Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Alagnak River,Sandy River
Guide and lodge Owner's take
The never ending tip debate, how much to tip and when. I guess as a professional guide since i was 17 years old and now a lodge owner/Guide and 46 years old I look at it like this. There are many different levels of guides/Lodges and services in the fly fishing industry, If your paying a guide $300 for the day for guided fishing only $50-$75 is pretty fair, Buy paying $1000 a day for a top end full lodge,Meals and fishing package, that is not enough as the cooks,Hostesses,Cleaning girls and maintenance staff deserve to be treated fairly also. We have a very simple rule grade the trip and tip according.
A- to A+ = 15-20%
B =10-15 %
c = 7-10%
If the overall trip is less than a c then you should be talking to an owner by now anyway before you let it get this far and so crappy. Dont suffer in silence give someone a chance to fix any problems before they get really bad. As for the fishing it is fishing not catching and on tough days most great guides work much harder and deserve a better tip than a cake walk day of just putting there time in.
I guess in Short a 10-20% overall gratuity is very normal in todays society, considering restaurants get 15-20% regularly for an hour of service.
SO if you stay at a top end lodge,have guided fishing, sleep in a daily cleaned cabin, are served 3 meals daily from a smiling young lady who goes out of her way to make you feel special, What is it worth its worth allot to me when i take a vacation for people to go above and beyond there job duties for a guest.
These people wait on you folks 12-16 hours a day and kiss your feet. And go out of there way to make you have a great time. Yes they get paid a decent salary anyway my staff does, but the benefits suck. but i can assure you that every guide, cleaning girl/Cook or hostess does appreciate a tip and works very hard for it at our facilities. And when the next client shows up and is demanding things and being difficult, it is allot easier to stomach them and keep smiling knowing its not just a job, but guest's truly appreciate your service and you going out of your way for them on there dream trip of a lifetime. I will tell everyone out there and a few of you cheapskates wont like it, but if you can afford to go on a $10-$20K trip for 5-7 days what are you whining about spending another 15% gratuity to be split between guides,cooks cleaning girls and Mechanics at a high end lodge.
I guess i just have 1 question if you go out to a nice restaurant and pay $100 for a nice dinner for you and your wife what do you tip. The right answer is 15-20%. Its normal and expected!
If the service sucks and the food is horrible maybe nothing or 5% thats how i roll.
1 short story that some of you may be able to relate too, many years ago we had a group of texas oilmen come to our lodge the retail trip was $4200 per week pp back then, they negotiated the trip down to $3800pp for the 8 of them, they had a great trip left great reviews on our guest comment sheet when they left graded everything an A, The cheapos left $300 per person gratuity and then got on there private jet that cost $27,000 to fly home.
so $300x8=2400 tip divided by 4 guides, 1 chef, 1 hostess, 1 housekeeper and a dish washer. So each staff member got a $300 tip for 7 days work x 12 hours a day of service or 84 hours of work. I guess what im getting at things are all relative to where you are,what kind of a trip you got and your financial position in life. If a guy only makes 40k a year then a $400-600 tip for a week for a staff of 6-8 to split is substancial, but when many people are making 100k-300k a year taking these trips they spend more money on valet parking at there country clubs and Drinks for the night and don't think twice. I guess it boils down to doing what's right, as good things come to good people who care and show appreciation for others. And don't treat people less fortunate to them like slaves and servants with no gratitude.
If a guest comes to our Wilderness fly in lodge and rates it an A or B for overall trip and doesn't plan on leaving at least a 10% gratuity for the staff total to split , then they should probably just stay home or go somewhere else where this is acceptable. Just my thoughts and opinion.