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Norwich, NY 13815

Quarterly Strike Newsletter Volume 11

Winter Wonder Land

Indoor Soccer Awaits

Talk about captive audience. Indoor soccer facilities are popping up all over. Unlike outdoor tournaments. The players have no place to go between games and most nice facilities are festive game packed fun centers. Most big tournaments happen during holidays but you do have the potential of setting up for weekday leagues or practices. It's a great place to plant the seeds of the Kick-A-Thon fund raiser and be sure to keep literature available at the front desk. These are a real nice change of pace and very casual so relax and enjoy the booth on a cold winter day. If you use the $4 all day price, get ready... it goes over big.

Cool Prizes Dude!

These license plates are my current prize of choice. They have most major sports teams from Baseball, Basketball & Hockey plus Nascar. They are prettycheap as well. I can get you these plates for under $2.00 each. Even when someone wins you don't lose money and at one event I even sold $100 worth of them at $5.00 a plate. Cool, huh dude!

When Should You...

Money Matters:

When should you let someone pitch for a dollar when the posted price is two dollars?

Only when you are absolutely, positively, unmistakably sure they don't have two dollars and then only when no one else is around. No it's mean or inflexible... it's FAIR! You have made everyone else pay the same price so it's justified to stick to it. There is no truth to the theory that it's just another dollar you wouldn't have made. Trust me, if 20 people ask to pitch for a dollar, 15 of them will pay the 2 dollars if you say NO! That means you will have made $30 as opposed to $20 by being firm. (do your own math here!) It always comes back to haunt me, I let one person go for a buck, someone else see's it or they tell a friend and they all hound me about it. So, avoid the dilemma and make more money too!

When should you let someone split pitches with friends?

Although I offer a family or group rate, I'm generally pretty liberal about letting 2 people split the 5 throws. It's my experience that saying no does not often get them both to go. If they're competitive it may entice them to go again to get more pitches in. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being firm and saying no but it's more likely to be taken negatively by your customers. I'm not a big fan of splitting between 3 people and I almost always refuse 5 people wanting to take 1 pitch each. I also keep it to 5 pitches only. Many people that split ask for the extra pitch so they both get equal throws. That defeats the point of 5 pitches for $2.00.

When should you give free pitches?

Okay, you probably think never right. Well, it is rare but important. First of all, don't do it when someone else is around but then again, that's the point. If business is slow nothing gets it going like people pitching. So, if you see some unsuspecting kid hanging around, give him some shots to attract people. I usually do this at my discretion. There's always someone wanting, even begging to just pitch one for free...just one! My answer is always no. Many times at malls some kids have to spend the day there since their parents work in the mall. The usually don't have any money and just hang around the booth. Some are very nice and some are pains in the butt. They usually are eager to fetch balls or watch the booth if you need a quick break. In other words, they probably will earn some free throws.

Also, many times a parent will single out an older child to play and you can see the disappointment on the younger child's face. I'll sometimes let the little one step in and throw one at the end. The same goes for a parent if the child seems real eager to see the old man throw.

When should you offer a variety in pricing structure?

Always! My basic structure offers 3 ways to play as outlined in past issues.

-5 pitches for $2

-Play all day for $4

-Family of 3 or more - $5 for 5 pitches each.

Most of you should know by now that I fully believe $2 for 5 pitches is the rule 95% of the time. You know the routine, even if you lost 49% of your customers at $2 you still make more money than by charging $1 and have half the work. Besides, it's the appropriate price. If I'm doing a kiddie event or some sort of promotion I may charge a dollar.

The other ways to play give credibility to your pricing structure. The $4 play all day is by far a huge bargain. I simply mark their hand and they can come back any time all day & pitch. They can only win a prize once but they can keep on pitching. Despite the occasional kids that overzealously play, the constant activity attracts more business. You may want to avoid this however if you are running on a short life battery.

The family rate is also a great value and important to the overall concept of the game. For $5 a family of 3 or more can play with everyone getting 5 throws. If you get the kids and parents going the aura around the booth just glows and it seems every parent just starts saying yes to letting their kids play. It also avoids something I hate to see and that is a child being favored over another. If there's 4 kids in the family it would be $8 for the kids to play and that can force parents to choose or worse, not play at all. I do jokingly allow groups. If 3 teenagers ask for the family rate I'll make some wisecrack about how they really look like siblings but I'm usually pretty flexible in offering the price to groups... small groups anyway.

Fund Raising Around The USA

The Internet has forced me to consider my fundraisers for a global market. Many net respondents have come from youth leagues that want to do the Pitch-A-Thons. However, I can only go no more than a few hundred miles to make it worth while. All I could do was find an owner near by or offer to sell them a system. It became clear I needed another option.

Actually, the solution is fairly simple, devise a fair rental program while keeping the perks of my involvement. The plan:

Rent leagues the Radar Gun and accessories for $150

Supply them with all the forms & certificates for $1 per participant.

Right now the Pitch-A-Thons & Kick-A-Thons are averaging $40 per participant brought in so a team with 20 players should gross $800 and expenses would be $170 plus return shipping. Not a bad deal at all.

The forms and certificates combined are costing me about 40 cents per player and the shipping is around $20. No, I wouldn't send the cage, just the gun, battery and maybe a banner along with the parent letters and pledge sheets. After the event they can send me the scores and I'll do the certificates on my computer. I must confess, this is a hot off the press plan and have not yet put it to full action but I have contacted the my internet inquiries as to the program and I expect some takers by Spring time or maybe some indoor soccer this winter.

For you owners, any avenue you can take to let people know of you nationally can now be facilitated with this concept. the internet has been a wonderful means to that end and I can help you inexpensively design a web site to your liking. If you can get a list of sports leagues try mailing or faxing information on the plan. No it's not going to be the cornerstone of your business but it's part of the ever growing diversity you will need to make the most of your investment. In this case, the nice thing is that there is very little time investment. Letting the gun make you some money when your not investing the time into it is a great perk to be enjoying.

Double Sign

When I'm at soccer tournaments, I put up my kicking banner. Every place else, I put up my pitching banner. Now tell me, why can't they do both at either event. No, I meant tell me a few years back because I feel silly not doing it until now. It's simple, I hang up both banners. My pitching banner is 10' long by 1' high so I hang that in the front of my cage. My kicking banner is 10' long by 2 feet high. so I hang that in the back of the cage. They can mix & match by kicking 2 and pitching 3 or vice versa; I'm easy. You could even go further and have a speed board for both but most important is to get that extra business from those who are hot on only one sport or to get them to play again by trying both. Why didn't someone tell me?

Raffle It

"IT" can be anything. If you don't have access to small affordable prizes then find an affordable moderately priced item and raffle it off. At a soccer tournament you could get a nice ball for $30. If they guess their speed or beat a high score they get a raffle ticket. Many of you readers may know I use to raffle off cases of snapple at fairs so I've had some good experiences with this. Sometimes a big prize is more appealing than lots of small ones and you are more likely to feel better (in your wallet) when they win.

News & Notes

One of our radar gun manufacturers has a gun & display system that can read golf ball distances. When the ball is struck, the gun reads ball speed and the display calculates the distance. Sounds neat!