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Field maintenance question

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Field maintenance question

Old 10-05-2018, 08:33 PM
  #1  
smilam
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Default Field maintenance question


I am wondering how other clubs handle their field maintenance.
At our field there are two of us that mow the runways and pit area every week while the grass is growing. About every second or third week we mow our grass parking area. In April names are drawn for members who are suppose to do the trimming. There are two members names drawn for each week from May to November. Some of us retired members take care of the trimming if it needs it before May. If a member doesnít want to be on the trimming list for any reason they pay an extra 10 dollars when they pay their annual membership.
The problem that we are having is members that donít bother to do the trimming when it is their turn. There are times that the field doesnít get trimmed for a month. I donít think it is fair to the members that pay extra so they donít have to trim.
I have thought about proposing that we raise the membership fee by twenty dollars and if they trim when it is their turn their membership dues gets reduced by twenty dollars the next year. The problems that I foresee are sometimes it might be hot and dry enough that we can skip a week of mowing because the grass didnít grow that week. Since two names are drawn for each week and one person trims everything the other person gets a free ride. Who gets to decide wether it needs trimmed or if they did a decent job and didnít half ass it and skip areas.
i can see a lot of pit falls no matter what we do but it isnít getting done very often and it not fair to some of the members.
Our dues are only 50 dollars a year and some members I have talked to think we would loose some members if we emplemented this.
Any suggestions are appreciated.

Old 10-06-2018, 04:59 AM
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r ward
 
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it is an age old problem all clubs of any size has to deal with. I don't know the answer, either. I was on the BOD for several years and President one year, of a large archery club that had it's own field course, large practice range and large indoor range and we had exactly the same issues when it came to maintenance,...specifically field grass mowing and course trail mowing/maintenance. we tried all the same dues bonuses and discounts and it didn't seem to matter,....nobody simply wanted to do it,.... even though they volunteered to.
we eventually inquired about a lawn care business doing it , but that was pretty cost prohibitive, even though the club had 250 member at 50 a year and all sorts of fund raising activities all the time. the ironic thing was that there was actually two different members who were owners of lawn care buisnesses in the club, and they didn't even step up.

Last edited by r ward; 10-06-2018 at 05:05 AM.
Old 10-06-2018, 07:08 AM
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THINK " Hard ***** " they MOW or they GO .... Quit taking care of the babies . RED
Old 10-07-2018, 05:51 AM
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r ward
 
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although that attitude is easy to say and sometimes truly justified,....it's use usually results in a dissolved charter down the road. it doesn't take much 'bad talk" to completely destroy a club's reputation and word gets around fast and far, once rumors start......... it's obvious you have no experience as a club officer, or any club capacity that has anything to do with the club's welfare. just a few disgruntled ex-members or opinions, can do a lot of harm that extends far beyond the club's walls. I have seen clubs dissolve because someone was kicked out and that person managed to turned the entire community against the club. as past President of a large archery club, I have seen reductions in tournament attendance because someone spread a rumor that someone almost got hit with an errant arrow during a 3-d shoot. the rumor was that our course was not set up safely, even though the course was NFAA certified and used as a state and National Championship course, several times in it's 65 year history.... in which no injuries were ever recorded. being a "hard-a##".... is simply not the way to operate when dealing with the public or community.
Old 10-07-2018, 06:02 AM
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smilam
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Well said R Ward. I had been trying to think of a way to reply to Red Head without coming off like I didn’t respect somebody’s opinion but I guess I am not the same kind of person that he appears to be.
Old 10-07-2018, 04:28 PM
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I can respect what you both said and I've seen the same a number of times but letting folks not carry their end isn't right for the rest of the club ( ?) etc.. and to be sure it isn't really fair to the freeloaders (?) either .Any way GOOD LUCK , I don't envy you finding a cure . ENJOY RED
Old 10-08-2018, 05:22 AM
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r ward
 
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this club as 250+ members the second largest and second oldest (a matter of 2 years) archery club in the state. what goes on there gets known quickly throughout the state's archery community. we have to consider it's impact on the community with every move we make. that's the problem with a large well known club. people assume they set the pace and benchmark about activities and political issues and watch what their every move. word of happenings get around as fast as wild fire and smaller clubs model their operation around what the larger clubs do, so the impact of a large club's actions get known statewide quickly. it's very important hat a club's Board consider the impact their actions will have on the community, every time something is planned or voted on. people are always watching and many of those people watch to see if they can disrupt the activity of the club, because the activity is one that they don't particularly like or care about. you'd be surprised how many people are out there trying to shut down activities of all kinds just because they don't happen to be involved with the activity.
Old 10-09-2018, 12:58 PM
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How about raise the dues to cover the cost of having a service to come and mow? That way it gets done and everyone can use the time to fly instead.
Old 10-09-2018, 04:18 PM
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r ward
 
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the club I talk about tried that and the general consensus was that nobody wanted it because it was too expensive,....ironic right ?. members complained about the condition of the field and 3d course,.....no members wanted to pay someone to do the work it needed.....no members wanted to do the work either....and the majority of the membership complained about the prospect of raising dues to cover what they didn't want to do....what do ya' do ?. I've had length conversations with officers and Presidents of other clubs across the country about this subject and they all had the same thing to say about. not only can you not please some of the people all of the time, but you can't please anyone, anytime,.... about certain things.

Last edited by r ward; 10-09-2018 at 04:25 PM.
Old 10-09-2018, 07:06 PM
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smilam
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We checked into having a mowing company come out to mow for us. We had three company’s come out and look the field over but all three bids were high enough that we would have to increase our dues 150 percent. We were paying to have fertilizer and weed control sprays but weren’t that happy with the results with what we were paying. Part of the problem was we don’t have water available and it might have been sprayed but then not watered in.
There are two of us that mow every Thursday so the field is ready for the weekend of course we fly after we mow. If one of us is going to be gone we have other people that will take our place. We also took over the fertilizer and weed control and the field looks better than ever. We are able to time the applications for when rain is predicted. We are also able to roll the field when the moisture conditions are favorable.
We don’t get any compensation for taking care of the field and don’t expect anything not even free membership. We do it because it needs to be done but we both have back and hip issues and the string trimmers cause us both problems.
Old 10-10-2018, 03:46 AM
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RCFlyerDan
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Originally Posted by scottrc View Post
How about raise the dues to cover the cost of having a service to come and mow? That way it gets done and everyone can use the time to fly instead.
The problem you have isn't a new one as said by others above. I have been an Officer and on the BOD of a couple different clubs here in Florida. 10% of the members do all of the work, as with any club. I hear you that the field, beautiful field too, looks better when the care of yourself and other members take care of the runways. It is easy to find lawn companies here in Florida, since it is a yearly job. At the fields that I have been an officer and BOD, we found that instead of pleading, arguing, and begging for help, we just hire it done. Relate it to the out house. No one wants to clean it either, so you hire it done. Those in the Club that argue that they don't want to pay to have it cut, put them on the spot to commit them to cut the lawn more often then your schedule. Even with "Ole Farts" in retirement land, we found that it was easier to hire it done. They are retired and don't want to work either and just fly. This way, we don't have the older folks having heat strokes or heart attacks while doing the job. The guys who still work for a living, would by far rather pay an extra $50 per year to have the work done, so that when they are off, they can fly. I would definitely disgrace the two members that have lawn services and ask them, "What the F*&K? I know that it is "Old School" to try to keep the cost down in the Club. But, today, people are more lazy and rather pay "the guy" to do the work. Winter is coming for you, so that you have the winter meetings to convince guys it is time to raise the dues. What hurts a club too, is the change in mentality from a "let's do it in house" for a long time. Change in management then finds that they can't get the due up and no one wants to work. The members still expect the new management to do the same as the previous, but sometimes it just isn't possible. With a beautiful field such as yours, maybe hold more events and try to get the public in. That is the way to get the money to assist with club expenses. Our Club's events have become so big that usually a few thousand is netted per event to help run our club. Even after our donations to Wounded Warrior or other such charities. Invite the City Mayor and Managers to the event. We even put the Mayor on the buddy box for the candy drop. It paid off for us, because last year, the city tore the runway down to sand and installed another new paved runway of 50x600 feet. Our dues are $70 per year, with a $15 tax included that goes to our city. Talk about the grumbling there. We, as with most fields here in Florida, are on public land of either city, county or state land. The city doesn't cut our grass and we hire it done. The city only maintains the parking lot area and the grass not on the safety side of the fence. We have a paved runway, but there is still a large area to mow on the infield. With the cost of inflation, the cost of our models and what we spend on it, a $100 a year is nothing. Heck, for those still flying glow at $25 a gallon go through at least a hundred a year on fuel, if not double that amount. The guys at your field flying the larger gas Extra's and Warbirds put at least $1500 - $2000 into a plane, with some of those planes going to $10K, so here again, a $100 is nothing. It is the cheap foamy guys that will give you the most grief. Tell them it is the cost to do business of the Club. Good Luck.
Old 10-10-2018, 04:11 AM
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not all flyers live in an urban area, every area has it's own set of circumstances,... if I would say that to people around here, the club would be gone in a heartbeat.
I can imagine that in Florida and in areas where the weather is flying weather all year around, there are allot of guys flying the large scale stuff. to them the hundred dollars is drop in the bucket. around here, there are only a few of those guys, we have about 3 months a year of good flying weather and most guys fly average stuff,.... the hundred bucks is a considerable amount of money for them, and I doubt there are enough people flying to afford hiring "paid for maintenance" on our fields. as an example, the "club" I am in,... has 7 members !. in both instances, the clubs need the same quality of field and land to fly on and the prices to maintain it are very close to the same, as far as being charged to do it......we've looked into it.
Old 10-10-2018, 06:30 AM
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An option may be to include the cost of maintenance in the membership with the understanding that if you participate then your maintenance fee will be refunded.
Old 10-10-2018, 08:14 AM
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Yes, RWard, every Club has different circumstances in different parts of the country. Yes, we do fly all year around down here, so, yes, there is the larger stuff, but it makes up 25 % of the planes flying here. Smaller and smaller number of glow, and everyone else has gone to foamy electrics. Something to think about as a problem that we have down here. All of those guys that don't want to pay and help with the Club in your part of the country, then come down here and expect to fly for free. It becomes too hard and difficult to keep track of who just moved here for the winters, who was here last winter, and the new permanent residence and live year around. So, our Club does allow up to two weeks free for "vacationers". Over that, you are considered here for the winter and we do have a half of a year membership for those who are here under six months. Vacationers don't want to work on the field, and are on vacation. Snowbirds do help and putts around the field and Club.
RWard, your 7 membership Club is an Exclusive Country Club. You 7 have decided to support the activity for that Club and field. When guys complain about it here, I ask them if they play golf and if so, how many times a month, and the cost. Green fees are exorbitant. You are just paying "aircraft green fees". You can try to increase the membership by going to other events and setting up a display tent. What I mean by other events, are city fairs, art festivals, open air markets, full scale airshows. At our annual Gathering of the Giants, Our Club gives away a $1500, fully built plane every year with a radio. We have members that go to the Art/Open air market every Saturday and sell raffle tickets to the plane. The guys that do that usually have the plane paid for prior to the event. But, we also get members from those outings.
So, for the OP, he just has to convince the guys to belly up to the bar and pay the tab.
Old 10-10-2018, 12:06 PM
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jollyroger
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Every club has this problem. Our field is not that large but only a few people ever mow or take car of anything. I managed to have one person help paint the inside of our club house. The rest 80% I did myself. We have a few people who are willing to invest some of their time on maintenance of the two lawn tractors we use for mowing ie: oil and filter changes, which are now due before winter sets in.
The problem we have now is the damage done to our field due to raccoons digging up grubs alongside and on both ends of our runway. This occurred in August when it was hot and dry up here, which then brought the grubs out. The damage is quite extensive and is going to require some effort on behalf of the club to clean it up and repair the damage.
How many are willing to help? I have no idea.
There are some whose only interest if to fly and nothing else. There are always going to be people like this.
Old 10-10-2018, 06:00 PM
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r ward
 
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the seven people in my club are literally all the people in this area that fly r/c.....the club can't get any bigger, it's been that size since I can remember learning about the club 20 some years ago. fortunately we all do our share no matter what it is that has to be done, so there's no reason to tabulate who did what and who earned what dues credit. my archery club, of 250+/- members, uses the two level dues approach, where there is a "working member" who pays 45 bucks a year and is expected to put in 10 hrs. club work a year and is asked to ay ten dollars an hour for the hours under ten that he did not work and a "non-working member" who pays 10 dollars an hour more up front for not having
to work the 10 hours,..... believe it or not,.... people complained about having to pay more dues up front because they decide not to work, several refuse to re-join when they find out they have to pay the work hour fee.....this despite knowing about the rule when they first joined (we make absolutely sure every new member gets a brochure that explains the club work dues rules) it's a loose -loose situation...... it's hard to comprehend someone thinking they are getting ripped off because they don't want to contribute to the club's work needs. and the crazy part is that 90% of the "work" is bartending and 'BSing and/or grilling and 'BSing for the club's 12-14 functions a year ( some are big,...we are the host for the Badger State Games indoor and outdoor tournaments, the State Indoor Championship and a few other big 3d tournaments and there are indoor leagues all summer and all winter that need to be manned), believe me when I say it is very easy for the 250 members to get their hours in !.. and when you work a function, beer and food are free to the workers !..... and of course,....someone always complains about the workers not having to pay for their beer and food,.......you literally cannot win for trying !. by the time I was done with my term as President, I was happy it was over!. everybody wants the big tournaments, everybody wants the recognition they bring the club,.... but very few want to put in the effort it takes to have that happen.
when you consider that about 10 percent of the membership does 95percent of the club's work, it takes a big membership to keep the core workers from feeling burnt out and taken advantage of, all the time.
Old 10-12-2018, 10:53 AM
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Typical problem at most clubs. We all know the 10/90 rule of who does the work. Most feel that since they send a check, everything should be taken care of regardless. Heard the "I only want to fly" argument too many times as an ex-board member/ex-treasurer/ex-president.

My club simply pays to have the field mowed and it runs around $3k/yr. We could buy a machine at that cost, but then you need a body to pilot said machine, someone to maintain it and a place to store it.

There's a local car club that has a work requirement as part of the membership agreement, have to put in a certain number of hours a year. Don't know what the repercussions would be if they're not reached.
Old 10-12-2018, 04:58 PM
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the way my archery club handles it is,.... there is one officer that is responsible for tabulating everyone's work hours. he processes credit slips that are handed out for every club function to those who work that function. then at dues paying time these member turn in their slips and are credited 10 dollars off their membership for each hour on the slips, up to 100 dollars (10 hrs). work all ten hours and your membership costs only 45 bucks a year. it's not hard to put in 10 hours of work at club of 250 members a 40x60 club house and indoor range with full indoor kitchen and bar room, an outdoor BBQ kitchen and 40 acre club grounds with a 16 bunk regulation field range to 70 yrds and two 28 station regulation 3d courses.,....there's always something that needs to be done and most maintenance is scheduled as a club function to provide opportunity to get work credit. it's good system and works very well,...it has for 75 years (the club is that old !),....as long as people show up to work. if a member doesn't get his or her hours, they are trying to avoid them. the entire club is available to all members for family functions as well. for 45 bucks and a measly 10 hours work a year, it's an incredible deal !
Old 10-14-2018, 03:39 PM
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r_ward. Sure wish we could get that organized at our club. It is only fair. I will say though I am surprised lately at our club by some who had done nothing who have actually now stepped up to the plate to do some of the chores AND be on the exec. Don't know what happened but maybe guilt finally got to them.
Old 10-14-2018, 04:45 PM
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sometimes as president I had to plant that little "guilt seed". all that organization takes a lot effort and dedication, from those who were assigned those jobs. thankfully, we always managed to have the right guys in the right position at the right time !.....although it was always the same core people year after year, we usually always had more help than we needed,.... people dedicated to seeing the club succeed !. the club had many years to get the right formula perfected and a good number of long time members that knew what worked and what didn't in the past. when I was President , there were actually still a few members that participated in club's getting it's charter way back in 1952......these guys personally knew the entire history of the club.
Old 11-07-2018, 02:17 PM
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Our club has the same problem. The same two or three people do all the work and everybody else benefits. There will always be those who come up with a thousand excuses for not volunteering to help with maintenance, mowing or whatever else needs to be done.
Next spring we will have some major repair to do on our field as there was some damage done to it by a family of raccoons digging it up. Last August was particularly dry and warm which brought out the grub population, which then attracted the critters. By the time we noticed what happened some major damage was done to the runway just off the southern end of the paved portion. We put down grub killer and hoped for the best.
The sod that was tore up was raked up and removed and next spring fresh top soil will go down and reseeded. Along with that we are going to have to spend more money to keep the grubs in check . That added to the already amount we spend on weed and feed.
I've been a member of this club for over 20 years and this is the first time it happened.
Old 11-09-2018, 09:07 AM
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it's usually the "every day " maintenance that gets left un-manned most often. the special projects and things that bring a change to the club's functionality, usually see plenty of help. ironically it is that everyday maintenance that is most needed and is what keeps the club around, yet is the hardest to man. fortunately for most clubs of any kind, there is always a "core membership" that contributes way more than they have to. unfortunately for the Board of the club, they usually have to rely on thise members. it is good that they are there to be relied on, but it sets the precedent that the rest of the membership doesn't need to contribute because they know that core of guys will do what needs to be done. and ironically , getting hard-*****ed about the issue of membership help, only leads to membership decline and possible dissolution of the club. I've seen it happen this way a few times with smaller local archery clubs in my area. there is definitely a vicious circle at work in this respect.
Old 11-11-2018, 08:00 AM
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There is no sure fire solution to this. You have to consider the personalities of the members and decide what to try or simply live with the situation. One possibility would be to simply let it go until people start to complain. Then ask the complainers what they're willing to do about it. Might lose some members that way though. But then regardless what you try, you might lose some members.

One question I have is who owns the land? I would suspect the owner could set some rules regarding upkeep in the lease agreement. Then they can blame the landlord for their misery.

I do know that when asked for help at the field, I always considered the members contribution to the club in my response.
Old 11-17-2018, 06:58 AM
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letting go doesn't work,....my club has enough "events" during the year that letting the condition of the club's facilities would greatly reduce participation in the events. the events are done to financially support the club's existence. people ( the public,....non-members) don't like to come to an event and fins the place in bad condition, the club cannot afford for that to happen. this club also hosts a couple large state competition's and it has to be in decent condition or the sponsors will look elsewhere.
the land (40 Acers) is owned by the club itself.... so the BOD is the "landlord". this club has had no "owner" other than the club itself since it's Charter back in about 1952. the land was actually donated to the club back then by a former member, with a provision that it remains an archery club,.... fortunately, it has been run efficiently enough for all those years and membership has been big enough, that it remains Chartered, and one of the two or three biggest archery clubs in the state. we must be doing something right, because there have been many clubs started and dissolved during those 65 or so years of operation. and this club is not located near any major concentration of the state's population. I think it is that reason that the smoot and efficient operation of the club is so very important. what members we have, we must hang on to and why it is so important to motivate it's members to contribute to the club's welfare, and why it is important to keep some kind of tabulation who is contributing and some sort of benefit for those who do. as I said earlier,... it's hard to keep relying on that same small group of committed members, but if it weren't for them,.... there would be great loss in the local archery community.

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