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Teaching clients to tip

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  • Teaching clients to tip

    As a professional, I find it hard to explain to clients when and where they should tip -- i.e. grooms, regular braider at big shows who braids for parade of champions, barn manager. I charge for most of these services, not alot mind you, but I think they should be tipped on certain occasions. When they haven't been, I try to pull some extra money out of my own pocket to make sure they know they are appreciated.
    Recently, I have added that "tips are not included" to the bottom of my price list after the amount I charge for these services. Is that enough of a suggestion? It is MY resposiblity to educate my customers? And should I be pulling out my own money to make sure everybody is happy?
    I struggle with all of these with customers who are stepping up to the world of grooms and A-rated horse shows from the local circuit.
    Any suggestions are helpful.
  • Original Poster

    As a professional, I find it hard to explain to clients when and where they should tip -- i.e. grooms, regular braider at big shows who braids for parade of champions, barn manager. I charge for most of these services, not alot mind you, but I think they should be tipped on certain occasions. When they haven't been, I try to pull some extra money out of my own pocket to make sure they know they are appreciated.
    Recently, I have added that "tips are not included" to the bottom of my price list after the amount I charge for these services. Is that enough of a suggestion? It is MY resposiblity to educate my customers? And should I be pulling out my own money to make sure everybody is happy?
    I struggle with all of these with customers who are stepping up to the world of grooms and A-rated horse shows from the local circuit.
    Any suggestions are helpful.


    • #3
      I would compare it to filling out entries or making hotel reservations- it's your responsibilty to either educate your clients to do these things correctly, or do them yourself. I'd say a brief explanation of tipping protocol is in order the first time a new client is on groom- the notation on the bill is not enough for some people to take the hint.


      • #4
        IMHO, it's up to you (or a designated "barn mother") to educate them about the ways of showing, and tipping is part of that. You will be thanked not only by the people that groom and braid for you, but also anyone that ends up grooming, braiding, etc. for them down the line.
        The Evil Chem Prof


        • #5
          I actually find the expectation of tips offensive. If you are providing a service to me then I expect you to set an appropriate price and allow me to decide whether or not I want that service at that price. If you are setting your price lower than you think is appropriate for your services and expecting me to make up some imaginary difference, your compensation will never be correct.

          For this poster's problem, raise your prices and pay your personnel what you want them to receive and don't worry about whether or not someone is tipping them.


          • #6
            Grooms yes, but I've never heard of tipping a braider or a barn manager after a show.

            As far as I know, a braider doesn't split their money with anyone (except the IRS ), so I don't understand the need to tip. I give our barn manager a gift during the holidays.


            "May the happiest days of your past be the saddest days of your future."
            \"May the happiest days of your past be the saddest days of your future.\"


            • #7

              I Completely agree! I tip our groom very well. I do not tip the braider. And yes, I give the barn manager $$ at Christmas time.
              Chief check writer for Brando, Sophie, Adam, Ryan, Avery, Blingin, Bubba, Whoopi, Dillard AND the newest edition--LORDY!

              Member of the \"Dutch WB Clique\"


              • #8
                Don't have a groom, so I can't comment on tipping!! But, for braiding, I don't tip. I pay a fee & if that's not enough then the braider should raise their prices. Sorry, but I think tips are too overexpected with many services (out of the horse world as well). I provide a service at my job, but do not expect (nor ask for) a tip. I have an hourly fee, and if that's not enough then it's time to raise it.

                Flame away!!

                "errr, ummm, oomph.....brain fart"!!
                Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


                • #9
                  You should definitely *not* be putting out your own money.

                  If you're uncomfortable raising the topic - what about presenting a (mandatory) clinic for your students on show prep? You could include "budgeting" as a part of that. "Another thing you need to include in your show budget is tipping - you should plan on tipping x for y service" and so on.

                  I bet your clients would really appreciate it!

                  "No horse with cart horse blood inside three crosses can stand an extreme test against horses bred for Epsom Downs and the Metairie Course..."
                  --Marguerite Bayliss, The Bolinvars
                  "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                  • #10
                    The only place I know of that tipping is expected is in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc). IMVHO, it is inappropriate to tip those listed in the initial post on this thread. Why in the world would I tip the barn manager? Do you tip the manager at your apartment complex? Or your office manager? Doesn't make sense.

                    Grooms are the responsibility of the trainer to pay and feed and lodge; clients should not be expected to tip them for work they're already being paid for. Yes, they should get extra money for doing extra work at shows, but again, that's the trainer's job, not the client's. And the braider? Jeez, most clients never even meet the braider, and a tip should be given in person, to distinguish it from regular payment. Still inappropriate, IMHO. This is a person who renders a service for which they're (well) paid; a tip is not customary.

                    Glad I do my own work, and manage my own staff; I couldn't afford to show otherwise.
                    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                    A life lived by example, done too soon.


                    • #11
                      As a braider, I in no way expect a tip. I base my charges on work+expenses+profit desired. I also don't charge extra at venues which are expensive to attend. The expensive venues are balanced by the places I have stayed for free with friends or places like Raleigh which is only an hour away and has fairly inexpensive camper hook-ups.

                      I have a couple of customers who tip regularly and a couple more who tip on occasion if their horses win something big. A new customer tipped me at the first show and I said, 'Your tip is appreciated but not required or expected.'

                      There is an expectation of tips for the grooms with which I do not agree. If someone goes out of their way, then by all means tip. If the trainer keeps prices exceedingly low, a tip would also be in order. I showed out af a barn that charged 15$ a day for day care. Holy cow! No one made money out of that so I tipped the groom. If I am charged 100 dollars a day in day care, I can't imagine being expected to tip on top of that.

                      I have never used day care in my own barn. I do, however, ask the grooms to feed my horse at night so I can get some sleep. I am not charged by the barn for this service, but I do tip the groom because he had to take the time.
                      You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


                      • #12
                        AM and ESG: do a search about tipping grooms and you'll find out why they ought to be tipped. There was a long thread 2-3 weeks ago about it. It's a service, for crying out loud. Why would you tip the person who brings you dinner or a beer and NOT tip the person who takes care of your HORSE??????

                        Leader of the petition to call "trolls" "garage gnomes"
                        Gold Chips


                        • #13
                          I only tip staff at restaurants. This trend toward tipping every single person, from the Dunkin Donuts counter to a groom has gotten way, way out of hand.

                          At the holidays, I am very generous with gifts to those who have provided great service- Newspaper delivery, mail delivery, barn staff, hair dresser, etc. Regarding barn staff, I also provide nice gifts on their birthday.

                          But being told that I have to tip regularly? No way. This is just an excuse for barn owners to pay their staff less with the expectation that their clients' tips together with wages will add up to a living wage.
                          It's 2016. Do you know where your old horse is?


                          • #14
                            Hey budman...I LOVE the way you put that!

                            Here I was struggling for words and wrote this HUGE long reply...and you summed it all up in a very SHORT and to the point sentence!

                            If you have an equine manager/groom that life can't keep going without.... TIP THEM!

                            Just an add since I read the post above mine.... Our equine manager makes a little under $200 a day, his "help" makes about $110 a day. They work from 4 am until about 5 PM, take care of 39 horses...and 17 boarders. They are provided with cell phones, each has an apartment, and their insurance...and I still tip them.

                            I feel they are paid well, and treated with the UTMOST respect. But I also feel they go above and beyond the call of service and should be recognized for it. (like boarders dropping of new stall gaurds they want hung, or new toys for their horse that have to be hung from the rafters, or calling at 4:45 to say they are stuck in traffic, could they please have their horse brought in)

                            Home of the real Luckyduck & West Winds Ricky Martin


                            • #15
                              I have always tipped the grooms. At our previous barn, although we were charged $$$ by the trainer for day care, only part of that money went to the grooms, as the trainer took a piece of everything. The grooms were over-worked and underpaid, and yet, were the caretakers of our loved horse. I am very generous. However, many other parents/kids at the same barn, did not tip at all...this knowing that the grooms were poorly compensated. I was disgusted that parents could drop $$$ at a three day A show, but not spare any money for the grooms. And often this from kids who did the least to take care their own animals.

                              Darden is right in the previous post, that the trainer should pay the appropriate wage to her staff. However, if you know that is not going to happen, a generous tip is the responsible thing to do.


                              • #16
                                Isn't tipping something one should do for EXTRAORDINARY service, save wait staff? Don't get me wrong -- I do tip generously for many services, but honestly, I'm getting tired of it. Just set the fee fairly for you to make what money you need and leave it at that. I dislike the implication of control/subordination implicit in a tipping-based wage relationship, and the American awkwardness with money is another issue.

                                Admit it -- wouldn't it be far easier to budget if fees were fees, period? If you want to present a gift or tip in recognition of truly special service (that groom who stayed up for 3 hours at night with your horse, the braider who got to you when your regular person cancelled, the barn manager who moved your horse 8x because of your whims) please do so. But maybe let's treat these professionals AS professionals and change the balance of power here.

                                In most of Europe, tipping is included in bills. Which, to my mind, means that staff is being paid a base salary plus commission by the house, based on what they "sell" at dinner, so to speak. Maybe those barns that feel tipping is necessary should change their bills to the same system? Something to consider...


                                • #17
                                  Let's think about this. Tips are in my mind for outstanding service. I don't have a groom but do give generous gifts at Christmas for the barn help. I don't tip the manager, I do give a present to my trainer. If I had outstanding service at a show or something I would tip, but normally at a show I feel lucky that the trainer seems to notice I'm even there with all her other students. That is not outstanding service and I don't tip for that.

                                  Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina!
                                  Sweet home


                                  • #18
                                    Hopeful Hunter - you took the EXACT words right out of my mouth.

                                    When I was showing, my trainer made a tremendous amount of money off of me - all which I considered well spent. However, I was only one of many clients he took to shows, & thus wasn't with me every friggin' second. I gifted him on his birthday & at Christmas - & very nicely, if I do say so. I did the same for the grooms/stable staff for our particular barn (it was a 4-barn/70-horse facility) + anyone else who did me favors over the course of the year.

                                    The only time I ever felt obliged to tip was when the help had obviously gone above & beyond the call of duty.

                                    "Teaching clients to tip"? I know you didn't mean it the way it sounds, but that irritates me for some reason - the same way a 20% "gratuity" is automatically added to my bill in a restaurant when service has been nothing to write home about. Sorry.

                                    My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a "fixer-upper".


                                    • #19
                                      Hopeful Hunter - You said it right!

                                      I too am getting a little annoying with the whole idea of tipping. Each time I stop in a new place or a business I regularly drop by I notice new cups, or signs asking, "please tip." I rarely tip because A) I'm a poor student who can't afford to tip everyone and B) I'm paying a lot of money for your service already, (I assume the price includes everything you offer/do), and there is no need to tip.. (Unless as Hopeful Hunter stated, an EXTRAORDINARY service was given.)

                                      There is WAY too much tipping happening. The hair-dresser wants a tip for trimming your hair(Their INTERAC machine even asks you of "would you like to tip?"), the coffee shop girls want a tip for making you a $4.00 coffee, and the other day I saw (on an info-mmercial) that a man, who provides trail rides through the moutains, has a sign on his ranch which states "If you enjoyed your ride, please tip the Guide." (These people pay an enormous fee for a 2 hour tourist trail ride through the mountains).

                                      Now you should tip barn managers? Grooms? Braiders? Sorry I have a problem with this. By the time I tip everyone that everyone suggests you should, well, I'll be in serious debt! In fact it's because of all these extra "expected" expenses that I do my own braiding, my OWN grooming, and my OWN chores. At least I can AFFORD to keep my horse. I also do these things for other people; and I'll brush and blanket a customers horse if they need to leave early... I get a thank you; no tips. I don't expect tips.

                                      All I see is, "There I did my work with a smile on my face, now give me more money for it." Set your prices to include your "tip" and be satisfied.

                                      If everyone demanded a tip horses, training and showing wouldn't be what they are supposed to be... Before you know it show manageament will want tips for changing your adding/removing classes for you, the gate person will want a tip for opening and closing the gate for you, the judge will want a tip for judging each person, and the jump crew will require a tip for every fence you knock down... And that man standing by the side will hold out his hand for a tip when you politely ask him where the washrooms are located....
                                      Quote for the week:

                                      \"Never under-estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.\" - Shirt Slogan


                                      • #20
                                        I too have a problem with all this tipping and the expected X-mas gift too.

                                        I boarded at a barn once with very limited turn-out facilities and found my horse spending many a day in his stall while others seemed to always be out. I learned through the grapevine that there was an underground tipping war going. Despite the fact that all boarders were paying for turn-out for x number of days per week for x number of dollars, I quickly learned that if you weren't tipping the groom on top of it, your horse wasn't getting out. Some people were tipping hundreds of dollars a month for that increased turn-out time, extra shavings, etc. Unfortunately, that wasn't in my budget and my horse sat in his stall. I learned that the manager at the barn was well aware of this and her attitude was, please don't tip and this won't happen. Unfortunately, that didn't work, and the people that could afford it continued to tip and their horses got preferential treatment. I ultimately left.

                                        At any rate, the board is a huge part of my monthly expenses (read, I'm not rolling in cash) and I don't exchange gifts at the holidays with anyone outside of my kids and husband. Mom and Dad and the sibs got cut-off years ago. However, I feel obligated to get a gift/tip for the barn staff, the kids' sitters and teachers, etc. because it is expected and I fear that my kids and horse will suffer because I'm perceived as some cheap-sake if I don't gift. Seems silly to be giving gifts to the barn manager, the groom, trainer, etc., but not my own parents. I haven't quite figured out how to deal with this, and please don't give me the "just make cookies and put them in a cute tin" line, because, in my experience that doesn't cut it.

                                        At any rate I agree with those that say, paying for a service and a thank you should be adequate, but I know my list of people needing a tip and a X-mas gift is growing each year. What is the solution? I haven't figured it out.

                                        In debt every January