Tipping a guide...

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

  1. Kaari White

    Kaari White Active Member

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    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.
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Member

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    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
    Salmo_g,

    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.

    -Jeff
     
  3. rick matney

    rick matney Active Member

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    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:
     
  4. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  5. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

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    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.
     
  6. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Topwater,

    Excellent post!

    I'd think tho that it's pretty straight forward figuring out what to charge. There is usually a prevailing rate in most fisheries. If you're higher than that, you'll probably get fewer bookings unless and until you've established a reputation that merits a premium - and even then, you may not get it. One of the brutal facts of life is that some occupations don't pay a good living. If guiding doesn't, then guides have to evaluate if they need to make a different choice.

    I completely agree that anything less than a pleasant day on the water would be a clue to book with someone else the next time.

    Jeff,

    I'm not trying to change the practice of tipping guides. I'm trying to understand it. Of all the reasons given in this and similar threads, the only reason that stands up to logical analysis is that tipping guides has become customary, altho no really good reasons have explained why. I've hired guides who bust their ass all day to make a good trip, but I can't say they work any harder than some underpaid waitresses I've known who were on their feet all and worked every bit as hard. See BDD's post as an example of the lack of logic or correlation for tipping when compared to other service occupations. Where is the line? Yes, I've tipped the guides I hired, but only because I'd learned beforehand from these internet fishing bulletin boards that it is customary. If someone doesn't tell ya', how would you know? Same with NOT tipping wait staff in restaurants in Europe. If I hadn't learned in advance, I wouldn't have known.

    Matney,

    Just continuing my contrarian role in this thread, I did the math, and it looks like on average a guide makes about twice the minimum wage, depending on the state I suppose. It takes a worst case condition and long drive to bring it down to minimum wage. Like you say, if money was at the heart of it, you'd do something that pays more.

    I once was a fishing guide for one month, working with an outfitter friend. I did it because I figured one month more or less at my regular occupation wouldn't make any difference in my life - and it hasn't. I thought guiding might be a memory maker and be a fun and interesting experience. It was. I had fun. I worked hard (7 AM to 10 or 10:30 PM daily). I met interesting people. I met a couple assholes I'm pleased to have never seen again. The money wasn't enough to raise a family, which I was doing then. But it didn't matter because I'd built up enough annual leave to just take the time off and still get my regular paycheck. I rationalized the guiding pay as compensation for helping others fish instead of fishing for myself during my vacation. I admire what guides do. I've done it. But I won't be doing it again; I'd rather fish for myself on those days off. And I'm not sure I would work for the prevailing guide rate.

    I'm still looking for the logic for tipping guides, other than it is customary. The fact that it isn't a high paying job doesn't withstand rational analysis, since many jobs are low paying in this country. I don't tip the plumber, electrician, piano teacher, violin teacher, I do tip the cab driver, but not the bus driver (why? Not customary!), don't tip my dentist or dental hygenist, my doctor, or my lawyer.

    Sg
     
  7. EasyE

    EasyE Member

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    Interesting discussion. On the few guide trips I have taken I have always tipped and have usually felt good about it because I felt the guide went above and beyond my expectations. Only one time did I feel I got a raw deal because the river was a mess and the guide should have called and asked us to reschedule ... and once we got on the water the guide gave a poor performance. I probably wouldn't have tipped had I been paying but I was with a relative who had purchased the trip for me as a gift. Interestingly I have a buddy who guides for a lodge that posts on its website there will be a 15% gratuity for the guide added to the trip cost. He often gets more but he is guaranteed at least the 15% every day.
     
  8. rooster562

    rooster562 Rooster

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    My father taught me this years ago. Tip $20 a day per person on the trip. The good trips and bad will all even out.
     
  9. RANDAL

    RANDAL New Member

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    Dear Salmo g,
    Here's the deal, so now we all know you are some cheapskate ex -school teacher. What is that comment to me,"use logic and show your work" . I own Blue Skies Fishing guide service on the Yakima and Naches Rivers, I have forgotten more about this game than you will ever know. So I say," Show Me The Money" bonehead. You have know idea the personal relationships I have developed with my clients over the last eight years. It is not about the Money it is about simple respect, and in our culture that is expressed with good Bourbon, and dead presidents. But hey I'm just a fishing professional, what do I know.
     
  10. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm likely not going to make any friends on this post, but I'm posting it anyway. That is what a fool I am. Randal, I think that Salmo G has engaged this thought process from many angles, most of which should be regarded as views which make sense. You own a guide service, you have for some time. He tried it with a friend for a short stint, realized it was a tough way to etch out a living as he said "raising a family" and he moved on to whatever he was doing before that month vacation. I'm glad you have geat relationships with so many of your clients, it is hard not to forge favorable bonds on good water with people of like interests. It does not take burbon, it does not take dead presidents, and to target Salmo G specifically because you think he is a cheapskate ex-school teacher and a bonehead is simply insulting and unnecessary. I'm a cheapskate ex-sailor, retired after 20 years and 9 days of going whereverinthehell they wanted me to, doing whateverinthehell they needed me to do so you could be more comfortable and open your own business. To critizize someone for being cheap, degrade them because they are or were an educator (in my opinion one of the lowest paying, highest impacting our youth and most under respected professions) I say step back to you. It is you who really showed you are the bonehead, I'm sorry to say it as bluntly as you. I look forward to venturing to the Yakima someday this year or next for a professional guided fishing experience that likely will etch memories for the rest of my life, but it will not be with you or your Blue Skies. Not because I'm cheap and don't tip well enough to meet your standards, not because I'm not that great a fisherman to begin with, no, for me it is just becase if you are so darn professional why do you feel it important to target one person for thier views and think it is okay. It is with great regret that I feel that I have to stoop to the same here in this post. I apologize to those who may be offended should they still be reading this long into my post or this long into a five page topic. Randal, you get my bonehead of the (fill in the time period blank here). Good fishing. Damn, now I need a freaking drink.
     
  11. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    As a small business owner I know one thing. It takes a lot longer to build a good reputation than it does to ruin it.

    Good luck!
     
  12. smc

    smc Active Member

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    Must be a troll? Someone who has a bone to pick with Blue Skies? If not, wow. :eek:

    Anyway... I've never used a guide, so I've never tipped a guide. But I would imagine that
    spending the day fishing with a (good) guide could be a great experience. Something quite beyond watching a plumber fix your pipes.

    So, Salmo, the only "logic" I can see for tipping a guide (beyond convention) seems to be that it's an emotional response, a way to express appreciation for the guide and his work in a way that will help make the guides life a little better than he expected, since he just made your day a little better than you expected.

    Steve
     
  13. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Randal,

    I have never personally criticized anyone nor their opinion on this forum but you have absolutely no class whatsoever. What you claim to know is completely wrong and I would go so far as to say what you write is very foolish.

    Salmo g one of, if not THE , most respected poster on this forum. How dare you come on here with your 4 posts, babbling about things that show you really have no clue?

    Everyone has their respective opinions and you are certainly entitled to yours. However, when you ignorantly post statements that are completely untrue, well sir, I must emphatically disagree and call you on it.

    Good luck with your guiding business. I think you are going to need it.
     
  14. smc

    smc Active Member

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    Do a little research on Blue Skies and Randal Sumner... The guy who posted the above has got to be a troll. The "real" Randal is well spoken, educated, with a Master of Fine Arts, and an accomplished artist to boot.

    Everything I've read about Randal Sumner and his work is completely out of character to the brazen scum that so riled our friend Mumbles. :)

    Steve
     
  15. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I checked Blue Skies too and agree that the person who honestly pissed me off is probably not the real Randal. Whereinthehell is Bill Dood and his everybody use your name mentality (no offense Chris, I never read your origional post, only the recent version).

    If the real poser-poster would stand up and be heard so be it. If this is an axe grinder you are a poor lame excuse of a person. If it is really someone affiliated with Randal of Blue Skies then I am shocked and remain true to my feelings as posted. Should the real Randal not feel the same as the poser-poster then I'd consider mending the fence I thrashed thinking I was really dealing with Randal the business man himself. What kind of crap are some people pulling here?

    My name is Mumbles and I approve of this message. If you claim to be someone you are not then you are one of the lower life forms on the Earth.