Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tipping Your Guide - How Much?

In my last few posts I have written about the guided fishing trip I went on in the Smoke Mountains. It was a new experience for me, I had never used a guide. I had no idea what to expect or what was expected of me. One thing I was concerned about was tipping my guide. I didn't know if tipping was even appropriate and if it was how much I should tip.

When it comes to tipping I am no slouch. I tip waitresses 15% to 25% depending on the service rendered. If she does a great job and works hard to give us a nice meal I tip well. If she only visits our table to take the order and deliver food, I tip the minimum amount. When we go somewhere nice and the bill is $100 or more it is very hard to tip appropriately, but I do it because I believe it is important.

A beautiful Red Eye I caught on my trip

I went online to see what the going tip for a good guide was. It seems that most people tip their guide 20% if he does a good job and tries hard to make the hunt or fishing trip as enjoyable and productive as possible. It seems that, as with all tipping, there is some wiggle room. A one on one trip would constitute a larger tip than when the guide is working with several sportsmen at the same time. If the guide was lazy or did not know his stuff, then that would mean a smaller tip. If the trip is enormously expensive, many people opt to tip a smaller percentage. Conversely, if the trip was inexpensive then the tip should be at a higher percentage. There are really no hard rules, it just comes down to your preference.

Some may say "why tip at all?" I can understand this. A guided trip is expensive, even an inexpensive guided trip like mine was is expensive. $150 for four hours on a river is a big chunk of my fishing budget. Adding $30 on top of that for a decent tip is hard to do. I try to keep in mind that my guide is not making 100% of the $150 for the trip. The booking agent gets a cut, plus he has to pay for the gear (including the gear we lost due to snags and poor casts). I'm sure there are other overhead costs I do not know about. How much do you make a day? Shouldn't your guide, who has very specific skills, make the same amount? Good outfitters can be hard to find. I think sportsmen should be willing to pay well to keep them happy and in business.

It all comes down to how much a good hunting or fishing trip is worth to you.

DreamHost Promotional Code