[EMS Discuss] Getting funds together for a possible move

Wed May 22 10:50:46 PDT 2013

I would be willing to pay more for the right space in the right 
location.  The current EMS location isn't very usable for me (too small 
and too far away), so I'm really just paying to be part of a club and 
support EMS instead of getting access to a space I can really use.

Another idea I've seen at some other makerspaces is charging a small fee 
for some extra benefits.  Renting lockers is one that makes a lot of 
sense to me.  Everyone pays the basic membership fee.  If you need some 
space for your projects (like me) you can rent a locker - anything from 
a shelf to lockable cages of various sizes.  As long as the storage 
doesn't cost too much to setup, that is a revenue stream that also 
provides one way for people to pay for the amount of use they get out of 

Another option is paying a small fee for some of the more popular or 
expensive tools (like a 3D printer).  This can be hourly, a monthly fee 
for the right to use it, or maybe just a one time fee to get checked out 
on a machine.

Holding classes (soldering, arduino, etc.) for a small fee can bring in 
some money, but I'm not sure if there is enough of a market for that.  
We should do those anyone once we have a space that supports that, but 
I'm guessing that would be more to break even and attract new members 
than a revenue source.

Finally mixing some business memberships could dramatically subsidize 
the cost.  EMS is mostly empty on during the day on weekdays, so having 
one or more small businesses or individuals make use of the space during 
that time could bring in a substantial amount of money.  Think of 
something like CodeChops operating out of EMS during the daytime - 
geared towards business uses that wouldn't prevent a normal EMS member 
from working on projects at the same time.  I myself my consider up to a 
couple hundred dollars a month for an arrangement like that.


On 5/22/2013 9:49 AM, Rick Osgood wrote:
> When we first started EMS we had about 5 people involved.  We all 
> decided that in order to get things moving, we would have to bite the 
> bullet and rent a space, even though it would cost us each $100 per 
> month at the start.  We all came to the agreement that we could each 
> afford $100 for 6 months, worst case scenario.  After that if we 
> weren't going anywhere, we could cancel the lease and call it quits. 
>  The idea was that once we had a space, we would get more members and 
> our $100 shares would drop every month.
> Well, obviously things have worked out since we now have around 28 
> members and all of our bills are covered by dues alone!  However, this 
> growth means that we really need to move to a bigger space in order to 
> keep growing EMS in a positive way.  Getting a larger space means our 
> operational costs are going to go up.  Right now, we are making just 
> enough money to break even on all of our bills.
> We figure we are going to need an additional $500 to $1000 per month 
> (depending on the particular space) in order to afford a move to a 
> bigger and better space.  We were talking about several ways to 
> accomplish this goal at the Hack your Hackerspace meeting last night.
> I have two questions for the members.
> 1) Are any members interested in joining that "financial backers" 
> group?  This is the group of members who agree to split the difference 
> on the bills so we can afford to keep growing our organization into 
> something even more awesome.  It's hard to say right now what the 
> monthly cost would be, since we don't have a particular space lined 
> up.  But we would most likely try to keep it under $100 per month per 
> person in order to actually move forward on a new space.  And we would 
> try to get a 6 month commitment so we can back out after that time if 
> we just can't afford it any more.
> 2) We are considering introducing a sliding-scale membership.  The 
> idea here is that the lowest "tier" would be $25 per month.  Then 
> there would be additional tiers above that price.  All members would 
> still have equal rights and access.  You wouldn't get anything extra 
> for paying more.  But this model allows members to who get a lot of of 
> the space to pay what they think their membership is worth to them if 
> they can afford to pay more.
> What are your thoughts?  Would you be interested in belonging to one 
> of these groups?  Do you have other ideas for how we can increase our 
> monthly income to afford a better space?
> Rick
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