Unlike the restaurant industry, the rules for tipping a skydiving instructor are vague. Should you tip, and if so, how much and at what moment in time? Here’s the skinny:
Tipping is appreciated, but not expected (*but it’s really appreciated).
Of course, while it’s really appreciated, a gratuity has to be earned. Similar to the restaurant industry, there are many servers who are able to deliver food to your table, but how they do it is what affects the entire experience. The minimum job requirement of the tandem instructor is to safely return you to earth, but how they go about doing it will be the difference between a “good” and “life-changing” experience. If your instructor exceeded your expectations and gave you that life-changing experience, then please, by all means, leave them a gratuity.
Our skydiving instructors are well-compensated for what they do, but if we’re being truthful, there are many intangibles they are not compensated for and that begins with their personality. The aim of a great tandem instructor is not to just get you to earth safely, but to help calm your nerves and to ensure you feel safe and confident when it’s time to leave the airplane. This may sound simple, but you could say a great tandem instructor is part psychologist and counselor.
The moment a tandem instructor meets their student, the instructor makes a quick evaluation to see how their guests feel and as such will go about the work of establishing a connection of trust. This comes in the form of building a rapport through humor and confidence. Again, this doesn’t sound like much, but an instructor will often do 10-12 jumps per day and it’s both physically and mentally demanding to go through the physical rigors of carrying a 75lb pack and being emotionally supportive to so many people. The great instructors make this look easy, but please know, it’s not – it’s exhausting!
Usually, tipping ranges from $20 to $100. You won’t be frowned upon if you leave $20 as everyone truly is grateful to receive anything at all. If you don’t have the resources to leave a tip, the next best thing is to leave a positive Google Review naming your instructor. The instructor will certainly feel good about it and honestly, Google Reviews is word of mouth at scale – it will help our business and as a result the instructors.
Should you elect to leave a gratuity, of course, it should be after the jump. Unfortunately, there is a friction point here. It’s likely your wallet is locked away in your car and by the time you get de-geared, your instructor is likely on to their next jump. This delay in time is the primary reason instructors don’t get tipped even if their students want to because of the inability to personally give it to the instructor. Leaving a gratuity for your instructor in the office will get to the instructor and they will appreciate it just the same.
If your skydive wasn’t what you’d hoped, the greatest tip you can leave would be letting us know! Our owner Tim Allen started WNY Skydiving because of his love for skydiving and his desire to share it with others. Skydiving changed Tim’s life and his goal is to help change the lives of others who are looking to break through their comfort zones. If you’re not happy, please let us know directly!
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