Tipping a guide...

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

  1. Gee Bill, did I touch a nerve? I'm sorry if you resent my taking entertainment in replying to your post, but hey, it's the internet. How do you know I or perhaps others don't consider your $100 tip as being a bit on the cheap side? I don't, but I thought the way you set it out there was like a ball on the tee waiting for someone to take a shot at it.

    I couldn't resist the hooker analogy when you described establishing a relationship with your guide, but all the evidence you supplied suggests that the relationship is established by purchasing it as opposed to creating it by personally investing time and interest in one another's lives. Absent the money exchanging hands, do you think your guide would feel you had established any meaningful relationship?

    I enjoy reading people's rationales for tipping guides and trying to understand their apparent logic and compare or contrast with my own. BTW, I have no quarrel or opposition to tipping guides. The few times I've hired guides I tipped them, but admittedly only because I had previously read on internet forums like this one that it is customary. I wouldn't have otherwise known.

  2. I would prefer a guide who charged whatever his service was worth to everyone and refused all tips, rather than charge not enough and have the rest up to the client or working for a loss. Too many factors in fishing to give (or withold) a tip that are not within a guide's control (weather, client's skill or lack thereof, fish and bug activity, pressure or lack thereof).
  3. Really, as I've often said; If you have to ask about the tip ,you can't afford to hire a fishing god. Sober up men. A great guide will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of wild flogging. Although the flogging is really part of the journey. The trick is to find the guide you can work with, it is the Master and the student.
  4. If we were playing a game of "you might be a cheap bastard if..." , I think not tipping your guide would be right at the top.
  5. About 14-15% of the trip costs over the last year is what folks were gracious enough to give, on average. That includes days without any tips also.
  6. I'd put money down that somebody has said it. Doubt if it worked out, but it's been said. :clown:
  7. I pretty much agree with Snarlac and think guides, if they are independent businessmen, ought to charge what they think they're worth - the marketplace will let them know if they have an over-inflated opinion of the value of their service. I don't think anyone ought to be expected to refuse a tip however.

    Randal, I agree that a good guide is a good teacher. My kids had really good piano and violin teachers for that matter. I never expected to have to tip them in addition to the fees they charged. Specifically, what is it that makes you think someone who cannot afford the tip cannot afford the guide? Please use logic and show your work. I'm really interested in how people think - or don't think, but just repeat rhetoric they may have happened upon.

    Jeff, what's your rationale? Or is that just a potentially catchy sounding thing to say? Why is someone a cheap bastard for not tipping someone who they just paid a living wage? Tipping the waitress who is being paid less than the minimum wage in order to hopefully make a living wage, now that makes all kinds of sense to me. What doesn't make sense is for restaurants to not pay even minimum wage in the first place, but that's a different topic.

    Just to be a bit contrarian, I think a guide who doesn't charge enough for his service to make a living wage, or what his service is worth, in the first place, is guilty of irrational marketing, or worse.

  8. My question is then. Jeremy (I think your a guide), if someone tips less than 14-15% does this mean that you may not want them as clients again or would you'd be less apt or excited to see the same client again?
    I'm just curious. i don't want to dissapoint a guide and have to get another. I think i'd like the same guide to take me out on serveral trips......I don't want to have to keep meeting different pros. seems lame.
  9. Man this thread is exciting and intimidating at the same time. I'm POOR. I like to fish. I want to learn. I have never taken a multiple day guided trip anwhere (like AK or BC Canada). I have taken two guided day trips which I had to save significantly for. I tipped what must be considered by most to be terribly low. I considered the guide excellent, I learned a lot, the guide really worked hard all day. We fished for steelhead, we caught steelhead, I had a blast, I learned a lot and I tipped him $20 each time. Does that mean that I'm a cheap bastard having saved all year to take a one day fishing trip with a professional service provider who hour by hour makes twice what I do in a day? I'm a service provider of public safety and education. I'm on salary. I control my schedule. I don't make that much money. I freely work evenings and weekends for FREE, no overtime, to assist those who need my services but can't work with me during their normal work day. They don't tip me, I bust my ass for them, I do not expect tips and honestly will never take one for what I do.

    If you want $400 for the day, charge that. If you need more like it is apparently mainstream and customary, charge me $450 or $500 up front. That way everyone knows how many of my hard earned duckets are changing hands.

    I used the same guide both times and will use him again...maybe...he must know with my meager tip of $20 that I'm a cheap bastard and low life human being. I do agree guides that are independant and those working for companies are two different things. I'm sure those working for big operations get only a portion of the fee, there I'm more inclined to tip higher.
  10. guilty as charged... it's hard determining the price to charge. try to remain competitive with other boats and stay busy, or charge what you really need to make a living and lose bookings. it's obvious which end i picked :)

    independent guides should charge what they feel is fair, without tips. it's bad business to rely on tips... because many people do not tip or tip very little, which is fine. my clients were a broad mix and some of the most enjoyable to take fishing did not tip.

    if a guide gets pissy or won't rebook because you didn't tip enough... you've just been given an opportunity to find a better guide.

    if you want to tip, tip... but don't worry that some internet boob might think you didn't tip enough.
  11. I am happy to fish with whoever. Exhorbitant tipper, or not. I love my clients. Some of the coolest people I have met in life have been while standing thigh deep and swinging flies in the last year and a half. I haven't had one I wouldn't take out again with a genuine smile on my face, even if I wasn't tipped.

    Not everyone is in the same financial situation in life. Coming from being "the poor kid" growing up, I understand saving up for a long time to afford a guide trip. I truly get it.

    I have no preconceived expectations on the subject, and am happily surprised when it happens.
  12. Mumbles just found his next guide. Not because I'm cheap, but because I'm human, raising two young daughters and trying to provide for their futures and still feed my fishing itch. I'll be checking on Jeremy's location and sites. I'm sure there are more guides out there that think tip what you can as a bonus to the fees and others who expect more that the sticker price. I just don't fit those in the latter group as well I guess.

  13. Jeremy,

    I really appreciate, admire, and agree with your tipping philosophy.

    My question to the rest, albeit a little too late in the thread for much response at this stage is at what profession do you stop tipping? Where do you draw the line?

    Say the local flyshop attendent gives you a tip on a great fishing location or fly pattern and you go out and have your best day ever?

    Do you tip your dentist for a painless experience?

    What about your local F&W Biologist who takes time on his own to tell you about local fishing opportunities?

    The on-call flagger who stands in the hot sun all day directing traffic so you can get to your fishing hole?

    These are all jobs and people get compensated for their work.

    Should they get tipped for doing an extraordinary job in fulfilling their expected job assignments?

    It is generally accepted by society that wait people are tipped. There are a few other exceptions but these cases are pretty rare. I would imagine those outside the flyfishing world would be surprised that tipping guides for doing their job is so common and at times, expected.

    My take, at the risk of repeated what has already been said, is that tipping should you elect to do so, should not be expected but happily and graciously accepted when offered.
  14. I'm gonna be a fishing guide so I can get filthy rich and bang supermodels." :thumb:

    That's how I roll.

    Let's break down a wage: trip cost=$395
    Guide take=$325 - $30 shuttle -$30 lunch- 37 cents a mile and depending on how far you drive, around $50 for fuel - insurence and liscencing and wear and tear on your boat, truck and gear. About another $15.

    Now and average day is between 12 and 16 hours when you add all the time it takes to get ready for the trip as well

    Do the math Pretty close to minimun wage when you consider all the factors.
  15. Interesting mathematical approach to justify tipping...but I'm not convinced. I think tipping is fine, but no to the unaffordable (for me) extreme that others have indicated. I don't paid 37 cents a mile for driving to and from work, driving back on evenings to meet folks who were not available during the normal work day or on weekends when I would rather be with my family, why should we calculate it for the guide? The guide sets the trip plan with the client for where fish are expected to be, and if that means that the guide's office is an hour or two further than his house or where he or she fishes on thier own, well, they choose their office location, right? I also don't get to count my commute time to work or back home from work. I put in more 12 hour days than 8 hour days and more 16 hour days than 10 hour days and I get my salary...the agreed upon wage that I work for. No benefits (I have my own benefits package), no overtime and certainly no tips. I'm not trying to stiff the guiding industry, but you can't justify NEEDING to tip a guide because they need to pay for gas or flies or other stuff. This is what a guide does for a living, or to supplement thier living and I respect that, but such a breakdown of sunk or hidden costs should be included into the guided trip fee, not tacked on afterwards by an "expected or customary" tip.
  16. I'm very biased, but who isn't?

    Just because you don't agree with a common practice doesn't mean that you are justified in doing the opposite. Yeah, it's probably the most economically intelligent system, but that's just how it's evolved. I'm not too fond of tipping waiters at restuarants, coffee shops, etc, but it's a practice we've seemed to have agreed upon as a society, so I go along and shell out an extra 15%-20% for the service. The same seems to be true for fishing guides (although the % given varies quite a bit more).

    Guides, in my experience, do not work any harder for people they believe to be good tippers. And the measure of a successful day is not a large tip for most.

    Stop crying about it and give your guide a tip.
  17. Salmo_g,

    I would argue that tipping guides has become an established practice -- Both the guide and sport know the rules before playing the game. Now you and others may want to change that practice, which is fair, but keep in mind that that is not the expected norm. You may or may not use guides, but if you do in the future, I think it would be fair for you and others to explain to the guide, up front, that you don't believe in tipping guides, or at least independent guides (maybe your willing to tip guides that work for outfits they don't own... I don't know).

    There are many established/accepted business practices... you have to pick your battles. Credit/debt cards have an associated fee with many transactions (I could pay with cash), waiters & waitresses expect tips (they're taxed on them), hot-dogs at baseball games cost A LOT of money & fishing guides get tips for good service.

    -- Edit

    I just read one of your previous posts and saw that you have, in fact, tipped when using guides. I still stand behind my rationale above... and I suspect you may as well :) -- It's healthy to stir-the-pot from time to time.

  18. Fair enough, but you don't continue to drive your car after you get to work, and sometimes a further drive is needed to catch more fish and have a better day. Just because the compitition is so strict and the Consumer price as low as it is then a tip here and there helps keep it basically barlely above a fast food workers wage.... But hey who am I to judge. If I wanted to make more money I would get a nice coozy office job. Instead I work three seasonal jobs to try and scrape up enough cash to fish through the winter for myself.
    The guide rate really hasn't kept up with the inflation and thus tipping has been more common, and greatly appreciated. :beer2:
  19. I spend about 65 hours a week working and no more than 3 or 4 a day in the office. I certanily do drive my own SUV to any neighborhood that requests my presence, to community gathering places and anwhere else where I can meet the folks I need to meet to improve public safety and readiness.

    I understand that I'm not the typical guide service user and appreicate this thread to educate me more about how that industry works. I did consider that the set prices pretty much were that way to ensure that the guide got the money s/he needed for their time. I will reassess my approach, but I won't start my tipping for a day trip at $100 like some other clients who may be more financially capable to toss that Franklin to their guide. On my two trips with the same guide I did learn a ton, and for that I paid his fee and tipped him $20. I guess his business was slow so he let me book the second time, he forgot what a cheap bastard I was, or he really did not mind the tip.

    All cool info, like many other posts here.
  20. I feel you should tip your guide unless they were rude, dishonest, unhelpful etc... It is simply a thank you for a good/safe day on the water.
    To me the amount you tip doesnt matter as much as the manner in which the tip is given. I was always more grateful for a $20 tip from a guy that had a good time than a $100 tip from an asshole that just felt it was obilgatory. If I could see in someones face that they were grateful for a job well done, it made it worthwhile.

    as a guide there is no reasoning how tips come, you can get nothing for a great day or a lot fo a terrible day. It all evens out over time.

Share This Page