Expenses & Costs

There’s so much to think about when you’re planning the season for a travel or club sports team. No matter the sport, there are a lot of pieces that have to come together in order for each member of the team to have everything they need. Keeping a team functioning can be an expensive endeavor, and there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through the season and realizing you don’t have enough money to cover everything.

The best way to make sure your team doesn’t end up overspending is to have a solid budget before the season starts. When your budget is done right, it makes everything else go much more smoothly. You and the players’ parents know exactly what needs to be paid for, and how much it will cost, so that you don’t end up being caught off guard by unexpected expenses.

Creating a good budget is often harder than you think. Some costs can sneak up on you if you aren’t prepared, and a team’s needs can change from season to season. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your team’s budget to make the process as painless as possible.

Plan for Your Team’s Specific Needs

Some sports are more expensive than others, but even within the same sport, team budgets can vary quite a bit. For example, if your team has a paid coach, your budget will be considerably higher than a team with an unpaid parent coach. Other factors that impact your expenses are the number of tournaments you compete in and the distance you have to travel.

To give you an idea of how drastic the difference can be, here are two sample budgets for teams playing the same sport.

The first team’s budget is more than triple that of the second team due to having a paid coach and participating in lots of tournaments that require travel and overnight trips.

Our point is, you can’t just use a generic budget for your sport based off of another team’s expenses. In order to really plan for the season and make sure all your costs are covered, you need to create a custom budget that’s tailored to your team’s needs.

Coaching Fees. Coaching fees vary considerably. One rule of thumb is $150-$250 per player. For a 12 player team that’s $1,800 – $3,000. Having paid coaches also involves paying for their travel — transportation, lodging and meals. This varies based on the number of tournaments and distance traveled. Parents that coach usually pay for themselves since they’re already traveling for their child anyway.

Facility Fees . You’ll need somewhere to practice. Field rentals can be anywhere from $25-$150 per practice. This largely depends on your geography and type of field.

Uniforms. Uniforms can also vary considerably depending on the quality, level of customization and number of uniforms per player you’re looking for. Expect $75-$300 per player.

Sanction Registration & Team Insurance. To register your team with a governing body like USSSA or AAU is usually around $50. You can also usually get your team insured through these organizations for $100-$300.

Tournaments. Tournaments range anywhere from $200 – $1500 to enter. You’ll want to plan early and register as far in advance to get your spot.

Have a Backup Plan for Players Who Leave the Team

When a team member drops out in the middle of the season, it often creates tension between the coach or manager and the player’s parents. The team still needs the same amount of money to cover costs, but the parents may not want to continue paying for a team their child is no longer a part of. If they paid for everything up front, they may even request a refund.

We suggest building “insurance” into your budget so that you’re covered if you find yourself in this situation. At the end of the season, if no players have left the team and you collected more money than you ended up spending for team expenses, you can simply refund the remainder. If you’re open with parents about the extra expense, it’s much easier than having to ask for more money later or trying to make up the difference yourself.

Consider Sharing the Budget with Parents

Some parents may feel like team fees are too expensive because they aren’t aware of just how many expenses the team has. Making the budget available to parents helps them to understand exactly where their money is going and that every dollar they’re paying is necessary. It shows them that you’re organized and that you’ve thought through everything that needs to happen in order to make the team successful.

You may think that sharing your budget with parents will just open the floodgates to tons of questions and phone calls, but often, it does just the opposite. If each item in your budget is clear and easy to understand, parents won’t need to ask questions about fees because the budget explains it all. If your team has a website, you can even publish your budget there to make it easier for them to access.

Automate Collections with Snap! Spend to Keep Things Simple

Finalizing your budget is just the beginning—now you have to actually collect the money from parents, and that can be a stressful task. With high team fees, most parents will want to pay you over time. You should determine how much you need to collect up front and each month and set a clear payment plan for parents.

This presents another hurdle, staying organized and getting paid on time. Let us do all the work for you by sending out automatic payment reminders, allowing parents to pay online, and keeping track of who has and hasn’t paid. Once you input all the team fees for the season, you can forget about the money and focus on the kids.

The Bottom Line

Creating a budget is never going to be the most exciting part of coaching or managing a team, but it doesn’t have to be a headache, either. Planning ahead saves you a ton of trouble down the line, and prevents the stress of having to ask parents for more money halfway through the season.

Coaches, what are your biggest challenges in creating a team budget? What do you think about sharing your budget with parents? We’d love to hear your suggestions and experiences!

About Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Snap! Spend’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.

Managing money for a youth sports team can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. There’s a lot to keep track of, and you want to make sure that you are doing things the right way. Because of that, we’ve put together a list of tips for managing money specifically for youth sports organizations.

Elect a Team Treasurer

One of the first steps for your youth sports team to take to effectively manage its money is to elect a treasurer to handle the financial responsibilities of the team. Ideally, this will be someone other than the coach. Many of the tips listed in this post, such as building a budget, opening a bank account and building a payment plan, will be the responsibility of the treasurer. For more info on a treasurer’s responsibilities, check out our full blog post.

Open a Separate Bank Account and Don’t Commingle Funds

Youth sports teams need a bank account in order to operate effectively. These bank accounts should not be a personal bank account, and should instead be set up in the team’s name. Team money should not be commingled with any of the coaches’ or officers’ personal bank accounts as this could result in undesirable legal or tax implications. Having a separate bank account sets your team up for successful money management, and allows you to perform necessary functions like collecting checks in the team’s name and paying out expenses from the team’s account.

Build a budget

Building a budget is one of the first orders of business for team planning as it determines how much each player will pay. It’s important for setting expectations for families and getting financial commitments from families.. We’ve put together a few tips to help you create an effective budget..

  1. Overestimate expenses — things like travel, hotels, gas aren’t always exactly predictable ahead of time. Overestimate things because it’s always easier to give money back than it is asking for more.
  2. Try to budget for as many expenses as you can foresee or put placeholders for the expected number of tournaments/travel. Also consider whether families will pay for travel on their own or if the team will pay.
  3. Consider scholarships and how they will affect your team budget. If one player is getting a scholarship, you will need to collect more from other players to make up for this. Having one player on a partial scholarship is very common.
  4. Update the budget as expenses are incurred. Make it a part of your routine, and don’t fall behind!
  5. Be transparent: Share the budget with families regularly. There’s nothing worse than rumors about the misuse of funds. Share the team bank balance as well. Take steps to promote the attitude that it’s “our money.”
  6. Have the goal of giving money back at the end of the season.

Building a budget from scratch? Consider using our free team budgeting template.

Consider fundraising options

Fundraising can help bring down the costs that parents will need to contribute to the team. If doing fundraising, make sure to closely track all of the money that your team raises. If tracking fundraising on a per player basis, still have each player commit to making monthly payments. The fundraising revenue they generate will then lower the amount of future unpaid payments owed. Interested in a platform to help your team fundraise? We recommend checking out Snap! Raise!

Build a payment plan

Creating a payment plan is a great way to collect payments throughout the season, rather than have all of the money due at the beginning of the season. However, this does mean that you need to be especially thoughtful in how you set up and follow through on this payment plan, because you don’t want to run out of funds halfway through the season.

We recommend requiring a deposit or commitment fee up front to join the team along with creating a financial commitment agreement for parents to sign. This helps filter out players that aren’t serious or families that aren’t reliable. We also recommend frontloading payments to help mitigate missed/late payments throughout the season.

When creating the payment plan, take the budget and divide by the number of players, minus one or two. This helps ensure you have enough money even if you don’t fill out the team or a player drops during the season. Again, have the goal of giving money back at the end of the season, rather than having to go hat-in-hand to parents asking them to pay more.

We also recommend automating payments and reminders. This helps teams collect payments on time, and eliminate time spent chasing checks and sending payment reminders.

Open a Digital Bank Account with Groundwork

Here at Groundwork, we’re dedicated to making managing your club’s money easy, starting with opening a bank account. Groundwork’s digital banking platform gives you an online bank account with built in online payments to collect dues and budgeting tools to track spending. It’s the easiest way to manage your club’s money.