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  #1  
Old 03-02-2008, 05:54 PM
yabuticus yabuticus is offline
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Guided Trip Tipping Input

This question came up recently with my buddies regarding guided charter trips...I hear the argument about tipping mates for their service as you would tip a waiter ... most say 15 -20% is good guideline, but what about when the charter boat captain does not have a mate. I have always tipped them as well (15-20%), but some of my friends feel very strongly that since they are the owners of the business, we are not obligated to tip them. What say you?
Thanks for any input...

mark
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2008, 06:10 PM
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Frankie G Frankie G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabuticus View Post
This question came up recently with my buddies regarding guided charter trips...I hear the argument about tipping mates for their service as you would tip a waiter ... most say 15 -20% is good guideline, but what about when the charter boat captain does not have a mate. I have always tipped them as well (15-20%), but some of my friends feel very strongly that since they are the owners of the business, we are not obligated to tip them. What say you?
Thanks for any input...

mark
I tip mates when they are there, and I tip Cap'ts if they are alone. For example. I fished with tuna charter out of Scituate this summer....I tipped the mate, but not the Cap. (also owner) Two winters ago, I fished a flats boat with only the captain and hooked into a nice permit and had a great day OTW. I tipped him in the same ballpark you alluded to. If the cap is working to put you on fish and is alone, then tip him. They might own the business, but if they are putting in a full day with you with no help, then they deserve something for the effort.

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Last edited by Frankie G; 03-02-2008 at 06:14 PM..
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2008, 07:19 PM
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Soundking Soundking is offline
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A few thoughts for your friends:

1) Most guide's margins are not very good. When you consider the fixed costs associated with insurance, boat payments, gear, ramp fees/slip fees, and add the variable costs of boat maitnence, supplimental gear and obviously gas you are dealing with a pretty significant number.

2) Each season, something will happen that causes downtime. The opportunity cost of losing a week during primetime is huge. Add the fact that if the problem is an engine one, you are looking at not only the opp cost of lost charters, but a significant bill upon repair. Actual cost of downtime is usually double to tripple the opp cost.

3) Tips are a reflection of how well we did our job. Good guides take tremendous pride in working hard to put their sports on fish. While we might have stuff dialed most of the time in due to networking and time OTW, every day presents a new set of challenges. It might not seem like it, but at times it can be very cerebral. While it is a business, it is first a service. Tipping goes a long way with a guide, and as bad as it may sound, can be a determinent of how much a guide likes a client. It must be understood that a tip is a sign of appreciation and your way of showing us how well we did our job. If a sport walks off and does not tip, it reflects poorly on the guide. On level with refusing to shake someone's hand. I am not saying that 15-20% is expected, but if recieved, is tremendously appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:20 PM
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Onshore Onshore is offline
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You didn't say what type of charters you are doing. Down here in Florida, flatsboat guides don't run with mates. Yet is it the custom to tip them according to the success of your trip - but tip them 10% to 20% the cost of the trip.

Tuna and most offshore charters run with a mate or mates and they depend on tips for most of their income. If you have a really good trip it is also very common to tip the captain. If you paid $1,400 for the trip - use the % and split it between captain and mate(s).

You really have to check the area you are fishing, the type of trip and the local protocol. Cost of chartes down here is, on the average, more expensive than in New England - but look at the variety of fish we have to offer.

If you chartered a flats guide down here and did not tip him after a good successful trip; I wouild not suggest you return to that same harbor the following year.
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2008, 12:44 PM
FlyFishFrostie FlyFishFrostie is offline
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According to Lefty Kreh, if the guide or mate actually fishes without permission from the client or in other ways does a fairly substandard job, a tip of zero is in order. If the guiding is a great job, a total tip to captain and mate of 20% or higher may be in order. Otherwise, it's pretty much like any service industry, with 15% being the norm for a respectable job rendered.

In Cabo, we paid the captain $100 per billfish released, otherwise they would have killed the billfish for food.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:11 AM
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Tips are a tough subject. But I guess 15-20% sounds about right for almost everywhere I fish. Now-a-days they are very important to a guides salary and profit. I sometimes look at it in a different light as a guide, when i take out clients that have a net worth in the millions I "expect" a better tip from them (when i say expect - I know that I work my ass off for my clients and try and keep my charter rates as low as possible). I expect a better tip from these guys than from the "average Joe" who may have had to scrape and save his pennies to do two days with me. It may sound wrong at first glance but it's the way I am when tipping people...including waiters and waittresses. I look at this way on a dinner : if they did a great job serving me I don't mind adding a few extra bucks to thier tip, it's not going to break my bank and will add to thier overall profit for the day. I'm not rich by any means but in places like a third world country where a guy has guided me for a day, let's say I decided to tip him $50 for a flats day, if he did a good job and worked hard (good or bad fishing day) I don't mind throwing him an exta $15-$25 on his tip, it's not going to break my bank and that extra $25 will go a long way for him. Pretty simple in reality...if it's not going to break you than its courtesy to help others. You do what you can but be honest with yourself.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:41 AM
yabuticus yabuticus is offline
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It's great hearing others' opinion on this stuff...It seems common sense and common courtesy is the consensus...it IS a tough thing, I agree...I'm of the scrape up all your pennies to have the "trip of your life" experience...which hasn't always been the case(the trip of my life part). I've had some guides who have only their "go to" methods and spots and some who have had several....some guides are very personable and some are all business....some who teach technique and some who simply bait your hook and net your fish...I've had some guides who have worked their butts off to get me into fish and I can feel their anxiety if things are slow and their jubilation when things get hot...etc.etc...I guess I wish tipping was as cut and dry as an appreciation of service rendered and not the feeling of an obligation as a part of someone's salary...sometimes it seems (not just in fishing) that people present a low (attractive) price and expect the consumer to kick in the difference to make the desired profit....I'm sure those providing the service would like that too - if their tips allowed them to do or buy something extra rather than buy their next meal. For now, when I see an advertised cost of $500, I automatically translate that to $575 plus or minus $25 for good or bad service.
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:29 PM
FlyFishFrostie FlyFishFrostie is offline
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I think Captain John's thoughts that the client's wherewithall should be a tipping factor have a lot of merit. Clients who are rolling in dough should be much more generous just because they are in a position to be and because their incremental dollars are a lot less valuable to them than they would be to a hard-working captain and mate.

Also, I think tips should be adjusted for extraordinary circumstances and occurrences. For instance, if a client wins a chunk of cash in a fishing tournament, it makes sense for the client to share a big chunk of the winnings with the crew, without whom the client probably would have won nothing. I'd be inclined to suggest that something like a third to half of the winnings be given to the crew, although this obviously should be adjusted based on the cost of the tournament's entry fee and who paid it.

Likewise, if a client sets a world record or has an especially great experience or makes some kind of especially rewarding achievement with the crew's assistance, the sky should be the limit on tipping the crew.

HOWEVER, if a charter catches a $173,500 bluefin tuna, even though the tuna may legally belong to the captain, it would seem reasonable for the captain to cut his clients a deal. So, what should that deal be?
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