Well, this is for next year, but I am hoping to trade a spot in next year's trip for one on a 2011 trip this summer.
After seeing how this works I definitely would not go commercial except as an employee. It is just too expensive. If you have the permit, the boatmen will flock to your door. The hard part is the logistics of gear and food for 3 weeks. And ensuring that the cost is equitable, etc., etc., that you keep track of the funds properly. I am taking a class in how to do that in May, but also have a friend to help me with it.
You can also hire an outfitter to help you with whatever gear you don't have, and do your catering for you. There are a lot of ways to do it. Anyway, I'm told that for a 30 day trip from Lee's Ferry to Pearce Ferry will cost around $800 to $1000 per person, or thereabouts. The actual permit goes for 21 days, taking out at Diamond Creek, but then we have the option to extend it to Pearce Ferry.
Another thing I am doing is focusing on taking classes, joining clubs, networking, and also looking for a summer job as a driver for a river company. I actually will be on the part-time driver list for one company, it looks like--they said they will send me my schedule in a couple of weeks. Or, I might go to Colorado after taking the river guide class, and see about getting on the Arkansas River as a driver/swamper/guide, or whatever.
Although it may be easier living in Flag to find out about these things, it is still a lot of work and time to get all the info, take the classes, apply for the jobs, meet people, etc.
One good source is GCPBA, Grand Canyon Private Boaters Association. There is a Tucson club that does a lot of easy rivers: Southern Arizona Paddlers' Club.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.