Start the Camp 3. Let’s Talk $$


So this will be a fun one to write.  (;

Why is talking about money so weird anyway?  For some reason it’s always been really uncomfortable for me to talk about the money side of my camps, at least with my friends.  Other people have jobs though, and if you’re going to offer a service, then there’s nothing unusual about you getting paid for it.  Maybe it seems weird to me because as an entrepreneur I decide how much I get paid?  I don’t know why it feels weird.  Maybe I’m just weird.


The costs that go into a camp can be broken into two parts: supply costs and camp costs.  Supplies is simple: budget for anything that you have to buy to run the activities (paint, for example), to have on hand (like extra paper towels), or to market the camp (if you need to print flyers maybe).   Some of it will depend on how many campers come, and you don’t know how many campers will come.  You’ll need to make a bunch of estimates and round up, then add some buffer after that.  If you have supply money leftover, great, but it would be horrible to run out! List the supplies you’ll need for sure, and pick a few projects you might do and do research online to see how much things might cost.  Try to come up with a ballpark and average it out per camper.  For Creative Chicks, my arts and crafts camp, I did $30 per camper, but it will really depend on the type of camp and how many activities!  If you are really stuck, then you can try to research supply fees for other camps in your area.

summer camp story (3)

So many supplies to budget for

Then add the camp fees: paying for labor.   How much do you want to be paid per hour?  Don’t underestimate how much to pay yourself, because you are putting in a bunch of planning hours before the camp actually starts. Are you currently planning on hiring helpers?  If you are, make an estimate on how much you’ll pay them, and then make sure to include that.

  1. What is the fewest number of campers, worst case scenario, that you would still hold camp with?  Having a minimum number will protect you from losing money.  For me, it’s usually 6 girls.
  2. Add how much you want to get paid total to the amount you estimate you’ll pay your helpers.
  3. Divide that amount by the minimum number of girls = tentative camp fees

It’s a balance between finding how much you want to be paid per hour verses what parents are actually willing to pay based on how they value your camp though.  If you are teaching a skill, the value of your camp will be higher.  I could charge more for sewing camps because so much of the camp was spent on instruction and creating actual projects.  In comparison, craft camps are fun, but a portion of the day is just having fun playing games or making “fun” projects.


Once you’ve figured everything out, add your supply fee to camp fee and you get the amount you could charge for camp.  Research other camps to see if this number is unrealistically high/low.  You could also ask a few parents what they would pay for a camp similar to yours and see if your number is in the right range.

This isn’t a step by step process because so much of it depends on the circumstances.  I hope if you are thinking about running a camp that this will help you think through every aspect that goes into the price of camp tuition, but at the end of the day, you just have to pick a price.  If it doesn’t work, you can tweak it for next time!

As a high-schooler, landing on a price and figuring out how much to pay myself is the hardest part for me. My parents are both math people though and they helped a lot…but I’m sorry for the lack of the technical terms (revenue vs. income? sheesh.)  I’m still learning too. (:



start the camp

This is part of a group of posts about the ins and outs of running a camp. Ever wondered about a way to earn some money in the summer? You could teach something you love doing!  You can read the rest of the series here.


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