Bigfish25

A Different Guide Tipping Question

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We are going to Alaska in August to visit our son (we lived in Alaska for 15 years). I have booked a full day float trip on the Kenai River, which I have done before. We will be drifting egg patterns and since there is no casting involved the boat can accommodate four people. The guide works alone so he is both guide and owner of the business. Here is the unusual part, he charges $300 per person for a full day which will be $1,200 for the four of us (no lunch provided). If there were only two of us it is quite possible that he would "fill "the boat with two other people whom we would not know. I know for a fact that many of the guides on the Kenai charge the same way. I am all for tipping the guide for a job well done but a the customary 20% tip the final tally would be about $1,500 for a day of fishing. Since he owns the business it all goes to him. So under these circumstances do you tip him 20% ?

 

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I would tip him based on his performance that day. The other stuff is ‘business’.

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I always consider a guide's expenses during a trip.

He doesn't provide lunches so that is a savings for him. How big is his boat?

Do all four fish at the same time or do you work a rotation and each fish part time?

How much fuel does he burn? Is it a float type trip?

If its his time and labor without any other additional cost, his profit margins are high.

So your tip should be adjusted to his profit margin. If he isn't making enough with expenses, yes the tip should be adequate.

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I'll typically tip a guide for good service, even if it is a one-person show and the guide isn't someone else's employee.

 

Having said that, "good service" is the key.  If the guy just goes through the motions, the basic fee will suffice.  If the guide goes above and beyond, the tip does, too.

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As a customer who desires to fish, I want the day to be simple (fishing is the goal) without complications. If a guide can make that happen, is there to support the customer, and to deliver an active day of fishing, I tip as a percentage of the stated price. If the guide mails it in and acts like the value is simply being out there, my tip is adjusted accordingly. The Alaska trip described by Bigfish is not out of the ordinary. If you agree with tipping, figure it as a percentage of the price for each person and adjust according to your experience and to the efforts of the guide. You don't need to worry about a guide's costs, for if they are a successful guide and know their stuff, they'll price accordingly.

 

When I'm in familiar areas and waters, I fish without a guide, and Alaska is a place where you can do both. However, If you're there on limited time, finding a good guide is preferred. A couple of us fished the Talkeetna with a guide several years ago around the summer solstice in late June for King Salmon. It was a half-day trip, but extended into a full-day trip because the fishing was slow. Hey, it happens even in Alaska. I hooked up with one king and it broke off. Slow day, but the guide was focused and kept us out there for more than 10 hours (didn't have to worry about lack of daylight!) to get us fish. When we decided to throw in the towel, he insisted on charging us for a half day regardless. He did everything to put us on fish, kept us safe and comfortable, and went above and beyond. The corresponding tip was a reward for his efforts. While catching fish is nice, it doesn't always happen, so I factor the experience and the guide's knowledge, efforts to put us on fish, and the overall experience accordingly. Good luck, sounds like it will be a great time.

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$50 tip per person seems reasonable especially since Alaska has no state income tax.  You could always offer to pay cash for the trip and "not need" a receipt. 

 

Even if expenses were 50% of $1200 + $200 = $1400, He could net $100/hour tax free for 7 hours ($700) which is more than $200K annually for us normal tax payers.

 

Now, if something really cool happens during the trip and it makes you feel good to give him more, that's great!

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On 4/20/2022 at 10:24 PM, Capt.Castafly said:

I always consider a guide's expenses during a trip.

He doesn't provide lunches so that is a savings for him. How big is his boat?

Do all four fish at the same time or do you work a rotation and each fish part time?

How much fuel does he burn? Is it a float type trip?

If its his time and labor without any other additional cost, his profit margins are high.

So your tip should be adjusted to his profit margin. If he isn't making enough with expenses, yes the tip should be adequate.

I disagree and I'm a pretty good tipper.

 

I'm not concerned with his expenses, rotations or profit margin, thats what the $1200 covers, he's making $800 profit easily as it is. As the sole person onboard thats working and as he is the owner, I'd throw him $100, if it were a dedicated mate that I knew wasn't making a living wage they would get $250. 

 

 I'm really saying this feller doesn't need a dime extra to have had a good day at $1200. Now, if he goes above and beyond like your posts stated, then you pony up. 

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The stress of having to grease another mans palm. Is this the essence of our sport.

 

We have not traveled very far from patronage and when men would touch their forelock to others.

 

Quite simply tipping sucks for both the receiver and the giver. My opinion and I am sure worth Jack **** in the USA..

If I were to be offered a tip it would be taken as a pretty serious insult. It has happened but not often.

 

Mike

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9 mins ago, Mike Oliver said:

The stress of having to grease another mans palm. Is this the essence of our sport.

Quite simply tipping sucks for both the receiver and the giver. My opinion and I am sure worth Jack **** in the USA..

If I were to be offered a tip it would be taken as a pretty serious insult. It has happened but not often.

Mike

Aaahh, the differences of our lands and customs. We've discussed this before, and while we have much in common, it's the differences that make our interactions enjoyable. As we typically tip to recognize good quality services in the USA, I quickly learned during my first visit to London many years ago when I almost got thrown out of a pub after trying to tip. Never made that insulting gesture again.

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As a former Alaska fishing guide, I'd say $50 per person is a fair tip on that type of trip if the day was enjoyable and the guide was pleasant and did a good job.  If you have a spectacular day tip accordingly.

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Posted (edited)

We have indeed had this discussion before. We do have different customs and when  in the USA trust me I respect them especially the people who work in the restaurant  business. I get that 100% and I rarely if ever pay less than 20%.

There are bar staff in the UK happy to accept gratuities and most don’t expect a lot. Some pubs there is a pint glass and small change is dropped in. Some bar staff will take just 50 cents if offered a drink. Others get the price of an actual drink which is taken out of the money proffered by the customer. So it varies. But no one gets the evil eye if they just pay for their drinks only.

I guess before the USA came into being us peasants  were in servitude to our masters and tipping the forelock in deference was necessary. So at a very personal level I just can’t accept this act of tipping. The peasants rose up.

Of course tipping happens in the UK but nothing like on the same scale.

But with a Guide who should be tipping who. So you get a great day, he gets your business. That is legit. Tipping comes up a lot so it would seem it is not as clear cut in the USA even.

Whilst it exists there is no way  I can ever take a guided day in either the US or England the end of which would be just to painful to bear. It is has nothing to do about the money or cost. Much more than that.

I have little respect for any owner operator who expects and will accept a tip. It is just cringe worthy.

I am now in a position to offer guiding and I will make it clear from the get go that gratuities are not expected or welcomed.

I don’t want the day to get cluttered up with BS.

 

Mike

 

 

Edited by Mike Oliver

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7 mins ago, Mike Oliver said:

I don’t want the day to get cluttered up with BS.

Mike

That's my primary reason for going fishing . . .

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Yes.

 

Take whatever you pay him and add 20%...He is expecting 20%. Every time.

 

Don't think about, don't worry about it, don't try to justify it, don't try to figure out his profit margin (you can't), or try to compare a fishing guide's services to your barber, bartender, garbage man or dentist. Just don't. Doesn't matter if if he own's the business, has a mate, doesn't have a mate, works at a lodge. So unless he pulls a knife on you or the boat sinks - the tip is 20%.

 

If you have a good day, tip more.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Cpalms said:

Yes.

 

Take whatever you pay him and add 20%...He is expecting 20%. Every time.

 

Don't think about, don't worry about it, don't try to justify it, don't try to figure out his profit margin (you can't), or try to compare a fishing guide's services to your barber, bartender, garbage man or dentist. Just don't. Doesn't matter if if he own's the business, has a mate, doesn't have a mate, works at a lodge. So unless he pulls a knife on you or the boat sinks - the tip is 20%.

 

If you have a good day, tip more.

Pretty much how I look at it when I plan a trip. It’s going to take a problem to come down from 20%. 

Edited by Drew C.

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