Fees and guidance for private tours in Brooklyn
Tour rates: base price for up to 2.5 hours
These fees cover my services, not transportation or food. Most tours are 2.5 hours, but can be extended.
Basic rates for private versions of my listed tours, which rely on walking (and perhaps a little public transit):
Additional time for walking tours that last more than 2.5 hours is pro-rated, up to a 5-hour total:
If a tour goes longer than 5 hours (and some do), that additional time gets a further discount
My rates are not inexpensive, but they are competitive: For a 3-hour tour for 4 people, my fee is $210. Other companies charge $250 or $300, or even more.
If you want a public tour, with a larger group and a smaller per person charge, I lead them only rarely. (See Schedule.) Other tour guides/companies offer such public tours regularly.
Tour deposit / cancellation / payment
I ask for a small deposit (minimum $45 or $50) to hold a tour date. The deposit is nonrefundable unless I cancel (which I've never done) or bad weather (moderate-to-severe rain/snow).
Deposits for some custom tours may be nonrefundable even in case of bad weather (given the time I must put in), but can be applied to another date.
For a deposit, to pay via credit card, I invoice US-based clients via Square, and international clients via PayPal. With lead time, checks are OK too. I also accept Venmo.
The remainder of the payment is payable at the end of the tour either in cash or using a credit card via Square (international clients OK).
What about tips?
I price my tours fairly and am my own employee, so tips are neither solicited nor expected. Then again, they're appreciated, and common in the tourism business.
Some people, especially from countries where tipping is uncommon, don't tip. That's OK. (Please do tip server and drivers, though.) Some clients treat me to a snack/lunch, write a review, and/or recommend me to their friends. (Some also tip.) I especially appreciate the many referrals and repeat visitors I get.
I can modify any listed tour for your interests, and I can also develop custom tours. Just ask.
For those new to Brooklyn, I recommend Brooklyn 101 or Brooklyn 202 (which combines Brooklyn 101 with parts of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill). Others might want to start in Williamsburg. If inspired, you're welcome to add another leg to the tour that day, assuming I'm still free.
Please see the FAQ for some unusual custom tours I've given.
I've led many tours (2 hours is OK) for college/university classes and groups, which often exceed 12 people. I sometimes can be flexible on pricing.
I'm also happy to shape the content of a tour to meet your curriculum needs: in other words, more discussion of history, urban planning, or other issues.
Please contact me to discuss. I always like looking at a syllabus and trying to understand how my tour might complement it.
For vehicle tours, my fee for small groups, assuming no extensive pre-planning, is similar to the rates above. The cost for large groups depends on the size of the group, the amount of time (2 hours is OK), and the nature of the tour.
Vehicle tours can combine several neighborhoods, depending on the the number of stops and how much we walk. You can provide a vehicle, but if you hire one, the cost is extra, of course, and can be significant.
Custom tours/special tours
Some tours, including family reunion/return-to-Brooklyn tours, require more preparation, such as custom research, extensive pre-planning, and neighborhood scouting.
Because of that requirement, I often request a modest tour planning surcharge (usually $40-$120) for that time. The surcharge is nonrefundable, even if weather cancels the tour (though I hope you'll reschedule!).
Additional service & fee
Typically I meet groups in the neighborhood where the tour starts. However, I can meet you at your hotel/location and accompany you to the start of the tour for an additional fee, usually $15 to $40, depending on distance. I can also accompany you on a trip back to your hotel, again with the fee depending on distance.
Please note: I don't have a car. I would meet you and then we'd take public transit or a taxi. Same for returning.