Tipping Etiquette for Water-sports Instructors:
All water-sports instructors appreciate and accept tips. Tipping and gifting customs varies from country to country. Most cultures have some system that is similar or they simply pays a higher price up front for the service. Some people are unsure of the Tipping protocols especially when traveling to the US for the first time.  Here are some explanations of Tipping customs for water sports activities.

Tips: Tipping is known in many cultures by different names; tip, gratuity, drikkepenge, spropitné, dýško, tringelt, napojnica, manča, tip, bakšiš, pourboires, borravaló, þjórfém, gorjeta, sprepitné, propina, la mancia, Φιλοδώρημα, fooi, bahşiş,

Why is tipping more common in the US?
Tipping in the service industry is a part of the culture and social system. Because the minimum wages in the US are far below the European level, it is expected that service providers will receive gratuities to supplement their income. Some workers will also be required to share their tips with other non-tipped staff members, or pool tips too. US workers also have to declare tips and in most cases may have to pay taxes on them as well, the tax department will tax tipped workers on an estimated tip income, even if they receive gratuities in cash. Service workers rely on tips as a regular part of their income. Usually employers will pay “tipped” service workers a lower hourly wage, than non-tipped workers. Without tips the service worker (instructor/waiter) may not receive a livable wage.

Gratuities not Included: Most services and lesson prices quoted do not include gratuities. So in the US when you see a sign that says “gratuity not included”, it actually means ‘please give a gratuity in addition to the price quoted’.

Showing appreciation to your instructor:
Most water-sports instructors do the job for their love of the sport. And they try to make a living by teaching the sport and sharing their passion. Most good instructors take pride in their job, and they love to hear that you have enjoyed your lesson with them. To show your appreciation after a lesson, with a tip/gratuity in cash, gift or another form. You can also take a minute to tell them that you liked the lesson and also tell them what you liked about it. That helps them to fine tune and improve their teaching style to give better customer satisfaction in the future. All instructors like to hear when they have done a good job. This is one of the motivating factors that keep them doing their job. If you really had a good time, and had an especially helpful instructor you should also tell the school owner directly, and praise the individual instructor. School owners like to get feedback on their staff, and they also appreciate positive feedback about their school.

Recommendations & Referrals:
Another way to show appreciation is to write a thank you card, or write a testimonial, in an email, or better yet, through social media, on face book, or give the school a good review on Trip adviser. This helps the school and instructor gain some recognition for their hard work. Good instructors should be rewarded for what they do and encouraged to keep doing their job. The student-instructor relationship are built over time, and sometimes even grow into lasting friendships.

Gifting your instructor:
Teaching is hard work, and difficult to make a living at. Another way to show appreciation is with a gift or gratuity. Many people may like to show their appreciation at the and of their training with a gift. Any gift as a token of appreciation, like a souvenir from the student’s home country, or other keepsake. It is also common to offer to buy their instructors lunch or take them out to dinner. Instructors may not always be able to receive this type of offer, depending on their situation, schedule, and school rules. Some students may decide to gift some of their unused gear to their instructor, students on vacation may have extra gear that they no longer need or cannot take home. In some cases students may even offer buy the instructor some needed piece of equipment or accessory.

Gratuities are always appreciated:
Gratuities are always appreciated, both as a gesture, and as an important contribution to the instructor’s income. Especially because many instructors who’s only income is from teaching, rely on gratuities to supplement their income. Guests should never feel pressured into giving a gratuity if they did not enjoy their lesson. Instructors are not usually not allowed to ask directly or solicit for tips. But they might reasonably expect that their hard work will be rewarded. It is awkward and uncomfortable if an Instructor has to ask for a tip or gratuity, so it is up to the student to remember to do this. In the US Tips (cash gratuities) are normally given to service providers. The size of the tip is generally a reflection of the level of service received.

How much is a typical tip?
The lesson price that the customer pays usually does not include a tip. The tip is given to the instructor or school separately after the lesson. The normal range of service Tips are 15-20% of the lesson price. Students should give what they can afford, and what reflects their level of appreciation. Example a “just OK” lesson give 10%, and good Lesson 15-20%, A great (best ever) lesson where the instructor has gone way above and beyond your expectations, may deserve a little more. Students should remember that the total fee for their lessons is divided between school’s costs and the instructor wages. Even if they have paid a lot for the lesson, the instructor usually receives a portion of that, so a gratuity actually makes a big difference to the instructor. Expect to tip a little more for private lessons, and please don’t forget to tip in a group lesson. Tip for Tipping: The more memorable the tip you give, the more your instructor will remember you, and this will better motivate them to help you after the lesson as well.

When to Tip:
The tip is usually given to the instructor directly in cash at the end of the lesson. But some people will prefer to tip before the lesson to encourage better level of service.  Sometimes tips can be left with to the school or owner to be passed along to the instructor. Be sure to be specific to which instructor your tip is intended to be given. Most schools will also allow you to put a tip on your credit card, just like in a restaurant. Every tip is acknowledged and appreciated, especially of the student has several days with an instructor a tip at the end of each day will usually motivate them to give even better service in the next lesson. If you are in a group lesson, be the first to tip the instructor, so that the other people in the group are also reminded to do so. If you are in a group lesson you can put the tips together in an envelope to give to the instructor.

What if I forget to bring cash?
You should always try to remember to bring cash for the tip with you on any activity, lesson, or when receiving any personal service (like; massage, haircut, lesson, tour, etc). If for some reason you have forgotten to bring cash, you can ask if it is OK to add a tip to your bill. This can usually be arranged. Otherwise you may want to call the store or business owner to “phone in” your tip to be added to your credit card bill.

Tipping In Resort Areas:
Vacation resorts can have a high cost of living, for everyone include the staff. The cost of food and other necessities is far higher in a resort area. This means that even the basic cost of living is higher for people working in resort locations, especially in some island resorts where all the goods are brought it etc. Rents for workers may also be high, and gas prices etc. A worker in first-world resort, may have to pay higher rent than you do at home, and they have higher bills to pay just to be there. Your tips in resort areas should also be adjusted to reflect this. So expect to tip more in resort areas or places with a high cost of living.

About the cost of lessons: Costs of a kiteboard lessons vary from place to place. In general prices quoted in the US are lower than other developed countries, however keep in mind that the gratuity (tip) and some taxes are not usually included in the quoted price, this usually adds another 15-25%. In most developed countries the initial cost of lessons can be higher, and in third-world countries the cost of a lesson is somewhat lower but is relatively higher when compared to instructor wages and lower cost of living. Many schools especially in the US, have to pay high fees, high rents, and many other costs. Most of the lesson price usually goes to their overhead expenses just to be there. Instructors usually only receive a portion of a lesson fee, and also have costs to bare.

The real cost of “Cheap” lessons:  So beware, cheap lessons are cheaper for a reason! Some cheap lessons offered in schools or privately are given by “unqualified or inexperienced instructors” because they get paid less. These lessons and may be a few dollars cheaper, but you won’t get the same information or quality of lesson. There are other ways that schools can cut corners to save a few bucks, like being uninsured or using other questionable or illegal business practices. Ultimately paying a few dollars more to have a Certified, Trained, Experienced instructor from a reputable school is worthwhile, and it may even save your life in the long run.

Tipping Guides:
If you are unsure how much to tip your instructor, then ask the manager beforehand, or the person making the booking. It is usually awkward to ask the instructor this question as they are often not allowed to ask for tips themselves. Many businesses have a guide to tipping on their websites, or may print a tipping guide on the bill (like in many restaurants). If there are no guidelines available, then do the standard 15-20% as you would in any restaurant. Tipping the school manager might help to secure a last minute booking, better schedule time, or upgrade to a better instructor.

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