With info meetings underway and tryouts looming, our telephone is ringing incessantly with prospective families' myriad of questions, which we do our best to answer. We also urge new families in particular to attend one of our informational meetings, as we explain our vision, our process, our cost and the A5 Difference in much greater detail than a phone call allows. Many parents take our advice, but some don't.
From time to time we are faced with the perception that A5 is more expensive than other clubs. That rare analytical parent who takes the time to really delve into the numbers will discover that not to be the case. This email from one of last year's parents: "I actually took the time to compare A5 to (a nearby competitive club) and discovered to my surprise that A5 costs $500 less than ____ when comparing apples to apples."
The perception stems from the fact that A5 includes the cost of player travel in its overall summation of cost, while most other local clubs do not. If one skips the detail and goes straight to the bottom line -- as is common in our sound bite culture- one ends up comparing A5, which includes player travel in its fees, to other clubs, which don't. Apples and oranges.
Accordingly, our Board has directed us to make it easier for prospective members of the A5 Family to compare the cost of playing for our club to the cost of playing for other local clubs. That said, it is important to realize:
- It has never been our goal to be the lowest-cost service provider in our industry. Certainly cheaper alternatives exist. But better? We doubt it.
- As a 501 - c (3) non-profit, every nickel that comes in to our organization is deployed to the benefit of our members. We have no profit motive.
- As the third-ranked volleyball club in the country, the most logical peer group with whom to compare cost is other top ten volleyball clubs. We do this every year and compare quite favorably to that group.
- All of that said, we know cost and value are important to our families, and we understand (and hope!) we are going to be compared to other local offerings. Since we are the only club in the South that includes player travel as a cost, we have decided to reformat our cost structure to make it easier for families to compare the cost of playing for A5 to the cost of playing for other local clubs on an apples-to-apples basis.
We direct you to the A5 website, where we have posted our 2017/2018 team cost structure in a format that enables economic comparison to other local clubs. We will post a similar format on each of our sister clubs' websites soon.
We encourage anyone thinking of joining for our organization to do their homework in advance. Attend info meetings, open gyms, clinics, Training for Tryouts, etc. -- of all clubs under consideration; not just ours -- prior to tryouts and come to tryouts with a plan. The process is stressful enough, and families can alleviate a lot of the stress if they walk into tryouts with a plan rather than feeling pressured to make a big decision in just a few minutes. Fidget Widgets work too (scroll down for elaboration).