Do You Bargain With Your Outfitter?

JimP

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I did a little bit of horse trading on my first hunt. I wasn't interested in a couple of the animals on my special list and was able to swap out for a couple that I wanted.

It never hurts to ask, but don't expect for them to loose money.
 

curtism1234

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I don't particularly like the phrase bargaining, but I think there are ways to put a little icing on the cake.

I think it is 100% fair and normal to ask an outfitter what the cost would be for x number of days for x animals even if they have a price list with no packages. Imo, there should be quite a bit of wiggle room for RSA and Namibia. Let them answer and if you don't like it, move on. I wouldn't start haggling over prices: "your kudu is $2000, would you take 1500" just makes you a dumbass imo.

Little things that incur minimal cost can help seal the deal. Throw in a baboon or a night hunt. Ensuring a particular side trip is available.

A big area for negotiation is with non-hunting guests and family. Often observers are like $150 a day. For what? Does your wife eat $150 worth of food??? Maybe you want to bring your kids. Again, I wouldn't start haggling against their stated prices, but throw it out there: "I really like your 10 day package. My wife would like to come along and she's low maintenance. What can you do as a package upgrade for her to come?"
 

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I will ask for and discuss an individual quote before booking a hunt to compare outfitters. I am not going to bargain during a hunt or during the booking process, I think that’s insulting to their services as an outfitter/guide and embarrassing to me as a client. I’ve gone on several end of season hunts and always been offered better deals to harvest more of their remaining quota and was happy to take advantage of the offers. I would like to think a good client gets treated well. I’ve never been charged a rifle rental or ammo even when listed on quote. I’ve been offered quality on the spot deals I don’t think would be offered to everyone. I’ve gotten to change plans/areas on short notice to take advantage of other opportunities. Choose the best outfitter and forget the idea of “bargaining.” Ask for a quote, discuss it with outfitter, and decide if it’s right for you.
 

Cam Moon

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My first safari I bought a package consisting of Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, and Springbok. I asked if I could exchange the Red Hartebeest for a Gemsbok if I paid the difference. They had no problem with that. I also asked if I could swap the Springbok for an Impala, but I can't remember at what point I did that. They were the same price on their pricelist. As it turned out I ended up going with the Springbok anyways, and added four more! (Different color variants)
While I was there I ended up forgoing my Blue and Black Wildebeest and had an amazing hunt for a Barbary Sheep, but that was just kinda the way things worked out. I also got a Warthog and Scimitar.
On another trip with a different outfitter, my main target was a Sable, and they had a couple other animals included in the package. I asked to trade those animals for a Waterbuck and pay the difference as per the pricelist, and again it wasn't an issue. I ended up taking a Blesbok and Gemsbok as well once I was there.
Once you're there, and get to know each other the conversation of other animals usually comes up, and I think most places are very willing to make some pretty attractive offers!
 

Scott CWO

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I don't particularly like the phrase bargaining, but I think there are ways to put a little icing on the cake.

I think it is 100% fair and normal to ask an outfitter what the cost would be for x number of days for x animals even if they have a price list with no packages. Imo, there should be quite a bit of wiggle room for RSA and Namibia. Let them answer and if you don't like it, move on. I wouldn't start haggling over prices: "your kudu is $2000, would you take 1500" just makes you a dumbass imo.

Little things that incur minimal cost can help seal the deal. Throw in a baboon or a night hunt. Ensuring a particular side trip is available.

A big area for negotiation is with non-hunting guests and family. Often observers are like $150 a day. For what? Does your wife eat $150 worth of food??? Maybe you want to bring your kids. Again, I wouldn't start haggling against their stated prices, but throw it out there: "I really like your 10 day package. My wife would like to come along and she's low maintenance. What can you do as a package upgrade for her to come?"
Agreed 100%. $250 - $400 per day for my wife?? No way. We share a bed, she eats like a bird and she takes great photos that we share with the operators. $0-$150 is what I’ve been able to negotiate.
 

Tally-Ho HUNTING SAFARIS

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Hello do you bargain with your outfitter prior to the hunt? If so, give examples!
so...from an outfitters point of view

a little bargaining or asking for a package deal is no problem
but bargaining on the price of each and every animal is both insulting and irritating.
just remember this is how we make our living, and believe me there are very few very rich outfitters
we do take joy in making dreams come true and great memories for clients.
try and settle all this before you on safari, while you are there rather ask about some extra animals once you have completed your hunt, cull animals etc etc
most outfitters are very negotiable on observers and kids

anything else feel free to ask
 

jpomazi

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I have always been treated pretty well by outfitters especially when being a repeat client. When taking my wife and 13 year old twin girls in 2019 we went on 2 different safaris. The first charged my wife $100 a day. No charge on arrival departure days. The girls he let come for free. That meant a lot to me. The second one charged $75 a day for the girls and also around $100 for my wife. I didn't really have to negotiate either of these they just offered it. That being said, like others have posted I'd be hard pressed to pay $200 a day for observer fees especially for the girls. As far as trophy fees and everything else I'd feel like a jerk trying to get cheaper prices.
 

Mark Biggerstaff

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I am headed out for my third trip this year with same outfitter. I have never asked for a reduced price on anything. He has always treated me well and offered reduced prices with the more animals I add to list. I know they have to have a profit margin to survive. This years trip I told him I wanted to hunt 21-25 days and gave him a list of animals and places I wanted to see. He came back with a quote that was to hard to refuse. Reduced daily rates and great pricing on the animals I want to hunt. I also found on one trip an animal I had not even thought about hunting when we came across a good one. Always carry extra cash for these. Can make a difference in price.
 

Philip Glass

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Hello do you bargain with your outfitter prior to the hunt? If so, give examples!
Sure you can but you need to ask yourself what are you bringing to the table? Are you going on a 5 day 4 animal package hunt for the smaller game animals or are you planning a 10 day safari with lots of add ons? Buffalo?
Would you bargain with an outfitter on a mule deer hunt? Why not?
I’d ask myself these questions first.
Regards,
Philip
 

lil 2 sleepy

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I think it all depends on what you are willing to give to the outfitter in terms of shooting.

On my last trip, the prices on animals started to go down a little without really asking. If you shoot a good number of animals, and the outfitter is pleased with you, I think comments from them like "well the price list says that it's X, but we can do a little better if you want to hunt it" will start to unfold on its on.

I wouldn't negotiate a price reduction right off the bat on the first animal, but once you're there and adding animals, everything is negotiated. You don't have to shoot that $1500 Zebra.
 

kdenn

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I'm in early process of planning first safari. Outfitter is member of this forum and has been excellent to work with thus far. very quick to respond to my numerous questions. Wife and I both plan to hunt 10 days long list of animals. had gotten a very reasonable quote, decided to take stepdaughter along and asked if possible could she shoot 1-2 animals also. answer was immediate yes without any additional charges. very impressed with this service and attitude, haven't felt any need to bargain after doing initial research and reference checks.
 

JKO HUNTING SAFARIS

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As mentioned above, I have no problem on working with a hunter where I can to make my offer compete with another outfitter on the short list. Frankly I wish more hunters would be more open to exactly what kind of experience they are looking for and what they have been offered. This will help both parties to reach a agreement to whether the outfit is suited for the client's needs or not.

I say that as I know that there is a lot of variables going into making a safari a success. One should always look at all of them and make sure you have a good deal for the quality of trophies, accommodation etc. you are looking for and that fit you a hunters approval. Size of areas, additional travelling between areas for different species, is the lodge right next to a highway or in the middle of a large hunting area etc. All of that does come in to play and effect the price and quality of your safari.

One thing I personally will never allow is that offering discount on a safari is to compromise the quality of the safari that my hunter will receive and what I have offered for over 15 years. If I have to cut corners on quality I will definitely not offer any more "icing on the cake" and should I loose the safari so be it.

As Stuart said earlier, there is very little rich outfitters in our industry. It does not always mean that if a outfitters hunt is more expensive than others that he is making more money...

Some outfitters with the lowest prices have the highest profit margins due to quality of areas, trophies taken, quality of accommodation, quality and age of hunting vehicles, experienced PH's (They do cost more per day than a young rookie) and all of the other factors that does come in to play.

Back to the point, I am always open to discuss options with a hunter on any estimate I give and I also willing to explain and educate to why there is a price difference in certain safaris and areas.

Great thread thank you sir!

All my best,

Jacques Spamer
 

Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

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I think that some folks' idea of reasonable pricing has been warped by auction prices over the years. Just because you might be able to snap up an auction item for pennies on the dollar at the last minute doesn't mean that is price that an outfitter would want to sell another hunt at.

I had a similar argument with a friend looking to buy a house. His target price point per square foot was based on foreclosures during the housing bust in 2008. That's not a good floor for the current market. It was an anomaly.

That said, I do think it is reasonable to discuss options with an outfitter before you book. Just don't view it as a zero sum game. After all, you will be spending a big chunk of time with them in the bush. No need to push an unfavorable deal on them (if they even accept).

Last suggestion would be to get a contract or some form of written agreement. I always request one if it is not offered. Does not have to be complicated. That is the best way to make sure that expectations for both parties are aligned
 

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I never bargain for a better price. I don't chose a hunt or PH based solely on price but it is a factor. I am not going to pay much over market price but I will pay more for better service, accommodations (wife always goes on hunts) and quality animals.
 

Rickmt

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I just ask for a quote for a number of days and animals I want. If I like it we’re done. Add on animals I don’t dicker over usually unless offered by outfitter.
 

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