Sports Fields on a Budget

For Cory Hull of Fremont City Schools, it was several years and seasons before he learned the secrets to managing a small budget.

Hull said, “I started off very passive but I was forced to find my voice when I took this position.” As we all adjust to the impacts of the changed economy and sports world, many groundskeepers and facility managers may be forced to find their voice when managing cut budgets and resources. Whether your season will take place this year or not, here some ways to effectively manage your space with limited spending.

Always be selling.

Hull explained that he is at the mercy of others when it comes to budget and spending so he must always be selling when asking for the things he needs. “I start off by creating a checklist and I can make requests but I have to go through high ups to make larger purchases. I have found that it’s about how I frame the ask. I’m sure to detail how this purchase or resource will make my job easier, more efficient and produce better results.” It can be all about the way in which you present things and you should prepare for push back at every turn. Come to the table with several quotes and explanations for how this investment will save the organization money down the line.

Be the go-to guy.

When you go looking for help it’s easier to find when you’ve helped others along the way. Be helpful now so you can ask for favors in the future. Don’t expect people to help you out if you’re always too busy or stressed to help them in return. Understand that everyone has their own bottom line and budget to manage.

Small budget mentality.

When managing a small budget you’ve got to be on your A+ game. You don’t achieve perfect fields on a small budget because of the equipment you have or how much help you have (even though Hull said he couldn’t live without his Gator utility vehicle.) Rather it’s the small budget mindset that will make you successful. You must be adaptable and fluid when planning or making decisions, something we’ve all been forced to learn this year. Hull said, “It’s about being creative with the resources you have, and operating as though you’re in the trenches. I maintain my budget across several seasons instead of dumping all my investment into one weekend, I rent equipment when I can and I rely on peers or sales guy to provide me free advice.”

By saving money where you can and tapping into resources in the industry available to you, you may find your small budget stretching further for your space. We’ve learned to not take things for granted this past year and with the right mindset and approach we hope you can continue to create beautiful backdrops for our sports.

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