TUG BBS Administration
BBS Reg. Date: Jun 3, 04
TUG Finances Post, June 2000
[Moved from former bbs. Originally posted 3-21-2003]
Questions about TUG Finances come up on the bbs periodically. The message below was posted by Bill Rogers, TUG's founder and owner, in June, 2000 as a result of a Timeshare Beat article which called TUG finances into question, and which generated a lot of discussion on the bbs. Some of the specific references are outdated by now, but the basic philosophy still applies. In particular, the last TUG membership number from Bill was a little over 6000 members in late 2002 (don't confuse this with the much higher number of registered bbs users, many of whom registered, looked around once, and have never been seen again.)
Here's the post:
Up until today, I had no idea of the Timeshare Beat article or this BBS discussion. (As many of you know, I never have the time to read the bbs. Plus, it seems like any time I post something on the BBS, it just stirs things up ... this even happened when I ask people to just be a little nicer in their online messages.) Until I received an email from Doug Wilson telling me about this discussion, no one had asked me about any of this.
Now to answer your questions ...
The Timeshare Users Group is sponsored by my company, A-1 Computers, Inc. As such, TUG is technically not a not-for-profit enterprise, but I try to run it as though it were. We use the membership dues to pay the group expenses which includes 5 websites, 10 domain names, 800 phone number, fax line, and business lines and now part-time help. We also have been buying PR Newswire Releases, which is why you see TUG in the news so much, plus other advertising promo items... pens, shirts, etc.
In the beginning ( over 6 1/2 years ago ), TUG started as a printed newsletter ( we had 2 issues of 10,000 copies each which we gave away in Orlando ) on which we lost over $10,000 of my company's money... it was a total failure and we only got a handful of members from the give away newsletters. The group was about to go belly up when the web came along and provided this medium for our group. We currently have about 4500 active members, many I am happy to say have been long time members and have been renewing for free using their referral awards. It has always been
my hope that members would only have to pay the one time $15 membership dues and that they could renew and get their ads for free by using the referral awards.... and many of our members do just that.
TUG has grown to the point where I personally put in between 40 - 60 hours each week just answering phones, emails and updating our membership list. Due to the TUG work load, last year I only had time to take one vacation ( I own 3 timeshare weeks and had to bank the others ) and it had to be cut it short due to a flap on the TUG BBS. It overloaded my email manager and I was unable to download my emails while on vacation, so I had to return home several days early. That is why I finally was forced to hire some part time college students to help with the records, so I can have a little time off. If TUG continues to grow, we will one day have to set up a separate office and hire a full time staff. We are also looking at purchasing a dedicated server to replace and consolidate our 5 current website. Both of these will greatly add to our ongoing expenses, but with sufficient membership growth we should be able to handle it.
When I formed TUG, I had no intention of making any money off this endeavour, it was and still is a labour of love. However, because the group has grown and become almost a full time job for me, I needed to generate some kind income from this venture so I could continue with it so that is what the banner ads are used for.
The TUG reps are indeed the life blood of this group, I just try to hold the business side of it together, while they are the ones that have made TUG the great success it has become. They do it unselfishly because they love it and want to help others. The group would not exist if it were not for the volunteer efforts of these wonderful individuals. If we had to hire someone to do what they are doing, our dues would have to be much higher, so thank them as often as you can, because they deserve it. I am trying to reward the volunteer reps with specials that I have traded for advertising ( we actually were able to do this for the very first time for 3 of our reps a few weeks ago. So it is finally starting to happen... I have been promising the reps for a long time to do something like this and we finally are getting big enough and gotten the support of the timeshare companies to do it ).
I do not plan on making TUG an official non-profit corp. There are several reasons for this, mostly being the control factor and not having to put up with all the non-profit paper work and its requirements. Yes, I do pay taxes to the IRS thru A-1 Computers. I have been involved in many other non-profit groups and in each case the dues sky-rocketed and the in-fighting for control of these groups is unbelievable (e.g., our local Little League cost are up to $85 per player to join). There are currently several registered non-profit timeshare organizations with member fees and dues in the $100s to $1000s range and their staffs are making hugh salaries... even though they are technically non-profit... are they really? ) Our dues are only $15 and if anyone feels they have not gotten their money's worth, we have always been willing to provide a refund.... I have only had one person in over 6 years ask for a refund and it was because they sold their timeshare in 3 weeks using our classified ads and said they wouldn't need the membership any more because they no longer own a timeshare and wanted their money refunded... which I did instead of arguing about it.
I feel I have done a good job using the membership dues for the group's best interest. I also feel that the $15 membership dues is one of the true bargains in the timeshare area... and that is thanks to all the members and volunteer reps who donate their time to this effort and make it what it is. I have always referred to the group as a volunteer organization and have try to run it like a not for profit group by returning the dues back into the group to pay its expenses and advertising cost. I am sorry if anyone feels offended or deceived, it is not my intention. I hope each and everyone continues to support and understanding our efforts.
And if you have any questions in the future about TUG and its operations, feel free to drop me a line.
Bill does not follow the bulletin board, so if you wish to communicate with him, send him an email at email@example.com
I am going to close this thread so it can be placed in the TUG FEATURES ARCHIVES for future reference
[Bill has now been retired for several years and has passed the Owner/Operator reins to his son Brian. You can reach Brian at that same firstname.lastname@example.org address.
-- Makai Guy, BBS Administrator, March 8, 2012]
TUG BBS Administration
Last edited by Makai Guy; March 8, 2012 at 08:34 PM.