Unlike some in the world of guiding, I try to fairly transparent about pricing.
For my "off-the-shelf" tours, which are in my repertoire, my fees are based on the time (min. 2.5 hours, except for Brooklyn 101, which really needs at least 3 hours) , plus the number of people. They're not the highest fees, but they're not the lowest--I think they're fair.
Custom tours require a surcharge. For a relatively simple tour--like mapping out the turns for a last-minute driving tour--I don't add much of a surcharge. (Why don't I simply wing it? Because my goal is to make the best use of visitors' time.)
But complicated tours require more time. That's why I can't offer a price quote until I know the complexity of the route: for example, family reunion tours often involve several disparate addresses--homes, schools, etc.--of importance.
I need to learn about those places and, yes, I need to visit them, ideally on the same day/time of the week as the tour itself. (That said, if I know the location well already, maybe I don't need to visit.)
And, guess what, people's plans change regarding locations of importance, restaurants, or final destination--all of which is understandable, but can require more time from me. Or sometimes I realize that I need to put in more time than initially anticipated to do a solid job.
Bottom line: in some cases, I've begun offering fee estimates in a range, with a minimum and a maximum. In other words, I'd like to charge the minimum, but might have to charge the maximum. That, I think, is a fairer process, and avoids the incentive to cut corners if/when more time is needed.
Touring Brooklyn Blog
Observations and ephemera related to my tours and Brooklyn. Comments and questions are welcome--and moderated.