Starting a Guide Service

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by RiverKing, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    I know that there has to be some Catfishing guides here on the BOC, and honestly, that is pretty much my dream job.. But what im not sure about, is how do you get your name out there in order to start building clientel. Do you make business cards and ask to keep them at local baitshops?? Also can you stay busy enough to NOT have to do anything else as far as another source of income? I know im a long way from being able to try and getting something like that rolling, but i just was trying to get some answers for those basic questions..Thanks
     
  2. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    Arlington you hit it on the head. The guys that make a living at it have been doing it for years and years before they started charging people making a name for themselves locally and catching big fish. The one I have used and continue to use has 20-25 years in and multiple records for all types of fish.
     

  3. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Messages:
    2,232
    State:
    Yellow Spr
    Yeah thats what i was thinking to, i talk to a guy that is a guide on the Ohio sometimes, and he is sort of stingy with the info he will give me about it...He just said that someone from the news paper contacted him and did a story on him and it took off from there...But i want to know how do you get that 1st, 2nd, 3rd, trip....I guess alot of it maybe word of mouth
     
  4. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    word of mouth is always your best advertisment no matter what type of business your in.
     
  5. flathead willie

    flathead willie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    State:
    Virginia
    When starting a guide business the first step is to get a lawyer, file the proper paper work and get incorperated so the first mistake you make or the first accident won't cost you everything you own and everything you will own in the next 20 years. The second step is to call insurance companies and give one of them a BIG check to cover your butt. Taking people out in a boat is alot more expensive then taking them hunting, insurance wise. The third step is write some more good sized checks to get advertising in 3 or 4 national fishing magazines. After that you will need an accountant, unless you are a CPA, to keep all the paperwork strait. Then it's just a matter of fileing the paperwork with your state, local, and federal tax people, and start fishing! Make sure your first years customers all go home happy or, chances are, there won't be a second year. Good Luck!
     
  6. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Theres plenty of guides here at Pickwick dam Tn. And everyone of them (Unless retired) work there jobs and then guide. They have it where they work nights and guide days.
    Or guide on Friday through Sunday. And some of them are working on 10+ years and still not able to do only guide trips.
    But if and when you get built up and can guide 5+ days per week. Then its a job also. Not as fun.
    Good luck and best wishes. But be ready to work more hours then any other job.
    Pete
     
  7. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    I would like to add the part about the big checks for a boat, gear, guide license and so on
     
  8. TIM HAGAN

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    State:
    Walkersvil
    Ok time for my two cents.
    First you need to know everything you can about the waters you will be guiding on. If you cant go out every trip now and put fish in the boat your not ready to guide. People are paying to catch fish and you need to put them on fish, If you no its going to be a bad trip offer to move the trip date.
    Then you need to make every person you take out feel as if he or she is just like your best buddy. I talk fishing or what ever they would like and I tell them anything they like to not about when,where, and how I catch fish.
    A lawyer can handle all the paper work for you but you need to handle them. Show them a great time on the water and they will come back again. I'm on my second year here as a guide and 10 people from last year has came back this year. And some new ones from this year has booked two or more trip this season. I have gotten some of them on here as members and I hope they was happy with there trip and will jump in here and help you out.
    One big thing I have done is to look at every trip as if I was the one paying to fish. With would I like to see the guide do for me, also you have to love to watch people catch fish most trips I dont even get to fish. And forget about the money at times like say you take two guys out and its one of them bad days your find the fish but they aint feeding. Offer them a deal on their next trip I even give some the next trip for free or at half price. Things like that will have people talking about your service.
    Web sites are a great help I'm on like 20 sites as a guide and I have flyers for my guide service in about 50 shops. If you would like to talk one on one with me PM me # and a time to call I'm far from the best but we have fun on every trip and people are coming back to book more.
     
  9. Dragger

    Dragger New Member

    Messages:
    538
    State:
    North Carolina
    Don't forget the U.S. Coast Guard approval Guide License. And the test is a Bear.........
     
  10. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    Messages:
    9,751
    State:
    GC, OHIO
    Wow, that is alot of info Tim, Billie, and Pete. Always thought of it as a dream job like RiverKing said, this sheds a whole new light on it.
     
  11. Buddrice

    Buddrice New Member

    Messages:
    4,032
    State:
    Louisiana
    Doesn't it so,All of them things are why I like working for someone else...LOL
     
  12. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    My son had this same idea after fishing with a guide on Santee until he looked at the facts,many which were presented to you previously.The best advice I have heard about it came from the man I consider the premier guide at Santee.He said "If you want to be a guide make sure YOU are done fishing"What everyone doesn't see about their dream job is all the background work that goes into it.You the customer get on the boat at 6am and go fishing.The guide has been up way earlier than that.You don't think about cast netting bait at 4am when the temp is 35 deg and the wind is blowing.You don't think about those cold rainy days when conditions are miserable and you don't feel to good but you have to show up.Nobody mentioned the cost of maintaining your boat and motor and you probably haven't thought about what you are going to do because your motor just spun a prop or or threw a rod or just quit and you have a party going out in 8 hrs and all the shops are closed.What do you do when you are sick,your truck breaks down,kid had to go to the emergency room at 2 am,yet you know your party will be there.Many of the guides down there have done it all their lives,yet all will tell you it is a hard life and they get just as weary of their "Job" as the rest of us do.A professional makes any thing look easy as pie but you have to look behind the scenes to see the real picture.Think about those days when the wind is blowing hard, the waves are crashing ,you customers are throwing up and their kids are crying PLUS the fish aren't biting and you don't catch one single fish,your fishfinder just quit,you have to clean the boat up,gas is 3$ a gallon and you just burned 30 gals trying to find fish.On the plus side you get to deal with the "PUBLIC", meet a lot of good people but the ones you will remember are the ones that call you a lousy guide because you didn't catch anything and want their money back.There are times when a nice normal job looks pretty good besides if you work at something you love to do yourself then it loses its appeal and becomes just hard work.I fish for myself,its what I do to put everything else down,I wouldn't want ti to become work.:smile2:
     
  13. buddah

    buddah New Member

    Messages:
    1,622
    State:
    Pennsylvania Wi
    Those are my thoughts exactally! kudos Brother!
     
  14. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Riverking, I guide here in Ohio, ( Flyfishing for trout and bass) and will tell you its no life worth doing fulltime, I only do maybe 15-20 trips a year and its all I can stand when dealing with idiots all day. It all boils down to about 6-9$ an hour after all the costs come out, which is why you should always tip your guide if he worked hard for you weather he got you on fish or not.

    Boat insurance will run you about 2500 a year at a minimum so if you cant turn 10 trips just to break even on that part, forget it. Dont forget the cost of gas, boat upkeep,gear upkeep including what you will do when a kid throws your rods overboard or breaks them by stepping on them. ( better to get equipment sponsors) I subcontract through fly fishing shops and there insurance covers me on wading trips so that really helps,
    Send me a email addy in a PM and Il send you a article I wrote about "why Guides are so expensive" or we can talk some more so I can talk you out of it, :roll_eyes:

    Salmonid