tipping your kayak guide

opinion’s please!i guide part time i can not for the life of me figure out why people do not tip.some trips people tip some trips people dont.(most dont)same great service,great trip ,clients rave about how great the trip was and no tip?what do you guys think?

varies a lot sea or river, one day
or multi day etc etc. I’d like to hear what guides say!

type trip
i do mostly half day seakayak trips,mostly in protected water.

I think it depends on the person
and the type of trip. I think the quality of a person’s experience plays a big roll in whether they tip the guide or not. If people have a good time and enjoy the experience, and come away from the trip feeling like they got their money’s worth, they probably won’t tip the guide. But if the guide is a real jerk, does not do his job and pisses people off, they’re gonna gang up on him and flip him right over! I would!

I almost always tip.
And I tip more for a trip that is longer and requires more from the guide. One trip I did not tip. I thought the guides took unnecessary chances, were sloppy, didn’t control the group well, and didn’t pay enough attention to those who needed help.

We have a small sign that says
"Tips are always appreciated, but never expected." I don’t guide for tips, I guide because I enjoy it. Anything I’m given is appreciated though and gets tucked away for future vacations, so that I can tip my guides! :slight_smile:

I went on a guided tour last summer
and didn’t tip. The trip was pretty expensive, so it didn’t even occur to me. The cost included/precluded any tip, or so I figured. Then afterwards the assistant brought the subject up–boy did I feel like a heel! Planning to tip belatedly when I see the guide next. Sure was a nice trip!

Expectations . . .
I agree with Eric who suggested it might be a cultural thing. I know in Canada, tipping is common in restaraunts, bars, and hotels but extremely rare in gas stations, ice cream shops, and most other places I can think of.

Part of it no doubt has to do with the way the industry is structured (restaraunt workers count on tips to make a living - and I believe there is a lower minimum wage for them in certain states)

I would guess that people just don’t realize it is expected. A sign at the check-in place, or a note on the contract might clue them in without it being awkward. Alternatively, ask your employer for a rasie and don’t worry about tips.

People who travel
a lot, especially overseas, are used to tipping guides and this experience hopefully transfers back home. I think that it just doesn’t occur to a lot of people to tip - a tactful sign is a good idea.

I teach all summer and very rarely get tips, I think a lot of people may not relize that the guide or instructor isnt often that high up in the companys infrastructure and may not be taking in more than 20-30% of the money they paid for the trip or lesson.

trips I go on take in $600 to $800/ day
if the guide is making $200 of that it works really nice! Guides on trips I take are usually making 160/200 per guiding day; it’s the days in the shop and days when they only teach for one hour that bite without art.

never count on tips!
thanks for the comments,i really dont do it for the money at all i have a great full time job(firefighter/paramedic)for me it is a great way to get on the water more,the owner of the company and i feel a sign or comment is not for us.i just know when i have gone on trips i tipped the guides ,i use to bartend so its kind of automatic for me,just wanted to know what pnet crew felt about the issue.

tis a odd one
so many variables to take into account .I look at it as gravy , don’t expect it , so when it happens it is nice . If folks think you are the owner they usually will not tip . Most are unaware it is done , a # of ways to work the subject into the trip though , tippin ? do you mean the guides or the yaks , being a guide is great but ya gotta be able to live below the federal standards for poverty -when they ask “what you do for a living” . One co. I worked for wouldn’t let one of the guides accept a tip on a c.c. , added bookeepin expense -HA!- once or twicwe a season he could have taken it outta petty cash , he also owned a retail shop , could ave offered the fella a discount on gear or even given em some o the FREE stuff HE gets from the sales reps. When junior guides wonder why they don’t get tips I ask em how involved in the clients they were , ID birds , paddling support techs , history of area , just general helpfulness an such . If yer doin it for the tip , get out of the business an get a job stroking tables .----M

1. it does not occur to them

2. they’re out of their element and tired at the end of the day and all they’re thinking about is a shower and dinner and bed.

3. the service wasn’t worth it.

4. the service was worth the price of the trip

5. the shared experience can cross a lot of boundaries unlike a clearly defined relationship with a waiter or other service.

the shared experience
ahh!the shared experience!you mean like when you have to tow the 250lbs mom with nonstop complaining kid 30mins to the boat launch!..just kidding!

On my first kayak trip, it never occurred to me to tip the guide. I paid for the trip and expected a guide to provide the trip.

I have since learned of my dopiness and do tip for good service. On only one trip since (a fishing trip), I did not tip. The service was not worth a tip. The guide wanted to do what the guide wanted to do, NOT what his customers wanted to do.

Is whoever schedules the trip letting customers know that a tip is customary? If not, it’s probably just dopeyness.

  • Big D

Tell them!
Why not just thank them for their patronage after the trip is over and let them know tactfully that “Tipping is allowed and always appreciated.” You don’t have to say anymore than that. I don’t think that’s tacky for a guide to say.

This would apply to my husband and myself on our first rafting trip in Colorado. It was a multiday trip with three great guides, but we just didn’t have a clue that tipping was a standard procedure. I felt pretty bad later after I had done a bit more traveling (and reading about traveling) and realized we had stiffed them. While I don’t think a tip should be automatic (I wasn’t all that happy to see that when I booked an Alaskan lodge vacation they automatically included a %15 gratuity) I think it should be standard for good service.

Strikes me as tacky

for some folks
a tip is a way of reasserting a position of authority after having been out of that position during the time of the trip.