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Thread: What's customary for Guide's tip??

  1. #1
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    Default What's customary for Guide's tip??

    Never been guided before. don't want to be cheap, but not stupid either.. Dall/grizz hunt for eight days. I was thinking $500.. what say ye... Les

  2. #2

    Default $1000 to $1500

    Just joking I wish someone would tip me that much. For my succesful moose/grizzly hunts they generally seem to be in 100 to 500 dollar range, But who knows maybe I have only been worth that much. I think you should really tip on how much the guide works for you. I work really hard for my clients and think I am worth that. If your guide cant keep up with you or show you a good time in the wilderness of Alaska, he should know he isnt worth that.

    Good luck to you and I hope you have a wonderful and productive trip,

    montana boy

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I tip 20% everywhere...from the waitress, to the shuttle van driver, to the fishing guide, to the hunting guide. $250 fishing trip..guide get's $50... $10,000 bear hunt...guide and the help gets 2 grand.... as long as I am treated with respect. That's just me.

    Whenever I look at the price of something I just add 20%.

  4. #4

    Default tip

    10-20% is reasonable. Be aware, the hunting world is small, if you tip cheap the word gets around and your next guide may know and treat you accordingly!

  5. #5
    New member c-ne-elk's Avatar
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    Default tip

    If you look at hunting planner sites like Jack Atcheson, they will tell you that 10% of the cost of the hunt is a good tip for a guide. For seperate packers, wranglers or cooks, they get 1 to 2 percent.

    I have a buddy that is an outfitter / guide there in Alaska for fishing, moose and brown bear. He agrees that a decent tip is 10% for the guide. He has many clients that give out tips that exceed that amount though.

    Tipping is tipping though, if your guide does his job, tries hard, he is due his tip, successful or not.

    It just has to be factored in as part of the price of the hunt.

    One thing most guides don't want is your "stuff". By stuff I mean bino's, spotting scope, range finder, etc. They would rather have the money and buy what they want / need.

  6. #6
    Member colodan's Avatar
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    I agree with you c-ne-elk, as a guide for several years in the flattops wilderness area of Colorado, I hated when guys left me there stuff. My tips usually ran from $100 to $250 for a $4500 Elk hunt. The crazy thing was my tips were larger most of the time when the hunter didn't harvest anything. The guy that kills that bull late in the evening and you spend all night cleaning, packing and caping is the guy that leaves his bushnell $50 binos for you.

  7. #7
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    Default

    what about a tip for a non guided hunt (drop off outfitter)?

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    That's the problem!

    When you pay BIG bucks for a guided hunting trip, where the guide lives in the area, doesn't pay NEAR $10,000 to take you in and pick you up and stay with you and provide everything you need, why is a TIP even necessary?

    Why? Because some people have the money to give big tips and it has become an "expected windfall" for guides, or they trash you name and such (as stated earlier).

    What the hell guys? A $10,000 hunt shouldn't turn into a $12,000 hunt because YOU "think" it's a required part of the trip or even something nice for the guide. They get PAID BY WHAT YOU PAY FOR THE HUNT! If they didn't, a tip would be entered into the contract that you signed prior to going on the hunt!

    Guided trips and tipping--- what a rip off and scam for those that save for years to just pay for the expense of the trip....then to have to tip also or have your name passed around. You guys need to wake up and STOP the craziness.

    $250 halibut charter for 6 hours X 6 people = $1500 successful or not for the buyer....DEFINITELY successful for the charter operator because if he spent $1500 for 6 hours of his time there is something wrong. Of course he has a line out the door of people waiting to get on the boat...so rinse and repeat for week after week during the season. Bottom line...at LEAST $3000 a DAY.

    People complain about attorney's fees, medical costs and the price of gas. It floors me to see a 10-20% tip being REQUIRED.

    If you are rich enough to tip, realize that you're ruining it for those that scrape by, save forever for that once in a lifetime experience. I sure wish I had the cash to tip $2000 for a $10,000 hunt!

    Flame me if you like, but it's freakin' ridiculous!

  9. #9

    Default Easy There, Big Fella

    Kirov,

    You may be inferring something that hasn't been the case, at least in my experience. I don't think all guides EXPECT tips, perhaps some do. But perhaps we can shed some light, or at least add some other perspectives...

    The $10k you pay for your guided hunt typically goes to the master guide or outfitter - whom you may (or may not) actually have as your guide. In the 3 guided hunts I've done in the past, I had the master guide once, on the other two occasions, I had assistant guides. Assistant guides typically earn somewhere between 100-200 per day (rough estimate), so when you tip them you are definitely making a difference in their pay! If you dropped $300-500 on an assistant guide, they would probably be very appreciative.

    As for the cost of the guided hunt, search the Forum archives, there have been posts describing what goes into the cost. While there is definitely a supply/demand aspect to it, there are also costs that are not readily apparent to we hunters - some of those items have been explained in the archive posts.

    As for the concept of tipping in general, guiding is a servide business, just like any other service business....so if you're against the concept, should i assume you don't tip at restaurants or bars? Just a thought. I agree that 20% as a standard isn't realistic for high-dollar services like guiding, and it should NOT be an entitlement, but I guess to each his own.

    Good hunting,

    Michael

  10. #10
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default well said, Kirov...

    The assistant guides I know make squat, if you tip anyone, tip them. They are the ones doing all the work in some cases.
    I've never been guided, and I won't because like many, I refuse to pay the outrageous $ associated with guided hunts. Besides I think <some>, not all, really do exploit the natural resources for their own pocket book without regard to the resident who pays his dues here day in and day out--yeah, I guess I'll get flamed too.
    Many of these guides are dog eat dog.
    And there are guides out there that are awesome at what they do, but those guys arent cheap, nor should they be, relatively speaking. Especially when you figure they might present you with an oppurtunity for a B+C or P+Y animal.

    A guide has well figured his wage in advance and any extra that I'd give would be predicated on his going the extra mile, good attitude, etc.
    I've use transporters and have always tipped them. I'm typically a 20% guy, but when one is paying 10-15K for a hunt? Forget it! $150-250 would be it--if the guy earned it.
    Imagine for a moment 10,000-15,000 stacked one dollar bills going to one guy, for one animal that belongs to the people of the state of Alaska. Figure about 10 clients, over the course of two months...do the math.

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    As to the comments about $10k hunts, and $250 fishing trips, I think folks vastly underestimate how much it costs to run such ventures.

    Most hunts are in remote locations, where everything is flown in and out. If the bush plane ticket for you to get to the hunt is $1000 (even if included in your hunt cost) then that means everything out there, down to the last square of toilet paper also had to be flown out. Cost of living in AK is high, and wages are generally high as well. Pretty hard to find anyone worth a hoot for cheap, hired help will run minimum $100-150 a head a day, and you have to feed them too.

    Let's look at the halibut charter. Most of the boats suck some serious fuel, figure 150 gallons for the day, at $3 a gallon that's $450. The boats aren't cheap, there is insurance, overhead costs on tackle, etc. While the owner has to make payments 12 months out of the year, he's only running it 5 months out of the year, and on the days good enough to get to the fish.

    Asside from hunting and fishing in your backyard, hunting and fishing for the traveling hunter and fisherman has never been cheap. Not all of us go on expensive guided trips, not all of us up here get to go on grand hunting trips everyyear do to costs. Just because some folks can afford $10-15k trips doesn't mean everyone can.

  12. #12

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    Do you really think they would be in the business if they weren't making any money? Simple economics will tell you that they are and plenty enough to keep the business going.

  13. #13

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    I'd say tip accordingly based upon the experience. When I went on my successful Dall's sheep hunt last year, I learned a lot, had a great experience, had a hard working guide and harvested a great trophy. At the end of the hunt, my guide was returning my Leica rangefinder that we were using and I told him he could have that as his tip or that I would give him a money tip of equal value or more if he preferred. He took the rangefinder and was excited about it saying "I finally got something Leica". He was happy with the tip and I was happy with the hunt.
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  14. #14

    Default Some Other Considerations

    Les - first let me apologize, I think we've hijacked your tipping thread and the topic has slanted toward costs of guided hunts.

    Kirov/Fullkurl - I can see where you're coming from, but let's not try to hold guides to a higher standard than any other business people. Some of your points have to do with being "dog eat dog" and "not having any regard for the residents who pay their dues."

    I'm not sure what line of work you fellas are in - but try to imagine that you had to earn all of the income for YOUR line of business in 2-3 months out of a 12 month year. You might find yourselves being a little more "dog eat dog" and having less regard for others, than you have now.

    And as for having regard for residents - I'm sure the guides will be happy to accept guide fees from residents or non-residents alike. I know it's frustrating to bump into other hunters in your hunt area when you've looked forward to the hunting season all year; but as we say in the lower 48, welcome to our world. I've walked up to my treestand in the dark, only to find another hunter nearby, and had to pick a different location at the last minute. ALL of us who hunt on public land, have to deal with this at one point or another.

    So back to tipping - I have tipped anywhere from zero to $1000 on past hunts, based on effort put forth and on how much the experience and camp setup resembled what was promised beforehand. In each case, the guide appreciated the amount; in the zero case, he knew that's exactly what he earned. Hope this helps get us back on topic.

    Good hunting,

    Michael

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    Ok PualH let's look at the Halibut charter as a reference.

    First, let's look at the cost of a DECENT halibut fishing boat that would be worthy of clients....$60,000...that's a good round figure for the basic boat. That's approximately $1200 per month for the boat.

    Then, let's say..reality...250 per head for 6 hours, 3 sessions a day (18 hours) with 6 clients per session = $4500 per day.

    Insuring the boat for 60k a year = $1500 per YEAR (the wife does insurance) which comes up to $125 per month

    Gas? I was JUST IN VALDEZ and rented a boat for a week. Had a 100 gallon tank, went to ALL the good fishing spots for halibut AND silvers EVERY day. Cost us 73 Gallons for 3 days...that approximately $255.50 for 3 days of gas (at $3.50 a gallon which it was cheaper). Let's put that into a month and it is (30 days) $2555.00 for gas.

    Let's pay 3 "assistant guides" 20 bucks an hour to go on a 6 hour excursion. That's $120X3 for $360 a day in fees for people to operate the boat and take the "clients" out to fish with ZERO guarantees on catching something. That makes it $10,800 a month to pay someone to guide the "tourists."

    That all adds up to $12,125.00 per MONTH in expenses (if they have diesels it's less)

    Cost for the consumers that bought the charter....$135,000.00 PER MONTH!!! Tell me, show me, explain or digress as to why there is such a profit margin. By the way.,..that is a $122,875 profit margin (and yes I did not add in classes, guide fees etc...)

    Do NOT whine about the cost of running a charter, guide service etc to me. Thank GOD that the people that come to Alaska wanting once in a lifetime experience are stupid enough to pay what is being asked for. You rip off the Alaskans because you charge the same as a tourist, then try to justify it to me or anyone that values a dollar because they work for every one they get. If I were in the US Congress, I would have approved the $31000 pay raise they got this year. THEN I could pay for tips of 20%.

    It would truly be a shame when people PAID for what they got, rather than having to TIP a guide, assistant guide or anyone else for providing a SERVICE YOU PAID FOR!

  16. #16
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Lets run Kirov's rant through the reality machine and see what comes up shall we?

    First off, for all intents and purposes the charter season in AK is May through Labor Day, roughly 120 days, and nobody runs 3 6-hour charters a day out of the same boat, especially out of Valdez, Seward, Whittier or Homer. Those fleets run 2 1/2 to 4 hours just to get to the fishing grounds. They average 1 trip per boat per day. 2 a day is normal out of Ninilchik when the weather and the fishing are both good.

    Lets use Valdez for our example since Kirov is an expert. Lets say our hypothetical 6 pack boat is fully booked for the season at $250 a head, thats a potential gross income of $180,000

    Now for the deductions
    Weather: Avg of 10% or 12 days x $1,500 18,000 per season
    Cancellations: Avg is 15% total bookings x 50% 13,000 per season
    Boat: 60K for a decent 6-pack boat -agreed- 14,400 per year
    Insurance: 1,500 is low for a passenger vessel 2,500 per year
    Bond: All commercial vessels must be bonded
    the average charter boat carries a 6 million bond 3,000 per season
    ask your wife..I'm sure she's heard of bonds
    Fuel/oil/filters: your numbers are off 6,500 per season
    Help: Deckhands put in more than a 6 hour day, they
    prep the boat, load the bait, prep the tow vehicle
    (Deep Creek e.g.) then after fishing they fillet/vac pack
    the clients fish, clean the boat, clean/service the rods &
    reels, tie up new rigs. Figure 10-12 hours average.
    Most are paid by the day not the hour say...$150/day
    1 hand per boat $150 x 120 - 10% = 16,200 per season
    Boat maintenance: say 5% of boat value per year 3,000 per year
    Bait and tackle: 1,500 per season
    Launch/slip fees: It costs to put a boat in the water 500 per year
    Skipper's license: (I'm not exactly sure) 300 per year
    Miscellaneous: say 3% of boats value 1,800 per season

    Grand Total............................................. ......................$91,000 gee...thats about half or the norm for most small businesses


    IFQ permit: (I'm not sure if these still apply) these
    permit limits the total pounds of fish a boat can catch.
    A ballpark IFQ for a 6 pack boat is 20,000 lbs at an
    average purchase price of a 1.50 per pound 30,000 per season

    If IFQ's apply then that cuts our "greedy" charter captain's income down to 60K per boat. Not a bad living but he's not getting rich.
    Last edited by Erik in AK; 08-17-2006 at 02:10.

  17. #17
    Member Frankie 2 Times's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KirovPDR
    Ok PualH let's look at the Halibut charter as a reference.

    You rip off the Alaskans because you charge the same as a tourist, then try to justify it to me or anyone that values a dollar because they work for every one they get. If I were in the US Congress, I would have approved the $31000 pay raise they got this year. THEN I could pay for tips of 20%.

    It would truly be a shame when people PAID for what they got, rather than having to TIP a guide, assistant guide or anyone else for providing a SERVICE YOU PAID FOR!

    Sounds like someone has a bone to pick.

    Kirov,
    What makes you think you, as an Alaskan are entitled to a discount. You seem to feel the charter industry owes you a discount, but somehow a guide doesn't deserve a tip.

    And you'll have to define what you mean by "PAID for what you got". Do you mean, if you are inferring that if you don't catch fish you should have to pay for the charter. There are some things that are not in a captian's control, like the weather and sometimes fish just don't bite no matter how hard you try.

    Eric,
    Thats for attempting to help set the record straight on the actual cost of running a charter service. Like most of the public, there are costs associated with running any business that we just don't understand. I agree, most charters aren't getting rich.

    F2T

  18. #18
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default good points guys....

    I'm not saying captains are greedy, Eric. Not at all, just well paid. I dont think one experienced captain would work for less than about 100K/year, but thats just my opinion-not fact.
    While I dont buy many of Kirovs points--especially his $ figures...I certainly do hold guides to a higher standard.
    They should be the cream of the crop ethically, environmentally, and hopefully in other ways.
    Remember the "DLP kill on TV show" post I submitted? Hey, that guide was worth his salt!! He may have well saved the whole crew from injuries or worse from that sour sow. That guy was worth a good tip I might add!

    I'm a school teacher and folks hold me to a higher standard-as well they should. If I'm staggering out of the local watering hole I'd certainly be under more scrutiny than the local concrete guy, after all, Im often offering the sole care, custody and control of young people.

    This post was about tipping. The guides (master) that I know actually know make GREAT money doing what they do.
    Last Winter, I met ____ ____ on Jamaica where he was island hopping for the entire winter--more power to him!
    He works hard, he plays hard. He's paid well.
    I'd just think twice about tipping someone 20% on a 10-15K hunt, to me thats outrageous.

  19. #19
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Kirov,

    I'd love to see where you could a boat that I see most 6 pack charters run for $60k (that's what 22 foot cabin cruiser with a 115hp runs today), most of them are more like $150-200k, some of them have nearly $60k tied up just in the engines. I've yet to be on a 6 hour trip, more like 10-12, so double your deckhand fees. Also insurance is more like $5k a year.

    I dont' run a charter, don't own one, and have no interest in doing so. There are much greater returns and lower risks for investing one's money.

    Sorry for the thread highjack, but I get sick of folks tearing into guides for ripping people off, when they are utterly clueless as to the cost of doing business in remote locations. There are certainly some bums out there, but they are mostly hard working and for the hours they spend doing their job, could be making more money in another field.

  20. #20
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    On a halibut charter I don't tip the captain much, if anything, I do tip the deck hand. I have tipped guides on some hunts but usually more to a assistant guide then the master guide running the business. I also tip the pilot of the air service that takes us out to for a drop off if he spends the time looking for a place that may be productive instead of deciding before take off exactly where we will go. The cost of a boat is a little underestimated. I have afriend that's a charter captain and he's considering a new boat. Granted he wants a few "extras" but he's looking at up to $300,000 for this boat, more that I payed for my house. It can get expensive especially in years like this when so may days have been lost to weather.

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