Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

We have six owners at our camp which is only used by family members. My father, my brother, an uncle and his two sons(my cousins) and myself. Our dues as owners have been $50 a month ($600 a year) and that has covered our costs for many years including taxes, electric, propane, insurance, a land lease, camp supplies and food during hunting season. Camp was used a lot this year and our costs exceeded our income. At our camp meeting last week we decided to up our dues to $75 a month or $900 a year which most were ok with but majority rules. I voted for it. The non-owners that hunt with us are my two kids age 12 and 15, my brother's two boys age 16 and 13, my cousins' two boys age 23 and 24 and two other cousins in their 30's. Non-members can't use the camp unless an owner is there and they pay nothing. Occasionally one of them will make a small monetary donation or buy something needed for the camp like a crock pot for example. Some non-owners use the camp a lot (20 nights) while others (cousin from Minnesota) only are there for 3 nights. We discussed at the meeting options to charge non-owners over the age of 18 without discouraging anyone from coming as you all know camp is a great experience. We considered a yearly fee ranging from $150 to $300 as well as a per night fee from $10 to $30. We decided on a $20 a night fee which seemed reasonable as you pay for how much you use it. I sent this change out to the adult non-owners in an email explaining the need to generate some income and also informed them of the owners' dues going up $300 a year. However I do understand that as an owner it is sort of an investment for me. I have received several phone calls now from non-owners questioning the $20 a day fee. One mentioned going home Monday morning if he shoots a buck. One mentioned that if he goes up as much as he did last year it will be costly at $400. Believe me, the last thing we wanted to do was to discourage anyone from coming and we can easily change our method if we are out of line. Would you be willing to share some ideas or tell me what you do at your camp so I can bring some ideas to the table?

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 09:56 AM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

Unfortunately camp ownership costs money. expenses are expenses and no owner should have to pay so others can use it. If your one guest is complaining about his $400 expenditure make him an owner with a buy in fee then his yearly dues or he can stay in a motel. I am sure he will no longer complain.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 10:26 AM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

I've never felt comfortable inviting someone to camp and then saying..."oh by the way, you owe me $$$$". Our camp has a $10 a night fee, which I usually cover myself for whoever comes up. The people coming up always bring enough food, beer, wine, and supplies to cover any cost needed. If they showed up empty handed, then I'd probably feel more comfortable charging them the $$$$, but that hasn't happened yet.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 10:37 AM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

State forest lease camp, $75 year dues per member, two work days if none attended fine is 20.00. Work weekend beer and food is free. Hunting season its $8 a day for members food, non members are $11. Tap beer is $6 a day, wether you have 1 or 10. School age kids are $7.50 a day.....no problems, will hit our 100 anniversary in 13 years...

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 10:52 AM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

I stayed in a camp for a while until I bought my own. That camp charged everyone, including the members, for a night in camp. Members paid $3 @ night, non members paid $5 @ night and all contributed towards the meals. If the food bill was $300, then all paid proportionally.

As for your $20 fee, it might be a better idea to charge less per night but charge for the food as a surcharge. Charge $10 per night but if the food bill is costing $30 per day, they pay a full share of the food for each day.

But when it all comes down to it, they have been getting a pretty good deal for nothing. Sure you own it but they get the same experience as you do----for free. How much do they pay to go to any amusement park, or the movies,etc??? Friends and relatives are the hardest ones to deal with. I'm hitting that right now. The guys that hunted with me for years always were given a bill to pay when we rented cabins or trailers during hunting seasons. The food bill was shared. No problem. Well, now I own my own cabin. I talked with these guys from the start and told them I was looking to build and I was looking for people to go in with me. Sure, they said, but no one wanted to part with money. Well I built my own. Mine, you don't know how good that makes me feel. But now for bear season, the guys showed up and they asked about the food and they paid their share of the food but no one offered to give anything towards me paying for the propane, electric, etc. My electric bill spiked when we were there as did my propane bill. Didn't sink in. Now the guys want to use my place for a fishing trip. OK, we will but they will receive a shocker when they show up. We all share the food bill as we always did and you guys are going to pay me for the housing, just like we did when we rented a trailer two years ago. Each person will be charged $10 per night for their stay. The cheapest housing you're ever going to find. Don't like it??? Have a safe trip home!!!!
I see a ton of guys right here on this forum looking for camps to hunt and fish out of. I'm sure you and I can find a few out there that will love to experience the outdoors at a warm cabin. As for kids, well that gets touchy, especially here on this forum. I have kids and I have grandkids. I have other relatives that want to share my place---now. I came up with a hard rule. Come visit while I'm here. You're free--for the first time. After that, you will help pay the share. I will charge kids the same as an adult. Kids eat, kids sleep, kids are kids. Give them a break under 16 but then, they can pay their share too.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 11:09 AM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

Maybe you should show them a complete breakdown of the cost of operating your camp. They will get a better understanding of why you're asking them to pay their fair share. I know you don't want to discourage them from coming but you may have to draw the line and tell them if they don't like it then go elsewhere. In the nicest possible way, of course.

Btw, they know they can't get a better deal anywhere else on earth, so if they want to continue hunting they gotta pay the piper.

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 12:00 PM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

Based on what you're providing, $20 sounds like a bargain. The person complaining about the $400/ year has been getting an awful lot for free or it sure seems so from what you've told us.

Maybe your members might want to factor in the non monetary aspect. Does this guy put in time with maintenance, chores, repairs or help out in other ways? I've had more than my share of "users" over the years and have weeded them out gradually. If this guy is an asset to your camp as a guest, maybe give him a lower daily rate after a certain number but if he just shows up when it's time to have fun, maybe it's time to let him pay up or go.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 12:37 PM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

I agree with the full disclosure of expenses to show the guys what it actually costs to keep them in the manner they have become comfortable with. I'm actually taking over our hunting camp this year and I plan to do a yearly expense report that will show the costs to each member. I certainly don't intend to support everyone, but I hope to be fair. I think $20 bucks a night is dirt cheap if that covers food and lodging in about any region of PA, just try and find a better deal anywhere, you won't.

Maybe offer a payment cap to the guy with $400 total. Maybe once he reached $300 (your owner share), he could continue to hunt for the year minus the $20/day fee, if that is financially an option. I am frugal with cash, but I dislike people who don't pay their share. I also feel you get out of a camp experience what you put into it, be it with work days, hunting time, or camp living and camaraderie.

Sadly most of my life has been wasted, but the rest I spent hunting, fishing, and trapping...
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 12:41 PM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

Non Camp owner and non camp participant here but I will offer my 3rd party view.

Any non-camp owner who is out of high school or after college should be paying something and should be wanting to offer. Any school age kid should be doing some work around the camp to "pay" for their privilege. This could be as simple as cleaning up during the hunting season, mowing grass, etc.

I like the idea of itemizing the costs that are spent every year on the camp so people can see how much it costs to keep the place going. Maybe offer a so much per night cost or a one time yearly membership. Could be $20 per night or $300 per year or something like that? If you have alot of work that needs done to the place maybe work could be done in place of the membership for that year.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 12:43 PM
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Re: Non-Owner Fees At Your Camp?

The dude who was complaining about $20 for food lodging and saying he might leave Monday night should be sent home Sunday night.

My camp is cheaper to operate. All I ask is that everyone pays equally for food. (The guy who does the cooking buys it all and tells us how much, and we divide evenly) When we ride there together, we split gas evenly. You bring your own drinks. It costs me the exact same amount if I go myself or have a full camp.

If my camp had the overhead of the op's , I would probably feel different.

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