Established Team Budget?

What is your approximate operating budget for established teams for one season? I’m trying to do some planning for next year and we haven’t previously kept decent records for a per team budget (I’m a member of a club).

personally, for parts i say £500-1000.

field kit £350.

competitions (upto nationals) - £500

Worlds - £5000

You’re flying out from UK, right? It’s only only $1000 for me to travel from Vancouver. I feel bad for you :frowning:

i know right. it is costing us £5000gbp (8355.50 US Dollars) for flights/hotels/shuttles/insurance/robot transportation then we have to pay for food/drink on top per person.


We spend around $10K a year for parts and all travel expenses for 10-12 events plus worlds. We could do it for less by recycling parts but there are too many schools around us that are on such small budgets they cannot afford many parts so we give all of our used parts away. Starting from scratch and doing 5-6 events including a very competitive all aluminum robot with the normal array of sensors I would guess $5K, maybe less if you don’t need to do extensive travel. If you have all the parts you need for building a robot then I would say $2500.00-$3000.00 would be enough, and even less if you can get by without hotels by staying close to home.

Wow. That’s like 2 trips to Worlds for my team. I hope to see you there!

We spent about $500 on our robot this year. Most of the cost was us purchasing sensors and metal. Next year should be even less. It’s not that much money to keep an “established” team running. The competitions cost $300 for our team this year.

How much did you spend on entry fee’s and travel? There’s a lot of variables right down to the mode of transportation and the price of fuel. I need to find out how much out of pocket we were per event on average to come up with a realistic budget. I suspect there is not a huge difference in fuel and hotels between Indiana and Texas. $500 for maintenance and upgrades to a robot is very generous, but one event can cost that with lodging and meals.

Well Texas is a lot bigger than IN. Most events are 15-20min away from us :slight_smile: Our farthest even is 2hr away, and my parents take care of that cost as a donation to our team (the fuel to travel). We don’t spend money on food and lodging.

We spent $300 on 5 competitions this season.

We started out from scratch this year as a private team. The first expense was $1000 for the competition super kit. But then we found out we needed things like the VexNet switch to test the autonomous, some more buckeyballs to test intake, different pieces of metal, screws of various sizes, more teflon washers, had to build a segment of a fake field since we did not have access to a real field, needed a little more of this and a lot more of that. I think we’ve probably exceeded $3000 this year, and that’s not counting the laptop we use, the team shirts we just “had to” get made, or the cost of competitions, etc. We have a lot of extra stuff now but that has to do with the fact you can’t buy just a single piece of C-channel, etc. - instead, you must buy an entire box. And then there’s shipping costs, too, especially 2nd day air when you’re in a panic because something got fried and the next competition is coming up.

Needless to say, this is not a cheap activity for middle/high school kids. But I’ve been told that serious middle/high school soccer/football team players fork out this much every year just to kick a ball around, snap their wrists, and get some high-priced concussions in the bargain.

I would be interested in knowing what the cost per hour spent learning turns out to be. For example, if a team spends $2000 but you’ve got 3 kids spending 5 hours a week each X 20 weeks, that works out to $2000/(300) = $6.67 per hour.
I know using computer games to electronically babysit kids is a lot cheaper and provides a non-concussive environment, but I can’t think of any single activity that encompasses so many learning opportunities as Vex. Heck, teaching this stuff is better than golf!

Ugh, I feel bad for you out-of-state people. Our school is around an hour away from Disneyland/the Anaheim Convention Center.
How much does your shipping cost?

But we have to pay much more competition registration :slight_smile:

The on site drayage cost us almost as much as the cross country shipping last year. Move 1/2 mile = same as 3000 miles? Monopolies in action!

We put it in a big wood box though which is not very cost effective.

Back to the original question…

Our budget is not just for parts but for heat, electricity, insurance, and the like. This has been an especially cold winter so our propane usage is now 2.5 times last year.

We re-use parts from year to year so each robot is allocated about $700 for new parts. New teams we allocate $1300 for all the new equipment. We have about a 50% reuse of parts and 80% cortex reuse.

Registration fees and tournament fees are the next highest cost and variable to how much you do. States is $150 in PA, each tournament is $75. We try and reduce costs by providing fields and volunteers. We also expected to send 2-3 teams to worlds at $750 a piece plus the expense of shipping, banners, and the like/

So we charge $300 per kid. But work out what your fixed costs of the club and variable costs for the robot and registration.

I am the coach/sponsor for teams 7232 in South Kansas City, MO. We have 6 teams and three of them are varsity teams and are the only ones that travel to out of state tournaments. We are going to 8-9 competitions a year, have air and aluminum and every item VEX makes it seems like. We try and conserve cuts of items and reuse what we can. This year we spent about 3500-4000 on parts hopefully not that much next year. On travel we spent about 15,000. This is pricey if you look at it as a whole we do have 6 teams though. The learning and places that students get to go after VEX makes it all worth it!

It is interesting seeing the VEXmen response to this question. I used to mentor Exothermic Robotics, and – not counting travel to World Championship or some special events – the crew charged $275 per youth member per year. Now that EXO has its own space (the Robot House), that figure has more than doubled, but the extra all goes to rent and utilities. Still a real bargain compared to most sports.

EXO has an ample parts budget, and definitely does not scrimp on building robots, so we have at least two data points at $300ish per person per team. Also, EXO teams average 5 youth per team.

Hi Giraffes,

Can I know if the kids still need to pay anything more for going to World?
Or does the $300 covers everything?

And do you get any sponsorships?

With the cutting in school budget, I thought it will be good for me to check out alternatives.


Our club fees are ~$175/student, typically 4 students/team. Those fees include shirt, competition entrance, and parts. Seems like we’re on the lower end of the spectrum… don’t know how we’re managing to pull that off without any sponsors or funding otherwise except what we get from hosting competition. :eek: Can’t complain, I suppose.

Great discussion so far, and this has been very enlightening.

Just to put things into context, for a typical Singapore team (of 4 members) going for World:

  1. Air ticket + accommodation + airport transfer = about USD 2500 per member
  2. Registration = USD 750 per team
  3. Parts = about USD 1300per team

That will means for just 1 team going to World, we will need about USD 12 000

And for those who know us long enough, 8059 has always send 4 teams to World.
So that will means a total of about USD 48000 to 50000 just for one World Championship.

Thats really a lot of money involved.

We do to have to pay rent, just utilities at the moment. We are using some warehouse space from a generous landlord. Downside is the building might get rented at any moment.

If we had to pay rent, yes, it would double.

We average 4.7 kids a team. We try and cap it at 5 kids a team because we have found once you go over that, someone is inevitibly left standing around.

We’re evaluating that right now. We budgeted for three teams registration fees and some extra for banners and shipping. Travel costs are on your own. We are sending two teams this year (90C in the middle school division and 81W in the high school division).

We just got our 501c3 status cleared in December (we’re Brandywine Robotics) and guess what is on our to do list? Fundraising! We did some restaurant dining events which gets us about $200 dollars each time but that well should not be tapped too many times. We’re looking at grant writing and really digging into parents employers’ matching or fundraising opportunities as well.

We are not school district funded at all and are completely parent run. We’re trying to get back with the schools as space can hit us again. However, that adds additional limitations on building access, background check requirements for each parent, transportation options, needing a teacher there every night, etc.