Tipping a guide...

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

  1. I give up. You should read this book though.
  2. I have been on one guided bone fishing trip and the services told me up front what to tip my guide.
    $500.00 for the boat for the day $50.00 to the guide.
    My guide was my friend in about 5 min. we had a great day on the water and I boated two bones, all the others were LDRs.
    I think $500.00 for a day on the water was way over the top, but there were no other guides that I knew of that charged less.
    When I go to the Bahamas now I go unguided, and I catch more fish but I'm boatless. The cost of a boat is big.
    The cost of learning how to catch bone fish is priceless.

    Having a small business is a big expence.
    As a client we don't see all the cost involved in taking someone out in a boat for a day.
    I would say a 10% tip is the least you can do for our guide, unless he is an ass hat and runs over the shore guys lines or low holes others, etc.
  3. It was asked earlier in the thread, how much of a 350-450$ trip actually goes to the guide?
    say, a guide booking through a shop. using his own drift boat.
  4. This thread got me thinking about this scene from the Simpsons' :

    Homer takes Lisa to the museum and sees the sign,
    `Suggested donation: $4.50'.

    Homer: Eh, what do you mean by `suggested donation'?
    Clerk: Pay any amount you wish, sir.
    Homer: And uh, what if I wish to pay ... zero?
    Clerk: That is up to you.
    Homer: Ooh, so it's up to me, is it?
    Clerk: Yes.
    Homer: I see. And you think that people are going to pay
    you $4.50 even though they don't have to?
    Just out of the goodness of their... [laughs]
    Well, anything you say! Good luck, lady, you're gonna need it!
  5. I thought those guides that worked real hard to go behind me when I'm bank fishing where just bing nice. You mean they were just working on their tip? ;)
  6. we also need to differentiate what type of boat when talking about "boats" being a big expense. boats that have engines cost more to maintain, run, insure than non-motorized boats. also, in the states running a boat with an engine requires more licensing (another added cost) and for certain species/areas different licenses (again, more costs).

    what i always thought was funny was how shore luches became an important part of guiding (thank god that tradition never took in the salt). i always wondered what the hell a lunch had to do with guiding and the reviews/advertising of guides mentioning their "gourmet" food always make me laugh.

    this post should push this to 7 pages :)
  7. As I understand it, equipment such as a boat, truck etc can be amortized over time as a tax writeoff, but I'm not an expert on such things.
    Many professions require tools, equipment and supplies, licensing, permits and maintenance.

    A businessman or woman carefully assesses these costs and includes them when calculating their overhead, and adjusts their prices accordingly.
  8. From my experience working for an outfitter in Idaho:
    Rafting trip guides make about $100/day, fishing guides make about $150/day if they supply their own gear. Bookings vary, but most guides work about 2-4 days a week during the season, depending on bookings and how high up the totem pole they are.

    As for "gourmet" cooking on a river trip, see below:

    Dutch oven prime rib:


    Served with Buckaroo Spuds, fresh spinach leaf salad, and fresh green beans sauteed in a butter garlic sauce:


    Seasoned hand cut flat iron steak, steamed fresh broccoli with a cheese sauce, sauteed shrimp in a homemade pesto angelhair pasta:

  9. Ray I am fishing with you! That looks delicious! I'm in. And yes tip your guides. Go with your gut feeling if it feels like you should then do it if not then don't.
  10. OK, discussion over. let's eat.
  11. iagreeiagreeOne of the best things about expedition rafting trips (private, 1-5 boats) was each boat took a night to cook and to try to outdo all the other boats; some fantastic meals on the river! Usually involved a dutch oven or two as well as multiple stoves.
  12. i always thought a dutch oven involved a beer fart, a comforter and a pissed off female.

    boy was i wrong.
  13. Looks great! A dutch oven is awesome! You need two though, one for dinner (above) and the second for desert! Mmmmm, good! :thumb: :beer2:
  14. For a $350 day expect to pay $50 ($200 each for a party of 2) Add a bit more if the guy gives great service (for me that means shares local knowledge and gives useful pointers)
    My guess is that the guides that increased to $375/day have seen a reduction in tips. Some guests probably use the $200 each rule of thumb.
  15. sorry man, can't concentrate. must have FOOD.

  16. While I haven't taken more than a couple guided trips in my life, both when I was young enough not to be the one worrying about the tip, I will offer up my 2 cents on this subject.

    This has been a fascinating read, mainly because the general outlook of typing is something that has always irked me.

    If, as many people have posted, a tip is because the guide did wonderful things like teach me how to fish, put me over fishy spots, rowed well, conversated well, treated me with respect, was professional in all aspects of the day, then what exactly is it that I'm paying the 300-400 dollars for? Use of the boat?

    This is not to say that I don't tip, or I wouldn't tip a guide, but that sort of thought process just baffles me. If all of those things are worthy of a tip, then I really have no idea what I'm paying a fee for exactly.

    And since cooking lunch, washing the dishes, dealing with the gear, keeping me safe etc. etc. etc. is going above and beyond, as Ray claims in his post, then I think guides should give me one of two options:

    Option A: Fully service trip, complete with lunch, clean dishes, boating safety, fishing lessons, solid conversation etc. with an approptiate tip factored into the cost


    Option B: A guide who will do nothing more than row a boat down the river, leaving the rest up to me, for a much lesser price since all those "extras" were not factored in.

    Again, I am not claiming that I don't, or wouldn't tip, but this mentality that I "should" tip because the guide is doing what I sort of consider his job is ridiculous. If I finish the day feeling that it was an overall enjoyable experience, then I am sure to tip as that is just the sort of person I am. However, I would feel no obligation to throw more money his direction simply because he cooked lunch. (Which, as far as I've been able to tell, is advertised as part of the overall guide experience on most guide ads I have run across)

  17. Generally speaking....

    If you take enough guided trips to learn the difference between a really good guide and a mediocre guide, you will know why tipping the good guide is appropriate. It's a level of service thing in an industry where trips generally cost the same, but the real difference in quality of trip is the quality of the service that the guide provides.
  18. I don't think the different opinions on this issue is a matter of logic or any kind of lack of experience of different levels of service between a really good or mediocre guide. I honestly think its a "cheapness" thing. I know people will say this isn't true because they tip guides but don't get it. I don't believe this. I bet they "have" tipped guides and generally do tip waiters a few bucks sometimes. But in the end this is just a matter of being cheap and trying to defend this with poor logic on this matter. I bet you guys return things to Costco after you don't need them anymore and also like to complain about your food at restaurants hoping for a reduction in tab. No way you just don't get this but are normal in all your other spending habits.
  19. Heres a point of view from a "working guy".First off as a contractor(carpenter) I still am annoyed at the plumber/electrician analogy.You ought to maybe appreciate the guy that has to smell your shit when he fixes your pipes,and then makes sure your shit goes away.Granted they make the best money in the trades but most times they do the nasty jobs nobody wants to deal with.The electrician provides you with ample priveledges we all have come to rely upon.Both tradesmen give you a quality of life you shouldn't take for granted, alittle different than a recreational day on the river.NOT a good comparison.Secondly,am I supposed to feel sorry for the guy that is determined to live the dream but doesn't make sufficient money by doing so? Not much sympathy here ,either.I came close to guiding here in Montana twenty years ago,had the job lined up etc. but then decided I love fishing too much to sour it by guiding every day.I didn't want to do all the daily hassles that make up the job(and cost $).I don't bristle at the idea of tipping,but don't feel I am obligated to spend even more money just 'cuz the poor guide is just breaking even.That was his or her own choice.If there is just cause to reward a proficient service,why not?That should be the decision of the client.This is the best part,...if tipping should be customary for a proficient service than maybe your plumber,electrician, ought to get a little token of appreciation.haha In any case,I'm headed to Puerto Rico to fish for tarpon with a guide at christmas,I plan on tipping,it remains to be seen how charitable I'll be...10% sounds about right.
  20. [
    Option A: Fully service trip, complete with lunch, clean dishes, boating safety, fishing lessons, solid conversation etc. with an approptiate tip factored into the cost

    I really like Option A, I think we all should give ourself a raise the coming year. I am gonna raise my price and factor the tip right in to my pricing for 2009 . Thank you to all the cheap ass people on this thread that think guides do not deserve a tip:eek:. My your 2009 guiding season be a profitable one. :thumb:

    Long live the $100.00 guide tip !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:rofl:

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