Team Fees & Budgets

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.

Dealing with refunds is a common friction point between sports teams and parents. Parents want them and teams don’t want to give them. At Groundwork, we see these situations from both sides since we help parents pay and teams collect. Each side has its own perspective, and they both make sense.

The parents’ point of view is understandable. If a player leaves the team mid-season, parents want to be refunded the team fees they’ve paid for the remainder of the season. They feel like they’re being asked to pay for something they’re no longer getting.

But the team’s perspective is also understandable and is often overlooked by people who have never managed a team and don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. Running a travel or club sports team isn’t just a lot of work, it can be a complicated and expensive operation.

Teams have to budget and pay for tournaments, practice facilities, gear, travel, coaching stipends, insurance, and administration costs (just to name a few). If a player drops from the team, none of these costs change. The team still has to pay the same amount, but their revenue drops by 1/12th.

So, the money that you’re paying as a parent isn’t just for your child, it’s for the team as a whole to be able to function. In order for teams to exist, they require a no refund policy.

But what about teams that collect monthly to cover costs throughout the season rather than charging for everything up front? If a player leaves the team, most parents won’t want to keep making the monthly payments since their child is no longer playing, so how do you plan for this situation so that your team doesn’t end up going over budget?

We suggest you build in a buffer when you budget for your season as “insurance” for a player who drops from the team. It can help prevent your team from collecting less than you need to pay for everything, and it lets team managers avoid those awkward conversations with parents. If there’s extra left over at the end of the season, you can distribute it to parents or bank it for next season.

We’d love to hear from both team organizers and parents on this situation. What are your thoughts on how to make it work for everyone?

What Is A Team Treasurer?

The team treasurer plays an important role in any youth sports organization.

Usually a parent volunteer, the treasurer helps the team function by handling the financial side of the game. The team treasurer should be prepared to spend 3-7 hours per week on work related to the role.  Get more details in our Team Treasurer Manual.

What Does A Team Treasurer Do?

BEFORE THE SEASON

Create A Budget

Creating a budget is a crucial first step for a team treasurer. There’s a lot of expenses over the course of a season, and the better a team can plan for them, the more prepared they will be to pay them when the time comes. By creating a good budget before the season starts, teams can set player fees to the right amount and avoid asking for more money halfway through the season.

Some things to make sure you include in your budget are team fees, coaching fees, facility fees, uniforms, equipment  and the cost of the tournaments the team will attend. For more team budget tips, check out our blog post on what you should consider when budgeting for a travel/club sports team.

Once you have a budget of what the team expenses will be, you can break them down into payments for each player. Sharing the budget with players’ parents to show where the fees are going is a good way to add accountability and transparency to the process.

Need help budgeting? At the end of this blog post, you’ll have a chance to download our free, customizable team budget tool!

Open A Team Bank Account

The finances of the team should be handled through a team bank account, not a personal one. A team bank account provides a hub for the team to handle payments, deposits, and checks. If your team is part of a larger club organization, they may already have a bank account where you can create a sub-account for your team.

For example, The Pleasanton Rage, a youth soccer club in California, has a relationship with a bank in the area that offers them free team checking accounts and free checks.

If you want more information on opening a team bank account, check out our recent blog post: How To Set Up a Bank Account For A Youth Sports Team.

DURING THE SEASON

Collect Money

During the season, it’s the treasurer’s job to collect money owed to the team and deposit it in the team bank account. This is primarily the process of collecting team fees from parents, but also includes money from fundraisers and sponsorships.

Payment collection varies from team to team, as some teams stick to cash and checks as methods of payment, while others use Paypal or an online tool. Here at Snap! Spend, we created a system to streamline the payment collection process for youth sports teams and clubs. It gives parents an easy way to pay online, making the process easier on both parents and team treasurers.

Interested in Snap! Spend? Head over to our full website to learn more and/or schedule a demo.

Pay Out and Track Expenses

Another major part of a treasurer’s role is to pay out money for team expenses. When it’s time to pay for next month’s tournament, or the team needs a new bucket of baseballs, it’s the treasurer’s job to pay out the money from the team account.

It’s also the job of the treasurer to track and record each of these expenses as they occur. You can compare the log of actual expenses to the estimated figures in the budget created before the season. This will show you whether the team is over- or under-budget in different areas.

For example, the team may be spending slightly less on tournaments than expected, but slightly more than expected on equipment and practices. This is information that you can relay to coaches and parents.

Communicate Finances With Team and Parents

As mentioned in the section above, communicating what’s happening with the team’s finances is important for the team to stay on budget throughout the season. Reports are a great way to keep everyone on the same page.

The structure of your organization will have some impact on who you send reports to and how often. Many larger-sized clubs have a Director of Finance that a treasurer should have regular communication with. In smaller clubs, the head coach may want to receive reports on an ongoing basis.

It’s important to also keep parents up-to-date with their payments. Sending reminders for upcoming payment dates, letting parents know what they have paid and what they owe, and communicating any upcoming potential expenses are all tasks that a team treasurer should do on an ongoing basis throughout the season.

Deal With Unexpected Issues That Arise

There are situations that arise during the season which will involve team finances. A player gets injured, a parent doesn’t want to pay fees, someone quits the team – How do you deal with that?

While you can’t predict what the exact situation will be, you can build a buffer into the budget at the beginning of the season to account for these situations. This ensures you are prepared for a situation during the season that could have an impact on the team’s finances. If the team doesn’t end up needing this extra money, it can always be refunded to parents at the end of the season.

These situations are usually taken on a case-by-case basis, but with the buffer in place, there’s room for more flexibility in coming to a fair agreement between teams and parents.

AFTER THE SEASON

Handle Remaining Money in Team Account

At the end of the season, it is the treasurer’s responsibility to execute whatever end-of-season plan the team has for leftover money. Some teams refund the money evenly to parents, while others prefer to roll it over to the next season.

Some teams choose to have a team banquet or buy a gift for the coaches after the season ends. Coordinating this effort with parents is another task that a team treasurer may be asked to do.

Create a Final Report

Creating a final report is the final step for the team treasurer. The report should show how much money came in and how the money was spent over the course of the season.

In addition to being transparent with the team’s financials, the final report will serve as a great resource for creating a budget for the following season.

Open A Digital Bank Account with Snap! Spend

Here at Snap! Spend, our digital bank account has everything you need to manage your team or club finances. Snap! Spend helps you budget for expenses, track player dues, accept online payments and track spending all integrated with your digital bank account.

Whether it’s at home, school, or work, being organized makes everything easier. And sports teams are no exception. Our goal at Snap! Spend is to streamline and take the stress out of the payment process for both the teams and the players’ parents. When all the logistics of managing or playing for a team are running smoothly, you can focus on the reason you’re there in the first place—the game.

Organized Teams Attract Better Talent—And Keep It

If your child has ever played for a team that was poorly managed, you’ve probably experienced all the downsides to a lack of organization. When you don’t have easy access to the team’s payment schedule, it’s hard to remember how much you owe and when it’s due. At Snap! Spend, we know most parents have a never ending to-do list, and our automated payment system helps you cross a few things off.

For teams, making the payment process, quick, straightforward, and painless for parents can actually give you a competitive edge. No one wants to deal with a team where making payments is a headache, and it would be a shame to lose talented players to another club due to a chaotic and confusing payment system. Keeping things simple and efficient means that parents are more likely to want their kids to play on your team again the next year. And the one after that.

It’s Easy to Make Sure Payments Are On Time When They’re Automated

When fees are automatically paid from your bank account or credit card on the day they’re due, you don’t need to worry about forgetting. You can relax for the rest of the season and know that you’ll always be paid up. And Snap! Spend will always give you a heads up when a payment is coming—we send you reminders a few days before each one is due so you can log in to view the amounts and change your payment method if necessary.

From the team’s perspective, automated payments are a huge time saver. Once the schedule is set, you don’t have to remind parents or make those awkward phone calls asking for money. You can make changes to your payment schedule or add additional fees for tournaments or other expenses at any point in the season. You can log in anytime to see how much you’ve collected and when you can expect the next payments to appear, all in one quick glance.

It Helps Teams and Parents Stick to Their Budgets

Having a payment sneak up on you means you may not be prepared when it’s due. And there’s nothing worse than having to pay a last minute bill you didn’t budget for. When you always know ahead of time exactly when a team payment is due, you can make sure to leave room for it in your monthly expenses. And those reminders we just talked about? They give you the piece of mind that you’ll never be surprised when you check your account balance.

Coaches also know how important it is to have a solid team budget. It’s not uncommon for a team to have 30% or more of their fees go uncollected, simply because there is too much confusion around what is due and when. And you don’t want to get halfway through the season and realize you don’t have enough money to cover all your expenses. When your payment system is well organized, staying within your budget is much easier because fees are more likely to be collected on time.

The Bottom Line

There are no downsides to being more organized. It gives parents and players a better experience, and saves the team a lot of hassle when it comes to collecting payments. No more remembering due dates or making collection calls. We’ve got your back.

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.

Team fee collections are a big part of managing a club or travel team. Different sports have their own ways of organizing the collections process depending on the size of the club or team and how their budgets are set up. If you’re part of a club with a lot of different teams, it’s important to find the method that works best for your specific needs.

Whether you’re doing it for the first time, or you’ve been managing collections for years and are wondering if there’s a better way, there are several factors to consider. To help you decide which is the best method for your team, here are a few different models that youth sports teams use and the pros and cons of each.

One Person Handles All Collections for the Entire Club

It’s possible to delegate all the collecting to one person if all the teams in your club are similar in cost structure, travel locations, and the number of tournaments they attend. A lot of volleyball and ice hockey clubs organize their collections this way. This method works best if you already know what your team fees will be in advance.

The biggest benefit to this method is that it’s very simple to set up. One person does all the budgeting, so they don’t have to coordinate with anyone else. You always know who to ask if you have any questions about the club’s collections status, and there’s a single point of contact for parents of the kids across all the different teams.

On the other hand, it is a lot of work for that one person. They have to do all the budgeting and collecting for a lot of teams. It’s a full time job, which means that you’ll have to hire someone to do it. If you don’t have the funds to pay someone or don’t know your expenses in advance, this may not be the best method for your club.

Each Team Handles Its Own Budget and Collections

If the teams in your club have a lot of differences in their budgets, it may not be feasible for one person to organize them all. In this situation, it’s better for each team to be in control of its own budgeting and collections. The club has obligations like providing insurance and a central bookkeeper, and each team has its own responsibilities including collecting team fees and paying club dues.

With this method, individual teams have more autonomy and can decide for themselves how to set up their budgets. They are in charge of how many tournaments they want to go to and how much they want to spend each season. They also won’t have to pay to hire a full time finance manager, which is better for all volunteer organizations that don’t have as much money. This method works well for teams who don’t necessarily know what all of their expenses will be ahead of time.

The downside is that each team will have to recruit a team treasurer and manager every year and train them. Oversight and accountability is more difficult and you’ll definitely need to set up a centralized process to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and who they need to report to.

The Bottom Line

Every club is different. What works for one may not work for another due to variations in size, number of teams, and cost structure. Finding the best method for your club will make the collections process run much more smoothly and save you a lot of time and hassle.

Regardless of which method you choose, Snap! Spend can help automate your collections and make things much easier for both parents and team managers. Learn more at spend.onsnap.com.