Tipping Guide

Discussion in 'Safari Planning Guide' started by AfricaHunting.com, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    The custom of tipping...

    Dear Xpraetor,

    Again, with all due respect, I am also detecting a pattern... That's why I have chosen to comment repeatedly on this topic.....

    This post started as a very explicit, detailed, and informative guide as to the concept of tipping as it specifically applies to an African Safari. Jerome posted this in a noble effort to clear up the who, when, and how much as it pertains to tipping at the end of your trip....It was a great piece that I felt did a great service to both client and outfitter...However, it has since mutated into commentary from many readers who, for whatever reasons, have a problem with the idea that it is CUSTOMARY to leave a tip for various staff members at a safari camp who have directly contributed to your pleasurable stay.

    Let me ask you...If you spent a weekend away at a nice hotel with your wife, went out to a nice resteraunt, valet parked your car, and went to the bar for a cocktail while waiting for your table, would you take this trip expecting not to tip any of these people providing service for you that evening?? The concierge, the valet, the maid, the bartender, and the waiter all contributed to your evening out. In America, we all know these jobs are gratuity based incomes...The workers expect it, and the customers expect it provided the service level was acceptable...What's the difference if you go to a hunting lodge in Africa? Why would anyone have a problem if the staff looked forward to a tip at the end of your stay?

    Expecting a tip from a client or customer is not a crime if you are in a service based business! Now, a true professional will deliver the same level of service for all of his clients regardless of how much they do or don't tip...You alluded to that in an earlier post and I agree, but that's not the issue at hand....Many here are challenging why a tip is expected at all..

    Obviously my friend, you and I do business differently. I book alot of clients based on the selling point that I will out-hustle my competition. I guarantee them that no other guide will work harder or put more effort into ensuring their success....In fact some of my best tips have come from trips where fishing and conditions were horrible, yet the clients recognized our effort in spite of the conditions.....Now, If I took a charter out and the clients refused to leave a tip for no obvious good reason, I would definately pull them aside and privately, professionally inquire as to why they felt their experience was not worthy of a gratuity. If there was a problem, I would appologize and do my best to correct it. If they told me that they felt we made enough money as it is, and they don't believe in tipping, for their next trip, I would shake their hand and politely refer them to you....
     
  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Well I was with you until the part about pulling a client aside and asking why no tip. Thats outrageous and unthinkable to put a client on the spot like that. That would be most unprofessional.
     
  3. Xpraetor

    Xpraetor AH Senior Member

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    firehuntfish
    You addressing me as friend is somewhat of a misnomer exampled by your repeated jabs at my expense. As for "due respect" that is also lacking. I also know that our perspectives are different.

    Although all is not lost we do agree on a couple of things one of which is doing our best for the client and the other being "you and I do business differently".

    It is obvious you and I do not agree, and this back and forth banter is getting nowhere. Not mention the fact that the subject of this thread is dealing with what to do when hunting in African, not NA. Honestly who cares what two NA guides have to say on the subject. Now if it were between to PHs? That would have more value. In the end my opinion and yours are like @$$holes everybody's got one.

    Might I suggest we agree to disagree.


    With that I have given my view and have nothing further to add.

    Bets regards & Happy hunting.
     
  4. Xpraetor

    Xpraetor AH Senior Member

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    You're welcome. Truth be told my reason was to have Mike70560 expound further. My impression is that he is a stand-up guy. In other post(s) he is rational, specific & straight forward. Although his statement was succinct no malice was intended, and the follow up post proved that to be true.

    Happy hunting.
     
  5. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

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    Of course I know there was not malice from Mike70560. I know it was a extreme case and fortunatly not my case... so far. Thanks again
     
  6. TERMINATOR

    TERMINATOR AH Enthusiast

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    I run a fishing business on Lake Michigan when not hunting.

    I price my trips at a point that I have made the profit I think that makes it worth my time and that I can pay my 1st mate $10/hr. My trips are not cheap ($440 for 6 hrs) but after fuel expense and paying the mate $60 I end up with $240 for 6 hrs of effort and to apply against the expenses of the business. By the time you take into account the boat maintenance, slip & stroage fees on my 33' boat, I have to run 30-40 trips to break even, so I want TRIPS more than TIPS.

    If the clients tip, my mate and I split the tip because it is both our job to make sure they have a good time no matter what the fish and weather throw at us.

    Obviously I do it because I love it not to get rich, same with my first mate (college kid)

    Do we appreciate it when the clients tip??? ABSOULUTELY!!! That said, I would much rather have a client book a trip and tip $0 because they could just barely afford my trip than to put it off because they couldn't afford the extra for tips. At the end of the day, I have set the price that makes it worth spending 6 -7 hrs working our butts off to try and putt fish in the cooler for our clients and then clean & bag them.

    So to me, tips are something earn by going above and beyond and doing everything possible to make sure they have a good time no matter how many fish are boated, but I have priced my trip so that I am satisfied even if the client can't or decides not to tip.

    The "best" tip I got this summer was $25 that two 11 & 13 year old kids saved because their dad told them he could afford to book the trip but they would have to come up with a tip for us if they thought we did what we could go give them a good trip.

    My biggest tip this year was $120 but the $25 from that group meant more to me from a satisfaction standpoint.

    I tend to be a good tipper when hunting or fishing (because of being on the other side of the equation a lot) but if I felt the guide/outfitter didn't give an honest effort or misrepresented the hunt in any way I would forego the tip without hesitation. And this spring I tipped generously on a 5 day 2-state, 2 specie turkey hunt for Easterns & Merrimans where I never pulled the trigger on either specie. We were hit with typhoons and blizzards in Iowa & Nebraska during my hunt. We couldnt get a 4WD truck with chains near the areas where the guide had patterned turkeys the week prior in perfect hunting conditions. BUT he did everything he could and found a way to give us a chance even though the turkeys were not real responsive given the sh1tstorm hurled at us.

    So, looking from both sides I believe tips = gratuity not a god given right and if the client is grateful for the experience AND can afford it they should tip.

    But I think that a hunting/fishing guide/outfitter should price his hunts so that he is still Ok even if the client cannot or does not tip for whatever reason. If your lowballing your trip price and expecting to make it up in tips you will sometimes be disappointed and have nobody to blame but yourself IMHO.
     
  7. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    Why??

    If you were the client, and you were informed by the owner/operator when booking the trip that a gratuity is customary and the best way to show your appreciation for the guide's effort... Why is that outrageous to speak to the client about it? I would like to know why the client was dissatisfied... Maybey they had justification, and I could make it right...?

    If you go to a resteraunt and experience bad service you are not correcting the problem by sitting through it and then stiffing the waitress... If you address your dissatisfaction with the waitress at the first sign of poor service, you can most likely salvage your dining experience as well as giving the waitress a subtle kick in the butt to improve...
     
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    firehuntfish,

    Well, first of all no respectable operator should inform the client, (especially before the service), that a gratuity is customary under any condition. Most outfitters state in their info that tips and gratuities are not included in the price of the service, that should be all that is said about it, period. If the client chooses not to tip, thats his business and the operator confronting the client about it puts that client in an uncomfortable place, something the operator should not ever do, and sure to keep that client from wanting to return. The proper way to approach a client would be to ask the client if they were satisfied with the service, whatever it was and perhaps ask if there was anything that could have been done better. But to ask why no tip was given is to my mind beyond the pale. Again it goes back to expecting a tip as an automatic event when it is not now, nor has it ever been so.

    Further, how is not tipping a waitress for bad service, "stiffing" her? Bad service should not be rewarded. I must confess your approach to this has me scratching my head.
     
  9. Xpraetor

    Xpraetor AH Senior Member

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    Apology Extended...


    Well it would seem I was full of dugaboy dung (corny I know). I do have something additional to add.

    In retrospect I feel I have erred in my post quoted above. An apology is in order.

    First I offer an apology to firehuntfish for the harshness & tone of what I posted. I am quick to point out an obtuse rebuttal from others, yet I failed to recognize my own.

    Secondly I apologize to all who read my cloaked use of a slang/profanity. It was in poor taste, uncalled for and certainly unprofessional.

    Everyone’s opinion is valued that is why this website/forum is successful. firehuntfish and I conversed privately and the point was made that if you are willing to post in a thread you are by default willing to take criticism.

    Despite my retraction I am in no way conceding my viewpoint, I am only acknowledging my digression.
     
  10. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    I never said a gratuity was to be "customary under any condition"...You added the UNDER ANY CONDITION...Outfitters who state that a gratuity is not included specifically do so to let the customer know it is customary and not part of the price quoted...That is a direct implication that you may want to plan on leaving a gratuity in the event your excursion was to your satisfaction...And, I'm sorry dude, but a gratuity is one of those expenses that ABSOLUTELY should be mentioned and discussed prior to the transaction....That practice avoids problems, suprises and misunderstandings with tipping as well as other expenses not included in the trip...It doesn't create them.... I discuss with my clients that they need to bring their own beverages, snacks, sunscreen, etc...Is that unprofessional?? Also, I will concede that I may not ask a client why no tip? But, I always inquire if the effort and service level was to their satisfaction regardless of the amount of tip...

    You are absolutely right when you say that bad service should not be rewarded...My point is why would you suffer through bad service if you can speak up as a customer and try to correct the issue? It doesn't matter if you are eating lunch at a diner or on a plainsgame hunt. Why would anyone tolerate 7 days of a rude or lazy PH and not say anything until the end of your safari?? You may be able to clear up any misunderstanding and end up having the trip of your life... I must confess that approach has me scratching my head??

    I can see that my point of view will not be accepted by some...My only guess is that many here commenting negatively have never worked in a service industry which is reliant on tips to make a living... Good for you...It's difficult... Maybe I am not expressing my position the right way here on the written page...Honestly, I have been up front, candid, and honest when discussing the inclusions and exclusions of the charter with customers for 30 years...I have never had an issue or offended a client...In fact, most comment that they appreciate the communtication.

    Xpraetor and I have agreed to disagree. He is obviously passionate about his opinions on this matter as I am. Intelligent, constructive debate is a good thing...An apology is not warranted to me or any one else engaged in this debate, yet he is a true gentleman by offering it... My hat is off to him...
     
  11. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    :headscratch:Hell where are we going with this...???:popcorn:
     
  12. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    firehuntfish, When I said under any condition, I meant it would not be proper to discuss tips before the service at all, period, never. I did not mean as you took it as always. We will not ever agree on this. You are in business, I am retired. Run your business as you see fit. Have a good one.
     
  13. firehuntfish

    firehuntfish AH Veteran

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    Best quote of all....

    "Bottom line is though, individuals who do not want to tip can always easily justify it to themselves in their own minds."

    I just re-read this entire discussion from Jerome's post to the last reply (so Far)...

    This gentleman's quote is a SLAM DUNK! It pretty much sums up all of the negative tipping commentary that has take place in this discussion....

    Everybody stay safe out there, and don't forget to take care of those bartenders, waitresses, fishing & hunting guides, and especially your PH's and camp staff!
     
  14. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    That great quote means nothing to me except that it is meant to be insulting. It isnt about justifying not paying a tip. The real bottom line is: tips are for good service, and are not automatic. Amazing where people get there ideas from.
     
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I agree 100 percent!
     
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I apologize is I got off the topic a while back. Things operate different around the world. And I certainly didn't mean to insult anyone.

    I think tipping is expected on a good hunting trip...and I feel it is more than warranted if things went well. My last hunting to New Mexico for elk went really well. The hunt was marketed to sell...and it was a terrific deal and the guide worked his butt off. I gave him everything in my wallet and went home happy. If my next trip to Africa goes well...I will tip well again.

    The tipping amount goes way down...for a few reasons...1) The outfitter or guide is always dealing with personnal business all day and night....not concentrating on the hunt. 2) Is pushing me to sell hunts for them...rebook for next year, etc. 3)Has added costs...that were not discussed before hand and I feel...he or she has cut corners. 4) In Africa, I would prefer that Ph or outfitter spoke English as much as possible. Yes, I realize some countries it's a lot harder than others.

    Weather should not effect a tip....a guide or PH can't do anything about it. And yes, equipment does breakdown. Since the hunting and fishing industry is a service industry...It certainly helps to meet you guide and PH before hand to see if your personality mixes. Having good hunt chemistry on a hunt helps a lot. And it's good to have a lot of patience as a client and PH.

    Enough said on the subject.
     
  17. Kowas Hunting Safaris

    Kowas Hunting Safaris AH Veteran

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    THANK YOU, hunters, for tipping (the people which impresses you and those who is working hard behind the scenes whom you do not deal with, but also contribute to your safari). THANK YOU.
    Those who receive tipping, appreciates it, realising that it is a GIFT!

    We issue VOUCHERS. Each hunter gives these vouchers PERSONALLY to the employees when our employees "line up" to say their goodbuys and give a hand shake.
     
  18. hvanl

    hvanl New Member

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    Tipping

    As a SA biltong hunter on my one and only hunting trip (Buffalo in Zambezi-valley) with a professional outfitter in Africa I was following the discussions on this topic with keen interest.I fully accept that tipping for services rendered on such trip is part and parcel of the safari and have budgeted accordingly.To my absolute astonishment the total number of staff expecting a tip after 6 days hunting has grown to 14 people, excluding the PH.( 3 cooks, 4 waiters, 4 trackers/scouts on the vehicle, 2 skinners and 1 general worker in camp). Even tipping the smallest amount that would not offend ended up being way beyond 10% of the cost of the hunt. And that is before the PH who deseved a reasonable tip.I really think that operators should think of a different way of tipping with such a large contingent of staff.
     
  19. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    On the hunt I went on last year there was a recommended tip for all camp staff $100US to be shared among them $100US for each tracker/driver (2) and $500US for the PH this came to 12% of the hunt and I thought this to be quite fare, as it turned out they worked so hard for that tip that I doubled it. But again tipping should be based on what You think they deserve and you should not feel or be made to feel that you are required to pay any set amount based on staff THEY decide to bring to camp .
     
  20. Ole Bally

    Ole Bally AH Enthusiast

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    Jerome, I have retired from PH'ing now but in 20 years I have never seen this topic better put by you! Excellent job! There's some hot opinions in this lot, but I think just about each guy has some merit in what he says! I have seen PH's and 'outfitters' receive some very big tips and in some cases not at all. Funnily enough the Americans always tip pretty well...it seems to be part of their culture, the Spanish don't tip at all - or at best, very seldom, and the rest of the Europeans (German, Austrian's) tend to like to give gifts rather than cash!
    Tip, I was told was an acronym for 'To Improve Performance' and I always held that to be true! Certainly in Zimbabwe, a PH's tips either make or break him financially each season.
    The PH's by and large will always try to give the clients top grade service...their livelihoods depend on their good reputations and they are acutely aware of it. But there always exceptions out there!
     

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