Tipping! Here We Go Again

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Michael Dean, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    Just finished reading a thread on another forum; the long and short of it is an outfitter placed a thread advertising for a camp chef for his operation starting next month in Africa. The thread requested the services of a chef with the understanding that the person's compensation would be the experience of living in Africa for several months and that tips would be their only form of compensation. As politely as I could, I responded and essentially indicated that hunters who spend large sums of money for an African Safari expect that the outfitter has hired a qualified chef and one ongoing complaint of hunters today is the all too common pressure to tip well. I simply indicated that many outfitters don't compensate their help properly which means that the help expect more in terms of tipping which is not fair to the clients.

    I'm certain that I'll receive a response telling me to mind my own business, which won't offend me in the least. I just think that this is simply another example of a less than reputable outfitter who expects his clients to compensate his staff and that clients will end up receiving substandard service because the staff are not being properly paid. At the end of the day I think clients deserve to know that staff is being adequately paid. You can't expect staff members to give 110% if all they receive are tips.
     

  2. shooter

    shooter AH Member

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    Ever wonder about the PH?

    "Position available for a young appy PH.
    This position is available to a young PH not yet established and who wants to specialise in Bow hunting.
    Board and lodge only with an oportunity to earn tips from clients.
    No chancers please. I will send you home with your tail between your legs.
    Send CV to..... "
     

  3. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    This practice is quite a bit more common than many would imagine. The ranch in which I stayed in BC was largely staffed by young Europeans who worked for bed and board for several weeks or months as a wilderness experience. It is similar to the internships offered young people in hotels and resorts around the world. They get to see interesting places, have resume' building experiences, and we benefit young people eager to please. Our cook was just such a person from Eastern Canada and she was superb.

    My guide was very experienced, but the young man assisting our hunt was a young German from a hunting family who was having a wilderness experience before starting university studies in Scotland. He was a lot better company than a couple of wranglers I remember with whom I have shared a camp.

    I obviously don't want an intern as a PH, but have no issue at all with staff sharing an adventure with me.
     
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  4. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    I understand your position and respect it. There are a lot of younger people who are looking for adventure and are willing to work just for the opportunity to see a different country. At the same time, I'm looking at what I refer to as the big picture. People who decide to go on Safari often times spend years planning and saving for the trip of a lifetime. The money they are spending is hard earned cash that they have worked months and all too often years for.

    After hours and hours of research they finally decide to book with an outfitter that promises to give them the experience of a lifetime. Part of that experience includes a professional hunter who's training and skills ensure that the hunter is going to be afforded ample opportunities to shoot at respectable, trophy quality game animals. Another part of the experience is knowing that after a long day afield, the hunter is going to return to camp knowing that an experienced chef is going to present quality meals, not your basic table fair that you'd find on your average North American wilderness campsite.

    This is the experience that African Safari outfitters advertise. This is what the average client expects. I personally believe that quality PH's don't work for tips alone. You simply can't get a person with hands on experience who knows Africa the way they should unless you pay them a fair wage. The same holds true for your camp cook or chefs. I don't believe that you are going to find a quality cook who can really run a kitchen and serve quality meals night after night unless you pay them a fair wage.

    If an outfitter is going to promise his clients a four or five star experience, he's got to be willing to pay his people to produce that level of service. The notion of hiring cooks and other help for tips and the experience of being in Africa is a disservice to his clients. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If clients are willing to pay for five star service then outfitters should be prepared to pay a fair day's wage to ensure his clients get what they expect and paid for.
     
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  5. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    Don't get me started ......jeasus if some of the places I have not written about on here paid a fraction of the tips they expected ....... I personally feel the whole tipping thing is BS. Having hunted around the world once or twice ........Some of the suggested ....sorry expected tips .......are insane . Choked on my beer when interviewing a person in RSA for a non hunting related job ........... yep thay was a rude awakening. ......However you do as you are asked .......However now I am in country a couple of times a year ......I am seeing things in a new light .........

    Tipping has become one of the bigger problems to face the African Safari and indeed futher afield .......
     

  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    You and I would likely agree that cooks represent an element of risk. Fortunately most outfitters realize that - unlike many North American outfitters who are content to open a can of Denny Moore stew (or let the client do it). But remember, every time you use those hard earned dollars to check into a high-end hotel/resort anywhere in the Western World, and you are met by the charming, foreign-accented young person behind the desk you are likely engaged with an intern. They provide almost all the junior staff on every cruise ship at sea.

    You likely would be stunned how little the guy owning the hunting concession actually makes. In truly wild areas (as opposed to privately owned game ranches), most only see income from margin on the daily rate and tips. The majority of each trophy fee goes to the government, or tribal group, or conservancy, or some combination there of depending on the type of concession. The journeyman PH picking up the extra hunter periodically is making precious little in actual salary. Most cooks, at least in my experience, are bright members of the staff who have been trained, often by the PH's spouse, or in a wilderness area, by the spouse of the camp manager, to handle cooking duties. Some can be exceptional. Very few would qualify as trained "chefs."

    I am going to make a general statement that can be refuted by any number of specific contrary examples, but I nevertheless believe it is generally true. Europeans and Americans have very different ideas about tipping. So much so, that I have heard many guides (over here) and PH's in Africa say that the junior guy always gets the Euro hunter if there is an option. Having lived in Europe quite a bit, my perception is that most Europeans tend to assume that a base gratuity is built into the bill - whether in a fine restaurant, or in the thorn bush. A tip, then, is truly a relatively small gratuity to express thanks for service. In the US, a gratuity built into the price, is an exception, and is always declared somewhere up front or on the bill. Therefore, we are somewhat programmed to expect to have to pay a meaningful percentage for service (15-20% is pretty much the norm). And as a result, mates on fishing boats and hunting guides tend to expect that as part of their compensation for a hunt. In areas where the preponderance of hunters are North American, think most of Southern Africa, the industry compensation model is built on that expectation.

    I don't think of it as a good thing or bad thing - merely something to budget. Just as if I were in a gasthaus in Germany, I would plan a couple of Euros to add to the final bill, I plan a meaningful tip for a hunt in Southern Africa.
    Plus it really ticks off the guys from Iceland. :)
     
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  7. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    This guy from Iceland would be happy if the guys got the tips ....in work with locals some of whom are the first qualified PH's were and ...... to them that level of a tip would represent months of wages .....They will not tell you but when they mention a glock pistol second hand and I see I have paid more than that for a tip on a 7 day hunt .....makes you think .......

    However I appreciate the USA is a tipping culture ...... but there are limits ....now the klipdrift cork has been removed ...... will try to stay off here
     

  8. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    The South Africans love the American tipping culture; it's gotten to the point of being more than abused and absurd. When the Americans show up they can tell their help to make certain to do a great job for the week because the American's tips are essentially going to be the only compensation they're going to receive.
     

  9. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    I can eat anywhere in Europe and not have to tip, except for the round up, because those employees are paid a living wage. The good old USA model is below minimum wage plus tips.

    My Africa trip the daily rate for myself (hunting) and wife and daughter is $790 plus tips for a staff of 11! I would much prefer an all in price (i.e. Club Med) and if offered the choice between the two, I would pick the all in every time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Oh, I absolutely would agree with you. My only point is that is not the current compensation business model.
     

  11. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    ive been told tips are strictly up to you.but in the same breath to bring tw0 thousand dollars in small bills for road side purchases.the only road side purchases i saw were the road blocks we were stopped at and had to pay 5.00 or 10.00 for what ever law we supposedly broke.i can do a lot with 2000.00 instead of handing it over to people im not even involved with on the safari.i went home with most of the 2000.00.i think i better not re book with that outfit again.i might not be told to look out for that black mamba in the trail.
     
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  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I appreciate your self restraint. :D At least on the keyboard side.
     
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  13. Odinsraven

    Odinsraven AH Fanatic

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    Three bottles remaining plus a few cans of Castle to wash it down ..........
     

  14. Gemsbok Gangsta

    Gemsbok Gangsta AH Enthusiast

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    Discretion is key.Do what you think is right. Anybody ever goose hunt or fish with a guide?? Tips are standard fare if you are put on good fields or on the fish. I believe if the outfitter has a guide for tipping that is going to far and I probably would not book with them. Just my 2 cents...
     

  15. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    On my recent PG hunt in RSA, when we hunted a different concessions we would typically pick up a local tracker who lived on the property. The day I got my eland, everyone worked their tail off and we didn't get done to well past dark-thirty. I wanted to tip the local guy for working so hard, but I wasn't carrying any cash. I gave him a coke and a bag of chips. Without asking, my PH also gave him some Rand. As we drove out, the local tracker opened the gate for us and then walked over to my side of the Crusier. I rolled down the window and the tracker told me "Thank you and may God bless you." I don't mind tipping folks that work hard. On a 10 day hunt, I use the day rate as an approximate tip total amount for all the hired staff (trackers, driver, skinner, cook, laundry, etc.) and ask the PH how to divide it up. In Zim, where the local currency is US dollars, the PH had me hand out the tip directly to each person so there were no questions. Other places, the PH or outfitter typically has to take the US dollars to a bank, exchange it for local currency, then give it to the staff. Hopefully they are honest about this.
     
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  16. Eddie P

    Eddie P AH Veteran

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    This is where my European attitude to tipping has problems. (I've never booked a guide by the way) If I were to hire a guide then it is to guide me onto the fish etc, if they aren't doing that, then what are they doing as a guide?

    I used to work in retail, I occasionally got tips when I carried heavy goods to a car, but never for doing my job.

    I realise in the USA service industry the pay structure is different, but surely a self employed guide should just charge the rate he (or she) feels is a fair wage for a fair day's work?
     
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  17. jand

    jand AH Veteran

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    With all due respect Michael , but I think you are over exaggerating. In South Africa No one gets away with not paying people and making them get by on tips alone. not for long anyhow. I have personally in 24 years in the industry never encountered it.
    If you do this in South Africa and the department of Labour finds out about it , you are toast.
     
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  18. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    All my hunts have indeed been in South Africa where I understand there are required pay structures. That being said I tip what I think is good and I have only had one person look at me as if the tip was poor. These folks doing the grunt work don't have a lot in life so even a small tip is appreciated.
     

  19. wapiti

    wapiti AH Senior Member

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    Do you tip the owner of the outfit? If so what percent do you give him?
     

  20. AB2506

    AB2506 AH Enthusiast

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    The owner was the PH.

    I followed the African Hunting.com tipping guide for all staff.
     

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