Do you know where to fish for trout in your local streams? Can you expertly pick the best bars for a dirty martini? Are you cognizant of local scenic byways? Finally, are you open to sharing your knowledge of these areas and/or skills with others?

If yes, then you can make $100/hour (or more) as a local tour guide.

Local tour guides sign up to online sites that cater to travelers and advertise custom tours. Should interest in a specific tour arise, the associated guide is contacted and offered the gig. Once completed, pay is deposited in the tour guide’s bank or Paypal account, minus the tour website’s fee.

As a local tour guide, you are free to accept or reject any offered gig. So, if you have time to do the gig, great. If you don’t, then you can reject the offer and still work with the site on future gigs.

Here are four sites where you can sign up to be a local tour guide:

1. Rent a Local Friend

This company provides you with a personal web page and marketing help in exchange for signing up and paying $100/year to use the site. You can then populate your page with all kinds of customized tours and set your own rates.

Once you receive a request from a client, you can reject or accept it. If you accept the request, the client must pay 30% of your fee to the site. The rest of the fee is collected by you at the end of the tour.

Rent a Local Friend

2. ToursByLocals

This company does not charge you an upfront fee to join; they also provide you with free training and $3 million in liability insurance.

You will need to share 20% of your fee with them should you line up and complete a successful gig. Also, the company will interview you via phone before allowing you to join their site and create your services page.


3. Shioube

This international company has 5,000+ tour guides in over 3,000 cities. You can create 3 ads for your tour services for free. You can also offer different tour service packages, including the following:

  • Emailed guidelines and tips (no physical tour)
  • A custom client-focused itinerary that includes specific times/places.
  • A full tour with personal instruction and physical locations

Currently, this company is working out sponsorship plans with corporations to avoid charging its tour guides any fees. Thus, at least for right now, the service is free to use.


4. Vayable

When you join this site as a Vayable Insider, you can create all sorts of experiences given your interests and fields of expertise. For example, if you are a musician, you might provide a city tour that includes places where famous jazz players have performed. If you are an architect, you might create a tour that focuses on different architectural forms in your town.

Should someone take you up on one of your tours, Vayable notifies you. At that point, you can accept or reject the gig. Once your tour is completed, Vayable transfers the fee to your bank or other account and takes a 15% cut.


How to earn $100/hour (or more) as a local tour guide

How can you make top dollar for providing local area tours?

Teach a new skill.

Consider what kind of information that visitors to your town or city would be happy to learn and which isn’t readily available.

For example, if you live by a body of water, you could create a tour that teaches visitors where to fish for a certain type of fish. If you live by a state park or preserve, you might offer tours that teach people how to spot and pick edible wild mushrooms. If you’re into archery, offer several hours of bow and arrow instruction at local ranges.

Focus on your hobbies.

Instead of imitating other tour companies, focus on your own hobbies and pursuits. If you’re an avid kayaker, create a tour that takes people from point A to B in kayaks across a lake or stream. If you like camping, create a ready-made experience for potential area campers that includes a tent, sleeping bags, and anything else that they would need to take a 3-4 day camping trip.

Generate an itinerary.

You’ll see far more interest in your tour if you provide potential clients with an itinerary of planned stops, lessons and/or demonstrations. You might also provide different itinerary options, with portions that swap out for others in case the client wishes to create his own customized experience.

Team up with area businesses.

It may also be a good idea to team up with some local businesses, where you might grab a discount or incentive in exchange for bringing in tourists. These businesses can also advertise your tours to their own clients, thus expanding your reach.

Price accordingly.

If you offer a tour that is a good value for the tourist and takes her places where traditional tours don’t go, you can easily charge $200 for 2 hours. Add in a few incentives like a guide book or complimentary appetizers and drinks, and you can charge even more.

When it comes to tours, you’re better off creating a quality tour that costs more money than a “value priced” one that just about anyone can complete on his own. Tourists have dispensable income and are looking more for an incredible experience that they can brag about back home than for a way to save money. So, create some amazing experiences and don’t be afraid to charge premium prices.

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