Friday, February 6, 2009

Things That Make Me Angsty


...18% service charges.

One of these days, BikeReg. One of these days...

In other news, King of Burlingame is open, if you'd like to commit to getting your act together two months in advance.

Update!: Bikereg says this is an error due to how the promoter set up the event, where the license fee is being treated as a second race instead of added fee on the first race. They gave me back $1.25 and changed the event setup, raising my total monetary gains from 2 years of blogging to $1.25. And also indicating that they listen to their customers/angsty bloggers, which is awesome. I still get worked up about paying a surcharge sometimes, but dear god, they suck so much less than active.com!

15 comments:

gewilli 2/06/2009 10:29 AM  

stick that 18% onto a race like say the Mt Washington Hill Climb, or say... 24HOGG!

18% of 300-500 is a lot more money for essentially the same amount of work for the "server"

i understand the need for a fee for service but keying it off the entry fee for the event seems pretty close to extortion... *shrug* what do i know though

Colin R 2/06/2009 10:31 AM  

I've never seen 18% before. I know it scales down with the dollar amount (lower percentage on higher entry fees). I think it's more like 5% on a $100 entry...

Cary 2/06/2009 10:45 AM  

How much was your Fontana registration?

Colin R 2/06/2009 10:47 AM  

Coach Colin won't let Racer Colin do Fontana at the end of an 8-day training camp. Coach Colin's a pussy like that.

Hill Junkie 2/06/2009 12:15 PM  

Mt Washington service fee was "only" 4.5% this year. Of course, that's levied against a $350 entry fee.

Love to do the Burlingame TT, but I plan to ride Skyline Trail on Maui that weekend.

gewilli 2/06/2009 12:40 PM  

why didn't ya just get an annual EFTA thing? it is just a few more dollars than the one day plus the service fee?

and after i registered it just charged me for a $2.60 service fee or roughly a nice cool 14.444444444%

ah well - they sure make life easier for everyone... the competition (active.com or whatever) completely blows... so it really isn't that bad, right?

rosey 2/06/2009 1:18 PM  

crossresults 2009: now offering event registration services...

stick it to the man Colin.

Big Bikes 2/07/2009 5:13 PM  

You guys are mixing numbers with words and symbols that make my eyes hurt...I feel sleepy. I'm going to put my head down on my desk and wait for the bell to ring.

BikeReg.com 2/08/2009 12:50 AM  

Colin,

I agree that the service fee on this transaction is a bit out of line from what is expected from BikeReg.com.

The way this event is setup, the $4 EFTA fee is actually coming along as a second registration. We do apply discounting on service fees for when you register for multiple races within the same event. But the discounting on the $4 entry was not setup to be aggressive enough.

Typically for options like this, we encourage promoters to setup the license fee as a custom question where then if you need to add on the EFTA license, it adds $4 to your entry fee rather than a second registration. Therefore only one registration in your cart.

We have adjusted our service fee schedule so that with your additional $4.00 registration, the total service fee would be $2.80. I have credited you the $1.25 difference on your transaction also.

-Steve Roszko-
President / CEO
Pioneer Registration Services, LLC
BikeReg.com | SkiReg.com | RunReg.com

Todd Rowell 2/08/2009 12:19 PM  

I popped in here to comment and see that Steve has already done so. But I'd like to take a second to try to dispel the idea that BikeReg is "the Man." Let's keep the following in mind:

* BikeReg does a fair amount of sponsorship for local racing. Sponsoring a team may not benefit you directly, but sponsoring the Verge series does.

* BikeReg isn't some giant conglomerate. It's Steve and a couple of racer friends for the entire country. This is his full-time gig, and as he's shown he's very responsive and (imo) responsible to the racers.

* BikeReg makes life so nice for promoters. You get tools to manage your registration, web presence for your race (not as big a deal now as it used to be when fewer clubs were set up to do this), and you're listed somewhere central where racers can easily find you. Once upon a time, getting flyers to other races to spread the word was almost mandatory; nowadays when I see a flyer on my car I think it's quaint.

* BikeReg also makes life pretty sweet for racers. It used to be that you had to have your registration in a week or so in advance. No waiting to see what the weather would be like or who else was racing. Of course, other online systems could do this, too, and yet many don't.

* Finally, those service fees aren't just BikeReg's cut. Steve has to eat the credit card fee for every registration; normally this fee is absorbed by the merchant but very few promoters are willing to give up a couple of percent of their income.

I'd be happy to see competition, but it has to be done better than Active.com. And if you want a system with no fees then the registration host will have to forego any income and I think you'll see promoters raising their rates to cover card fees--and if they have to raise it a dollar or two then I bet you'll see a nice round $5 increase.

Murat Altinbasak 2/08/2009 11:25 PM  

Hear! Hear!
Everyone pisses and moans about Bikereg fees but then they have amnesia about the fact that their Names, Team Names, License numbers and all that good stuff is always spelled correctly, meaning that there are no lost results on USACycling or on the promoter's results. It's also easy to forget that we can now use credit cards to pay for entry fees- something you can't do at the registration table. I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of flat-broke racers out there, who could not otherwise afford to race [without using credit]. And where else can you scope out the other pre-regs and [based on the list] use discretion about which event to race instead of another? If Bikereg makes money then all the better- they deserve it and it means they will stick around and continue to serve the racing community.

Colin R 2/09/2009 11:10 AM  

Whoaaaa internet. Whoa. I turn my back on you for one weekend and you get all chatty.

First, thanks a bunch Steve for the dollar and changing the fee structure going forward. That kind of thing does a lot to make you not "the man." I edited the original post so that anyone who stumbles across this in the future will know what's up.

Secondly, online registration is awesome. No one here is disputing that. Nevermind the fact that you can save money (no day-of fee), the convenience and accurate name spellings alone would be it (accurately spelled name are especially valued to the crossresults.com part of me).

Third -- just because something is good doesn't mean it can't be better. Bikereg currently provides great services at a reasonable price -- well, usually reasonable -- but lets' not kid ourselves here, it's pretty lucrative. That's the nature of e-business, really -- once you have things up and running you can scale your customers a lot faster than your costs scale. So even if you're making a pretty small margin, you can make decent money just by getting your volume high enough. This is how every cheap internet retailer does it, low overhead and high volume. If you're providing a service (online reg) rather than goods that need humans to pack and ship them (i.e. bike gear) than your overhead can be even lower.

So the real question is, what kind of margins does bikereg have, and are they big enough to be vulnerable to undercutting? The average surcharge I paid during the cross season was about 10%, and I can assure you that credit card fees are considerably less than 10% per transaction. Obviously, or else the business would fail.

I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine what kind of gross income bikereg has (total entries * average surcharge), and what their overhead is beyond CC fees. If the gap between income and expenses is juicy enough, you just might want to look in the e-Reg business; and if it's not, well, that's why you pay $2.50 per online entry -- because it's not worth it to do it for cheaper.

gewilli 2/09/2009 2:42 PM  

don't get me wrong - big reg and steve and the gang make racing in New England AWESOME. Flat out freaking awesome.

but hey - no one's perfect and sometimes each of our flaws are exposed once in while...

and steve's demonstrating what the great do when one is exposed. Professinally making an adjustment in a positive and respectful manner.

super kudo's to Bikereg.

Active.com Death-Bot A.K.A. "Steve" 2/09/2009 8:23 PM  

Greetings Colin Reuter, I am going to come inside your house when you are sleeping tonight and whack you in the face with a shovel.

Sincerely,

The Active.com Death-Bot
(my friends call me Steve, but you Colin Reuter are not my friend which will be made abundantly clear tonight when you wake up to me whacking you in the face with a shovel)

Anonymous 2/14/2009 9:28 AM  

Give credit for Steve addressing this in person. I think everyone gets frustrated with the process but what is the alternative?
I'm not sure how long most of you have raced but I can relate to Todd's email. Prior to Bikereg everyone was looking for races in The Ride, the USCF/Norba publication and race flyers. Talk about a time consuming experience.
Results? Maybe from MTB events at the race site but rarely for road events unless you did well. Once again you had to look for results in a crappy flyer if the promoter sent them in.
Bikereg maybe frustrating to a few people but in general it saves a little time and a lot of hassles. Who else showed up at the Eastford RR years ago (pre bike reg) and was promptly told at registration that the race was full? After 90 minutes of driving it was a pretty crappy feeling. If Bikereg saves me that experience again I'll gladly pay a small fee.
No slam on anyone here I enjoy reading everyone opinions.

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