So how do you broach less than welcome news?
I find it most effective to just lay it out there.
In case you have not figured it out yet when a decision is made, I tend to be the kind of person that is willing to do what I feel is necessary and I am not afraid to be transparent about the reasons I took the actions I did.
I simply approach things for what they are and call it like it is to the best of my ability.
We scraped by last year due to the incredible generosity of the participants, sponsors, and staff. Some of the folks did all three.
I made an early decision that turned out to be a huge, almost fatal mistake.
In an effort to attract as many people as possible, I decided to lower prices below what our math said they needed to be.
The business plan said it would take ½ capacity average crowd at $110 per ½ day session to break even.
I decided to drop it to under $100 to make the 2 digits sound more attractive and make it easier for people to attend. After all, it was only $15 per person, only a $900 difference if we sold out.
What I did not think about is even at ½ capacity, it was still over $450, and when it takes ½ capacity to break even, well, the math matters. It compounds loss, completely different than lowering the profit margin. Covid made it even worse as our schedule and venues were decimated and the participant base grew slowly, much slower than pre-covid projections expected.
We held 8 events last year and we ended up losing about $4000 even after sponsors and others donated to keep us afloat. The extra $15 per participant would have made that loss less than $1000.
In short, it was a huge mistake that backfired. I hoped we could do it for under $100, but there was just no way. It was an irresponsible decision.
Fast forward to 2021, we face new obstacles. Our insurance has gone up by $600 per event, and rent is $300 higher in Darlington. We have also lost the ability to camp at the Franklin site so there is also added hotel expense for that.
If we can’t break even, we can’t keep doing it. Within a few months, if we aren’t making a little money, we can’t keep doing it. I know higher prices will likely make it harder for some folks to attend, but it is what it is.
The math of the business plan and the supply and demand of the recreational motorsports market will decide if our product is worth what financial circumstances dictate the cost has to be.
So, that left me with an uncomfortable decision, a decision that feels even worse since I lowered prices unrealistically last year. I must raise prices to where the math requires. The entry fees this year will be as follows.
Darlington and Franklin,
A single AM or PM session is now $125.
Early Bird registration will be $115.
An All-Day session is now $220.
For Richmond, Martinsville, Summit Point Washington, and Bristol, we will have to get final numbers on rent and insurance before we can give a final number on those venues. We anticipate the same or hopefully only slightly higher than we charge at Darlington and Franklin.
As for VIR and Summit Point permanent-course track days, we also have to figure it out based on rent and insurance but we anticipate being in line with most other track days, somewhere between $200-300 for the day.
Early in the season, we may also have to put a registration cutoff date where if we have not reached the break-even point of registrations, we might have to cancel that event and try for the next one on the schedule instead. It is not what we want, it is simply reality.
Thank you all for your interest and participation. I hope this price change does not preclude your participation in the future.