. Now I realize it's far from an accurate estimate for his expenses, but it also doesn't include things like health insurance for himself. He'd make more money working at a McDonald's drive up window.

Think that tip isn't important?

Posted on: 2013/7/24 17:10
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Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Da 'Berg, PA
Posts: 1516
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Quote:
Think that tip isn't important?


yup - and i'd hire Mike ( i think his local rate is $150-$180...)

my point is, and to expand pcray's point, is that tipping someone on minimum wage a few bucks is very very different to lashing out $400 + AND tipping $50...

Posted on: 2013/7/24 17:23


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2010/4/15 17:24
From Central Maryland
Posts: 239
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A good waitress can make 60-100+ dollars from tips in a night of serving. You're the only one giving that guide a tip for the day, and you can't throw him 40 bucks for 8 hours of his time? That $400 is for a float trip almost certainly. Drift boats are expensive. Gas is expensive. And you have a guide service taking their cut out of that as well. Again, you know that tipping is expected. If you can't afford to add a tip or just don't want to, then either fish on your own or book a cheaper guide. Don't rely on others giving generous tips so you can get away with stiffing someone.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 17:32


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Da 'Berg, PA
Posts: 1516
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Quote:

Pontus wrote:
Like it or not, tips provide an incentive for excellent service which is why they are expected but variable.


but that's the point - they shouldn't be an incentive and often they are expected at a rate that is not very variable - a $100 tip for one day ???

and i hear ya about getting a cheaper guide or DIY.

but I don't think demand sets guide rates either - more taking advantage of wealthy noobs ( which caveat emptor fair enough..) who don't know any better and probably get referred by the local orvis store anyway which pushes prices up for everyone.

and i'm not picking on Orvis; frontiers, yellowdog, fishingbreaks etc etc all do it too.

why else are people paying $1100 to chase BFT off stellwagon Bank right now ?

imagine the freaking tip for that !

Posted on: 2013/7/24 17:36


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2010/4/15 17:24
From Central Maryland
Posts: 239
Offline
If you think he went above and beyond to ensure you had a good trip, then why shouldn't he get $100 per day, although no one has said anything about that. I'm in college. I don't have a ton of money, and I don't want to have to tip any more than anyone else, but I've had people give me guided trips as gifts or invited me to come with them, and I pay my share of the tip. I went alone for a half day and tipped the guy 20 bucks. When I did a full day with someone else, I think we each tipped 20 as well. The point is that the guide deserves a tip. If you did an $1100 trip, no one's saying you should tip 20% of that for one day, but you should give your guide a fair amount per day that he works for you. Not to mention for a tuna trip you have much more expensive boat maitenance and way higher expenditures on gas to get to and from your fishing location. The price is dependent on the costs. A walk and wade is cheaper than a float trip is cheaper than an off shore.

And yes, the high number of "rich noobs" is an example of demand influencing the price. A good guide is going to be booked 6 days a week for most/all of prime time. As long as the demand is high enough, he can charge whatever price he wants as long as he's sufficiently filling his calendar. I don't know why you think you should have to pay any less just because you're better at fly fishing than some guy and his son who want to learn.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 17:56


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2013/6/18 18:55
From North Wales, PA
Posts: 27
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I helped a waterfowl guide for a few seasons and it was a real eye opener for me to see how much work and money was put in for a good hunt. Just scouting itself was very time consuming and gas for the boats and trucks really cuts into the profit margins.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 19:27


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2013/6/18 18:55
From North Wales, PA
Posts: 27
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I helped a waterfowl guide for a few seasons and it was a real eye opener for me to see how much work and money was put in for a good hunt. Just scouting itself was very time consuming and gas for the boats and trucks really cuts into the profit margins.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 19:27


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2013/6/14 8:09
From tully
Posts: 19
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$50 bucks, all your remaining beer and a big fattie. That will hold him over for a meal cigarettes and gas for tomorrows trip, to do it all over again, all season long.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 19:51


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2011/3/31 12:18
From Clearfield
Posts: 2494
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Only ever hired one guide (out of state). We each tipped him $50. He put us on good fish and provided a great time, so it was worth it and we were happy. I also learned a few things.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 20:17
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Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7633
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Well I was a damn good technician for over 20 years, I never asked for nor did I receive any tips. In fact the terms of engagement stated No gifts may be accepted.
My objection to tips has always been, why should I have to pay extra for good service, good service is expected. These days with the internet being what it is, a guide that didn't give good service wouldn't be around very long. that's the last I'llsay about it.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 20:26


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2011/3/8 19:04
From York, PA
Posts: 369
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I have recently had my one and only guide experience. They are a forum member and was more than pleased with thier service, knowledge, steam side manner, teaching ability, Etc. I paid $200 for the outing, and tipped $40. I actually wish I had more disposable funds to tip him because the information I gained was invaluable. I do believe that $40 was an acceptable tip but probably on the low end of fair. I hope to hire a steelhead guide and go on a guided spring outing and will likely tip at around the same percentage.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 20:42


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13453
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Yeah, from what I've seen, guide rates here are very little over cost. i.e. they're take-home money is tips. These guys aren't making great money on this.

Again, I don't like that system. I'd be ok with a bit of a tip as an incentive. But if 15% is the low end, drop dead expectation, then why in the world isn't that 15% just included in the price? Then no tip is required for average service. For good service, throw 5 or 10%.

In restaurants, we already do that with large groups. That should be the standard for ALL groups, and in other services, like guiding, as well.

But, even if it doesn't make sense to me, the system is what it is. I understand that the guide makes little money without tip. I understand that an absolute minimum of 15% is just expected. I don't dislike guides, they're just pricing it the way everyone else does, else they'd look overpriced. And I'm not an a-hole, so I do as I should, and tip.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 21:33


Re: Guide Tipping

Joined:
2011/5/26 10:12
From Dauphin PA
Posts: 2766
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Here's food for thought and I'll use a Delaware River guide as an example since I helped him get squared away when he started...

Drift boat $4500-8000
PA guide license
NY guide license
CPR certified
National park permit
Liability insurance
Food / drinks / snacks for clients
Tippet, leaders and flies that he stayed up half the night tying

If the guide is working for an outfitter that charges $400, the guide takes home $275-300. Subtract gas, subtract $35-40 for shuttle service. You then have to consider the pay isn't taxed but reported by the outfitter so there goes around 20% for taxes.

To sum it up, the guide's is a few grand in the hole before the season even starts. Outfitter charges $400, guide get $300. Subtract $35 for shuttle, subtract $30 for food / supplies and finally subtract $60 for taxes. That leaves $175.

If the guide shares history of the area, explains techniques, helps you with casting, teaches you how to identify different insects, helps you understand how to identify holding water, provides 2 dozen flies that you snap off from bad casting, provides tippet, teaches you new knots, rows you down the river while positioning the boat to make sure you have success, tells stories, has a great personality and makes the trip a ton of fun and considering that your biggest fish ever was 16" until he put you on a 22" beauty. He had to talk you through the battle so you didn't lose the biggest trout of your life and took photos of you holding it so you can always remember that day.

When a guy goes above and beyond to make your trio one you will always remember....you should tip. If you're cutting things that tight, maybe you should hold off on getting a guide ununtil you've got a few extra $$ to play with. That's one of the reasons I've never hired one...broke azz.

Posted on: 2013/7/24 21:57
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