Club directors, in an honest moment, will tell you that they absolutely hate the administrative burdens of managing payments, past due collections, following up with parents, and negotiating discounts and extended payment schedules with families that can likely afford to pay what the rest of the families are paying. All club directors really want to do is what they love, which is coaching and mentoring athletes, competing at the highest level, and winning tournaments. That’s what drives them and why they got into the club sports business. Everything else is just a distraction from what they love. Club directors want to be freed from the anxiety of conversations with parents about past due payments. They want their time back and know they can utilize the 20-30 hours per month they spend on administrative burdens in a much more productive way (like spending time with their family). They want freedom from the anxiety of the process. They want their time back. They deserve to be paid (on time, every time) for the service they are delivering to parents and athletes.
There is a problem in youth sports — uncollected funds at the club level are taking away an athlete’s opportunity to attend tournaments, receive proper coaching, and realize their dream of playing at the collegiate level. This problem is not the athletes fault and may not even be the fault of the club director or coaches. It’s not even really the fault of the parent. It really is a function of the fact that there is no written manual or clearly communicated “best practices” on how to properly run the accounts receivable side of a youth sports club.
Across America, the vast majority of clubs are run by former athletes who specialized in their chosen sport and probably went on to meaningful careers at the collegiate level, in the pro’s or even at the Olympic level (as is the case with many top volleyball club directors). These former athletes and club directors are best in the world at coaching and mentoring youth athletes, and helping them achieve athletic success at a much higher level than they ordinarily might have. Many club directors are forced to learn how to run businesses on the fly while balancing many different priorities and demands. As it relates to collecting payments, those same club directors (approximately 54% to be more precise) turn to cash and check as the primary form of payment to avoid fees, not realizing this often contributes to an abysmal industry average 88-92% rate of collections.
There is nothing more rewarding than to be standing on the court after a JVA World Challenge or AAU Nationals tournament match, talking to a club director about what life is like when they are freed from the burden of managing payments, collecting close to 100% of what they are owed and experiencing renewed relationships with parents and athletes. The smiles on their faces and the happiness they communicate when they say “we are so thankful for what your team at PaidUp does for us” provides momentum to everything we do. There is nothing better in the world than knowing they can afford to attend the tournaments they promised to their athletes, because they know many will be recruited by D1 and D2 collegiate programs. Additionally, it is so fulfilling to know that they can also afford to pay themselves and their coaches a liveable wage because they are collecting nearly everything they are owed.
At PaidUp, we are sympathetic to the plight of club directors, parents and athletes. In 2014, we set out to develop a solution to this issue of uncollected funds, return time spent on administrative burdens back to club directors, and help club directors improve their relationships with parents and athletes. Solving the first problem of uncollected funds allows a club director to live up to the promises they made to the athletes with respect to attending the most competitive (and therefore the most expensive) tournaments because they know that’s where their athletes will be recruited. Achieving a higher rate of collection also allows a club director to pay themselves and their coaches a wage that provides them personal fulfillment. Bringing 20-30 hours a month back to the club director is a win because it allows them to spend that time improving certain aspects of an athletes game or even spend more time with their own families. And finally, improving relationships with parents is a win-win because anxiety is eliminated and more energy is available to give to the athlete and to the coaches responsible for delivering the best experience to that same athlete. Retention rates for athletes and parents also tend to improve dramatically when friction and anxiety are removed. Providing a solution to uncollected funds, returning time back to the club directors, and helping improve relationships has been our mission since we started and remains our top priority today.
Over time, we developed a thoughtful methodology centered around a “Done For You” approach, where we are taking on the day-to-day effort of club dues management with the goal of managing everything related to payments on behalf of the club. In essence, everything outlined in detail in our “Newbie’s Guide To Collecting At Least 97.45% of What You’re Owed!”, but more specifically, things like:
- Establishing process around handling high volumes of phone calls and emails
- Handling custom payment schedules on the fly (instead of taking post dated checks)
- Handling full and partial payment requests and even accommodating divorced parent situations
Our Newbie’s Guide contains most everything you need to know to collect at a high rate and even offers strategies on how to accomplish this in 8 clearly communicated steps. These 8 steps were developed by us over the course of several years, millions of dollars of successfully collected payments, a rate of collection in excess of 97.45%, and thousand of best-in-class experiences with parents from all of the country. We hope you find this content useful and hope that you will download the Guide to keep with you throughout the course of the season.
To give you a head start on achieving success with respect to your payments we’ve put together a blog post outlining your different options as a club director (along with pro’s and con’s to each) entitled “4 Options To Execute On The Newbie’s Guide.” This post outlines every logical option that a club director can use to handle the process of collecting a payment — including cash and check, PayPal, payment providers that seek to automate communication with parents (automated emails, etc.) and full-service providers that integrate their payments platform with registration and other tools.
Of course, should you choose to have use manage everything for you we would certainly be excited about discussing this with you. We are currently working with clubs all over the country, generally those that have over 100 athletes with gross revenues between $350K and $2MM. Please do reach out to us at email@example.com or call (512) 518-4943 for custom pricing. Additionally, you can visit https://getpaidup.com/ to download our Newbie’s Guide To Collecting At Least 97.45% of What You’re Owed!”
Allan is the father of three boys who are big time travel lacrosse players. As a father and CEO of PaidUp, he totally gets what club directors and parents face every day as we try to provide the best for our children. Allan is also a recovering banker so he grew up (professionally speaking) helping small businesses thrive! Don’t hesitate to pick his brain how to run a great club! Allan can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.