Start A Tour Guide Service Business - Business Ideas

Start A Tour Guide Service Business - Business Ideas
Start A Tour Guide Service Business

Tour guides are members of the hospitality and travel industry. Professional tour guides ensure itineraries are met and that tourists are informed entertainingly. Tour guiding businesses lead guests on excursions that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

To start a tour guide business, explore your location and its potential for attracting tourists. Understand the regulatory environment and create a business plan detailing your services and how you intend to deliver value to the customers.

Starting a tour guide service business requires a great deal of effort, dedication, and most importantly passion.

If you're interested in how to sell tour guide services, or selling tour guide services online, you can use this page as a guide for everything you'll need to know.

Want to learn more? You can check out our full guide on how to start a tour guide service business ➜

Key Stats

market size
$540B
starting costs
$18K
gross margin
90%
time to build
270 days
growth
SEO
business model
E-Commerce
time investment
Full time

Startup Costs

Min Startup Costs Max Startup Costs
Employee & Freelancer Expenses $151 $252
Website Costs $223 $7,015
Business Formation Fees $600 $4,700
Vehicle Expenses $0 $10,000
Retail Business Expenses $1,250 $6,650
Advertising & Marketing Costs $75 $3,986
Software Expenses $162 $2,720
Office Space Expenses $0 $100
Specific Industry Expenses $0 $500
Total Startup Costs $2,461 $35,923

Successful Businesses

Business URL Rank
The Points Guy thepointsguy.com #6,741
Atlas Obscura atlasobscura.com #7,940
AFAR afar.com #30,688
ToursByLocals toursbylocals.com/ #32,650
Intrepid Travel intrepidtravel.com/ #41,461
Smartraveller smartraveller.gov.au #81,164
World Travel Guide worldtravelguide.net #92,810
Denver Colorado Vacations & Conventions denver.org #113,371
Rayna Tours raynatours.com #115,993
Forbes Travel Guide forbestravelguide.com #157,292
Adventure Travel Trade Association adventuretravel.biz #256,409

Pros & Cons

Pros Description
Little startup costs required The cost to start a tour guide service business costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 62 to 35,923.
Rewarding work Starting a tour guide service business can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.
High customer retention rates Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.
Pick & choose the clients you work with Tour Guide Service Businesses have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!
Control of workload With starting a tour guide service business, you have the unique ability to choose how little or how much you want to work. You also have the freedom to decide which projects you want to work on, and can turn down the ones that do not interest you.
Gain exposure and experience This career allows you to gain experience working for multiple different businesses - which will benefit your resume and also keep things interesting for you!
Cons Description
Motivation of employees If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
Longer Sales Process A tour guide service business can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.
Work can be inconsistent As a tour guide service business, the amount of work assigned to you and schedule tends to be more inconsistent, which may make your income less stable. It's important to set boundaries and budget accordingly based on the amount of work you plan to have.
Lack of benefits With a tour guide service business, you are typically self-employed and responsible for finding your own insurance, which can be quite costly and time-consuming.
Taxes As a tour guide service business, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.
No safety net Typically, as a tour guide service business, you do not receive a consistent pay-check and instead earn money based on your transactions each month. During the slow periods, you typically take away less since the job is based on commission. It's important to budget accordingly for the slow times.

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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