Start your own walking tour business

  • How to Open this Business: Guide
  • TOP-7 KPI Metrics
  • Startup Costs List
  • How To Increase Business Profitability?
  • How to Sale More?
  • How to Value this Business?


Having the opportunity to learn about unfamiliar places and cultures is a life-changing and life-building experience for many. That being said, the travel industry as a whole has seen a tremendous expansion in the number of people wanting to explore and experience the world. In fact, the market size of walking tour providers and guides is expected to be valued at over 1 million globally in 2020 and is expected to expand significantly in the following years.

For many suppliers and business owners, it can be difficult to balance their financial costs, especially when starting a new business. Accurate cost management is the fundamental basis of success in any business, no matter how big or small and when it comes to starting, running and running a walking tour business there are a number of financial costs that need to be taken into account. in consideration.

Operating Expenses

When running a walking business, it is essential to consider the necessary operating expenses. These expenses focus on necessary costs related to day-to-day operations and may include:

  • Guide fees
  • Marketing costs
  • Location hiring fees
  • Vehicle rental costs
  • Office offers
  • Financial expenses
  • Assurance
  • Tax/legal fees
  • Maintenance / repair costs

Guide fees

The cost of a guide for a walking tour is the biggest expense for any tour company. The guides not only show the landscape and explain the history of the area. They also put on a range of activities that contribute to the safety and enjoyment of their customers. This includes assessing risk, advising on appropriate clothing, recommending places to visit, providing customer service and acting as a host to ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience.

According to the National Service Industry Survey (NSIS) 2019, the average hourly rate for tour guides was .50. The guides’ full-time annual salary was estimated at ,030. This was on a level with the previous year, with an average number of average hours of 2510 per year, slightly up on the previous year.

The NSIS also revealed that professional tour guides, depending on their experience, qualifications and skills, generally earned between and per hour in 2019. This increased slightly from 2018 and 2017 when the rate was estimated. between and per hour. Nevertheless, this rate varies considerably depending on the size of the market, the type of customers served and the nature of the tour.

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For urban and city tours, guides typically charged to per hour, while for guided hikes and specialty tours the rate could be as high as and per hour. The value proposition of a guided tour also influenced customer rates and determined how much guides would charge. For example, if personalized attention or premium services were offered, customers were willing to pay a premium for those services.

Meanwhile, for multi-day visits, the rate was estimated at 0 to 0 per day, or between and 5 per hour. Ultimately, tour guides determined their own rates and charged based on the services they offered and the level of experience they had.

Marketing costs

When you’re running a walking tour business, marketing is an essential part of success. In 2019, marketing costs totaled 3.56 billion in the United States . Of this amount, 28% went to digital, while 39% was used by traditional sources such as television, billboard and radio, among others. It’s essential to spend some of your operating budget on marketing, however, it’s important to make sure you budget appropriately.

When planning a marketing budget, it’s important to consider how many different marketing activities you want to pursue. Some business owners choose to focus on one or two activities, such as email marketing or social media campaigns. But others will opt for more comprehensive campaigns with multiple platforms. It all depends on your business and the goals you want to achieve.

Some examples of activities for a complete marketing campaign include:

  • Paid Search Advertising
  • SEO campaigns on search engines
  • Social media campaigns like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Video content campaigns
  • Content Marketing

These are just a few of the many marketing activities you could pursue. It’s important to consider how much you can realistically afford to spend on each activity, as well as which activities will yield the most return on investment. Once the budget is set, you need to review it regularly to make sure you’re staying on track.

Finally, it is important to track your results for each marketing activity. This way, you can determine which activities provide the best returns and which areas need to be adjusted to improve results.

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Location hiring fees

For a walking guide walking business, venue rental costs can play a significant role in overall operating expenses. The exact cost of venue rental fees can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including location, size, duration, and amenities included in the package. In 2019, the average venue rental fee in the United States was approximately ,307 .

The cost of venue rental fees can vary significantly from state to state. For example, location hiring fees in California average about ,802 , while location hiring fees in New York average about ,581. On the other hand, venue rental costs in Louisiana average ,399 .

Venue rental fees may also vary depending on the type of space rented. For example, historical sites may be more expensive than traditional venues, and rental fees at event centers may be more expensive than rental fees at recreational venues. Additionally, rental fees for indoor venues may be higher due to additional amenities such as heating and cooling systems and access to electricity.

The season in which a rental takes place can also play a role in the cost of venue rental fees. During popular months (e.g. December, June) venue rental fees may be up to 20% compared to months outside of these popular windows. Additionally, there may be minimal rental fees associated with any location.

When booking a venue for a guide, it is important to consider any associated venue rental fees. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when budgeting for venue rental costs:

  • Location: Where the venue is located can have a major impact on the cost of venue rental fees.
  • Duration: The duration of the rental can affect the overall costs associated with renting the venue.
  • Amenities: Amenities such as bathrooms and access to electricity should be considered when booking a place for a guide.
  • Season: Popular months may have a higher cost than other times of the year.
  • Minimum Fees: There may be minimum rental fees associated with any location.

Vehicle rental costs

Operating walking tours is a financial business, especially when it comes to hiring vehicles. This is the most expensive part of running a walking tour business, with their costs growing year after year. According to the 2019 survey, the average cost of hiring a nine-seater pickup truck for a company ranged from 0 to ,000 , depending on the make and model of the pickup truck. This same survey showed that there was an increase of 6.7% from the previous year.

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In addition to the cost of hiring a van, there are a number of other costs associated with vehicle rental. This includes fuel costs, as well as insurance costs. Fuel prices have increased dramatically over the past few years and can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of an outing. Insurance premiums should also be considered and the cost will depend on the type and age of the vehicle. It is important to consider all of these costs when planning a visit and to plan for potential increases in fuel and insurance costs.

When looking for a vehicle to hire for a walking tour, there are several important factors to consider. It is important to consider seating capacity, cargo capacity as well as fuel efficiency. The size of the vehicle will also determine the total rental cost. Small vehicles are generally less expensive, but may sacrifice cargo capacity, while larger vehicles will likely offer more passenger and cargo space but may be more expensive. The make and model of the vehicle will also play a role in its cost.

In summary, vehicle rental is an essential but expensive part of running a walking tour business. There are a range of costs associated with vehicle hire and these should be considered when planning a visit. Taking the time to consider the make and model of the vehicle, as well as its seating and fuel capacity, can help ensure that the right vehicle is chosen and the most cost effective option is selected.

Office offers

Running a walking tours business requires having the right infrastructure in place. Business owners should consider the cost of office overhead, which includes rent, utilities, office equipment, communication, and other expenses. The latest statistical information in USD suggests that the average overhead costs are as follows.

  • Rent and property taxes: – 0
  • Utilities: – 0
  • Office supplies: – 0
  • Communication:
  • Insurance:
  • Maintenance / cleaning:

The key to managing office overhead is to review and track expenses. This helps ensure that expenses are under budget and makes it easier to identify areas that need improvement. By monitoring overhead costs, business owners can ensure that they are spending the right amounts in the right places.

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Although office overhead can be costly, it is important to business success. Investing in the right infrastructure can help create a better customer experience and help businesses generate more revenue for future investments.

Financial expenses

In the business of Walking Guide Tours, financing costs refer to all costs related to the acquisition and management of the financial resources of the company. According to the latest survey by Statista, the financial costs of tour guide businesses reached 8 billion USD in the United States in 2020. In comparison, the financial costs for tour guide businesses in Europe and Latin America increased to 9.2 billion USD in the same year.

Transaction costs are common financial costs associated with the walking activities of walking guides. These levy expenses relate to the purchase, sale and development of touring business assets. Examples include brokerage fees, mergers, acquisitions, and various other types of loan origination fees. Many transaction costs are tax deductible.

The primary source of funding for a walking tours business comes in the form of debt and equity. Debt financing usually involves the issuance of bonds or the coercion of a loan, while equity financing usually involves shareholders, investments from venture capitalists and angel investors. Other forms of funding include grants and government grants.

Assessing a business’s liquidity is one of the most important finance-related tasks when running a tour guide business. Being able to generate money quickly and efficiently can mean the difference between success and failure. It is important for companies to explore different sources of funding for liquidity purposes, such as factoring, invoice discounting, venture capital investments, bank loans and grants.

In times of economic uncertainty, managing a walking tour guide can be difficult. Businesses should seek financing from reliable long-term sources, as opposed to short-term quick fixes such as personal loans. This will help ensure sufficient liquidity and liquidity in the face of market volatility.

Businesses also need to closely measure cash flow, short- and long-term cash needs, and leverage technology solutions wherever possible. This will help ensure that financing costs remain reasonable and the overall financial health of the business is maintained.


Although many people forget, insurance is an important part of running a successful walking tour business. Every business should have the right insurance policy in place to protect against potential risks, such as property damage, liability and loss of assets. However, having the right coverage and balancing the cost with the need is essential.

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Statistics from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2018 showed that the average amount spent on commercial property insurance in the United States was ,747 per business, and the average amount spent on liability insurance was ,294.

The premium for a walk-in-walk tours business depends on many factors, such as the number of people running the business, its size, the number of tours offered, and the duration of the tours. Other variables that impact cost are the type of insurance (general liability, professional liability, etc.), coverage limits, and levels of protection needed. Some companies may be advised to withdraw additional insurance policies, such as malpractice insurance for those offering medical services or travel insurance for those offering international tours.

It is important for a business to balance its insurance costs with the necessary coverage. It can be cost effective to carry insurance, but it is always important to ensure that the correct policies are in place and that reasonable limits, deductibles and premiums have been taken into account.

Tax/legal fees

When considering operating costs associated with a walking tour business, expenses related to taxes and legal fees are often overlooked. In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) generally requires various taxes to be paid depending on individual homeowner situations. The IRS generally requires any business to pay employment taxes (federal and state where applicable) and specific self-employed taxes. Additionally, depending on individual states, there may also be taxes for vacation rental, lodging, and tourist services that must be paid.

Different types of legal fees may also need to be considered. Legal fees can be quite significant and include those associated with establishing a business entity, consulting fees, and licensing fees. Therefore, it is best practice to consult a reputable tax professional and attorney to properly tell oneself about the tax and legal requirements when starting a business.

Latest statistical information

According to Statista, the average US tax/legal expenditure is ,761 USD, with an increase over the years. This amount is expected to increase over the next few years accordingly.

Taxes should be considered when starting or maintaining a walking guide tour business. As such, it is important for business owners to explore available resources regarding tax and legal requirements when establishing and running their business.

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Maintenance / repair costs

Given the unpredictable nature of walking guide tour activity, maintenance and repair costs should also be considered. Statistics show that they cost walking businesses in the United States an average of .3 billion annually in 2018, up from .4 billion the year before. This reflects an increase in the overall cost of running a walking business each year.

Meeting these costs is important to keep the business and customers safe. Whether updating tour equipment or fixing faults on the way, they guide customers, maintenance and repair costs are a necessary hereditary activity of the walking business.

It is strongly recommended that budgeting for maintenance and repair costs be an ongoing priority and the company maintains detailed records of all costs incurred. Additionally, it is advisable to build an emergency fund into the budget to cover unexpected costs that may arise.

Individual costs vary widely and will depend on the size of the operation and the types of rides offered. However, some general steps you can take to reduce costs, such as:

  • Regular tour gear updates such as backpacks, sunglasses, and shoes
  • Continuous cleaning of equipment to ensure longevity
  • Conduct safety assessments of paths used for tours
  • Regular tour route inspections for necessary maintenance or repairs

By taking the time to plan ahead and build maintenance and repair costs into your budget, you can keep your operational costs in check and ensure that your walking guide tour activity runs efficiently.


Running a successful walking tour business is no small feat. There are a variety of overhead costs to consider, such as insurance, tax/legal expenses, and maintenance/repairs that need to be managed effectively in order to remain profitable. With the walking tour provider market estimated at over 0 million in 2025, there’s never been a better time to enter the industry and start your own business.

However, running a walking business is a serious business. Thorough cost management and an accurate understanding of the associated financial expenditures are key to running the business successfully. With a good business plan, careful management of financial costs, and the right marketing strategy, anyone can make an impactful contribution to this exciting and vast industry.