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High School Umpire

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  1. Those are great points JonnyCat. I appreciate hearing from someone else who has worked the numbers. I knew from the beginning that it wouldn't be lucrative, but never imagined it would be as bad as the numbers suggest. Wish I had understood your points before I made the decision to invest my time and money into it. I liked working games and overall had a very good experience in terms of the umpires, players, coaches, and even fans. But I like a million things (my wife, my children, playing sports, watching sports, etc) and there's all sorts of things I would have done with my time had I known how bad the compensation is when taking account of total costs (expenses, hidden expenses, time). I did sense some of what you're saying, especially your point about needing to work an extreme number of games to make it worthwhile. That's why I just got out, because it's not worthwhile and I have no interest in working even 100+ games. I'm from the north, so the number of games is limited, even if you work Sunday tournaments and summer. Really appreciate your point about your old boss, thanks.
  2. Those are great points Matt, thank you. You're absolutely right of course about the expense ratio improving as the number of games increase. All I'll say is that, the vast majority of umpires who graduate from the classes to get state certification to work high school, do not last long enough to get a good, full schedule (guys trying to make some money for school, for their children, etc, while doing something they might enjoy). I either got more games than all of my classmates or at least almost all of my classmates my first two years in one state. In my last two years in another state, I got good, full schedules. But both years included Junior Varsity games, which were cancelled and not rescheduled at a high rate or rescheduled on dates that conflicted with existing games. But the main reason the vast majority of umpires who graduate from classes never work a good, full schedule is that they do not last, at least in the two states I worked. Even though I'm not young at all, I was one of only a handful of umpires under 50 in my local association. Looking back, I must have lost money the first two years, when a lot of classmates dropped like flies. And things must not be much better for guys with 3-5 years experience, because they were few and far between in both states I worked. P.S. The class I took for certification made clear to everyone that there's a huge shortage of umpires and that if we graduated there'd be plenty of games to go around and people would be dying to get us to work games. But a week after graduating, most of the class had to face the fact that almost all games assignments had been made months before, that the schedulers had no idea who we were and were hardly concerned about feeding most of the class games, that whatever games we'd get would be Freshmen-JV games usually partnered with more experienced guys who, although very good to me, were still at the very bottom of the totem pole (meaning the chances to get noticed and to get more games were very, very limited).
  3. These numbers are far better than normal. The tax deductions are of limited value and have little impact on the final numbers. For each $1 you spend on an expense, whether it be meetings or dues or equipment, you don't get $1 back from the deduction. Depending on your personal tax rate, you might get something like $0.15 back for each dollar you spend. In other words, each dollar deducted does not add $1 to your tax refund, it only reduces your tax liability, and would therefore only have a very limited impact this analysis. Also, these numbers are generous because this was by far the most profitable of the 4 years. Year 1 involved the purchase of hundreds of dollars of equipment plus the price of the class. Year 3 involved the purchase of all new shirts and jackets, because the state decided that shirts and jackets and hats lacking the new embroidered logo were not allowed. And this is especially for potential umpires or those who are fairly new, this was by far the most profitable year. Early years involved a reduced schedule, lower game fees because Freshmen games were mixed in, etc. Finally, 24 games may be a light schedule by more experienced umpires working Varsity almost exclusively, but it is not a light schedule for guys starting out, especially in places with cold, rainy seasons. I was scheduled for around 40 games before the season in question. But Freshman and JV games are the first to get cancelled without being rescheduled in both the states I worked in (Northeast, Midwest). And I got more games each of my 4 years than anyone else with my years of experience. Assuming 34 games takes the hourly way from $4.34 an hour to $8.49. And that's pretax--the numbers are even worse after tax, even accounting for deductions.
  4. Umpired high school for 4 years. Got in it for the enjoyment, the exercise, and to make some money. Finally did a full accounting and was shocked as to how unprofitable it is when everything is accounted for. Not trying to convince anyone to umpire at all. Appreciated the people who did it as a player and am glad there are people still willing to do it. Just letting umpires or prospective umpires know, especially those who are trying to make some money for school, for a child, or for whatever, that it is basically a volunteer activity and they are probably not making nearly as much as they think, due to the variety of expenses involved. Especially umpires who are just beginning and will have the cost of a course and will probably not receive good schedules for the first few years. These numbers are from 2017, the most profitable year worked. Accounting for games, meetings, rainouts, fees, equipment, mileage, and travel time, made, before taxes--about $4.34 an hour. Games 24 Meetings 5 Rainouts 3 Game Fees $50-55 (regardless of whether varsity or junior varsity) Dues (State & Local) $85 Equipment $100 [Spent $300+ in first year & $200+ in third year, when state required all shirts & hats to have embroidered logos & no patches.] Mileage (934 Miles at $0.535 per Mile) $500 Gross Game Fees $1,285 Net After Dues-Equipment $1,099 Net After Mileage $599 Net Per Game $24.96 Net Per Hour $6.24 [assuming 4 hours per game] Net Per Event (Games, Meetings, Rainouts) $17.36 Net Per Hour Per Event $4.34 [assuming 4 hours per games, 1.5 hours per meeting, 1 hour per rainout] After Tax Net Per Hour Per Event $3.69
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