When the instructor is the owner of the shop do you still tip him/her after the lesson?

you bet
service is service.

I ran a shop for nearly 20 years and I ALWAYS enjoyed a nice tip, regardless of my status.

Methinks many folks quickly jump to the conclusion that they don’t need to tip an owner but in reality guiding/instructing ain’t a high paying job so the tip is a nice way to say this is special and thanks.

really irked me when someone tips the barrista 20-50% on a freakin’ coffee and comes up with nada for a 7-day trip…go figure.


Just charge me what you think its worth
If it is really worth 10-20% more than the advertised price, than raise the price. Is the quality of the instruction, and the energy you put into it, going to be determined by the anticipation of/desire for a big tip?

No one ever gives me a tip, even if my lecture is so exciting that no one falls asleep in it.

Maybe WS kayaks need to have…
… an option for built in espresso machines…


– Last Updated: Jul-10-07 1:30 PM EST –

You sure do. If she provided a great tour and quality instruction, then you should tip.

I think most people just don't understand that it's okay to tip guides, so I mention it in the introduction for every one of my tours now. Had people thank me for mentioning it, because they didn't have a clue that it was okay or even nice to tip.

thank you
The whole ‘tip’ thing has grown to mystify me. One doesn’t know these days where it’s appropriate and where it isn’t. Charge me what it’s worth, if I have an issue with it later I can’t claim I wasn’t forewarned.

Emboss a logo
on the spray decks that says “It’s OK to Tip Your Guide!”

that’s a start
How much? Percentage?

I think it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to know they’re supposed to tip guides.

As an old Youghiogheny guide
we used to field many questions.

“How deep is this river?”

“How many fish are in this river?”

“Has this river always been here?”

“Does the river come back to the place we put in?” (!)

But the one we always liked to answer was:

“What do you do during the winter?”

A: “Live off our tips!”


Look at it this way: After graduating high school you have to pay to further your education (except for grants and scholarships and that ain’t happening in the guide business). If you learn anything from your guide (especially if what they taught you kept you safe while paddling/camping in territory where one’s life may be endangered by animals, weather and/or water conditions) then by all means pay for the higher education, especially if you had a good time while learning the lesson(s).

Can someone tell me…
where instruction or guide services are so cheap that you would feel you would want to tip them too?

In my area of CT, there are guide services taking newbees out in a kayak (the guides kayaks) for $100 for 3 hrs of baby sitting. The groups average about 7 -9 with one guide. Lets see, that’s around $900 for a morning of flat water paddling at a snails pace. Then they do it again in the afternoon. That comes to $2700 on a weekend and then there’s weekday lessons. Morning rolling lessons $150 ea. up to three paddlers - no guarantees.

I would feel more obliged to tip the guys who collect my garbage - they are really working hard at a crummy job.

Tip your Guide, not your ride.

Tough Call
After I’ve started working it into intros, I’ve gotten between $30 and $60 a tour for six people three hour tours. Instruction is generally better than that.

Anything is appreciated though.

Hi Jay

And the guides are probably being paid $10 an hour. So, they kept everyone safe and had to babysit for three hours seven to nine people for $30. And then in the afternoon, they do it again. And how about that 14 year old who wants the tow, because the snail pace is wearing her little arms out, or the guy that puked all over the kayak and you because he got sea sick in 6" swell?

And I know you’ve stood in the water for four hours trying to teach a roll. It’s not all that fun day after day.

And did I forget to mention that the guides have to pay for their own certs and upgrades and health insurance, because, generally, guides don’t receive benefits from their employers. And retirement accounts – forget it.

Heck, even garbage men are making twice to more than that as much as guides, and they get great benefits and retirement.

Even at those rates you quoted earlier running a guide service ain’t no picnic. The services I know struggle to stay afloat, because they have to generate a years worth of profit in four months.

BTW, the tours I do are free to our guests.



If it’s so lousy, then guides…
…outta demand more from their employers, or quit and get another job.

I never tipped a professor, Gulf.

– Last Updated: Jul-12-07 1:16 AM EST –

I do pay for the education of the kayak guide. Through their employer, the tour company. Just as I pay for the high school teacher through my property taxes and the college professor through the university.

I suppose I could bring the kayak instructor an apple. I brought one to my high school French teacher, Miss Trudeaux. Then again, she had great gams.

On a Grand Canyon Raft Trip
8 days long, I tipped $160 - $20/day. Yes, they had a job they loved but what does that have to do with it? I thought they gave everything they had to make it a terrific trip for me.

The second time I took the trip I tipped nothing because the guides were dumb-asses who thought the paying customers were something they had to put up with. I encouraged everyone else on the raft to do the same and they did. Strong letters to the rafting company followed.

thanks brian

I think you missed the point
It’s not a lousy job. The job is fun. It’s also important to paddle sports safety and growth. But it’s not a easy walk in the woods either, like suggested.

The profession doesn’t pay well, and tips are appreciated.

Do you
actually take guided trips? Or much instruction? Or are you just in this conversation to be argumentative? When’s the last time you paid for a guided trip? When’s the last time you paid for instruction?

Did you tip? Do you tip your waitress? A bartender?

Anyway, tips are appreciated. If you don’t want to tip, don’t. But if you want to discuss the realities of the guiding business, give me a call and we’ll talk person to person.