Team Building Tips: Set a Realistic Budget (Part 2)
5. Make sure that you HAVE a budget and that you set a budget that’s realistic.
We have already discussed realistic budgets for team building. What if you just want your team to let off steam and get out of the office for a few hours? Then, it’s team recreation NOT team building you’re seeking. The sooner people use the correct terminology the less confusion there will be. If you’re just looking for team recreation, you can go as low or as high as you would like. Your team can have a really enjoyable afternoon even on a tight budget. Just don’t expect to get champagne on a beer budget.
If you’re on a budget
You can provide your team with an enjoyable afternoon away from work for as little as $25 – $30 a person. You can enjoy the activity, serve pizza and even get prizes from the dollar store.
Here are enough ideas to provide your team with once a year recreation for the next decade without blowing your budget.
- go bowling
- go to an amusement park
- take your team to an outdoor mini-golf park
- enjoy indoor florescent golf like what the Putting Edge offers
- go to Laser Quest for laser tag.
- team challenges at video game arcades
- a picnic in the park
- a movie followed by pizza in the theatre’s party room
Charity polo tournaments like Toronto’s Polo for Heart are accessible. It’s about $10 – $15 to get in and you still have $5 – $10 per person to give each team a budget to pull together a picnic and enter the picnic contest. Other options would be checking out a place like Polson Pier in Toronto where you can participate in beach volleyball and a host of other activities that won’t break your budget. If you’re looking for an alternative to pizza, community colleges with restaurants to give their student practice sometimes have gourmet meals that are a steal (less than $15 a person). You can make a reservation and take your team out without spending more than $30 – $35 per person for a morning or afternoon of fun.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking for recreation and your budget is tight, then call a place that specializes in that. There is no need to involve team building companies. Call a bowling alley.
Here are some other ideas for navigating your way around tight budgets. If you are in the habit of doing something once a quarter, why not combine your budget and do 1 or 2 moderate events. Some companies that have budgets on the lower end get around this by having 2 departments do an activity in the same day at the same venue. One department can have their event in the morning ending with a light lunch and the other can have their event in the afternoon and serve some light snacks during mid-afternoon. That way, fixed, labour and common costs will be spread among a higher number of people and you can find a dramatic drop in your per person rate. Sometimes, it is even enough to finance something more moderate.
If your budget is higher ($100 – $300 a person), there are a number of options and it may make sense to call a company that specializes in team building and corporate event planning. Options could include an urban safari or corporate scavenger hunt, horse riding and a BBQ, a race event similar to the Amazing Race. Depending on group size, race events can be done for a moderate budget ($110 – $125 per person for large groups and $300 or $400 per person for small groups). If the figure is coming in a lot lower than that, just be certain that someone isn’t selling you an “amazing race” and actually providing you with a corporate scavenger hunt. Upscale race events with horses, helicopters, rickshaw, speed boats and fancy cars can run you anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 per person, depending on group size. At the higher end of the scael you will find options like rappelling, ziplines, and abseiling for anywhere from about $250 to $350 per person. Indoor rock climbing is also a good bet and can be done for a couple of hundred dollars, even lower if you go some place like the Y. At the higher end, you’ll also find cooking team building.
Other moderate options could include outdoor challanges such as GPS, orienteering, and outdoor cooking challenges. If you’re just looking for something recreational with no observers and no feedback re: team dynamics, call a cooking school or community college. Some venues charge as little as $150 a person, others as much as $450 a person. A small group will always pay significantly higher.
For luxury options, the sky is literally the limit. Tandem skydiving or hot air ballooning can set you back $300 or $400 depending on where you go. For Dinner in the Sky be prepared to fork over a mid 5 figure budget to rent the dining platform and crane for a day and cater gourmet meals. You can also have a helicopter whisk your team to an exclusive location for dog sledding or horse riding. A high end option like a polo clinic can be surprisingly affordable considering polo’s reputation as “the sport of kings”. Depending on your location, you could spend anywhere between $500 and $1000 per person.
Remember that you get what you pay for and, sometimes, an incredible bargain, can turn out to be a nightmare if you find that your provider has scrimped on staffing or safety to force fit your session or event into a lower budget. Also, remember that if something sounds too good to be true, you may end up realizing that, yes you have been penny wise but pound foolish.