Curious what the general rule of thumb is for tipping a guide? I am taking my son and 2 other boys on a guided goose hunt in March (shotgun hunt so sorry if that offends anyone) and was wondering what I should plan on for tipping. Appreciate your input.
That's a good rule of thumb. I've tipped quite a bit more if the guide really went over the top with extra effort or knowledge.
I once didn't tip a steelhead "guide" anything, and wanted to drown him for being such a worthless, incompetent jerk. After the trip (no hits, crappy gear, no lunch or water to drink, we floated past all the water I knew and had fished from shore with success) he offered to let us buy him a big steak dinner and drinks that night....
Mule, I've actually always wanted to try it with my bow. I still have all the equipment, I may still try it sometime. It's damn hard to get them to land though, they are wary SOB's. I think I could get one out of the air though with the recurve and flu flu's, be damn fun to try!
When I was guiding tips were all over the board. Archery hunters tended to tip better than rifle hunters. I never got stiffed, but some guys seemed to think $50 was an adequate tip for me busting my ass for them for 5 days. Don't be that guy. Other guys based the amount of their tips on whether or not they killed something, which also ticked me off.
My best tip was $1000 from a father and son hunt, in which the father killed his first bull elk at 80-plus years old, and the son killed a nice Mulie. The funny thing was, they were both blue-collar guys who could least afford it. It was the only outfitted hunt they'd ever been on. I tried to give some of it back to them, but they insisted. The old man died just few months after the hunt, and I received a heart-felt letter from the son thanking me for checking an item off his father's bucket list. I will never forget those guys and that hunt.
I go by effort, if the guide works his hump.off to get birds for you then yes tip well. If he is a lazy ass who wants to just get through the day that will have a huge effect on tip. I hunted with Porter outfitters in northern Illinois, and had the owner Matt guide me and three others. After hearing him brag about his operation I can tell you it was The worse goose hunt I have ever been on. Tip reflected the crappy hunt.
What about a semi guided hunt? Where the guide shows you the stand on the first day, and you do the rest. You drive your own truck, you cook your own meals, you prepare and move your harvest yourself. Would you still tip the guide at the end of the week?
Only had guided hunts on hogs. Tipped 10%. I have killed plenty of mallards with a bow and arrow. Have also killed snow geese with bow and arrow. Not really being a good shot but when you have thousands of them in a field and they all jump up you almost can't miss shooting through the flock.
The more the better!! And I speak from experience! :) Seriously the 10% of the cost of the hunt is sort of an industry guideline. Many outfitters list that right on the sheet of guidelines or camp info they give you. So, a $5000 outfitter fee would be a $500 tip for your guide. More if you are really pleased and less if they really screwed up.
What is the tip if the outfitter guides you the whole time? What if you went on a $5000 elk hunt and the outfitter is a one man show do you tip him $600 or $700 though he has no guides/cook or wrangler to pay?
For a guide, 10% is the minimum for good service. Hopefully, you'll happily be tipping more because the effort warranted.
I never thought I'd live to see it but I did witness a client tip his guide with a knife once. I thought that sort of thing was a myth. It was really uncomfortable for a beat or two. Don't give gear unless it's specifically requested or 10% of the value of the hunt is tucked away somewhere in the equipment gifted.
I worked for an outfitter who posted in the guests rooms a card with tipping requirements. 5% tip if you are completely unsatisfied with the hunt plus an explanation to the outfitter of why only a 5%. 10% if you were satisfied with the hunt but didn't think the guide made much of an effort. 15% if you were totally satisfied with the hunt and the guide.
You got good advice 10-20% Depending on your level of service given. Bad service 0%
I am amazed when threads come up on this topic at the lack of just general tipping etiquette. I guess just lots of people just are not raised with gratuities in their world
With nearly 40 years of outfitting I have pretty well seen the range of tipping. As a business I never worried much about tips. I concentrated on running a good honest outfitting service and the tips just followed that. I never noticed any difference in archery or gun hunters and the percent they tipped
My guides never chased tips nor were they told to. They did very well in bonus stuff. Tips and wanted gear
I really don't remember my largest tip. I received lots of cool ones from vacations to firearms etc etc. I bet I have over 15 pairs of Swarovski / Zeiss/ Leica binos in the safe. The coolest firearm I was ever given for a tip was a Winchester Model 21 .470 nitro express double rifle
Tips certainly varied from client to client but I / we never based an opinion of a client on a tip.
Honest question and for the record I do tip even though it is cause for some anxiety. What type of business constitutes tips? I tip waiters, hairdressers, guides, etc. I have never received a tip for doing a good job building someone’s office building nor have my supers or pm’s. Should I be aggravated that we don’t get tips? The only one I really understand is waiters since they get little to no hourly pay. Your thoughts??
A tip is a show of gratitude, and it can come in many ways. I never received non-cash tips, but I would have gladly accepted them. I once gave a un-used Randall knife to a landowner, who allowed me to hunt on his property. I sensed that he would have preferred cash, until he figured out what it was, then he was super grateful.
Shiloh. Actually your industry does get tips. They are called performance bonuses. Kick it in the ass and you get a tip. My advice to you is honestly if tipping is causing you any anxiety, quit. Just don't do it. Not important enough to let that happen
Midwest. A great scene for sure Sums it up for so many. LOL!!
You are right RK.....my guys make tips that I pay as the business owner. The clients don’t give them bonuses. I think that’s the way it should work. The anxiety comes in when folks act like they are disappointed and show it. You spend a week with someone developing a friendship you don’t wanna disappoint them.
I guess you are right. Never really thought of it like that but I never worried about tips much. If I spent a week with a client it either ended with us developing a relationship or we just remained guide and client
Tips were an after thought if even that. The majority of my monetary tips I held in reserve in case I felt like one of my guys got shorted on a deserved tip
Everyone is different I guess and that's what makes it all work
What about when it is a group effort. 1 day the outfitter may take you out. Another day it may be his hired guide. I always wonder if I am doing the right thing when I give a generous lump sum to the outfitter and tell him to sort it out as he sees fit. Is this the right way to do it?
When I outfitted and we had new guide it was common for them to get a little taste of tip money in their pocket and then we would watch the lights go on and they would volunteer to guide the guy they figured was the richest on the next week. Doctor, lawyer, celebrity, etc..
They were often surprised how easily their suggestion was approved without much push back. After a few hunts they would learn that a hunter having deep pockets sometimes meant it was hard for the client to get his hand down in there far enough to reach much cash at the end of the hunt. :^)
If I were to ever think of booking with an outfitter and he had a tipping guide, I’d ask for that amount off the price of the hunt. If he refused, then I’d simply not book the hunt.
Everybody wants their money. As long as it is coming from your pocket to theirs. Things seem to go real smooth as long as the buyer operates by that formula.
For an outfitter to even suggest a tip means they are beating the guides out of that part of it. I understand costs versus return. I understand motivating employees too. What I don’t understand is the term tipping being applied to what used to be called wages. Pay for work completed. The tipping was extra. In every job out there. Is that not what it means in the guiding business too?
No investment returns in leaps and bounds. To suggest a guide charging $6500 for 6 days of use for a tent, 3 squares a day, and possibly a horse, and is not already accounting for the guides pay in that, is A masterful business man. Thats a good bit of money per day cleared to the outfitter.
Just my opinion. I’m not knocking anyone who can get it. But, don’t think for one second that I’d let that same outfitter tell me what part of his guides salary I was responsible for. That’s just stupid.
I tip on back end of hunt 5- 15% and on front end I pre-tip with the Wisconsin package which is a selection of variety of local cheese and sausage and sampler of craft beer , sometimes a bottle of Wis cherry wine and box locally made chocolates for the Mrs if I know we’re hunting out of his home.
Cranberry cheddar summer sausage Hmmmm good stuff.
Guiding steelhead fishmen winters in college I seen tips the way across across the board, from 50 dollar bill to the price of a days fishing. For guiding two guys with a drift boat it was prety typical to see a tip that equal to what you were making in a day.
I hate tipping because it is expected. I do tip my server the going rate when I eat out but a tip should be something you give because you want to. If I ever go on a guided hunt I would expect to give a good tip for hard work and friendship. Not so much if the guide did not work to make the hunt special. On that note the client has to work to make the hunt memorable too.
Granted, tips vary from one hunter to another. I tip 20% for a good effort and less for less. A great way to be sure the hunt gets off to a great start is to bring a “house warming” gift: Special locally made product from your state, food specialty from your wife or smoker, fine wine, clothing. A move like this always gets the hunt off on the RIGHT foot.
I'm probably going to "stir the pot" here......But.......I was a bartender for a number of years when I was younger. Some bar owners paid me well. Some not so much. I never had a bar owner tell me that part of my salary would come from tips. There was never a sign on the bar that said “don’t forget to tip the bartender “! The bar owner never stood at the door and said “ make sure you tip the bartender ..it’s part of his salary”! Did I get tips....yep ....sometimes. Did I ask for tips? nope. Did I only serve customers that tipped?..no , my job was to serve. Did I ever have customers say? “Isn’t your turn to buy a drink?...yep! And I hated it. Can you imagine asking an outfitter, “ isn’t it your turn to buy me a hunt?” It is just my opinion, but an outfitter sets a price for his hunt. Included in that price should be a guide’s salary. I know guide’s get tips from clients. That’s fine if a client wants to do so, but he shouldn’t be told by the outfitter that will be part or all of his salary. Outfitters shouldn’t be saying to clients, “don’t forget to tip the guide”..An outfitter should pay a man what he is worth if he works for you! Do I tip ...yep ......Do I like it nope....not when I'm told to do so.
I figure an outfitter 'outfits' and you pay for that. A guide guides and you pay for that. If one guy is doing both jobs I figure he's earned two 'paychecks'.
And I suspect that some folks fail to appreciate the expenses an outfitter incurs. Licenses and insurance, gear, scouting time, lease fees, vehicle (or horse) maintenance. If he has guides he has to interview them, hire them, maintain payrolls, etc. etc.
I've never been on a guided hunt, but I hate expected tipping. When I eat out I start at 20% as standard and go up or down from there by my service experience, but I really wish the restaurant industry would just add 20% to the price of everything and be done with it. It's a way of making a product sound cheaper than it is and pushing off the responsibility of paying your employees a decent wage in my opinion.
In all the years that I was involved as a client or with clients in the caribou camps in QC, deer camps in MT, caribou in NWT, and moose camps in NL; I saw only one instance where a guide deserved nothing as a tip as he was the 'head' guide for the outfitter and he was arrogant and sarcastic. Whether we were on 'do it yourself' hunts or fully guided hunts we always tipped above that suggested 10%...sometimes far above it as the hunt was exceptional. On my last actual caribou hunt to northern QC, my expected guide from previous trips had a stroke and had been flown out so I went with the very young kid he had been training. I believe I trained him a lot as I knew the old guide would have since I had been around the old guide so much. We had a great experience during what was an extremely tough hunt as the George River herd was undergoing terrible conditions and I made sure that kid would not forget our week together. On a caribou trip, my group had a fantastic trip of hunting and fishing and the 'guide' took care of all 6 of us, cooked the meals, skinned, ran his head off, etc. Two black bear, 12 caribou bulls, and untold trout later, we tipped him and his girl friend VERY well. I will be on my 11th bear trip to QC with that guide this coming spring! I would never withhold a tip from a guide...from the owner of an outfit if they were the guide...maybe.
Everybody always uses the "percentage rule" when figuring tips. I say that's BS. Hunt costs are all over the board these days and depend more on the quality of the hunt and area. A guide working for you on a $5000 elk hunt is likely gonna work a hell of a lot harder than a guide who gets you a bull on the first day because he's guiding on prime private ground in a hunt that cost $15,000. Are you telling me that guide who worked a day deserves $2000+ as a tip whereas the the guide who worked his tail off for 5 days only deserves $750?? Hell no.
I start at $100/day. If the guide works hard and goes above and beyond, I'll go higher. If he sucks, I tip less.
I have gone on 2 unguided hunts with the same outfitter (successful 1x). He provides the cabin, the private land and walkie talkies to check in with him at night when we return; the rest was on us. The cost of his "services" was pretty reasonable, in my eyes. What would you consider a fair tip for him?
I don’t think anyone has said they don’t or won’t tip Brotsky, but I was honest with the last outfitter that I spoke with and told him that it was something that bothered me. I asked him what he expected and he said the norm was 10%, but also said he wouldn’t expect a tip if service was poor. He is a Bowsite sponsor and both of us knew that most likely the service wouldn’t be poor.
The cost of the guided hunt should cover everything. Tips are when the guy did more than he was paid to do. I hate it when you feel obligated to pay a tip to somebody for just doing their job. Why don’t we tip doctors? Should we tip car salesman?
LOL Grape, you first! Kind of proves my point though. The outfitting business is one of those businesses where tipping is the "industry standard". Just like dining out or a bell hop, etc. Like it or not its part of the deal. I just feel like if a hunter is one of those guys that doesn't feel he needs to tip or that tipping shouldn't be a part of the arrangement then he should be up front about that with the outfitter/guide. Fair is fair right? If its a good outfit it shouldn't impact the level of service you receive.
Outfitter: “Glad to have you in camp Mr Brotsky. We are glad you arrived safely. We are looking forward to sharing a hunt with you”
Mr Client: “ I’m glad to be here too. I do want to be up front with you as we begin our hunt, and before you decide what stand you will put me in for the week. I want you to know I don’t tip outfitters or guides.....and I snore. So now that is up front when do we start”?
All good here Greg, I definitely saw the humor in it!
I'd probably say it this way though to make sure he didn't get the wrong impression: "I don't tip guides. I think you as the outfitter need to charge more up front so you can pay your guide more. I'll be back later tonight to give you more advice on how to run your business. I also better see about 500 head of elk and have 3 shot opportunities I can blow before dinner because I'm leaving in the morning. Now lets get started so I can get on my way back home to write my negative outfitter review on Bowsite." :-)
A good friend of mine is a fairly avid sportsmen, spending several months a year with different outfitters. I would consider him on the upper end of generous, but he has always been adamant that if the outfitter (business owner) is the guide that he is not tipping.
Also...when on these hunts or fishing trips, make sure you tip your house cleaners and cooks!
Never been on a paid hunt but have been on several offshore fishing charters & 20% is customary I did go on a charter out of Oregon inlet in NC probably 30 years ago & the mate was the biggest A hole you couldn't touch a rod,bait,gaff nothing all you were allowed to do was sit in the chair & reel. At the end of the trip I gave him a dollar & said I can sit in a chair at home & turn a reel handle. I normally tip 20% unless service is terrible
The purpose of tips for guides IMO is to incentivize above-and-beyond levels of service. We’d all probably like to get a super effort out of the guide in order to make our hunt experience better. A guide is usually paid a daily rate by the outfitter to perform a specific list of tasks, but the hunter always appreciates a little extra. If the guide does that something extra, we can choose to tip. That being said, I’m more than happy to tip and tip generously, but I don’t like for an outfitter to lay down a set of rules or guidelines on tipping in a way that makes it seem mandatory. That’s distasteful to me. And Dave has it right in his comment above. No way can tips be based on hunt cost alone. I’m fairly certain that no stone sheep guide is averaging 15% in tips on a 50k hunt. Not in the real world!
Tipping is more about hunter egos than anything else. You see it at the conventions where these clowns are bidding against one another for a hunt. It's all about flaunting their "wealth." Anybody who claims they tip 20% as a starting point is basically doing it to show up others for their own ego. Are you gonna tip 10K for a sheep hunt??? STUPID. Throw your money away. I don't care. Those are usually the guys the guides and outfitter can't wait to get rid of out of camp. They're a bunch of prima donnas who think because they're wealthy that they're good hunters. I guarantee you a guide would rather have a hunter who is easy to get along with, works hard, isn't a know-it-all, and helps out with some of the work than one who tips 20%.
I agree wityh Bou'bound. If the outfitter also guides you, he is essentially working a "second job" as a guide. He gets tipped. I've only done one outfitted hunt (NL moose) where the outfitter ( a dear personal friend) also guided me. He did a very good job, and he got a good tip.
Dave, gonna have to disagree with that last statement. First of all, guys "throwing money around at conventions" are funding conservation initiatives that enhance habitat, restore species, and provide public access amongst other things. I hope they throw all kinds of money around. Secondly, some of those "wealthy prima donnas" will hunt the pants off just about any hunter in the world. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few of "those guys". I can tell you they are some of the nicest people around, very humble, and do a ton for the animals we hunt. Lastly, I don't care what other people do with their money, I don't care what other people waste THEIR time and resources on, I only care about me and mine. We directly benefit from that "money being thrown around" as we hunt areas that have access provided by RMEF, we spend time with the sheep that were reintroduced by WSF, we have great memories from lands enhanced by DU and Pheasants Forever. I'm not a wealthy guy, but I respect the hell out of those guys that are and choose to share that wealth to insure our wild places and wild creatures live in a better world. Sorry I got a little long winded but that post pissed me off.
As for tipping the outfitter, I've done it. I had a guide who got me my sheep but the outfitter glassed-up the ram that we ended up harvesting. I gave my guide the lion's share of the tip but gave the outfitter a tip and told him that was it was a token of appreciation for his efforts on the hunt. He didn't have to be out glassing for sheep but he did it because he was a hunter and also wanted us to be successful.
Sure is hard to stomach another 500 on a hunt you already invested 5000+ on...only to have your character called into question if you don’t tip...what about the guide who “expects” a tip when he did what he signed up for and was paid to do...maybe his character needs a little work.
I don’t mind tipping, but I can’t stand what it’s turned into...an obligation...and a way to judge another person.
I don’t do guided hunts but I’ve been known to tip waitresses 30%. My wife waitressed through college. Most nights the pay she got with tips didn’t make minimum wage. I’m also a Christian and hopefully most waitresses see that. I don’t want to be stingy with what the lord has given me. That might mean in order to give a good tip I eat out half as much but to me that’s the price of doing business.
I guide deer hunters and the worst tippers I have are an old man that fills the pulpit for his church and a few of his deacons. Every year they request for me to guide them and I do knowing what I’m going to get. The outfitter kicks in the other 8% that they don’t tip. He doesn’t raise the price of their hunt even though I’ve suggested he do so. I would imagine after covering their tip he makes $500 off them. At 40 deer hunters and a few turkey hunters he’s not making much and to cover their tip has to suck. Then to think because that outfitter makes 60-80 thousand busting his tail he decided to guide a few for tip money and then gets shorted because he’s the outfitter. SMH
Money doesn't equate the same to everyone and after spending time with your guide or mate he will understand what is allot of money to you. They know what kind of person they are dealing with long before tip time you can bet on that. If they do a great job give them what is allot of money to you. If your filthy stinking rich then be a decent human and spread the wealth to those deserving. If you can afford the trip you can afford a decent tip.
Personally I also make every attempt to make the job easier for them even if that means getting out of the way and saving all the stupid questions for later. Being as self sufficient as possible and patient when something is needed goes a long way. If you are patient a good guide or mate will take care of your needs as soon as time allows and notice that you kept your mouth shut about it.
I bet most guides will tell you they would rather hunt with someone that is "common", quiet, easy to please and tips average than a needy whiner that tips fat.
1booner my ups, fed ex and USPS delivery people get gift cards for Christmas. ;) I also tip the cleaning ladies at the holiday inn. Do I have to, no. But I like good service and when you treat people right they usually take care of you.
I think there's a misconception that outfitting is an extremely lucrative business. As an ex-outfitter and guide (my partner and I did both), I can assure you that's not the case with many outfitters. I've never worked as hard for so little pay in my life. Leases were obviously the biggest expense, but other expenses really added up. Fuel and vehicle maintenance, cooks, food, licenses, bonds, insurance, etc... if the business made 10% profits in a year, we considered that a good year. More often than not we settled for basically breaking even.
Tips were never expected, or even discussed with our clients, but we were always grateful for them. A little tax-free cash in our wallets was always a nice thing.
I've been on several guided hunts, 3 with the same outfitter for archery elk (2 of those with my wife as the second hunter), 2 times for antelope/mulie both with my wife as the second hunter.
We asked both outfitters bout tipping. The elk outfitter simply said he pays his guides a fair salary so nothing is expected. We tipped, don't forget the amount (it was years ago). One my wife and I had the outfitter as our guide and he wouldn't take the tip, told him Christmas is coming consider it dinner for him and his wife (the cook) should go have dinner on some friends. He took it.
Antelope/mulie outfitter said it's not expected, but 10% seems about what many do. We tipped that plus a little because we had so much fun with our guides. The second trip we actually made it a bit harder on him by putting "we want to stalk, not just get out of the truck and shoot" on him (first trip I literally shot my mulie while using the truck as a rest and my antelope less than 10 yards from the truck). We passed several easy setups due to wanting to have to work a little.
In all cases we had a GREAT time with the guides we were with and considered them friends by the end of the week.
It also probably helped that I brought a cute wife who could shoot :-)
I’m not picking on anybody here...There are several posts about whether the guide would like their client to be a good client or tip good. That is oversimplified...it makes a lot of sense if you just don’t think about it. The reality is most guys That pay to go hunting are BOTH. They work hard, the are passionate about the sport, they understand hunting can be great or horrible, they have reasonable expectations, they don’t carry a tape measure around in their pocket, they pay a lot for an outdoor experience with a small emphasis on the dead animal, they come prepared and embrace their shortcomings, they love the thrill of adventure...and they tip really good. That describes about 95% of my clients. If you go on guided hunts and you don’t fall into THAT group you are out of the norm. It doesn’t make you a bad person, just not normal. I’m not picking on anybody here but giving affirming normal guys to know they are normal.
People need to do what they think is right and worry a lot less about other people’s interpretation of the choices you made. Who are you trying to be authentic to.........yourself and those you are closest to or a bunch of people online who don’t matter in your life and never will.
Tipping everyday services isn’t done much at all but when you’re doing one of the things you love to do, say..... hunting elk in the high country and you’re spending a week with a guy you really get along with and he’s working hard and doing everything he can to get you into bulls and keeping you safe, getting you back to camp every night, field dressing the bull, caping it, helping pack it out.....IMO only a frugal tightwad wouldn’t tip him. Guides love hunting but they like a good tip too....cold hard cash not a box of cheese.
Link - What if the guide is lazy, grumpy, and spits in your food? If it non negotiable it should just be part of up front cost. I believe in tipping well. I waited tables for 3 years during college like your wife. Luckily I always made more than min. wage. That why I did it, I could make more than the average job a college kid could get. I can't think of the last time I tipped a waiter less than 15% or even 20%. If I was going to I would always attempt to explain reason why to the manager on duty. Really the only reason a waiter ever makes me mad if he is lazy or overly grumpy. If they are trying I don't get upset if services is less than perfect. But someone just not willing to put out the effort does not deserve the same tip as someone that bust their ass and that is the point of a tip. To motivate them to give you their best.
I agree John. I was just saying some of the guys against tipping would just assume not have a say with that extra 10%. Some nights my wife did pretty good at waitressing but most evenings were a disappointment. If you factored the good nights with the bad she probably made minimum wage. Such is waitressing in a smaller town though.
Cool - To clarify my point above is if you book a hunt assume you are going to tip and consider that part of cost when booking hunt not an unexpected and additional cost at the end. With that said if guide did less than try his hardest to make your hunt meet expectation. You have it in your control to tip him less - or more if he went above and beyond.
I guess I was lucky. Growing up I had an uncle that took me to lots of places to hunt and fish and vacation. He taught me early on about tipping and the values of it
I traveled and hunted a lot before I got into the outfitting business I gleaned what I liked and disliked on numerous trips So when I started the business I had a good feel for what worked and did not work. In all of my paperwork I explained that tipping was optional, hunters choice but if you are going to tip here are some guide lines. I never cared if someone tipped or not. It was a bonus or not. Service was the same
The only thing I ever tracked in the business was tipping based on regional areas. Link. If your wife was waitress in Oklahoma and in a small town she was in my top three areas of poor tipping
Tipping did vary regionally. No reason to put all of that here:)
Tipping at times is an art form
And yes for all of you non tippers I tip delivery people including mail, waitresses , service people ( just had a plumber come and fix some stuff). Yep tipped
I remember once being in Mexico at an all inclusive resort You know the ones where EVERYTHING is included. First time the pool waitress came by and took drink order I tipped her Guess who always had snacks drinks etc the rest of the afternoon? The Canadians next to me could not understand because everything is included right?? Good stuff
I will say that in 4 decades of this stuff I bet I only had 2 people that had some of the attitudes that are represented here. I just think it's the internet macho that fuels so much of the " I tip my way and this is how it should be" Nonesense attitude. I never saw much of it in the real world
How about this for a little perspective guys....or at least for the Christians on here... Everything you (and I) have is given to us by the Lord. Truthfully it's all His and He's trusted us to manage it. What we do with what He's given us is what we'll have to give an account for one day. I'm a big game guide here in Wyoming and have been since 2005. I don't work for tips, but sure appreciate them when they come. I look at it like this: I'm getting paid to do something I love. Basically being compensated for participating in your vacation. Yep, I will never really make any money being a guide considering the beating my truck takes, but again, I do it because I'm blessed with the awesome opportunity!
Well said RK, but I'm just a guide, not an outfitter. My business plan is to treat my guys and girls to the best hunting experience they've ever had. I go over the top and truthfully make the other guides I work with look bad (not my intent). When I do make money in a guide season it's because the tips were over the top. Taking time off from my normal life as a contractor and comparing that to what I'm paid from the outfitter, puts me in the red in all truth. But again, I'm getting paid to be on vacation. The last line in your post was spot on.
"Sure is hard to stomach another 500 on a hunt you already invested 5000+ on.." By the same token, it sure is hard to stomach a guy who spends $5K on a hunt, but is worried about a $500 tip for a job well done.
IMO, if tipping your guide/outfitter is of any concern to you, then perhaps you shouldn't be going on outfitted hunts.
Also hard to stomach a guy who can’t do his job without expecting a tip or judging someone who doesn’t tip...maybe they should find another line of work
I think the guys who have a problem with tipping are a small minority. The problem I have is with outfitters who suggest tipping amounts based on percentages of the hunt cost or guys who figure the amount to tip based on that. Those guides are not working any harder than guides who work for outfitters who guide on public land and have low success rates. Oftentimes, those guys are working even harder. I once had a guide who served as guide, wrangler, packer and cook on a backcountry elk hunt. I guaran-damn-tee you that guy worked 10x harder than the a-hole who guided my sheep hunt. First hunt cost me $6k and the sheep hunt $30k. You think that elk guide was only worth $900 while the sheep guide was worth $4500??? I think not.
Also, anybody who thinks the hunting industry isn't rampant with a bunch of big spenders who are a-hole prima donnas and aren't good hunters hasn't been on enough guided hunts and heard some of the stories I have. Just sayin.
I haven't done but a small handful of guided hunts. But the tipping part always stresses me out. Luckily I have a good friend who has done a decent number of guided hunts, and I frequently pester him with tipping questions.
I've done a couple hunts where the tips for the most part were recommended by the outfitter. One was a Russia sheep hunt, and the other an African hunt. They weren't requirements, but suggestions, and I really appreciated it. I was able to build it into my budget and expectations. In the case of the Africa hunt, I specifically asked the outfitter the question, regarding tipping of camp staff, skinners, trackers, etc. And it was hugely helpful to have a base from him, then I could build off that base for exceptional service, or go down.
I even asked whether to tip camp staff, etc. in dollars or Rand. Very helpful to know just from a planning standpoint.
One thing this thread has taught me. . . . I'm going to ask about it from now on. When looking at a hunt, doing the pre-booking questions, etc. I'll just ask about it. Then I can build it into the budget and that can be a factor over whether to book, etc. Try to make it easy on everybody.
Same here Bake......I now simply just ask the questions and base my thoughts off of what the outfitter says. I can’t stand when someone acts disappointed over a tip after a week of hunting. I’ve had that happen and it was awkward.
Question for some of you that have been a guide or outfitter. Give some examples of what a guide makes per week. What does the outfitter pay his guide before tips. For example a $6k elk hunt. You hunt say 6 days what does the guide get paid from the outfitter. I think a fair question to know the answer to what in total is the guide making.
I know it does not work this way and illegal in a lot of places. But what it comes down to if you could hire a local familiar with the area to tag along with you on a hunt. Do the heavy lifting, give you his expertise on hunting the area, be a packer when need, etc. What would the average guy that has the skill and knowledge to do that think it would be worth his time to do that. I think somewhere in the $1000-$1200 range. My guess is the average guide makes about half his earnings from salary and half from tips. But curious if that is accurate.
As I eluded to earlier, me and my partner shared both guiding and outfitting duties. Our only employee was a cook who we paid on a daily basis. IIRC, we gave her $50 a day, but she only cooked dinners, we handled breakfast and lunch.
We booked 30-40 hunters each year, which included archery and all rifle seasons. The price of our hunts averaged about $3500 back then. As I mentioned, a 10-15% profit margin was a good year for the business. If you do the math, then divide by 2 for each partner's individual share, we were working for far less than minimum wage. Some years we barely broke even. If it wasn't for tips, it wouldn't have been worth the effort.
Of course, we were hunting exclusively on private land which we had to lease. I'm sure public land outfitters work on higher profit margins, but I don't know of a single elk and deer outfitter who has gotten filthy rich from outfitting. The guys who are peddling $30-$60K sheep hunts probably make decent money for the time they spend at it, but since tags are so limited they book much fewer numbers of hunters.
You need to love hunting and catering to people to be an outfitter, because most outfitters won't be buying a plane with their profits.
Like it or not, tipping has become normal for guides.
The things that bother me is a guide isn't always equal. I don't mean quality, I mean the work. A whitetail/stand hunt vs say a back country elk hunt. Whitetail guide drives you to the stand, leaves you and comes back at the right time, will track and deal with a deer. Elk guide is with you sun up to sun down, navigating you around, calling, teaching you to hunt elk.
Say both hunts run you $5000, do both "earn" $500?
As for a guide who is disapointed in a tip, the hunter should probably never know that. I liked how my wife and i"s guide handled it. We gave him the envelope on the last night, he said thanks, stuck it in his pocket, shook my hand and hugged my wife. At that point, it could have been empty or had $25K in it, he didn't know.
Most of our clients did the same thing...tip was in an envelope, and we never looked at it until they left. Even if it had no envelope, I never looked at it until the client was gone. Occasionally that approach would cause an odd moment, because some clients wanted to bask in the glory of their generosity, but overall it was the best way to handle a somewhat awkward situation.
An outfitter that has a posh lodge, expensive meals, tennis courts for post hunt entertainment.... His guides may well not have to work as hard as a guide who works for a more bare bones outfitter. The posh outfitter may be $2000/day. He has extraordinary lands and the guides are often limited out on ducks by 10:00 a.m. because of the resources the outfitter spent.
On the other hand, a guide for the more thrifty outfitter is having to get up earlier, work harder, drive lower end vehicles and work longer hours to accomplish similar things. This outfitter is $500/day.
Does the guide for the thrifty outfitter deserve $75/day while the other guide for the posh outfitter deserves $200-$300 per day? You guys that state that a fixed percentage of 10 or 15% is the only consideration have bumped your heads....
So let’s say you looked in the envelope later and it had 0$-$50 in it...I wonder how many guides out there would either never book this person again or perhaps not provide him with as good as service on future hits he booked because he now has been branded as a “bad tipper”as if he now has questionable character...I say the guide who judges this person (who paid for and received an agreed upon service) needs to check his character.
Like I said, I don’t mind tipping and I have tipped every guide I have ever used...I just can’t stand what tipping has become these days. It makes a person feel like they will be put on some “scumbag” list if they don’t have the extra money for a tip or agree with the worlds view of the matter.
Just because some industries are “historically” lower paying industries, I shouldn’t suffer for it, change the industry, add it to the price of admission...whatever it takes but don’t turn it into a character test
I guide on a 12,000 acre ranch for elk. A five day hunt costs $6,000. I make 200 per day and start at 5 am and finish at about 7pm. I average 10% tips which helps the daily average. I’m retired but the extra income helps but I truly enjoy trying to get my clients on Elk and teaching them if they want that . A couple years ago my client shot a bull the first day and on the third day I guided his friend because the other guide needed the day off and he shot a bull! Then they had a dilemma with me getting them their elk but still wanted to be fair to the other guide. They still gave us equal shares which was great
If you tip according to how you feel about your guides/outfitters services, instead of letting the "world's view" dictate, then you should be golden.
Personally, I always felt a little sorry for my clients because they needed/wanted my help to fulfill their hunting desires. I never really understood that concept. If I can't kill a critter, DIY, I have no desire to do it. But, I recognized that plenty of hunters differ from from me, so I provided them help. I never apologized for being tipped for that service.
I used to average about $160 per day in tips but our hunts were short and expensive. Even so, it was in the 10-15 range. That average included one very famous American who gave me an autographed photo. Whoopee!
To those that say tipping less makes them "feel bad" or puts them on some list.....Could that be your conscience speaking? There's been a lot of guides and outfitters on here that have never said they expect a tip nor judge someone by how much they get or don't get. So where is that feeling coming from?
I'll take a stab at that one. I think some hunters resent how much an outfitted hunt costs. Maybe they can't truly afford it, or they feel a bit guilty for splurging, or maybe they feel inadequate for needing to be guided in the first place. Whatever the reason, a tip is like rubbing salt in the wound to them. So, they look for reasons to justify a less than standard tip, but down deep they know they're just being selfish cheapskates.
I actually had 2 guided hunts this year that had a sign hanging on tipping and what is "customary" for each position. Guide, cook, guide helpers etc. One actually ended up leaving envelopes with the peoples name on it. Really kind of struck me weird because to me a tip is going above and beyond your services. If you need to ask for money you should incorporate that into your hunt price and leave it up to me on the "tip." I wouldn't say it's my conscience but yea if you have a high roller in camp that tips out the wazzou I'd say their chances at the top animals and best hunt experience is better than yours. It's a money game in the end. I'll still do the hunts just tamper my expectations and tip what I want.
We have a small outfitting business on all private land for deer and antelope mostly. We don't ever mention or suggest tipping amounts and just let it roll. Whatever happens happens. If you just do your job and price your hunts where you want them a tip is more than likely going to fall in place. We have so many repeat clients both sides know what to expect and it's all good.
Dakota, I think you likely fall into “normal”. I like the way you think. There are lots of guys that make a big deal out of tips both for and against. You do it the right way. Lots of times on these forums guys post crazy talk and truly feel they are part of the norm. It’s important that “normal” people voice their opinions otherwise readers can get a distorted view of what normal really is. Some guys are gonna tip because they are generous and some aren’t. Some will base it on effort. Some will base it in outcome. Some just aren’t gonna do it. And some are gonna do it just because they figure they should. I’ve gotten stiffed and I’ve gotten unbelievably generous tips. I personally guided hunters for 255 days last year....most of them were great guys, once in awhile you get a dandy. Every one of those days I was mostly thankful for doing something for a living most hunters would give their left arm to do. The extra on the end is always nice. I don’t make recommendations on tips unless asked because that’s just my way of doing business. Luckily enough people like it to keep me from having to have a “square” job. It’s good to see you post your thoughts...the crazies sometimes overwhelm the blogs.
I haven't been on many guided hunts but when I have, I have tipped my guides appropriately...because I wanted to, not because I felt obligated to.
Having said that, when you pay an outfitter for a hunt, is he not paying is employees fairly for their work?
How is that different than paying a contractor to say pour a concrete driveway? The contractor figures the cost of his employees into he cost of the Job and he pays them accordingly. Should we then tip the person that did the finish work? How about the fellow that delivered the concrete?
How about hiring a painting contractor to paint your home. The contractor figures in the cost of labor and pays his employees accordingly. Should we then tip each painter based on how hard we felt they worked nor how the finished project looks?
I always pay with a credit card and I almost always over-tip wait staff. But then again, unlike all the other employees we are talking about, wait staff is not normally even paid minimum wage let alone a fair wage to begin with.
I've just never understood why some fairly paid services expect tips and others don't.
I can't tell you how many times I've had clients offer me tips or "a little extra for my trouble" and I've flatly refused every single time.
Most guides are not paid well. Just the way the business is. I hate tipping as much as the next guy but know it is wrong to stiff someone just to save myself a few bucks. You factor in the cost of travel, overnight motels, restaurants, etc. when planning a trip so why would you not do the same with an adequate tip for camp staff? What many fail to take into consideration is that often guides spend a fair amount of time scouting for game when no paying clients are in camp and often use their own vehicles and equipment in the course of a hunt. I don't know of any guides that make "good" money from guiding. Most choose to do it because they just like being outdoors.
The elephant in the room for some hunts, not all ( some have obvious expenses, leases, tags, logistics food and lodging) is what exactly are you paying for if the guide isn't compensated by the outfitter.
When I was outfitting we always had a couple of "standby" guides who filled in when either my partner or I couldn't guide that day, or hunt. We paid for all their fuel and other expenses, but their wages came from tips, period. They were always happy to do it because the idea of getting paid to hunt, no matter how little the amount, appealed to them. I know for fact we weren't the only outfitter who did it that way.
Matt, You didn't pay your guides but expected your clients to pay them for you? You think the client is a piece of crap if they don't tip well, but you not paying them is ok? That's some special thinking on your part, do as I say not as I do.
Exactly^^^. Let's also not forget that guides do what they do because they enjoy it and not because they're working a crappy job to support a family. Not saying that it doesn't justify tipping but to claim they're slaving away for meager wages and working as indentured servants is a joke as well. If they want to make 6 figures, they need to be in a different line of work.
Boys, the truth is tipping is customary in the outfitting business, just like it is at restaurants. I didn't make the rules, just operated under them. As a business owner, if I could hire a competent guide who gladly worked for tips only, why would I not? Remember we're not talking about a $50 meal here. A 10-15% tip on several thousand dollars is a decent wage for 5 days for a lot of people, especially if it's a secondary income for doing something they love to do.
Matt you lost a lot of credibility. You said “ They were always happy to do it because the idea of getting paid to hunt, no matter how little the amount, appealed to them.” So what your saying is that all good when it is your money. But you been saying over and over if hunter says that they are a cheap SOB.
I wish I had a couple “standby” employees that would filling for me when I could not work for nothing but a little gas money. I’d find a few more days (each week) I could not work ;)
"Matt, You didn't pay your guides but expected your clients to pay them for you? You think the client is a piece of crap if they don't tip well, but you not paying them is ok? That's some special thinking on your part, do as I say not as I do."
Interesting to say the least when you look at it from the other perspective.
"A 10-15% tip on several thousand dollars is a decent wage for 5 days for a lot of people, especially if it's a secondary income for doing something they love to do."
Then why not just charge 3500. for the hunt instead of 3000. and pay your guide 500. for his work?
Man, this stuff really stirs the pot. I understand Mr. Ghost comment to a point, however in every business model if you can afford to have someone work and not pay them...why would you not. Except it's probably not the most ethical thing to do. My personal opinion is that is a horrible way to do business morally. To each their own though and I respect each business model, but to "expect" a tip from a hunter is just not right IMO. Switching spots with a guide I would consider this as a business model. I would set a fee based on an average amount for the competitors in the area, depending on the quality and quantity of animals that may vary. I would clearly describe what to expect and remind hunters when they book and arrive. I would make sure I had adequate housing, spots to hunt and guides to accommodate the resources and not get greedy. If I could afford to pay guides I for sure would, otherwise I would try and offer a free hunt to the guides any tips they "may" receive. I know a lot would do it just for the opportunity to hunt. You said it perfect at a 10% tip could be a lot of money, especially for the hunter who has saved his entire life to just afford the hunt price let alone another 10% on top of it. Having said all this I still tip just about every trip, though I base it on the experience at no certain amount.
I have been following this debate from the beginning and have come to the conclusion that the logical business model would be to set a price for the hunt that included enouph to pay a guide an acceptable wage, and then not accept tips. The client would like this model. If he had a great time he would book again and also tell others of the experience. The outfitter would have no trouble booking into the future. Prices could increase over time if the demand outweighed supply. But I may be over simplifying this whole debate. I am enjoying coming home from work each night and catching up on this thread. I don't have a problem tipping but apparently it is a contentious subject with hunters and it shouldn't be. We are supposed to be enjoying our life doing what we like to do.
The outfitter is going to make his money. If he charges enough outright to pay the guide then his competition will undercut him by $500 and find a guide who basically works for tips. In the end the hunter payes the same, but he found a "bargain" with the cheaper outfitter and was expecting to pay a tip anyway. People tend to feel better about themselves when they tip too. Or, maybe people feel bad about themselves if they don't tip someone who worked hard on their behalf.
I once had an outfitter who insisted that all tips go through him and he would "allocate" them amongst the staff(i.e. cooks, guide, etc) You can imagine how that went. Outfitters basically are marketing their hunts for less to book hunters realizing that part of the staff income will come from tips. It's BS. Seems like every hunt information letter I get from outfitters nowadays has a "customary" tipping recommendation for various staff and usually is upwards of 15-20% for the guide. Once again, BS! Not sure I'd like to see the overall hunt cost increase though as it still gives me the choice of rewarding an exceptional guide and not paying more for a crap guide.
These tip comments are geared towards US hunts, and I assume Canadian hunts. At least I think. I went to Africa 23-24 years ago before it became as popular as it is now. When I asked the going rate for tips was in Zimbabwe it was: PH: $20-100/trip Main tracker: $1/day Assistant tracker: $.50/day Camp cook, skinners, laundry lady, et cetera: $.25/day Pay for these people were $5 for the main tracker and went down from there. I was astonished. I don’t know what the PH was paid. With a standard that low it was easy to be over-generous. To put it into perspective the hunt cost was about $20,000. My question, what’s the tipping standard in anyplace in Africa now? Does anybody have FIRST-hand experience tipping in Africa (besides South Africa) now?
"Then why not just charge 3500. for the hunt instead of 3000. and pay your guide 500. for his work?
Because that would have put the price of our hunts higher than our competition and bookings would have suffered.
I understand that relying on tips to pay for staff wages isn't an ideal business model, but it was what we had to do to stay competitive. It also motivated our staff to provide their best effort on behalf of our clients.
Also, my partner and I worked on the same wage structure as our staff. We didn't pay ourselves any type of salary during the year. The business paid for our expenses only. Guiding tips were our only income until year-end bookkeeping was finalized. If there were year-end profits, we split them. IIRC, the best year we had netted me $10K from profits, which was far below minimum wage, considering the amount of hours we put in to it. We also had break-even years, where tips were our only income. Some will say that just means our business model sucked, and they'd be correct. Fortunately it wasn't my primary source of income, but rather just a side-project, like restoring an old classic car, and hoping I can sell it for what I have into it.
Overall, I regretted getting involved in outfitting. I did it because I saw all the best properties that I used to hunt getting leased up by outfitters. I took a "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude, thinking that outfitting would open up more hunting opportunities for myself. I was so wrong. I did less personal hunting during that time than I ever have in my life. I also realized that I was only contributing to the commercialization of hunting, which I honestly feel is ruining our sport. It was the worse business decision of my life.
You'd be surprised how important the hunt price point was to some hunters, recognizing that tips were just part of the game. Some guys approached booking as if it were a negotiable deal, like buying something at a flea market. We didn't give discounts to anyone, but that didn't stop guys from asking. But, I do agree, an all inclusive price would be preferable to some hunters.
Like others who have actual outfitting experience, tips were just not that big of a deal for us. In fact, I don't recall ever discussing them with our clients, and we certainly didn't bring them up in any way. Most guys were very appreciative of our service, and they tipped accordingly. If not, we accepted it for what it was, and moved on.
Honestly, I'm kinda surprised to hear that tipping is a source of so much stress for some hunters.
Lots of outfitters throw out BS that is almost invisible to those not in the outfitting business...and really misleading. But hunters that exaggerate and mislead on their end are just as corrupt. “References are the best selling tools and the least reliable.”
Tipping of guides has been a common practice exercised by satisfied hunters for longer than some of you may have hunted. The loosely termed industry standard developed over time just as tipping wait staff 15-20%. As a matter of fact you see many places have a dollar amount based on percentage of your bill at restaurants listed at the bottom of your tab to simply help you figure. That is somewhat like outfitters indicating 10% is an accepted level of tipping your guide for good service. Tip amount is a very common question that comes from hunters booking a hunt, particularly first time hunters unfamiliar with the tradition. That has led to outfitters putting that info with other hunt/camp details they may provide you. No doubt there are some outfitters not the smoothest businessmen in handling that sensitive issue.
Once you have decided to book a hunt and paid the outfitter fees for the opportunity to hunt, lodging, meals, whatever else, after that it is up to you and your assigned guide to develop a relationship in a couple short days to make it a fun and successful hunt for you. Hopefully that is your guide's focus and the two of you hit it off and have fun. Two people don't always click obviously, but most good guides will stay focused on the mission. At the end of the hunt it is up to the hunter to decide how satisfied he was and how much he enjoyed the trip and tip the guide accordingly. The suggested 10% is fine. Less if you aren't happy, and a little more if you think it was worth it. Up to you.
The guides do get a wage, but certainly are also working for tips. That aspect is part of what motivates a guide to give you his best effort and make your hunt enjoyable. If he worked for a flat wage that motivation may not be the same. Look at employees in any business. Not rocket science on how the system works. And it does seem to be working well for most.
Just the other day a guy said to me wow it must have been so much fun outfitting in the Bitterroot. That statement had me thinking for hours.
People have NO IDEA what it’s like to be an outfitter. What goes on before and after their hunt is mind boggling.
Keep in mind I’m talking about the real deal: High country pack in hunts dealing with livestock where anything that can go wrong will.
Here’s something I’d like some people to consider.... did it ever occur to you that tipping was an idea that originated with the hunters and not the outfitter or guides?
Next year I’ll be up in Saskatchewan with Line Wolf Outfitters. It’s very rare for me to use an outfitter so I’m pretty excited about it. My partner and I asked what was standard for tips. We were told lots of guys stiff the guides but if all of our hunters would tip $100 they would be happy.
A hundred bucks! No way. We have decided that our money will be well spent to tip them $100 PER DAY. Like any hunter I want a guide who is enthusiastic. I don’t care what you do for a living it’s not just about the paycheck. Any employee is at least a little more eager to please someone if they know they ate appreciated. And what says thank you more than cold hard cash?
I’ve had hunters who retreated to their wall tents after dinner. But the best hunts were the ones where the hunters and guides all meshed and the kitchen tent turned into happy hour at the end of the day. Everyone laughed off the tough days. A hunter could joke around saying man you really sucked today and the guide could poke back saying well if you could get your fat ass up a hill I might not suck as bad.
I’ve seen successful hunters barely tip and I’ve seen guys get skunked and tip like they killed a 400 bull. It’s a reflection of the type of person they are in every day life.
If you want to bring out the best in a person it’s simple... do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Put yourself in the other guys shoes. Be honest and ask yourself “would I want to do that job?” If so what kind of tip would I consider to be fair? Be kind and good things will come your way.
This all has nothing to do with the outfitter.
For my hundred a day... plus the elk meat and alcohol we will bring... all I want is for a guy to hang out on stand and either give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down so I don’t bring a bear back to camp and hear someone say “Up here that’s a small one”
It seems pretty simple but I know from experience that they did their job before I got there.
Let me ask you this... keep in mind the type of outfit that I specified.....what type of small business has employees... or owners that get up at 4 am to go out into snow wind and frigid temps to catch and prep uncooperative animals before feeding their customers and then spend every minute of daylight with them to eventually put away and feed said animals in hopes of getting to bed by 11 AND all the while being judged by the success of their customers...... who may or may not have the skill or physical ability to get the job done?
I liked Mule Powers last post. I think it says what most feel and have said. How it got to the point that anyone here said they wouldn’t tip is beyond me. I never read that
I can’t claim to know what everyone’s circumstances were surrounding their outfitting business. But, I fully feel that any tip a hunter gives a guide should be up to the hunter. Not the outfitters recommendation. At that point you get into exactly what I said earlier. You are paying the guides salary versus the outfitter paying it.
The above quoted $1600 a week income is equivalent to north of $82,000 a year. That’s well above the national average for median income. While not all guides are making that, I’m sure few guides are taking time from the other jobs they do unless it’s financially acceptable to do so. Members of Median income families don’t own the top of the line glass, Sitka clothes, top of the line boots, etc.... to do things they just love. So, I find the statement that hunters tips are the only means of income for the average guide as hard to believe.
Ha. Mule you’ve made some great points. I’ve been stiffed and gotten some great tips. It does come down to what kind of a sport you’re dealing with. When I get a client that didn’t tip I try to accept it in my mind that he’s just not appreciative in the way of giving cash (the best tip). Then I tell myself “at least he wasn’t the kind of ding-a-ling that busted all of my equipment, spilled chew in my tent or coffee in my pickup seat. Some guys follow the old “use it like it’s rented” with the guide’s gear AND the guide. When you look at it that way, the guy that’s a horrible slob that doesn’t even show up ends up getting the prize for the largest tip! Haha. It’s a matter of perception. A penny saved is a penny earned.
What you described pretty much describes every dairy farmer I've ever dealt with. That type of stuff goes on 2/7/365, not just hunting season. I'm going to see one this coming Wednesday. I'll ask him how the tips are and report back.
How about my client that owns and operates a towing service? The worst conditions you could ever possibly imagine, all hours of the day. Tips? Hell, he'd be happy just to get paid most of the time.
Lastly, how about my friend who owns a funeral home. Who here would like to trade hours and "working conditions" with him? Next time he's scraping the wife or husband of someone he knows off the pavement, or loading up a friends child who OD'd on heroin, I'll ask how is "tips" are.
Obviously Kevin you should not be considering any type of guided hunting or fishing trip. You should stick to DIY cooking too because dining out doesn’t seem to fit your level of appreciation and generosity either.
And for the record I have had farmers for clients. The were extremely appreciative of their guides hard work and sincere desire to get them shot opportunities and were always very fair tippers.
Guys, let's please not get into a name calling/accusation thread. We all should appreciate feedback from each side in order to better understand the current situations that occur with guides and hunters. I really hope we can keep this thread around with some good input on the situations. Every guide and hunter is different on how they handle business and expectations. Tipping obviously is one of those grey areas that we can all appreciate thought and feedback from each party in a constructive way. You all have valid points but lets just move forward in a positive way please.
I think the bottom line to the OP is that you shouldn't feel ashamed to tip $50-100/day as a starting point and go up or down from there depending on performance of the guide. If it's a whitetail hunt where a guide is putting you in a tree in the AM and picking you up in the PM, I don't feel like that justifies $100/day. On the other hand, if your elk guide is serving as wrangler, packer, caller, scout, and cook, then $100/day probably isn't enough. Anybody who wants to go by the "15-20%" rule that has been espoused on here by guys who apparently like the throw their money away, let them do that but don't believe them that this is a "standard" in the industry.
Matt I think a lot of it has to do with their own personal happiness. I mentioned that I had guided some farmers and they were great guys to spend time with and good tippers. They also loved what they do for a living. I’ve also had guys that made a boat load of money but absolutely hated their job and life in general. They weren’t such a joy to be around and also not very fair when tipping their guides. They were also very demanding and I think that reflected on the demands of their own career.
Most guys I have seen who can't get on board with the broadly understood convention of tipping can't get past the notion that their job outside of the service industry doesn't involve tips, so they can't get on board with the notion of tipping those who are.
Then again, the underlying condition could affect their sense of happiness....
These tipping threads are all about the same - yet still always entertaining. :)
I have been on guided hunts all over North America. The key is effort and attitude, not results.
10% of the hunt cost is my base point to go up or down from. This generally works pretty well for me on the hunts I’ve been on (elk, Dall sheep, mountain goat, Alberta mule deer, black bear). I have never tipped less than that.
I will add that the guides on the sheep, elk and mountain goat hunts got more than the guides on the black bear and mule deer hunts because they had to work about 5-10x harder.
That said, there is an upper limit beyond which I would not be willing to go. For example, I would not tip a Stone’s sheep guide 5K or a desert sheep guide 10K. (They would probably get in the same $1500-2500 range that my Dall and mountain goat guides received.)
Finally, I have never been on a “guided” hunt where a guide is simply babysitting a client/judging size, but I would not tip a guide nearly as much on those types of hunts - whatever their cost.
In other words, use 10% as a guide/starting point, apply some common sense to each situation, and it’s not that hard an issue.
P.S. Don’t forget the wranglers, cooks, etc. I tip wranglers almost as much as guides - they have perhaps the hardest job in the outfit.
I always put my tips in an envelope with a heartfelt note inside.
Never had a guide open one in my presence. Just a hug and fond farewells exchanged. Even a tear or two by both parties on a couple of occasions. Good guides always become friends on hunts where you live together in the wilderness for days/weeks at a time.
I'm gonna say one more thing on this and I'm done. A little over a year ago I was lucky enough to go on a hunting trip for which the total cost (travel, lodging, transport services, license, tags, food, outfitter, etc) was WELL over 10% of my total yearly gross income. Not net but gross. I tipped at least 10% to every person who helped me in a service capacity except one. ( the float plane pilot) It really bothers me still that I forgot to tip him since he did an amazing job and was super personable and competent. I never resented tipping and I never felt it was a burden. There were several unexpected expenses on the trip but tipping certainly wasn't one.
Geez, I guess from now on I should tip each and every person doing the job they're paid to do for service they are expected to provide. I think it's sad that in this world good service(or even mediocre service) expects to receive something in addition to whatever wage they're being paid already to provide what they're expected to provide. ENTITLEMENT GENERATION. (Insert eye-roll here)
Going on hunts that you’ve been planning and dreaming of sometimes for years and then it happens and you spend a week or two with some people that are making a dream come true and half the reason they are there is because they want to see you be successful in the end isn’t like your everyday services. When I tip a guide, a cook or a wrangler to me that’s money well spent . I complain about truck payments, unexpected large bills ect but not when it comes to showing how much I appreciate what the guide and crew did for me .
"Geez, I guess from now on I should tip each and every person doing the job they're paid to do for service they are expected to provide."
No, you shouldn't feel obligated to tip anyone. You should want to, if their service meets or exceeds your expectations. I tip a lot of service providers who don't expect it, but they always appreciate it. I believe it pays off in spades in the long run.
"Geez, I guess from now on I should tip each and every person doing the job they're paid to do for service they are expected to provide. I think it's sad that in this world good service(or even mediocre service) expects to receive something in addition to whatever wage they're being paid already to provide what they're expected to provide. ENTITLEMENT GENERATION. (Insert eye-roll here)"
I don't necessarily think it's a matter of an "entitlement generation," at least not in all cases. Everyone is entitled to be paid fairly for their services, it's just a question of who does the paying. I have no problem whatsoever tipping for services I receive, especially what I consider to be great service. I've already stated that.
The only question I had was why are some services tipped and other services aren't. I guess I found that out. Apparently some outfitters don't pay their guides at all, leaving it up to the hunter to pay the guides and hoping for the best.
Seems kind of strange to me in that the outfitter is guaranteed his pay no matter what and the guide is left hoping based on the whim of the individual hunter.
That's a pretty good gig if you're the outfitter I guess, but it seems pretty sleazy to me. Especially if the hunter is unaware from the time of booking, that tips are the guides only compensation.
I can't help but wonder and roll my eyes a little when Grey Ghost says this " You should want to, if their service meets or exceeds your expectations. I tip a lot of service providers who don't expect it, but they always appreciate it. I believe it pays off in spades in the long run." When earlier he admitted to not paying guides that worked part time for him saying they should make plenty from tips and enjoy doing it, or something to that effect. Sorry Matt but my BS meter is blinking.
Nobody forces a guide to work for tips only. If that arrangement is acceptable to a guide, which it was for our part-time guides, then I don't see anything "sleazy" about that. They always had the option of declining our offer.
Our standby guides were usually local ranchers and hunters, who were familiar with the area and the game we hunted. They were excited to supplement their normal incomes with a few extra tax-free dollars, especially for doing something they normally do for no compensation.
But then, our guides didn't do any wrangling, or cooking, or packing for miles into remote wildernesses. We hunted on multiple private properties in central Colorado. A typical day consisted of the guide picking up the client at the lodge at 4:30 AM, driving to whichever property they were hunting that day, hunt until noon, grab a lunch in town, then go back out for the afternoon hunt. Afterwards, we'd convene at the lodge for a nice dinner, a few drinks, and story-telling. Had we been doing remote pack-in hunts, where the guide works his ass off wearing multiple hats, they would have been compensated differently.
Once again, Kevin, you continue to profess to know about things that you have no clue about. One of our best part time guides would have done it for expenses only, because he enjoyed the change of pace from mending fences, or feeding cattle, or shoveling sh!t.
So, please keep telling the class how much you know about my business, which you were never involved in. It's entertaining.
I know nothing about your "business" Matt, other than what you've shared here.
1. Even though you charged for your hunts you still expected a tip, and if it wasn't up to your standards, you were ticked off.
"I never got stiffed, but some guys seemed to think $50 was an adequate tip for me busting my ass for them for 5 days. Don't be that guy. Other guys based the amount of their tips on whether or not they killed something, which also ticked me off. "
2. You freely admit not paying your guides, instead fully expecting your "clients" to pay them instead, under the table, free from taxation or any other recordkeeping hassles. Apparently, that was at least in part to make your hunts competitive price wise with your competitors. Even so, expected tips were never even discussed, so the client had no way of knowing that was part of your business model and that your guides were unpaid other than by their tips.
"Tips were never expected, or even discussed with our clients, but we were always grateful for them. A little tax-free cash in our wallets was always a nice thing."
"When I was outfitting we always had a couple of "standby" guides who filled in when either my partner or I couldn't guide that day, or hunt. We paid for all their fuel and other expenses, but their wages came from tips, period. They were always happy to do it because the idea of getting paid to hunt, no matter how little the amount, appealed to them. I know for fact we weren't the only outfitter who did it that way."
" I didn't make the rules, just operated under them. As a business owner, if I could hire a competent guide who gladly worked for tips only, why would I not?"
"Because that would have put the price of our hunts higher than our competition and bookings would have suffered."
"I understand that relying on tips to pay for staff wages isn't an ideal business model, but it was what we had to do to stay competitive."
3. Unlike your guides, you were paid for the hunt no matter what. You claim that tips were no big deal (even though your said you would get ticked off if you felt they were inadequate). The guides on the other hand had to rely solely on the generosity of the hunter, over and above the cost of the hunt.
"Like others who have actual outfitting experience, tips were just not that big of a deal for us. In fact, I don't recall ever discussing them with our clients, and we certainly didn't bring them up in any way."
So yes, you are correct. I'm only going by what you've posted here.
If I missed something, I'm sure you'll let me know.
"You freely admit not paying your guides, instead fully expecting your "clients" to pay them instead."
Wrong, I never "expected" tips. I knew they were customary in the business. So, I used that as incentive to hire part-time guides.
Since you seem intrigued about a business I ran over a decade ago, I'll share another little insight with you. Our part-time guides were allowed to hunt on our leases in their free-time, with a few stipulations, of course. You see, Kevin, things aren't alway as black and white as you try to make them. We NEVER had any problems finding willing and capable hunters to fill in for us when we couldn't guide. In fact, we had guys standing in line for the opportunity.
Is there anything else you'd like know about my business?
Tipping all who provide a service isn't what's expected. If you, as an individual want to, go for it.
Tipping started with service in restaraunts. Do you know those people essentially work for so little hourly that it pretty much pays taxes on the tips? Their weekly pay check is usually about 0 and being tipped 15% is factored in. So when they get stiffed, the 15% is often assumed in the pay so they get doulbe screwed. That's how that industry is designed.
Others possibly not. I don't know what guides make, I know my old elk outfitter paid $100-$150/day, 7 days a week and someone above said $200/day. that's somewhere between $700 - $1400/week. That's not tons of money, but it's also not no money
Going on hunts that you’ve been planning and dreaming of sometimes for years and then it happens and you spend a week or two with some people that are making a dream come true and half the reason they are there is because they want to see you be successful in the end isn’t like your everyday services. When I tip a guide, a cook or a wrangler to me that’s money well spent . I complain about truck payments, unexpected large bills ect but not when it comes to showing how much I appreciate what the guide and crew did for me .