Tipping a guide...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jonathan Gardner, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. well, smell the shit.... or listen to the shit, which is worse? :)

    of course, if you had seen the head on my boat after some trips.<a href="http://www.clipartof.com"><img src="http://www.clipartof.com/images/emoticons/xsmall2/2202_puking.gif" alt="Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clip Art Of.com" border="0"></a>
  2. i agree, besides being dishonest and lying, they also rummage through the guides gear while he's pissing in the woods, taking flies, tippet, and weed.

    f'ing cheap bastages
  3. Wells it's easy to tell who the guides are here. lol. No one answered my question about what a drift boat guide makes a day so Im still confused. In my field of trade, I work 20 times harder than a guide, overall dislike my job, my job in the long run is detrimental to my body, I do a service that last the costumers years (7-10 years average) and have never been tipped. Still wondering why guides 'deserve' such a honorable tip, for doing a job they love. Seriously, what does a guide make in a day?

    btw, Ray for sure deserves a tip for water side grub like that. YUM!
  4. Topwater,
    Now think about what you are saying,you would rather smell sewer gas all day than tolerate some smack talking yuppie.I think I'd have more fun messin' with the smart aleck,than wearing rubber gloves and worrying about bacteria.Once again, "the poor fishing guide has it soooo tough".Come on, they are doing what they love,that doesn't oblige me to reward them further.(although I have chosen too).Most times guides are simply peddling new variations of the same ole basic patterns.taking you through the same 'ole holes they go through day after day,telling the same stories over and over.Guides are not diety although many think(pardon the connection) their shit don't stink.I guess I get sick of being around the whole pompous arrogant industry here in Southwest Montana.Anybody can catch fish if they do their homework.
    Again, I have tipped guides fairly,because I choose to not because I think there is an obligation.Hem
  5. How about this. DO you pay the guide in cash and do you realdy think he reports it. So his hole day that you payed him is a tip !!
  6. ReelFly- On average a guide gets paid about 60-70% of the trip fee, based on experience. Different outfitters require a guide to pay for other expense, i.e. some outfitters provide lunch, some don't, etc. I don't think that the amount a guide makes is a reason to tip a guide.
  7. From what i can tell the smack talking yuppie is a rare luxury. Its the "I work 20 times harder than you" guy, and "sick of the pompous arrogant guide industry" guy, and "cheap" guy that the guides have to tolerate
  8. I have wondered about the answer to this question for a long time. As a general rule I think of myself as a generous tipper because whether or not I am a good customer, people who are in the hospitality business have to deal with some real schmucks. Therefore I am grateful when they treat me well, notwithstanding the fact that the jerk they served right before me questioned the legitimacy of their parentage.

    I have frequently questioned how professional guides actually make a good enough living to remain in business. The guys who guide for outfitters and especially lodges are more like your typical hospitality employee even if they supply their own rig. They don't have the marketing expense, have at least some regular source of clients and still get to write off most of their expenses if they are a sub-contractor. And they are more likely to get clients who expect to tip because of the nature of how the trip was arranged.

    The independent guide is a different story as he or she is utterly responsible for the whole show. They are clearly spending a lot of money to be in business, and probably spend nearly as much time working off the water as on. Even at $600 a day for the boat, when you break out all the expenses, ie; truck, boat, gear, licenses, insurance, professional association memberships, marketing, TAXES, etc..., they might bring home $350 a day. which , if you work 250 days a year is about $87,500 annually. But we all know that any guide would be thrilled to get 250 full day bookings in a year. I don't know for a fact but a really good pro might get something on the order of 150 full day bookings annually which puts his take around $52,500 in personal income. From that take personal and social security taxes, healthcare, etc..., and the picture is pretty clear. They don't live too high on the hog. All of that is predicated on a $600 boat which most guys are not getting.

    Granted, a lot of guys are really happy to work cheap at something they love. But I suspect that the people complaining about tipping the guide are in general pretty ungrateful people, the kind of folks who IF they owned a small business would pay their employees as little as possible and provide little or no benefit package.

    We all know there are some ALL-PRO ASSHOLE guides out there, like the one on this forum, who when I mistakenly sent a PM to the wrong member asking for advice about a local lake shot me back that "for $400 I will tell you what's up" , but by and large I personally have Great service from guides and am very grateful for their work. As a consequence I don't book a trip unless I am prepared to tip exceedingly well.

    At the end of the day guides are in the entertainment/hospitality industry and DESERVE to be tipped unless they are rude or unqualified. The PRO'S deserve our gratitude and loyalty, the best part is the REAL PRO'S don't expect either.

    Keep up the good work guy's.:thumb:
  9. Jergens,

    Is that 60-70% for guides working for outfitters apply to shops as well? I ask because an "outfitter" presumably outfits and provides many of the essentials for the trip. I would think that fly shops that hook customers up with guides are entitled to something approximating a "booking fee," which shouldn't cost more than 10 or 15% of the daily fee. Of course, if shops are the medium by which guides obtain clients, then I could see some shops keeping a share larger than the cost of making the booking, but that's a different topic.

    It's interesting to read that some posters here are able to project the reasons and values of the folks that are asking questions and offering their opinions in this thread. Assumptions about cheap ass clients, smack talking yuppies, people who work harder in the "not analogous" trades but get no tips, all the while the word "deserve" continues to crop up which reeks of entitlement. It must be nice to be a fucking genius like that. I don't presume to know what makes other people tick; that's why I ask them.

    I'll offer another observation that I think influences the fishing guide business. A lot of people who are passionate about their fishing seem to want to be or become fishing guides to live their dream. It's a fortuitous coincidence that guiding allows them to partially live that dream on someone else's dime.

    I think guiding is a lot like writing. Many guides are part timers. Some choose it to supplement their "real" day job or obtain guide discounts and tax write-offs on their trucks and boats. Others seem to choose it so they can be close to fishing during the part of the year that they guide and then become the true trout bums they are and fish the rest of the year for themselves. I suspect there are many other reasons and strategies, but I only know a few guides. Nonetheless an abundance of guides in the popular fishing areas in the popular seasons is likely to depress or prevent fees from rising.

    A lot of writers are part-time free lancers. They compete with full-time professional writers, and there are so many part-timers that they substantially depress the rates received for articles published in magazines on any popular subject.


  10. This has to be one of the most negative and depressing ideas I have seen voiced here so far. Once you have guided for a few months it becomes abundantly clear that you would have more time to fish, and more money to do it with, doing just about any other kind of non fishing related job. I could just as easily say that a federal Fisheries Biologist "lives on someone elses dime".
  11. G- In my experience, it varies some, but 30% is what i have seen from shops as well. In washington a guide is not required to work through an outfitter, so the shops fulfill this role.
  12. I haven't been called a fucking genius since I married my first wife for the second time, which I guess actually demonstrates that I was a fucking genius at some point in my life. Wait, that was me saying that about myself.

    I maybe should have been more explicit... from my point of view PROFESSIONAL guides deserve MY gratitude and MY loyalty. If they "reek" of entitlement then they won't get either. I just don't see being grateful as such a heavy cross to bear.
  13. Well technically they do... but I'm OK with it being my dime.
  14. Everybody lives on someone else's dime--even if they just inherited it, received it as dividends and interest, earned it as a salary, or were paid by the hour ....
  15. Here's another question, albeit rhetorical. How many guides who are "entitled" to a tip actually make it long term in that industry?

    My suspicion is that it's not many. They cycle out, disenchanted with the process destined for other great feats of mediocrity, and new 'entitled ones" cycle in. Really this is a question of personal character, I think. The guy's who know they aren't entitled to anything extra are the ones who seem to make best guides because they are sincere, friendly, work harder out of desire to ensure a satisfied customer, and ultimately are called PROFESSIONAL. By their clients and their peers.
  16. Bob,

    Sorry. Must have been a very poor choice of words on my part. As Andy indicated, we all live on someone else's dime, but I'd add until we earn it and it becomes our own. I sure didn't mean to be depressing or negative. I meant it in a positive sense, in that guiding allows a person to be on the water because he is hired to be, but otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford to be there, for lack of income. I know that if I guided it would only be part time because I'd want some time to fish for myself. My brief but intense guiding experience with 6 days off in a month, and much of that time spent doing laundry, shopping for supplies for the next trip, etc. Never fished less in my life it seemed.


    If WA shops are taking 30% just for booking, then booking trips is far more lucrative than guiding.

  17. Only if people are willing to book trips with a guide. Then it comes back to customer service which only the better guides will see return clients.
  18. the smiley face after it meant i was joking. i would rather do neither... so i quit guiding and now get to fish as i please when i please (well, the work schedule does mess with the when i please a little bit.)

    actually, one of the worst things about no longer being a guide is the smell. my bathroom used to always smells like lilies.... now.... it's friggin unbearable.

    i get it, i live in one of those hyped up tourist areas. also, i believe you tip and probably tip well... i always felt that clients that worked in the trades tipped much better on average, maybe they just appreciate a good time on the water more than others.
  19. So a quick word on this tipping question.Over the christmas break I fished witha guide for tarpon.We had a long day on the water 7:30-4:30.Saw lots of tarpon,hooking them was another story.You know,the guide (or in this case,the Capt.-this is a huge distinction), was amiable enough,put us on the fish,gave instruction;however at times was hot-tempered,impatient.We only boated two fish, had a few more hook-ups, and as well acouple of bumps.I had a great day,don't know if I'll ever geta chance to do it again.Wish we had caught more,but this was probably a combination of the tarpon being finicky(that day),my inexperience, and the guide either planting me right ON the fish, or putting me out of my range.Tipped him 20%.He made an effort,we raced from location to location,got us on fish,what more can you ask.Oh yeah,all this WITHOUT the snooty,my shit don't stink attitude.Mt. guides take note,yuk,yuk......
  20. Hi guys. Been an interesting talk here. I will throw out exactly what my pull is as a guide since so many people are asking, then give my views on tipping.

    As a Guide working out of a fly shop I figured my average salary on a per hr basis during summer running the most popular river with 2 people in drift boat at $13.53hr or around $200 a day. Fly shop takes 35% booking fee, i pay for boaters pass,shuttle,lunch,gas,gear and flies. Of course as a independent contractor i supply drift boat and rig capable of carrying 3 people and gear also. I also provide the rods and reels, shop rents waders and boots to clients. Not something that people do to get rich at for sure....especially when you consider that it is mostly seasonal and your not going to be guiding every day during peak period. Its a labor of love. I do not guide full time because i cannot afford to, although i might start to since i am having trouble making money as it is.

    Now on tipping. I believe that tipping is up to the individual person or persons on the trip. I am always extremely grateful when given a tip, but i do not expect it. I do not always give a tip to waitresses either. If i am satisfied with the services rendered then i will, if i am not then i won't.
    When guiding i always work as hard as i can to make sure that the people have as good of a time as possible during the trip. I do not do this to earn a tip, i do this to hopefully ensure that they will speak to there friends about the time that they had with me and get referal business.
    I will also say personally that alot of the best tips i got were not cash. I enjoy cigars and have had multiple people tip me with a couple of nice cigars, which was very nice.
    I will say that about 80% of people tip me. Average tip probably between $20 and $40. There are a fair amount of wealthy clients with the fly shop, Lucking into one of those clients and having a big fish day could equate to a tip of $200+ but that is extremely rare.
    I don't really count tip money as take home income, all tip money for me goes straight back into gear for guiding. Clients are hard on rods,reels,lines etc.

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